Last week we talked about the various benefits of providing your employees with the opportunity to participate in continuing education, including loyalty and retention, higher levels of productivity, and more marketable employees. Continuing education in the workplace is not one-size-fits all. There are countless methods and ways to pursue and apply this benefit within your company, it’s just a matter of determining what is the best fit for your culture and what would prove to be the most mutually beneficial at the professional (organizational) and personal (individual) level.
- College Courses – If your budget allows for it, college courses to expand the knowledge base of your employees may be advantageous, depending on if such education is necessary for the position and for the development of the individual. Typically the most expensive option, college education is often part of a written agreement with detailed expectations.
- Seminars and Conferences – A great way to stay on top of changes within your industry, allowing your employees to attend conferences and seminars keeps them abreast of the latest in trends and advancements and the change of pace is a great way to improve employee engagement and morale.
- Webinars – Typically a comparably more budget-friendly option to conferences, webinars provide employees with some of the same information regarding new policies, developments, and innovations within your industry. A benefit to webinars is they can be done onsite and many providers offer the option for rebroadcasts providing scheduling flexibility.
- Certifications – Depending on the position, some individuals may benefit from obtaining a certification that is pertinent to the job. Often these certifications will involve a period of studying on the part of the employee, followed by a test they must take and pass. Recertification is also often part of this process to maintain credentials.
- On-the-Job Training – Many individuals learn best through hands on experience. Sitting through a day-long conference or enrolling them in a college course may work in the short term, but physically performing the task is what makes the skills stick. One-on-one mentoring and coaching and cross training with highly skilled individuals are ways to provide this to those employees.
There are many various factors that will determine which of these methods of continuing education is best for your company. Industry, budget, and culture are all aspects that should be taken into account when considering a continuing education program. Follow along next week as we discuss how to develop and implement such a program within your organization, and what steps you need to follow to create a policy that works for everyone.