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Do we have Time to Learn?

In today’s busy corporate environments where swift execution is the name of the game, we have little time to sit down and catch up with the latest trends and developments of our respective fields. The speed which we are used to working in, counters our efforts against thoughtfulness and self-development. We have time for strategy, planning and delivery on our work assignments, however no time to plan our learning and development for the coming months.

Employees have become so busy, scurrying from one task to the other that they have given up on learning. An immensely worrying trend which can lead to demotivation and stagnation.

According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, ninety-four percent of employees indicated they that prefer to stay at their company longer if it invested in their career development. The irony of all this is that the report also states that the number one reason that employees hold back from learning is because they do not have time to learn the skills they need.

It transpires that employees are most likely unaware of the learning opportunities available within their organisation, due to heavy workloads and less efficient communication. Once they become aware of such opportunities, they face the second hurdle, an insurmountable amount of work on their task lists and calendars. This can backfire, leading to a scenario where employees feel that the organisation does not care about their career.

Senior leaders see it differently. According to the LinkedIn report, 90 percent of executives suggested learning and development is a “necessary benefit to the employees at the company.” Whilst perceiving learning as a necessity, executives need to ensure that time is allocated appropriately to ensure a successful outcome, otherwise development through training remains solely an idea with no fruition.

What to do?

The first step is to investigate how employees are spending their time during working hours. If there are too many distractions and unnecessary meetings, it may be ideal to revisit the organisation’s time management.

Secondly, employers need to understand employee learning preferences and how this benefits the organisation.

Thirdly, provide learning opportunities which are formal, informal and social. Not all employees subscribe to the same learning methodology. Not every type of learning occurs in a classroom or needs days off at a time. There are ample informal and social ways in which we can learn these days, through one-to-one mentorship and coaching programmes.

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