As an employee, when you consider undertaking learning and development, you’re most likely to be thinking about how that particular training course or new qualification is going to benefit you, whether that’s in terms of improved skills, enhanced knowledge or potentially a career boost.
A topic that isn’t always discussed so widely is how individual learning and development can benefit a wider work team. In this blog, we look at how the positive effects of improving yourself can be felt throughout your organisation.
1. Increased collective knowledge
Let’s start with the most obvious benefit. If you’re learning new skills or ways of thinking, then hopefully you’re going to be taking these back to your team and using them on a daily basis in the work you do. This new knowledge might allow your team to benefit from new technologies, save time, be more productive, or offer an additional service to your customers, whether they be inside your organisation or outside of it.
The key to maximising the value of your development is to actively look to share your learning with your team. Lead a meeting or lunch to discuss with them what new skills and insights you have gained, and how you think these can improve the service you jointly offer your customers. As well as helping reinforce the value of what you’ve learned in your own mind, you’ll improve your wider team’s knowledge base and encourage a greater sense of camaraderie.
2. A happier workplace
We’ve all worked in situations where negativity seems to thrive, where long-standing employees are jaded by the experiences of their past and new recruits become disillusioned within months of joining. No doubt you’ll have worked in teams that don’t quite gel, perhaps because some people never seem happy in their work.
One of the many benefits to an individual of pursuing further learning and development is increased job satisfaction. By taking time away from the day-to-day duties of the job and gaining a fresh perspective on situations, as well as learning some new skills and strategies, participants often return to work with renewed enthusiasm and energy. This renewed enthusiasm for the job is bound to rub off on the rest of their team, breathing fresh life into the workplace and making it easier for everyone to get on with the job in hand.
3. A better employer
Companies that encourage and allow their employees to undertake learning and development programmes are much more attractive places to work. One of the first things to go when company budgets get cut, opportunities for professional development are increasingly valued by today’s workforce, who want to stay relevant in the ever-changing job landscape, and employers that offer them are seen as caring about their workforce.
The effects of the well-being generated among employees who feel that their company genuinely cares about them can be profound. Existing staff become more loyal. They are encouraged to remain with the organisation instead of seeking other opportunities elsewhere, and become a company’s strongest brand advocates. Customers and clients benefit from the high-level, efficient service they provide.
Providing opportunities for training and development can also help companies to attract the best new talent in a competitive marketplace, where opportunities for professional growth and career development are important motivators.
4. Enhanced perspective
You know what it’s like. When you’re in the office day in, day out, it’s all too easy to become bogged down in what is going on inside your four walls, focusing on targets and forgetting about the rest of the world. It’s tempting to put your head down and busy yourself in your own projects, overlooking the fact that you are one company in a wider industry or specialism.
Just one day spent interacting with people outside your own company can offer insights and new perspectives that can make a difference in your workplace. Training and development courses are ideal places to meet people from different backgrounds, companies and industries, all of whom can help you look beyond your own and your company’s own experience and see how you might do things differently and better in future, as well as better understand the corporate world around you.
Again, it’s important here to make sure you share any insights or learning gained from interacting with others on your course with your wider company once you’re back at the office. You never know – your insight may encourage a colleague to look at an issue they are facing with fresh eyes and find a solution they previously had not considered.
5. Further opportunities
By rubbing shoulders with people from outside your organisation, you won’t just gain new insights and perspectives. You might also start conversations that could lead to new business opportunities for your company.
The nature of modern professional development courses, especially those that focus on assisting individuals to navigate specific business challenges and opportunities, means that participants often gain great insight into other delegates’ job roles and company credentials.
As well as leading to potential career advancement for the individuals concerned, this networking element of learning and development can bear fruit for organisations too. Opportunities for partnerships may not be immediately apparent, but by keeping in contact with other delegates, you’ll be keeping those people and businesses in mind should opportunities arise in future.