“Learning at Work” week starts today. The aim is to encourage adults to continue their learning journey in the workplace. This year there is a special focus on fostering new social and collaborative models for learning, where employees and organisations interact, share and learn from each other creating a broader mix of learning opportunities within the workplace from courses to online resources. Ongoing training isn’t always at the top of an employer’s to-do list (even though it should be) owing to factors such as cost and time limitations, so here I offer 4 ways in which employees can learn at work for free.
- Brown bag lunch – this concept is widely used in the US but is not so common in the UK. It’s quite simple. You arrange a lunchtime talk every couple of weeks, to be given by a member of staff, and employees bring their lunch along and listen. This method of ongoing training is quick and easy and one of the things I like best about it is that it facilitates peer-to-peer learning, for example from one department to another.
- Internal secondments – some sectors are really on the ball when it comes to arranging external secondments but the internal secondment is woefully under-utilised for ongoing training. Allow a team member to spend a month, or more, working in another department such as HR or Accounting. Maybe arrange a job swap? It may cause extra work in your team but it allows your employees to learn on the job and to understand more about your company in doing so.
- On-line training – there are numerous resources which are now freely available on the internet to support learning at work in almost any sector. Allow your staff time to explore these resources, and even better, set them assignments to be completed such as making a presentation to you on a new topic based on the information they can find.
- Metrics for promotion – the majority of employees are keen to know what they need to do in order to get promoted. Smart companies make the list of metrics completely transparent and help their employees to achieve the relevant standards. Rather like a kids sporting course, employers can help their employees to nail every metric through ongoing learning and coaching.
Whether you are an employer or an employee, find a way to learn at work this week for free and see if its something which can be rolled out more broadly in your company to keep standards, and morale, high.