Lifelong learning has become an integral part of professional development. A report from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that further upskilling has become more important in today’s workforce, as many employees want to be able to compete with current technology. A whopping 87% of working adults believe that upskilling is necessary to adapt and future-proof their capabilities. To cater to this, businesses are starting to embrace the lifelong learning trend. Not only is it beneficial for employees, but also for companies as a whole.
What is lifelong learning?
It is first important to define what lifelong learning is. Oftentimes, it is defined as the continuous and voluntary pursuit of knowledge, so an individual can develop personally or professionally. There are many ways people can engage in lifelong learning such as continuing education, attending seminars and conferences, as well as attaining specialized training.
But why are more companies willing to engage in lifelong learning in today’s business landscape?
Why companies are embracing lifelong learning
Better employee engagement
Since the beginning of 2022, millions of people have quit their jobs. One survey found that 52% of Americans in the workforce believe there were no opportunities for advancement within their previous roles. To combat this, businesses are utilizing lifelong learning as a way to help employees with their professional development which, in turn, increases their overall engagement and feeling of value as a worker. Increasing employee retention in this manner is far less costly, in comparison to hiring and training new workers, making it a worthwhile investment in the long run.
Increased knowledge mastery
Employees that engage in lifelong learning for professional growth also have an increased mastery of skills and knowledge needed for their industry. They can gain new insights from what they have learned, and find ways to apply it to their tasks. This can come in the form of creating modern solutions to current industry issues or applying current trends to business strategies. These innovations can turn an organization into a company that is ahead of the curve and of the competition.
More seamless execution
Another reason that now, more than ever, companies are embracing lifelong learning is that it has become easier to execute. The rise of remote education means that employees no longer have to greatly divide their time between school and work. They can learn at their own pace, with some companies even allowing them to take classes while they are on the clock. Bigger corporations have even created their own schools to teach organization-specific skills.
Insights on the tech industry’s education efforts from LHH outlines that Amazon was at the forefront of this innovation, pledging $700 million to retrain roughly a third of its employees as part of their ‘Upskilling 2025’ campaign. They established programs such as the Amazon Technical Academy and Machine Learning University to teach Amazon-centric services to meet their labor demands. Other companies like Google and AT&T have similar strategies, making lifelong learning easier to attain for their employees.
Return on investment
With lifelong learning becoming a serious strategy for businesses all over the country, companies are seeing a greater return on investment from their employees. A great example of this can be seen with Walmart’s College2Career program. The corporation looks for high-potential applicants and fast-tracks their training to help them receive a managerial position within two years.
Not only does this mean that Walmart ensures that their labor demands are met, but it also means that workers running their stores are highly capable and receive the right education to help them do so. Lifelong learning has become the tool to secure a future-proofed employee which can, in turn, bring a higher return on investment for businesses in the future.