As parents, we preach the value of education to our children. We spend money educating our children (some of us spend big money). Why? Because we hope and believe in the power of education. We believe it opens minds to what’s possible. We believe it will allow our kids to have a better tomorrow. We not only spend countless dollars on education, but countless hours trying to get our kids to tell us what they learned. (Side note: If you figure out the secret to the last part, please let me know.)
So why is it any different at work? Training is one of the last things we tend to think about — and one of the first things we cut. Why?
Do we not value it? Do we not understand it? Are we afraid that if we educate our team members, they’ll leave for something better? Do we not have the time or money? The answer is probably a little of all of the above.
Reframe training as an investment
We need to reframe how we think about training and education at work. Can we see it as “making an investment” and not “managing a cost?” Take a leap of faith! Rethink your idea of training. Invest in your employees. Let them take some training and see what happens.
Over the last few years, several of my team members asked me about attending training, and for the most part, I’ve said yes and made the investment. But there was one caveat: they had to share what they learned. Send me the reading list. Tell me how we can apply it. Basically, do something with that newfound knowledge or interest that will further our team, our clients or our business.
As leaders, it’s our job to help our employees grow and evolve their careers. In fact, it’s one of our most important jobs in my opinion. Please don’t say you don’t have the time or the money to train your people. Would you say that about your children? Of course not! You would “make it work,” “figure it out” and probably sacrifice something else. You would consider it an “investment in their future” and not a discretionary expense, easily expendable in the grand scheme of things.
Training has never been more accessible
The good news is that training has become cheaper and easier to access. Teammates can attend a webinar, or sign up for online courses at Udacity or Coursera. Online education platforms like EdX, for example, let you complete a course or program by offering micro-certifications.
Not everything requires a multiyear commitment and a full-fledged degree. That’s the beauty of continued learning today—it’s everywhere and I can almost guarantee it comes in a package that works for your employees’ convenience and your company’s wallet.
At SEI, we have been rethinking our frame of reference and refocusing on giving more choice and power to our employees. Our workforce will have the opportunity to better themselves in ways that are personally meaningful to them by exploring online courses and micro-certifications.
I couldn’t be prouder to work for a company taking this approach. I’m excited to see how our employees choose to expand their horizons with new knowledge and skillsets that speak to their own passion and purpose.
Open your mind to training and it will open the doors of possibility
I’ve found the results to be amazing. My team members come back energized and full of new ideas related to social media, workforce strategies, service models, and so much more. Whatever topic they were interested in finds some applicability on the team as long as you, their leader, allow them to experiment and empower them to take risks. And just like a parent, you need to be willing to let them test their newfound knowledge in real life.
More importantly, the team member feels valued and appreciated, while contributing to the team’s growth in new ways. They feel like someone cares. They come back with the promise and hope of something new and a better tomorrow for themselves and the team.