Getting onboarding right is tough - 20% of new hires leave the role within 45 days - but many companies make the mistake of assuming that they’re out of the dark once onboarding is successfully completed
Despite your best efforts, a well structured onboarding program doesn’t guarantee an unwavering sense of loyalty. Without continued efforts to upskill and support their workforce’s development, employers run the risk of actively disengaging their employees, rendering them 75% more likely to churn.
If professional learning is considered a one-off occurrence rather than an ongoing journey, you only stand to lose while competitors gain ground. It also leaves your people dispassionate and ill-equipped to adapt to technological or industry change.
In order to sustain the momentum garnered during their onboarding process and ensure their workforce remains motivated and engaged well beyond the first month of employment, many companies are turning to a continuous learning approach.
In this blog, we'll cover:
- What is continuous learning?
- Why is continuous learning important?
- What are the benefits of continuous learning?
- How to get started with continuous learning
What is continuous learning?
Also referred to as continual, lifelong and constant learning, continuous learning is the practice of gaining new skills, knowledge and information on an ongoing basis.
It’s the constant development of an individual in response to company and industry needs, as well as external global developments. The more relevant and timely knowledge your people possess, the more effectively - and passionately - they can support your company’s mission and vision.
Here are some examples of how continuous learning might be used as part of a wider employee training program:
- General skills development, e.g. safety and hygiene refreshers, payment/salary information, accident prevention
- Performance-related learning, e.g. how to engage with customers, understanding acceptance rates, how to provide customer service, quality improvement tips
- Time/event-specific communications, e.g. preparing for the Christmas season, introducing a recognition program, new app/product features
Why is continuous learning important?
In the world of work - as in day-to-day life - the only certainty is change. Evolving technologies, demographics which make up the workforce, job markets, regulation and legislation are all liable to change, and much of this is beyond any individual company’s control. To succeed in a rapidly changing marketplace, businesses must be in a position to adapt quickly.
By investing in your people through continuous learning, you are minimizing your likelihood of being impacted by external change and therefore futureproofing your business. When your workforce has relevant and up-to-date knowledge in the palm of their hands, they are better equipped to adapt to change.
Implementing continuous learning also allows employers to track worker performance on an ongoing basis. This enables them to identify key knowledge gaps among their workforce and create training accordingly, ensuring that their teams are constantly evolving and are empowered to perform at their best.
What are the benefits of continuous learning?
There are a myriad of benefits to providing continued learning and development opportunities for your workforce, both for your business and for individual employees.
Here are some of the most significant benefits of incorporating continuous learning into your employee training program.
1. Millennials value it
We all know that millennials will soon make up the majority of the global workforce - specifically, they’ll account for 75% by 2025 - so it’s important to consider the differing set of values, desires and expectations this new generation presents and how this will impact your business.
Known as the ‘job-hopping generation’, a Gallup report found that 21% of millennials had changed jobs in the last year - 3 times more than other generations.
However, millennials’ greatest differentiator is their attitude to professional development. 59% say that professional development is extremely important to them, expecting their employers to invest in their ongoing learning and progression. In fact, 53% have been disappointed by the lack of personal development training when starting a new role.
This younger generation of workers has no qualms about leaving a position in pursuit of opportunities that align more closely with their values. Without a continuous learning program in place, they’ll be at high risk of churn.
2. It keeps you competitive
As we’ve already mentioned, continuous learning is synonymous with market adaptability. When your workforce is empowered with timely, relevant knowledge they are malleable to market change - be that technical or otherwise - and this malleability is crucial to securing your company’s success in uncertain times.
Creating an infrastructure for success in your organization isn’t just about being responsive to change, however. It’s also necessary to drive change. Innovation is borne out of new ideas and experimentation, and these are dependent on people possessing relevant knowledge in the first instance. Research by Deloitte has found that companies who adopt a continuous learning approach are 46% more likely to be first to market and 92% more likely to innovate, showing that a culture of ongoing development is vital to business innovation and growth.
3. Performance improves
It’s no secret that motivated and engaged employees perform better - they feel a sense of purpose in their work, and carry it out passionately.
This goes beyond passion, however. They are also emotionally attached to their organization and feel as though they have a stake in its success, which means they perform accordingly. Companies who have mastered employee engagement tangibly reap the benefits, from 21% increased profitability to 40% increase in quality of output.
By investing in training that continuously engages and motivates your team to perform better, you are setting your business - and your employees - up for success.
4. Loyalty increases, churn decreases
When you have emotional ties to your company and its success, you feel a greater sense of loyalty to it. Loyal employees aren’t actively seeking other job opportunities, and are less likely to be tempted by new opportunities.
Employee retention is a big issue facing modern companies with 33% of executives reporting that improving loyalty is a top priority. However, only 17% reported increasing engagement as a priority. The reality is that one cannot exist without the other - disengaged employees won’t become loyal brand advocates.
Workforce disengagement is currently at an astronomical high of 85%, but providing access to knowledge is the key to reversing this crisis. People who feel empowered and that their work is purposeful are 65% more likely to stick around than those who don’t.
5. Customer experience improves
Employees who are productive, engaged and motivated are far more likely to provide an excellent level of service for your customers. Research shows that every interaction matters, with 43% of customers “breaking up” with brands over a poor customer experience.
Only engaged employees can deliver a high level of customer service, time and time again - the desire to meet customers’ needs comes naturally to them, and their sense of personal fulfillment and purpose is infectious to those they interact with. Though one successful customer interaction doesn’t directly equate to increased revenue, it certainly secures your success in the long term by bolstering reputation.
When customers come away delighted with the level of service received, they become brand evangelists, strengthening your company’s position in the market and against competitors.
6. Knowledge is retained
If learning is delivered as an isolated, one-off instance - e.g. sharing a dated 40 minute video on compliance in order to tick a box - the likelihood that information is being retained is low.
Repeating information at spaced intervals is integral to committing it to long term memory. If information we’ve received is not revisited, we fall victim to the ‘forgetting curve’ - our memory of newly learned information is halved within days when not re-addressed.
Many companies have begun utilizing microlearning, a method which breaks key information down into bitesize chunks and presents it in a format which replicates the content we consume via social media. As part of a continuous learning strategy, this approach has been proven to increase engagement and make learning a habit, rather than another task to be ticked off, improving long term knowledge retention by up to 50%.
How to get started with continuous learning
Continuous learning is key to turning the tide on employee productivity and retention, but how can you start implementing this strategy within your own organization?
We recommend opting for a mobile learning platform which provides 24/7 access to on-demand training. Learners will be able to dip into training content as and when suits them, helping to turn training into a habit and ensuring that it becomes part of their workflow, rather than a hindrance to performance.
eduMe’s mobile platform has helped businesses such as Uber, Gopuff and Gorillas to boost retention and engagement through continuous learning, providing their deskless workers with seamless access to relevant training content designed to support them at every stage of their employee lifecycle. Surveys, quizzes and real-time analytics allow employers to track worker performance and identify knowledge gaps, allowing them to create an experience that’s truly learner-led.
Get in touch now to see how we can help you get started with continuous learning 👇