As predictions of the next industrial revolution rise and new technology takes its place in corporations around the world, the challenge of helping employees upgrade their skills is only going to grow in the coming years.
Yet while millions are spent each year on recruiting and training new employees, the commitment to keeping current employees’ skills and knowledge evolving is rapidly becoming the biggest challenge.
A research report called Lifelong Education and Labor Needs published in the EvoLLLution Online newspaper a couple of years ago cast light on the increasing need for continuing education in the workplace.
The researchers found that 64% of executives who are recruited externally fail within four years of joining an organization on average.
The conversation that followed led many human resources departments to wonder if they should re-examine the trend to hiring externally, as opposed to focusing more on upgrading existing staff and promoting within.
In an ideal situation, every company should have a learning and development plan in place for each place. At every stage, the employee should be given the opportunity to take additional training programs and learn new skills throughout their period of employment.
If you wait to offer training opportunities only when there is a crisis, as in the introduction of new technology, you will never develop the culture of learning that drives the most successful organizations.
The current speed of change in the workplace will only be accelerated in the years to come, again supporting the case for continuous training. Companies who don’t invest in their employees will find themselves increasingly vulnerable to being out-aced and out-maneuvered by those who do.
There are three other benefits to promoting constant learning:
- You can keep your training budgets at a realistic level as a consistent output instead of having spikes only when new technology is being implemented.
- You can have a better succession plan if you permit workers to keep gathering new skills and knowledge and ensure they have opportunities to grow within your organization.
- You can lessen the shock and resistance to technological change by ensuring constant upgrading is an expected part of the corporate culture. When you have to train quickly, you will already have a workforce used to being called to learn.
As a bonus, continual learning will help your organization or corporation be better equipped to stay strong during the exodus of Baby Boomers from the workforce. By developing leaders for the future, you will be able to bridge the gap that will be created by the leaving of many senior managers.