Closing The Knowledge Gap: How to Encourage Employee Learning
Business life has changed a lot over the last ten years. It has moved online, for example, giving up on its physical office space, and even gone completely paperless by soaring up into the clouds instead. The biggest change, however, is found in the rapid turnover businesses experience these days.
We no longer stay loyal to one company for decades at a time, and our attention span in terms of workplaces is almost worse than when we’re reading news online. There’s always something better, newer, and more innovative out there – so how is a small business owner such as yourself supposed to keep the best heads from jumping ships?
Here is a simple guide to how you can encourage lifelong learning in your company without having to worry about the knowledge they’re absorbing being wasted on your competitors.
Host a lunch and learn
When you’re looking to create some change within your company, you need to start with yourself. As the leader, they’ll be looking to you for answers and guidance – so lead the way by inviting them all to a lunch and learn. Free lunch is a part of this, by the way, so don’t disappoint those employees who showed up for the free pizza.
To pull this off successfully, you need to invite a knowledgeable speaker to shower your team with knowledge and critical thinking. While you may think everyone should have gone through the regular business stuff in college, you’d be surprised how fast we actually forget what we learn.
Experts call it the knowledge gap, and the time lapse between their lectures in college and when you hired them have seeped all that wisdom out of them. Focus on making the first couple of sessions a refresh on the material you think they should know – and move on to the important stuff from here.
Lunch and learn, frequent seminars, and inviting guest speakers are all excellent ways of showing your employees that their company is actually investing in knowledge. It’s the kind of signal that motivates them to learn too, and they’ll be more likely to stay put.
Reimburse learning initiatives
As a small business, it’s understandable that you’re not necessarily in a position to pay for your employee’s tuition fee. If you are able to, on the other hand, you should put the offer on the table immediately; the best kind of businesses know how to grow and nurture their team’s talents, and the knowledge they’ll bring back to your company makes it all worth it.
There are other ways to rewards the ones in your company who are eager to learn, so don’t let a lack of revenue keep you from giving them what they deserve. Small business owners have found comfort in Swift Financial in order to get a seminar up on its feet, and it makes it a bit easier to offer your lifelong learner a bonus for attending those networking groups and workshops.
It’s for the good of your company, after all, and it’s widely accepted that businesses who fail to offer reimbursement and encourage lifelong learning risk hurting their retention numbers.
Make learning a part of your company culture
Building a culture that treasures knowledge and learning is a lot easier when you have the tools for it. Set goals that apply to the whole team, for example, such as having attended two workshops per quarter – and reward the teams who follow through with it.
You’d want to build a culture within your company that gains a lot of knowledge and shares what they learn with each other, so make sure you have the right collaboration tools in place such as a cloud where they can have easy access to documents.
Sharing is, after all, something that comes quite natural to us these days, and by pointing out a few super users who are on the frontline of learning, the rest of your team will be quicker to follow.
A company that manages to support their team and focuses on being creative while learning has a tendency to attract the right kind of talents. Make it a part of the job description to secure the best candidates, keep rewarding them and offering exciting seminars, and the word will soon spread.
Knowledge is power, and it’s exactly what your business needs to beat its competitors. It’s no point to jump ships when your company has so much to offer its employees, right?