In today’s fast-paced work environment, the only way to stay relevant is through the acquisition of new skills. This is true for everyone, whether they are entrepreneurs, CEOs, managers, leaders of industries, or mere employees.
But, learning a new skill is quite time-consuming and requires patience and dedication. Moreover, it can be difficult to stay motivated even when you’re the one who made the decision to learn a new skill. So how do companies motivate employees to do this?
In today’s article, we’ll have a look at how to help employees stay on top of learning new skills and tasks and how to help them speed up the process.
Set realistic goals
Setting realistic goals is an essential part of acquiring knowledge quickly. Your employees will feel overwhelmed if the goal is set too high or the timeline feels too cramped. This often leads to procrastination, especially if there isn’t enough room during the workday for studying and doing regular tasks.
Talk to your employees and find targets they feel comfortable achieving in the established timeline. This way, they will be able to focus on the right skills and approach the learning process with a clear direction.
For example, if you want your marketing team to learn how to work with a new CMS, you should start with a clear learning objective in mind, such as helping them understand why using this tool will make their lives a lot easier in the future. To expedite the learning process of your marketing team, it’s essential to outline a clear objective when implementing a new CMS build.
Once your employees understand the reasons behind learning this new task, they will be more open to browsing the available resources and materials to help them develop the necessary skills.
You should also consider providing them with specialty classes, creating a group where people can talk on the subject, or finding an online teacher. Taking the time to plan ahead and create an actionable learning plan will make it easier to acquire new skills quickly.
Encourage curiosity and expirementation
Curiosity is the spark that ignites the desire to learn more and dig deeper. However, not many companies encourage their employees to stay curious and open-minded in the true sense of the word.
Some leaders fear that curious employees may plant the seeds of conflict, while others think that people who have the freedom to follow their interests in their field will be difficult to manage. None of these fears have any ground in real-life business practices, but changing people’s minds takes time and patience.
Of course, this means that companies that are not afraid to work with curious people will have a definite competitive advantage in the market. So, if you want your business to thrive, this is a sure way to stand out from the crowd.
But how do you encourage employees to stay curious?
Here are a few ideas:
- Provide access to online learning platforms or specialty course
- Establish a mentorship program to foster knowledge sharing between experienced and new employees
- Encourage employees to attend relevant industry conferences or events
- Offer professional development courses or training
- Host in-house workshops on topics related to employee skills development
Encourage employees to be open and curios toward criticism, even when this feels uncomfortable
Build an effective employee intranet
When employees are free to communicate with each other, information travels at faster speeds inside the company. Plus, people are more likely to collaborate on solving difficult tasks, facing challenges, and meeting deadlines (among others).
The same is true when it comes to learning new things. The employees with experience in the field can share their thoughts and tips on improving and speeding up the learning process. On the other hand, those who are in the learning phase can ask questions and trust they’ll receive a well-thought and helpful answer.
This is why it’s important to set the basis for and develop a work environment where employees feel empowered to share their thoughts and experiences with their colleagues. To do this, you have to start by picking an intracompany communication platform that fits your business’s needs and creates a relaxed and friendly environment geared toward learning and communication.
Break down the new task or skill into steps
Associate the process of learning a new task with having a new project that your employees must handle. You wouldn’t just say, “guys, here’s what the customer wants; get to work!”, would you?
Like a responsible team leader, you would first break down the project into smaller tasks that are more manageable and easier to complete. Next, you would devise a schedule and assign tasks to each member of the team.
Only after all these steps are complete would you have a meeting with the team and ask their opinion on the tasks and schedule. Next, based on their input, you would adjust the planning and launch the project into production.
Learning a new task is very similar to this. Help your employees better grasp the process by breaking it down into steps. This way, each step gets easier to tackle, and people will get a sense of accomplishment each time a step is complete.
Moreover, when you break the learning process into steps, it is easier to identify the resources and tools you need for each step. It’s also a great way to get an idea of how much time each employee should dedicate to learning this new task.
Identify potential roadblocks
Every project has its hurdles, so companies usually run risk assessments and analyze different paths.
Now, you won’t have to run a risk assessment when it comes to helping your employees speed up their learning, but you should consider any roadblocks. Things like a packed schedule, lack of free time to invest in learning while at the office, micromanagement, and lack of communication between departments have a negative impact.
So, the best way to help your team members learn a new task faster is to find ways to remove these roadblocks. By creating the best possible work environment for learning, you help your employees stay receptive and motivated.
People are often interested in learning new tasks and skills, but companies and managers must find ways to keep them motivated and curious about it. To do this, you have to create the right work environment, encourage curiosity, and provide the right resources and tools.