Lifelong learning should be a cornerstone of your company. If it’s not, you need to act quickly to make it so.
Why? The Future of Jobs Report, 2018, predicted that “by 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling.” This prediction is also backed up by Hosco Member’s Survey from 2018, which highlighted that “67% of professionals reported a disparity between their education and the actual job.”
As 2022 will be here in the blink of an eye, we’re going to deep dive into the topic of lifelong learning and explain why it’s a golden key to empower your workforce, unlock employee happiness, and drive overall business success.
What Is Lifelong Learning?
“The provision or use of both formal and informal learning opportunities throughout people's lives in order to foster the continuous development and improvement of the knowledge and skills needed for employment and personal fulfillment.”
(Definition provided by Collins English Dictionary.)
Why is Lifelong Learning So Important?
The Future of Skills and Lifelong Learning report (UK’s Government Office for Science, 2017) perfectly defines why it’s essential to focus on obtaining new skills and never stopping learning.
“Skills and knowledge together comprise a nation’s human capital on which the economy and society depend. For employers, they are critical for productivity and, for the individual, a significant determinant of wages and wellbeing.”
6 Benefits of Lifelong Learning for Your Employees
1. Enhances Skill Sets and Productivity
By nature, the more you learn, the broader your field of knowledge will become, and the more skills you’ll take on board. When an employee engages in lifelong learning, they’re igniting the flame of curiosity in their brain. Psychology Today explains in detail that “learning how to solve one kind of task makes it easier to learn new tasks that are similar.”
Taking this idea further, this desire to learn will continue to permeate into their working mindset, which will give an employee confidence to approach, analyze, and even tackle demanding tasks within your company. This is a benefit for employers and employees, as those that frequently engage in lifelong learning are more productive and can potentially fill existing skill gaps.
According to the aforementioned Hosco Member’s Survey, “94% of industry professionals are interested in continued learning throughout their career.” It’s evident that hospitality talent is curious about acquiring new skills and taking their careers to the next level.
2. Strengthens Relationships Within the Team
Employees that work full-time spend more hours with their colleagues than with their family and friends. This constant communication and interaction can be very beneficial when transferring knowledge, just like in peer-to-peer learning. By empowering employees to educate each other they enrich their skills of communication, trust, teamwork, and leadership. In addition, this sharing of knowledge has the added benefit of fostering a culture of learning throughout the entire organization.
The 70/20/10 model also reinforces this theory. It’s an approach to work which deconstructs how people learn in the most efficient manner. It states that:
- 70% of knowledge comes from practical experience
- 20% from interactions with others
- 10% from formal training
3. Deepens Connections With the Company
Nowadays, the job market is flooded with companies that pay well, have a great culture, and offer good benefits, so, how can you stand out amongst the competition and attract the best talent? By highlighting how you prioritize employee development and lifelong learning, you’ll be an employer of choice in candidates’ eyes.
This affinity to the company means that an employee will feel confident that your company is the one that can steer their career in the right direction. A happier employee is less likely to leave and thus, will help reduce your turnover.
➡️ These two industry experts prioritize learning and development (L&D). Find out why L&D is so important here.
4. Improves Mental Wellbeing
Studies by governments and organizations across the world have clearly demonstrated the connection between learning and improvements in mental health. Learning new skills helps employees rekindle or find a new sense of purpose, boosts their overall self-confidence, elevates their self-esteem.
Did you know that reading is a proven stress reducer? In England, a study by Sussex University found that reading for just six minutes reduced levels of stress by 68%. Not only this, but lifelong learning helps keep your brain healthy and young. Research shows that continuous learning has a multitude of benefits as it interacts with cognitive skills. The more an employee encompasses learning to their life, the more capable they’ll become at reading, paying attention, remembering, and reasoning.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
5. Creates Leaders
One major benefit of lifelong learning is that it can inspire and motivate employees to take ownership of their career paths. After exploring their chosen area, they may want to go deeper and master that particular department in your company, thus paving the way for them to become leaders.
It’s always advisable to push your current leadership team to actively engage in lifelong learning and be open about their achievements. The positive voice of senior leaders has a huge impact on the rest of the organization, so they can function as your Olympic torches of learning as they guide the team forward. It falls in line with a golden rule of leadership, “never ask someone to do something you wouldn't do yourself.”
6. Prepares For the Digital Revolution
The digital transformation is already well underway worldwide. It is more apparent within hospitality, which is why we need to learn to live and work in harmony with new robotic and AI technologies. It’s vital for an employee that they’re introduced to the latest skills, knowledge, and technology to thrive in the present and future-proof their career.
Gone are the days when an employee’s career was determined by their early-career education. Now, Millennials and Generation-Z make up a large part of the current workforce, and they’re passionate about lifelong learning. They will quickly change positions if they don’t feel supported or can thrive in their company. As a consequence, it’s imperative that companies emphasize and accelerate their learning and development plans to meet future needs.