Today marks the start of Learn Something New Week (25th – 29th September 2017), an annual awareness campaign that exists to stimulate a thirst for knowledge and supported by this newspaper.
Aimed at working professionals who need an invigorative burst of inspiration, the goal of the week is to encourage people to broaden their horizons; both in the workplace and at home.
Research conducted by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School reveals that 65% of millennials consider personal development as the most influential factor in a job, with 1 in 4 deeming ‘training and development’ as the biggest benefit provided by an employer.
In light of this research, and to mark Learn Something New Week, ten experts have offered their thoughts on why it’s so important to encourage learning at work:
CJ Green, Group chief people officer, Servest said: “If you wish to not only attract but retain talent, you need to give your employees something to get excited about. By focusing on internal learning and development, you’re equipping your employees with the tools that will help them fulfil and harness their potential, which will help the business flourish.”
Andrew Mawson, co-author of the Workplace Management Framework report said: “For people to be emotionally engaged with the work they do, managers need to create meaning and purpose for each and every member of staff, as a company is only as good as the people it employs… and ongoing learning and development is a key part of this!”
Sara Bean, editor, FMJ magazine said: “When formal education stops, you shouldn’t stop learning, which is why I love my job. In the last week I’ve learnt about the latest tricks used by cyber hackers, the definition of a social enterprise and the impact new data legislation could have on business. Talking to experts in these areas helps stimulate my own ideas and thinking and I often find I quote them back to others in everyday life. Life long learning such as this, is what helps keep me engaged and in touch.”
Jennie Armley, marketing coordinator, Active said: “Encouraging learning in the workplace presents a variety of benefits to a business. Not only can it improve employee performance within their job role, but investing in additional training for your staff helps to make them feel valued within the business, leading to improved employee satisfaction and boosting morale within a team.”
Dave Kentish, director, Kentish & Co said: “For any company to grow and increase its bottom line profits, it needs to grow its staff. And by that, I mean in the skillsets necessary for them to become engaged, valued and loyal members of the team. Make sure that your people get encouragement and access to the right training, technical and leadership and management skills, so that they can develop fully and have an influential long-term positive impact on your business growth.”
Natasha Maddock, director, Aim for the Sky, said: “By nurturing talent within your organisation, you can create a highly motivated and engaged workforce with the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise to do their jobs well. Staff retention rates and job satisfaction are directly affected by the relationships between staff and managers. Leadership and management training is therefore an ideal way to create a high performance culture where employees feel valued and encouraged to achieve their potential.”
Claire Huish, colleague service manager, Bennett Hay, said: “Learning something new gives us a sense of fulfilment that sparks joy and positive energy, drawing the best of us. At Bennett Hay, in addition to our formal training programmes, we encourage our colleagues to live out our company values including ‘being adventurous’ and having the confidence to do things differently. This keeps our teams engaged.”
Cathy Hayward, MD, Magenta, said: “Regardless of your role or level, you never stop learning – as a PR agency, we find this is the best way to keep the creative juices flowing. We actively encourage all team members to go to workshops, events and conferences to hear and learn about new developments that can impact our clients and help us deliver new and better ways of communicating.”
Karen Plum, director of development and research, AWA, said: “Our latest research looks at the factors that most impact our cognitive performance, so individuals and organisations can understand and adopt best practices to get everyone’s brain in peak condition. Cognitive stimulation is one of these factors. Jobs that are cognitively demanding and varied, providing the opportunity to learn new things over time, can increase mental functioning and possibly reduce the effect of age-related decline.”
Marcus Franck, founder, Franck Energy, said: “Truly ambitious people never stop learning, and never get tired of improving their knowledge and performance. The nature of people’s skills may change, and so too may their emphasis on areas of learning, but great employees always seek to advance themselves.”
For inspirational content to kick-start your learning, the Learn Something New Week website is packed full of resources to encourage you to take on a new challenge and learn something new this September.
Whether you’re looking to broaden your business skills, such as social media, public speaking or copywriting, or you’re interested in learning how to write a film review or match British beer with food – perhaps even make an origami swan! – there’s something for you on the website! There are also downloadable activity sheets to help organisations spread the love of learning and fuel better ideas, collaboration and engagement.
Got a skill to shout about? Get involved and teach us all something new with the #LSNweek hashtag!
Check out the Learn Something New website.