5 Reasons to Invest in Associate Education and Development

Imagine this: Your team is performing well, your projections are on track, and everyone seems happy. Is this when you would invest in staff development? Many people would keep everything just as it is.

I have a different approach. While a period of success is a good time to engage in education and professional development initiatives for associates, smart leaders are looking for ways to develop their teams constantly — whether performance is high, low, or somewhere in between.

When associate training and education is ingrained into company ethos, you optimize the entire team to be the best that they can be. Here are five reasons why people and their growth are worth the investment, at any time.

 

  1. Businesses need to stay relevant

Part of being a leader is recognizing and adapting to change. We live in a time of major disruptions; thanks to technology, culture, politics, among dozens of other reasons, there have never been so many advancements and big shifts in thinking as there have in the last 100 years. For a company to adapt and stay relevant, people at all levels need to think on their feet, obtain new skills, and stay current. This could be through formal training, 1 on 1 coaching. Attending conferences, watching TED talks or reading articles and books, or even by encouraging side projects.

 

  1. Room for growth makes people happy

Since we work for many decades of our lives, change along the way is natural. I myself went to law school for juvenile criminal defense before becoming CEO. While I don’t practice law, I do use the skills I acquired in law school every day. I look for well-rounded associates because I know they’ll bring that extra something to the table.

Morale and retention are influenced by people’s perception of their workplace growth. Showing people that new skills and trainings are beneficial gives them a mentality to approach change as an opportunity instead of a roadblock. New business developments, advancements in technology, and globalization of workforces are three examples that sound great to businesses, and could be perceived as threatening to staff. People who feel stuck will fear change. People who feel empowered to grow will want to see where they, and their company, can go.

Lots of companies have strong individual contributors who will likely not become managers or change roles. Leaders often think, ‘what’s new for these individuals to learn,’ ‘how do I challenge them’ or worse, ask  ‘why should I challenge them?’ Under a strong coach, most individual contributors will express desires for growth and change. They may always want the role they have, but with the right questions you can find out ways they can provide more value within that role and bring new ideas to the table.

 

  1. Diversity

As a female CEO in a male dominated industry, I know firsthand how few women are in these roles. For a company to truly embrace diversity, it also has to embrace associates who are stepping into new territory. While hiring practices shift to create diversity for new hires, take a look internally to see where existing staff could be mentored into new, and perhaps unconventional, roles.

Just a generation ago, there were different cultural expectations and pressures which prevented many people from pursuing careers. Everyone deserves a chance to thrive, and a well-thought-out development program can help remove the barriers of whatever life situations or social values may have prevented people from pursuing a skill or certification.

 

  1. Empowering people is empowering innovation

Everyone wants to take pride in their work, and while a lot of focus is placed on Millennials, the Harvard Business Review found common denominators across all generations. People want to feel like they’re making a difference in the world, having a positive impact, and participating in something they can feel good about. This drives them to think big.

By developing people beyond their current capabilities, you’re unlocking the potential for them to combine their know-how with new concepts. In a team setting, this is a recipe for growth, educated risks, and powerful brainstorming that benefits the entire group.

 

  1. Web-based education makes it easy

Online education has changed the way we learn. Companies can now provide video training through online education platforms like Lynda.com and Udemy.com, reaching people right on their laptops. Associates who want to learn a particular skill might even find another course of interest, and take the time to learn about other aspects of the business. This cross-pollination of ideas can result in greater teamwork, better understanding of roles, and more well-rounded people.

Costs for online classes are reasonable and people across a company can learn the same content wherever they are in the world, at any time. In addition, free content is everywhere! Useful online articles, newsletters, YouTube videos, and TedTalks are available at the click of a button at no cost at all.

Change is inevitable. We can embrace it for the good of our companies and our people by providing education and development opportunities in the bad times and the good. Whatever is holding you back from prioritizing it is holding your associates back, too.

2017-08-31T18:11:57+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Business Strategy, Culture, General|0 Comments

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