We each have our own unique set of values that guide us in our personal and professional lives, shaped by our emotions, personalities, and individual preferences. Despite our diverse perspectives, the lenses through which we envision a future in which we reach our full potential are made of the same material. We may change the frames of our glasses to match our style, but there is one common thread that ties all our aspirations for personal success: knowledge.
I recall when I thought I was done studying after finishing my last exam at university. I was convinced that I had finally filled my mental backpack with all the knowledge I needed to master and remember, and it was time to put it away. But soon, I realized that this backpack only held the basic survival kit. Everything else I needed to continue growing was beyond its contents, waiting to be discovered within reach or at the end of the world. To access all of it, I had to keep learning and growing continuously.
When we boil everything down, many of our aspirations to become the best version of ourselves stem from the desire to be current, to be able to handle diverse situations, never to be caught off guard, to stay relevant, and to be competent. To ensure that our minds – made of the spinning wheels in our heads that we call the brain – function optimally for as long as possible and age slowly while staying fresh, there’s one ultimate prerequisite: continuous learning.
What Is Continuous Learning, and Why Is It Important?
Continuous learning is key to staying ahead of the game in today’s competitive business environment. It ensures you have the skills and knowledge to stay up to date with the ever-changing demands of our professional existence and life in general. When it comes to business, not only will this give you the edge you need to be successful, but it will also help your organization stay competitive and prosperous in the long run.
Continuous learning is all about actively working on getting better by expanding your competencies. The classic example is when someone picks up new technical skills and moves on to more demanding and complex yet rewarding jobs. But it’s not just about hard skills – continuous learning also covers leadership, management, teamwork, and other soft skills.
What Are the Benefits of Continuous Learning in the Workplace?
Knowledge and Lifelong Gymnastics
Investing in people’s knowledge is crucial for unlocking their full potential and enhancing their value. Continuous learning keeps the mind sharp, combats age-related cognitive decline, and empowers individuals both personally and professionally. In other words: the more one learns, the greater their impact and influence. Let’s also point out that many authors state how continuous learning keeps our brain young: continuity in education helps us absorb any new information or skill just as quickly, if not faster, making us cognitively powerful and always ready to master new challenges or reach new goals.
Secure Your Prominent Standing
When discussing the importance of continuous learning in the workplace, it’s crucial to highlight its major offers, such as an individual’s personal development, the company culture and growth, together with the needs and evolution of the market.
Investing in employees strengthens a company’s workforce and enhances the worth and abilities of its individuals. For all the above, the advantages of ongoing education in the workplace are nearly limitless, and organizations and their employees can benefit from continuous learning in numerous ways:
- Figuring out where the skills gaps are.
- Spotting opportunities to learn and grow.
- Giving employees a brain boost in critical thinking and problem-solving.
- Staying up to date with what’s going on in your industry.
- Building a work culture that’s all about collaboration and innovation.
- Bringing in fresh perspectives and ideas from the outside world.
- Making your organization more on its toes and ready to act.
BM Insight: One of our core values is the trust we instill in all the Mibsters out there. Everyone under our roof should own their work process from the first line of code to the moment of software launch or delivery. This combination of internal education and intrinsic motivation makes for productive and credible ownership. One of the prequels in our Mibsters’ Culture Manifesto series, Ownership: The Only Ship that Can Tame a Storm, tells a more detailed story of ownership at BMGH.
An Environment that Cares
Sometimes, we alone are not enough to put our desire for constant learning into action. We need an environment that supports these values, encourages them, and is always ready to give us a hand. Hence, creating an atmosphere that promotes ongoing learning must be one of the organization’s priorities. With The Great Resignation still buffering, employees are looking for careers that allow them to grow, learn new things, and still have time for a life outside work.
It doesn’t have to mean pushing employees up the corporate ladder or into management roles, either. Many of them just want to switch to a different part of the company. Interestingly enough, employees who have the option to move around within the company stick around twice as long as those who don’t.
The 2021 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn found that 76% of Gen Z think learning is the secret to a successful career. And when a company is all about never-ending learning, it shows that they’re open to rethinking their beliefs, values, and rules – which is a big draw for a generation that’s not afraid to stand up for better fairness, diversity, and inclusiveness in the workplace.
For you as an individual, the chance to brush up on your skills and knowledge is immensely advantageous for your career. If you want to get ahead at work in every possible way, one of the best ways to make it happen is by upgrading your competencies. From enhancing technical skills like coding and acquiring certifications in your very field to developing soft skills such as leadership, it demonstrates a praiseworthy commitment to self-improvement and growth.
And even if you’re not after a promotion right now, continuous learning will keep you on your A-game. New software upgrades? Latest and progressive industry trends? In a rapidly changing world, there’s always something new to learn.
A Culture of Strength, Joyful Employees
Continuous learning can also bring colleagues and their managers closer through teamwork, whether in person or online. It’s a great way to spark conversations across different teams or departments that only sometimes work together. And the more a company emphasizes lifelong learning, its sense of community also becomes more noticeable.
Studies show that employees with a positive experience with job training tend to be happier in their roles. Why? Because it gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment, helping them to see a clear path forward.
BM Insight: We like to say that no engineer is an island (to paraphrase that classic John Donne poem), and at BrightMarbles, we mercilessly build a strong team spirit. This sense of belonging and the awareness that you can always get adequate support make us Mibsters invincible in conquering the global IT market. If you want to learn more about our in-house team spirit, read the blog post The Mibsters’ Culture Manifesto: Teamwork.
