Alan See is the Chief Marketing Officer at MindLeaders. He has written the following guest post for the Networking Exchange Blog.

Enabling employees to succeed in a fast-changing business environment should be central to every organizations strategy.  After all, when employees are properly equipped with the right set of skills they’re best positioned to add maximum value to both the organization and its customer base.  Are education, training, and lifelong learning for your workforce important to your company?  Or do I really need to ask if your workforce is truly motivated and engaged as learners?

In a typical company, learning nuggets are accessed in clumps in various places, with all sorts of gaps in between.  One or more people in a work group will take advantage of opportunities — and information will be shared with others in the group.  Some managers inform their teams and encourage participation, while others don’t.

With the typical hit-and-miss approach, many employees at various levels never find out about opportunities to sharpen their skills that would otherwise be available to them.  With rapid changes in technology and business processes, new training can be a matter of someone keeping a job or being left behind.  However; it’s interesting that when employees hear that they need new training, their first response can often be a yawn or a grumble.  People don’t always see training as an opportunity that will help them.  Instead, training can feel like a hassle, like one more thing added to a mounting list of responsibilities.

In order to improve learning participation and motivation try some of the following:

  • Have each employee complete a survey regarding their learning needs and interests.
  • Route the results through their managers, to add items the manager feels are important either for current or future projects.
  • Assign learning resources based on the personalized needs of each employee.
  • Provide time on the schedule to complete training, shadowing, mentoring, or other learning activities.
  • Track usage and completion of learning tasks.
  • Allow employees to update their learning profiles on an ongoing basis, to reflect their progress and changing needs.

Companies that take the above steps dramatically broaden employee growth and development across the organization. Usage of one resource — e-learning — averages 30% at most companies, but a recent study by Bersin & Associates showed that systematic approaches like the steps above lead to 70% usage or more.  They take you a sizeable step in the direction of integrating learning opportunities into the fabric of your organization.