We can’t afford to stop learning — in fact, it actually improves our bottom line. Thanks to the endless advancements of technology, we’ve never had better training and learning opportunities at our fingertips.
If we all know that we should be investing time in professional development, what holds employers back from investing in training — and learners from participating in it? Let’s explore three common myths about professional development and bust them — for good.
1. “I Work at a Small Company, and Professional Development Is Only for Big Companies”
Most small businesses (88%, to be exact) offer training to most or all of their employees. These businesses know that training is an investment that pays off quickly. Effective training solutions mean that learners can put their new knowledge and skills into action right away, which is great for the company and its bottom line. In fact, high-performing organizations are five times more likely to have a learning culture than lower-performing organizations. Furthermore, continuous advancement in technology and mobile learning mean that learning is more accessible than ever for companies of every size and scale.
2. “I’d Have to Pay for It Myself or Take Time off Work for Training”
Most companies pay for seminars, conferences, courses and training so that their employees don’t have to. Why? Employees have spoken: Learning matters to them! By 2025, an estimated 75% of the workforce will be millennials, a group that often lists professional development opportunities as one of the most important factors when considering an employer. Organizations are listening and providing more training opportunities, spending $370.3 billion on learning and development in 2019. In fact, as early as the 1990s, top-performing companies that invested $1,595 in training per employee reported Throw in the fact that professional development training increases employee satisfaction and reduces costly turnover, and you have a win-win.
As far as taking time off to devote to training or certification, technology has stepped up to make this problem a thing of the past. Thanks to eLearning and mobile devices, learners have never had more flexibility when it comes to professional development, with learners increasingly using mobile devices to access training. Flexible training options that enable learners to participate remotely or through online tools are also popular, with 88% of employees in one study saying that such approaches help them more than classroom training and many organizations reporting that they boost productivity. Modern approaches to training like microlearning and gamification are fun, too, keeping learners engaged and increasing their retention of the material.
3. “It’s Not Beneficial to My Career” or, “It Won’t Help Me Get the Job I Want”
When it comes to hiring, employers want to know that candidates have the skills needed to be successful in a given position, and certification can be the push they need to give someone a spot. In information technology (IT), 89% of employers believe a certified employee will perform better than a non-certified employee. Meanwhile, 42% of companies prefer or require certification for HR job candidates.
Even courses like mental health first aid and well-being training, which do not seem to be directly applicable to learners’ jobs, still benefit employees. While mental health continues to be a prevalent issue among workers, few human resources (HR) managers are trained to recognize the problem of mental health. The costs associated with these conditions add up to as much as $17 to $44 billion in lost productivity each year, but when employees receive treatment, 80% report improved levels of satisfaction at work.
It’s encouraging to see companies big and small recognize that investing in professional development is crucial to their success. Offering robust and ongoing opportunities for training and professional development makes learning a pillar of an organization’s culture, increasing satisfaction among employees. If there’s one area of your business where you’ll never regret investing, it’s in your people.