How Can We Learn?
When it comes to learning, there is no wrong method, given that learners gain new knowledge. All forms of learning are valid, whether through formal education, informal means, viewing YouTube videos, or reading books. The key is to discover a method that works best for the individual. Some individuals thrive under the guidance of experts, while others have a self-motivated approach to learning.
Formal Learning – Because Some of Us Like the Blackboard and Chalk
The traditional way of learning at work is through formal training, such as attending live teaching sessions, participating in interactive workshops, or even taking courses online through universities or colleges. This training will give you lectures, hands-on practice, and quizzes to test your understanding. It’s a structured way to expand your expertise in a physical classroom or online.
Self-directed learning empowers the learner to take charge of their education. This method is often conducted online, allowing for flexible scheduling and eliminating the need for travel. Many individuals appreciate this approach to learning, with 58% of surveyed employees reporting a preference for having control over their own learning pace.
Social Learning – When Small Talk Is a Big Deal
A large share of learning at work comes from your co-workers and bosses, not just from official training. So, it’s important to encourage positive social learning, also known as informal learning, by creating spaces where employees feel comfy chatting with each other outside of work stuff. Many companies use programs like Slack, where you can make channels for group convos about things like industry trends or the latest workshop. Also, consider starting a mentorship program where people can talk one-on-one with a co-worker or boss and hold each other accountable for their learning goals.
Hybrid Learning: The Ultimate Combination
Hybrid learning, or blended learning, is a cool mix of in-person and online learning – using the best of both worlds! It takes traditional, instructor-led classes and combines them with online resources to make the learning experience more personalized. For example, a company could have a department-wide lecture and then have people discuss what they learned online afterward.
BM Insight: We can’t emphasize strongly enough how much we care about our people’s individual characteristics and preferences. Offering customized assistance to Mibsters’ personal development is one of many ways we advocate and apply diversity. In line with one of our previous Mibsters’ Culture Manifesto chapters: we truly are Uniform in Diversity in everything we do.
Living a Culture of Continuous Learning
When it comes to continuous learning at work, it’s critical to have a clear plan. Don’t just jump into booking those workshops or webinars without thinking about what you’re hoping to achieve. Ask yourself about your short- and long-term goals and plan your learning approach accordingly. Whether you create your professional-development plan alone or your superiors suggest it, it must be adapted to your individual dynamics, plans, and possibilities.
Moreover, the organization needs to have a well-designed plan for continuous learning at work. To get the most out of it, it should consider everyone’s needs and make the learning process accessible for all its employees. An encouraging learning environment is key to the effective implementation of continuous learning.
Companies also must be mindful that after-hours education does not add to their employees’ workload. Integrating learning into their regular schedule respects their work-life balance and prevents distractions or conflicts.
And to foster a culture of ongoing learning and development among employees, it is essential to provide commitment, resources, and coaching. Unfortunately, many people have neither enough time nor resources to pursue continuous learning independently. Therefore, organizations, teams, and employees should work together to overcome this challenge.
Let’s Create a Culture of Learning
To cultivate continuous learning among employees, companies should promote, incentivize, and acknowledge their efforts. It means nurturing a culture that values and rewards ongoing education by offering incentives for learning opportunities or recognizing achievements in courses or training programs.
Organizations that create a supportive environment for long-term workplace education will find the sweet spot, even for those who may not be too enthusiastic about it beforehand.
The provision of support in various forms is crucial:
- Dedicating resources toward development
- Providing mentorship and tutorship
- Facilitating convenient access to long-lasting education, and
- Promoting the visibility of learning opportunities.
Make It Fun!
Make learning a blast by making it interactive. For example, learners who participate in social features such as Q&As or learning groups watch 30x more hours of learning content than those who don’t. And let’s be realistic; nobody wants a snooze-fest of a learning experience.
To keep things interesting, why not gamify the experience? Offer incentives, set goals, and track progress. Recognizing and rewarding their achievements lets your employees know you value their efforts and appreciate their commitment to continuous learning.
And Why Is Continuous Learning Important to Us at BMGH?
At BrightMarbles, we strive to be more than just another company vying for a share of the market and meeting industry standards. Instead, we envision BrightMarbles as a community of remarkable individuals driven by a shared desire to make a difference in the world. We are unwavering in pursuing meaningful projects that contribute to society; however small the step may be.
We continuously seek out innovation, follow visionary leaders, and gather innovative thinkers into our ranks. Ideas are all around us, but they start within us and then grow along. And just like all worthwhile things, they require nurturing through ongoing education and exposure to new information and perspectives. That’s why continuous learning is a fundamental value at BrightMarbles, as we believe that investing in our people is investing in the future.
It’s like having your parents quietly enter the room while you study, leaving a bowl of fruit on the table, patting you on the shoulder – because the world is transformed by individuals whose thirst for knowledge knows no bounds.
Svetlana Kosic is a Marketing and Sales expert with over 12 years of experience in the IT industry. She’s a former radio and TV journalist, magazine editor, and team leader, and she’s interviewed numerous CEOs of the largest IT companies in the world. She’s also a skilled negotiator who fights against the stereotype that only men in suits can make a good deal—and almost met the real Santa Claus.