Learning Never Stops

2020 has been one big learning curve. It’s forced us to consider our resilience, adaptability and ability to truly connect. It’s shown us that quite often the most important lessons we have are not the ones taught in classrooms or lecture halls but the ones we experience every day from the mistakes we make, the people we meet or the decisions that lead us in one direction or another.

These experiences are a vital part of our own personal development and growth but it’s also important to be more purposeful and deliberate about your own learning, both personally and professionally. Research shows that when we spend time learning new skills or knowledge, particularly if that’s fairly complex, we can actually boost new brain cell production which can slow the cognitive ageing process.

When did you last spend time thinking about what you want to learn or get better at? It’s so tempting to think that we leave structured learning behind after formal education but there’s such a wealth of resources* available. With so much learning almost exclusively online now there’s really no reason not to be filling our brains with wonderfully new and interesting information!

When it comes to developing at work, there is a joint responsibility between ourselves and the businesses we work for to ensure that learning never stops. Smart businesses invest in their employees’ development. When we say invest, it’s as much about time, support and guidance as it is about money. Smart businesses foster a learning culture by striking a balance between informal, on-the-job learning and more directed learning – training courses, coaching, qualifications etc - where it can add genuine value. And smart employees own their development: creating and embracing learning opportunities and putting new skills and behaviours into action.

Still not sure whether to invest in learning? Take a look at some of the hard evidence as to why it makes business sense:

If you want to attract and retain great people, you need to invest in their learning. We now live in an age where we demand more from businesses than ever before: 9 in 10 employees want their employer to offer more training to develop new skills. Businesses who don’t will be left behind. Although the job market has been quiet this year, it is picking up and there are attractive options out there, so don’t make the mistake of thinking people won’t want to move right now. If their skills are left to atrophy, they will find somewhere else where learning is prioritised.

As a provider of people development we are delighted to read LinkedIn’s Leading with Learning report from June 2020 which stated 76% of L&D professionals in the UK say more chief executives are now actively championing the development of their workforce since the COVID-19 outbreak, up from 28% in a comparable study conducted in October 2019. Of course, the pandemic has thrown up the challenge of a very different landscape of work and we know that purse strings are tighter than ever before but there are ways to encourage learning for yourself, in your team and in your organisation.

So whether you’re going to read a new book, listen to a podcast, attend a virtual networking event to meet new people, sign up for an online course or take part in a full upskilling training programme, do it and see what a difference it makes.

*Get inspired by checking out one of the amazing learning platforms here!

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