Management Matters: is a New Article series dealing with the issues that arise when managing personnel and how to optimize your current staff in a company.
Creating a Learning Environment in the Office
March 1st, 2009
Although the working day may already be packed with conference calls, emails, meetings, overtime, training, and much more, many employees may feel there is no time left in the day to participate in learning activities. Employees who are growing their minds are growing their productivity. Learning enhances brain activity and promotes problem-solving skills, which is beneficial to all areas of life. Managers who create an environment that promotes lifelong learning will reap the rewards as employees are up to date with local market trends, industry inside information, and are expected to think about problems and strategy progressively. Management teams can intentionally promote an environment where learning is available and encouraged.
Accessible learning material is essential to foster learning in the office. A company library available to all employees will allow employees an opportunity to obtain material that may have otherwise not been available to them. Material in the library should contain information relevant to your business as well as goal planning, management advice, or optimal health material to promote overall learning. Books are the classic form of reading material, but in today’s society where so many are pressed for time, audio books are becoming a more accessible and practical way to learn . Management that allows employees to listen to audio material at their desk, are encouraging multi-tasking and knowledge retention.
Basic knowledge is important, but alternative methods of gathering information are beneficial to be a well-versed individual. In positions such as sales, creating chemistry with the client is a key element in the sales process and employees who know the local news of the client’s residing city may come off as more personable than a sales call with no chemistry building material. Companies that have local or more prominent newspapers and magazines available for daily reading or scanning advocate for employees to be knowledgeable on current events. By providing learning material at the office, employees are more likely to take a few minutes to read the headlines then they may otherwise be at home.
To promote lifelong learning many companies enable group activities that promote growth such as informal training sessions during the lunch hour, book clubs sponsored by the company, or even sponsoring employees to attend motivational or educational events. Tuition reimbursement is becoming more prominent within the corporate world as organizations are looking to attract the best candidates to their business and valuing the prestige of a college degree. No matter what area the employee is learning, whether he or she is reading a biography of a prominent politician, listening to the market trends for the upcoming year, or learning yoga, all methods and forms of learning are beneficial in keeping your brain active and sharp. A well informed employee will be prepared for networking events, gain self-confidence, and increase their productivity within their specified field due to enhanced industry knowledge.