Continuing education (CE) comes in many different forms, depending on the industry. But one thing that doesn’t change from industry to industry are the benefits of implementing it in your organization. Continuing education can improve employee’s skills in their current role or help them gain new skills in preparation for a career change or promotion. Either way, widening an employee’s skill set is very valuable for both the employee and the organization.
Here is why you should implement a continuing education program for employees as well as five ways to get it started.
Why You Should Offer Continuing Education
Implementing continuing education has a number of benefits for employers and employees alike. It makes employees feel valued and illustrates that their employer cares about their professional development. This sense of value effectively improves employee retention across the organization because morale and productivity improves dramatically when employees have goals to strive toward.
For industries with high turnover, continuing education can be a vital way to reduce it. Continuing education reduces the risks your business might face, whether that be through learning appropriate and up-to-date IT and security practices, the best practices for food safety, or operating standards for various kinds of equipment. Making sure that your employees are up to date on new rules/procedures is essential. Focusing on continuing education also shows a growth mindset which is attractive to new candidates, especially in the younger generations.
So how can you start a continuing education program in your business? Let’s take a look at five easy ways to get started.
1. Pursue Relevant Certifications
In every industry, there are certifications available from regulatory bodies or organizations. Continuing education refers to this variety of post-secondary learning opportunities. It could include degree programs, online courses, career training and so much more.
Whether an employee is pursuing a ServSafe certification, a Google Career Certificate, a human resources certification, or anything else that might be necessary or helpful in their industry, it can advance their skills and career. This allows employees to take on new challenges to accomplish what they want in their career. It helps guide employees to achieve their career goals (or discover new ones) all while growing as a professional.
For instance, an employee who has been in the workforce since high school may desire to continue their education in order to develop new skill sets and become more marketable. That value, in turn, can improve their performance in their current role and increase company efficiency. To encourage employees to pursue education opportunities, be sure to provide the time to complete them and reimburse them if the certifications have a fee. Everyone has busy schedules, however, giving employees the time to accomplish their continuing education goals helps show that they are valued at the organization.
It is shown that employers who help pay for continued education will see a higher interest and success rate with furthering their employees’ goals.
Many certifications and their related courses are free online! Research the programs beforehand because they may come at no cost to you.
2. Offer Employee Finance Seminars
Particularly if your workforce is young, offering seminars that walk employees through various benefits, best practices for credit card use, and banking and saving techniques could be beneficial to them both personally and professionally.
By offering both work and life-related courses, you can help a young employee be successful at their job and in their life. These crucial life skills are not often taught in high school or college which can cause a disconnect for younger employees as they transition into the workforce. Learning such life skills can decrease their overall stress levels as well as paint you, the employer, in a positive light for sharing useful resources.
3. Provide Communication Trainings
Employees in almost every industry have better results when they’re equipped with excellent communication skills. Communication can improve efficiency, de-escalate negative customer interactions, and improve a customer’s experience while interacting with your business. Whether your employees are restaurant servers or any other position that regularly deals with clients, communication skills are a must – and they can be improved through training.
Communication in today’s world means many different things. Work is sometimes virtual, through email, in person, or other different ways. This is why it is critical that employees are well-rounded and refined with their communication skills. While many schools teach public speaking, interpersonal and virtual communication are also important in these times. When communication is lacking, it directly affects an employee’s output and effectiveness. Employees who communicate better can also connect better with their fellow employees which leads to a sense of community at the workplace.
4. Create a Book Club
Book clubs are an important education tool that also ties in with employee engagement and connectivity. No matter what business you’re in, you’ll be able to find relevant and helpful books from respected industry thought leaders. Forming a book club is a good way for employees to learn more about their industry and discover ways to improve their work. Book club discussions also allow employees the opportunity to interact with each other in ways that are different from their normal day-to-day work. By making learning a group activity, it adds opportunities for ideas to flow and to have some fun with coworkers. A book club can also boost employee engagement, morale and satisfaction.
5. Organize a Mentorship Program
This works best in larger organizations, but can be done in any organization where there’s clearly outlined career progression. Pairing entry-level hires with upper-level employees can provide a lot of benefit to an organization. New hires see more of how the organization operates and gain exposure to what they can achieve with dedication and guidance. It also can help new hires put down roots in a company by getting to know more people.
Meanwhile, upper-level employees are more exposed to front-line workers and understanding of the challenges they face, giving them a fresh perspective on how to execute new and improved policies from top to bottom.
Company-wide rapport and transparency can be developed through a mentorship program. The communication between the two parties can help new hires understand how to become successful within the organization as well as establish a collaborative culture no matter where employees are in the corporate ladder. This collaboration can lead to many positive outcomes such as employee satisfaction, overall confidence, an increase in leadership skills and becoming a good listener.
Society Insurance is Here for Your Business
At Society Insurance, our people make the biggest difference. We offer tuition reimbursement and education opportunities for our employees so we can continue to provide top-notch coverage and service while you focus on your business operations.
Contact your local agent today to learn more about the ways Society Insurance can protect your livelihood.