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July 29, 2020
Connor Mooney

Why providing broader education incentives is essential for professional development

Knowledge and expertise are the backbones of success. Broadening our horizons invites new ideas and innovative strategies for streamlining a company's core processes and procedures. By doing so, we can achieve a more diverse and profitable workspace. The investment in our valuable staff, with professional development training, has a high rate of return when it comes to fostering a dynamic office culture for the modern business arena.  

So why is it difficult to turn a sleepy group training into a collaborative think tank?

Growth means thinking outside the conference room. Traditional 9 to 5 office culture is a dying breed. Our team is a part of a growing global workforce, with an ever-increasing number of remote employees. As a result, many businesses are expanding employee education programs to create a more diverse range of options. This new outlook promotes accessibility and opportunity.

It's time to take it back to the drawing board and rethink how we approach corporate learning.

Do traditional professional development seminars pass or fail?

Corporate training is often limited in scope. The traditional brick and mortar office may host a handful of seminars each year on departmental training, new software implementation, and reviews of employee conduct and protocol. Companies that embrace a more forward-reaching approach may offer leadership training and additional lunch and learns to promote collaboration. However, even these opportunities can be few and far between, encompassing a narrow range of topics directly related to the processes already in place. By creating a workplace of consistent collaboration and ideation focused on enhancing skillsets, we see more professional growth opportunities originating. 

You may have heard the adage that people retain 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, and 90% of what they do. Harvard Business Review took this principle to the task and found the majority of individuals do indeed remember roughly 25% of what they hear at seminars and trainings.

However, this number is less influenced by the mode of communication so much as the form. Effective communications and employee engagement generate long term results. Indeed, active participation in educational programs far exceeds the value of basic professional development trainings. A study conducted by American Progress ascertained that participants enrolled in interactive job training programs earned 18% more than those who either did not attend any training at all or simply attended a basic orientation. Furthermore, actively educated participants saw improved long term retention for over 12 months. These participants gained more competitive, salaried positions within a shorter period and demonstrated overall job happiness and commitment to company values.

Your dream team won't leave a two-hour lecture feeling motivated and ready to set new, exciting goals. In fact, they may leave reaching for the coffee pot. 

More and more companies are opting for non-traditional education opportunities with a track record of proven effectiveness. Think quality over quantity. Key executives will connect with topics they have an invested interest in rather than another review of departmental guidelines. Take a look at these cutting edge alternatives to the conference room grind.

Education anywhere, anytime

Hotel conference rooms are out, and Zoom teams are in. Studies show that remote workers have increased exponentially, rising by 44% over the last five years and 91% over the previous ten years. The advent of COVID-19 has caused companies to reevaluate the standard business structure. The transition to a more fluid corporate model means providing accessible training and  professional development resources.

Self-paced courses and live webinars can be quickly scheduled from anywhere in the world. As a result, your global workforce can attend professional development trainings on their schedule while collaborating with their department and sharing thoughts on exciting new topics. Where traditional seminars are constrained by time, more comprehensive courses can be completed at your employee's leisure. 

Perks that pay off

Amazing perks are a key-value incredible talent often seek out when considering a position. A wealth of educational resources is a great way to attract new talent and promote long term retention of your current team. Business success strategists have analyzed the impact of programs such as wellness (mental and physical) and complimentary services (classes, lectures, tools for continued education) and found that providing perks has a measurably high ROI. 

Consider offering an educational stipend as part of a competitive benefits package. The impact of life long learning on employee morale and drive is one of the best ways to jump-start productivity.

Course offerings

Diversifying your talent pool means taking educational offerings beyond the basics and appealing to the interests of your staff. An increasing number of companies are thinking outside the box when it comes to learning opportunities. While traditional professional development seminars might cover preexisting topics, they are limited in expanding on new ideas and potential avenues for developing skill sets.

Languages are one example of an excellent educational investment. A multi-lingual office paves the way for expansion and growth in an increasingly global market. Resources like Duolingo offer fun, useful language learning modules to give your team a competitive edge in international business.

An investment in technology is also at the top of the list when it comes to educational offerings. Consider membership at Codecademy for those interested in learning basic and advanced coding. These skills are universally transferrable to various company arenas from website building to CRM management.

Not sure which option to choose? Let your staff lead with a broad range of topics to choose from in Coursera's extensive continuing education library. Allowing employees the freedom to pursue their interests is an excellent way of letting your team know they're a valuable part of the company. As a business owner, you're committed to their success.

Zestful makes it easy to deliver quality, accessible educational perks to your company. Check out our full offering of educational incentives for you and your staff to keep growing, learning, and thriving.

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