To grow as people, we should each constantly be striving for improvement, looking for ways to learn, progress, and better ourselves. A good company does whatever it can to educate and cultivate well-preforming employees, but the best employees are ones that take the initiative themselves and continually look for ways to expand upon their current knowledge and skill set. These are the employees who will shine in their positions. As employers, there are certain ways that we can cultivate an environment of learning, and encourage people to take the initiative, ultimately giving better benefits to both the company and themselves.
But how does one do that? How exactly can your employees take the initiative and grow in your field? Here are a few ideas you can inculcate among them:
1) Provide Easy Access to Online Courses
The first and most obvious way to learn more is to pick up some online courses in relevant subjects. And luckily, with the vast array of eLearning solutions that are now available to just about anyone, it is easy to find a useful and compelling course online. Alongside company training resources, provide a one-stop place (like a section of your productivity/communication tool, or even just an ongoing Google spreadsheet) for your employees to visit and find resources like these, and encourage employees to come to you for funding for paid courses.
2) Curate Non-fiction Books
But just because there are a lot of new resources out there, doesn’t mean that there is not gold to be found in a more traditional medium—books. Search online and look for some books from experts in your field, as well as other exciting authors and topics, and put together a useful booklist. Some companies even like to provide a small library for their employees. Remember also to look outside of your industry, as there is a lot to be learned from experts in all fields.
3) Offer Networking Opportunities
A lot of the best wisdom can be drawn from other people, and there are a lot of like-minded individuals right around your learners who can help them to widen their mind. Take your team—and even others in different departments—out to lunches, whatever their position, and talk with them about various topics, both inside and outside of work. This is a great opportunity for all of you to see things from a different perspective, and also to meet new people and make new connections that they may have missed otherwise.
4) Help Them Embrace LinkedIn and Other Social
There are also a lot of networking opportunities to be found online. Encourage your employees to write or post articles on LinkedIn to facilitate discussion, and encourage everyone else in your company to join and share it. Also, motivate them to visit other people’s LinkedIn pages, read their posts, and get involved in discussions there as well. LinkedIn is not the only valuable social resource, however; Twitter, Google Plus, and even Facebook are also excellent for facilitating discussion.
Here's something you can start sharing with them: How to Use LinkedIn: 35 LinkedIn Tips for Professional Networking, Business & Marketing
5) Set Goals
Everyone needs motivation, something to work towards. It is all very well saying that you want to increase your knowledge and skill set, but sometimes it can be a lot more difficult when it comes to doing it. Goals are a perfect way to clarify ambitions in a tangible way, and figure out ways to reach them. Put together a goal-setting system that encourages your employees to set large, over-arching goals, as well as much smaller ones that will help them on their way to meeting the big ones.
A company that is focused on results must also be one that is focused on its employees. Fostering an environment of learning and growth is essential in making sure that every employee in the company can grow and develop, and contribute to their full potential.
Additional Read: How to Promote Continuous Learning in Your Company