At Work, School Should Always Be in Session

| December 21, 2016

By Jordan Tippett | Georgia SBDC

As yellow buses pass me each day transporting kids to and from schools, I’m reminded of the human thirst for knowledge. It’s in our nature to learn, to focus on self-improvement, and to continually strive to understand the world around us.

As business leaders and owners, this concept of continuing education is critical. The business world, and the world at large for that matter, is moving at an ever faster pace. Crowdsourced funding, ecommerce, digital marketing, remote workers, and marketing automation are just a few of the many innovations that have come along in recent years to change how we conduct business. There are certainly many more coming right around the corner that we cannot yet even imagine. Thus, if you’re operating a business, yet you’re not continuing to develop your skills, you’re quickly going to fall behind the curve.

Professional development isn’t just important for management; investing in training for employees at any level of an organization is time and money well spent. As your employees grow in their own skill sets and acquire new skills, they’ll be better prepared to take on additional responsibilities, lead their peers, and perhaps most importantly, adapt as things continue to change. Beyond direct job performance, there are additional benefits.

  • 58% of employees say that professional development contributes to their job satisfaction1
  • Employees who get the opportunity to continually develop are twice as likely to say they will spend their career with their company2
  • 53% of Millennials say learning new things or having access to professional development opportunities would make them stay at their job3

The resources for business education are almost endless these days and often very affordable. Where in the past, employee training might mean taking everyone offsite for several days with meals, accommodations, and paid instructors, nowadays it can be as simple as online courses and virtual presentations. A sampling of the many options available include:

  • Duolingo – free language learning app and website, 25+ languages supported
  • Lynda – over 4,000 video tutorials on a wide range of topics like Excel, SEO, web design, accounting, project management, social media marketing and others. From $20/month
  • American Marketing Association – offering periodic virtual seminars as well as a Professional Certified Marketer program. Prices vary

With all of these resources available, you can’t afford NOT to invest in yourself and your employees. You may have seen this insightful exchange floating around the internet recently where the CFO asks the CEO, “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?” The CEO wisely responds, “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?” Don’t wait to find out the answer to the second question the hard way. Make professional development a priority for everyone in your business, including yourself.

Jordan Tippett is a consultant in the Brunswick office of the Georgia SBDC

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