October is National Breast Cancer awareness month. October is also National Learning and Development month. This the first year that this designation was approved by the Registrar at National Day Calendar. (Yes, there is a process to getting the day recognized.) According to the Day Calendar’s website, this month we should “focus on broadening and advancing our skills. It’s important in both our professional and personal lives to keep learning.”
While for many people and organizations, the need for continuous learning is apparent and needed. To others, it’s a “nice to have” or “when I get around to it.” I think that this “day designation” is a great time to look at why continuous learning is key to personal growth, professional development, and organizational success.
Employees want more.
Today’s employees are no longer simply satisfied with simply coming to work and earning a paycheck. They want to talk about career paths and what it is going to take to be promoted. Without these career discussions and development plans, employees feel that they are being looked over for promotions.
In fact, in a recent LinkedIn’s Talent Trends study conducted earlier this year, 25% of employees said they have their eye on a promotion and would like to stay with their current employer. But in that same study, 24% feel they have been overlooked for a promotion. Employers not willing to understand their employees’ career goals and development needs are watching employees walk out the door to organizations who get the need for employees to see a career direction, understand employee career goals, and find ways to work towards those goals.
What’s old is old.
A skill set that was needed five years ago may have changed and morphed into a new skill set with employers and employees trying to catch up to meet the new demands. Things like technology and changing demographics are impacting the type of work done as well as how it is done. Look at the tech companies, Google, Facebook, Apple and how they give numerous learning opportunities as well as ways to innovate.
And of you don’t think you competitors are investing time and money in staying on top of the changing world, you are wrong. Even smaller companies see the need for continuous learning by aligning organization goals with learning goals and using free and low-cost learning opportunities like Lynda.com. Learning is more informal, available to meet just-in-time-needs, and cost-effective than ever.
Keeping your mind active and fresh.
Repeated research has shown the positive effects of continuous learning on the mind. Some studies from the Mayo Clinic and the Alzheimer’s Association found that ongoing learning may help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Learning new things can also help manage stress and anxiety and ward off depression plus build self-confidence.
Even if you work for an organization that has not fully adopted a learning culture, you can still develop your own learning plan and direct your own learning experiences. Two great places to start would be by reading our blog on finding low-cost or no-cost online learning resources or looking at our growing Learning Provider Directory.
Soft skills training. Leadership and sales training. Reading a book. Learning through networking. Finding a coach or a mentor. It doesn’t matter how you learn only that you are consciously aware that you are still a work in progress.
This month, think pink and learn on.
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