“Have a go!” That is the motto of the Festival of Learning which has been taking place every September in England since 1992. Wales is also getting ready for its Adult Learners’ Week. While we may get older, we can’t stop learning. Celebrating life-long learning, it is offering free learning activities for adults across the country.

This year has shown us how important life-long learning is for all us. We have seen bushfires destroy parts of Australia and witnessed the descalation of political tension in the first two months of 2020. As we came to terms of living in different phases of a lockdown, we also adjusted to new ways of working. Businesses are trying to come to terms with the pandemic and are constantly searching for ways to pivot.

Ways to incorporate learning into every day

1. Be self-aware

Understanding yourself helps you in various areas at work and in life in general. Being aware of your strengths, preferences as well as limitations, you become more mindful of your approach to learning and your actual development. You recognise which opportunities are appealing to you. At the same time, you are able to identify which skills you need to develop.

2. Keep a “to-learn” list

You probably have a to-do list. Whenever you come across a concept that interests you, an article you want to read, a term you want to explore, add it to your “to-learn” list. These days, you can easily bookmark internet sites or flag email newsletters for letter. When there is some downtime, look at the list and go to your saved items.

3. Provide new work opportunities for your team

As an employer, offer different learning tools and opportunities to your staff. These days, when budgets are limited, external and sometimes also expensive training courses or even company-sponsored MBA programmes may be out of reach. Specific cross-training and job shadowing are easy-to-implement learning options. Share invitations to webinars or invite to a TED talk.

4. Set time aside to learn

To underline the emphasis you give to everyday learning, block your calendar. This can be for 15 minutes around your usual lunch time or just before you shut down your laptop. While colleagues should respect this time, you may receive an invite for a client meeting. Reschedule your learning time to another slot on the same time. This way, you are signalling your brain the importance of learning for you and it re-enforces your commitment to your own progress.

5. Foster knowledge sharing with your team

Lunch-and-learn sessions, internal conferences, lean events or hackathons are generally free and easy-to-arrange events. They can be held in your normal workspace as well as virtually. Sharing insights with team members helps to reiterate the company’s and your commitment to learning, developing people and enabling employees to deliver better quality results.

Why it matters to you

Notice how your focus as a leader on continuous learning and development also impacts your employee engagement.

Employees want to know what is in it for them, too. Being more engaged at work has shown to increase productivity, sales and revenue, something we can’t ignore even in good times. Higher achievements lead higher performance and, in normal years, to higher pay-for-performance. This year, it may be increased job security.

Feeling more confident in their own skills and abilities, employees feel ready to try out something new and explore. We see creativity and innovation increase!

Creativity and invocation translates into process improvements, more customer focused services and products and increased customer satisfaction. These days, many organisations depend on their customers like never before. Wouldn’t you want to incorporate learning into your day if it helps your business to stabilise and grow? Contact us and learn how we can support your personalised learning and development programmes.