Many employees feel that they must come fully qualified to a position and that if they want their skill set to grow, it is up to them to invest in their own continued education. Large corporations in particular make the fatal mistake of failing to invest in their employee’s professional growth. If you have decided to consider doing the right thing and give your team a chance to learn something new, we’ve compiled a few ideas for you. Most of our suggestions will pertain to marketing professionals but there are bits here for everyone. Whether your budget for professional development is large or small, there are always little (and often free) means of promoting continued learning.
Here are a few examples:
- Read: This is easily the cheapest way to grow knowledge, gain insight and educate yourself. Whether you are reading industry blogs, following the news, flipping through an industry magazine or browsing technical articles, there is always a piece of literature out there for everyone. Whether you’re aiming to keep up with the latest in your trade or to gain new knowledge, reading is completely free and takes relatively little time. If you’re an employer, we encourage you to allow employees a block of time a few times per week to do this. We also encourage teams to share bits of literature with each other whether that means forwarding a link or loaning out a book. Sharing industry literature is an awesome way to foster new ideas and ensure that everyone has the same base level of knowledge.
- Regular Training/Learning Sessions: Whether you pay industry experts to come in to the office or simply ask the head of the department to give a presentation, your team always has something to learn from those who have been around for a while. The amount spent on this is completely up to the company. Obviously paying an outside source to come in and speak will be much more expensive than having an already salaried employee do it. If you’re looking to save a buck, round up the troops and have the head honcho give an insightful presentation for free.
- Paid Online Learning Tools: Online learning tool pricing will vary greatly so you’ll just have to research what industry content you’re willing to pay to be trained on. We highly suggest turning to tools such as YouTube first to see if you can learn what you need for free. If you think you might need something in a more structured format, we highly suggest LinkedIn Learning. This not only gives users access to Premium LinkedIn features (hello, networking!) but also allows users to take structured courses (which includes quizzes, reviews, etc.). The tool is paid but allows for month to month use. There are a thousand other paid and free tools out there to consider though such as: Skillshare, Hubspot Courses, TedTalks, Creative Live, No Film School Academy. Code Academy
- Offsite Events: Some companies opt for trade shows, some choose to be more specific to learning and opt for seminars, speaking events, etc. While things like trade shows are great for growing industry knowledge and competitor awareness, seminars are killer for learning specific industry related insights. In our experience one of the most effective (and least popular) means of conducting effective offsite events is to take your entire team offsite for a summit event. These types of events are free to be structure how you’d like but we suggest the following: The event takes up the entire day, Give a mix of presentations, break out groups, team challenges and Q&A, Provide Lunch (this means everyone stays on site together), Keep it light but informative. You want everyone to take something valuable away from the event but no one enjoys being bored all day long.
There are a million opportunities to promote continued learning and growth in employees. Whether the means is structured or informal, the benefits are endless. As we stated above, the amount of money invested into professional growth and education is completely up to the employer but in our opinion, it should never be used as an excuse to not allow it. There are plenty of affordable or completely free means of fostering professional learning.