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As 2011 begins and employees and managers alike return to work with renewed energy, it is an opportune time to refocus your efforts on organizational goals and priorities.

Before you get too deep in your long to-do list of projects and proposals and budgets for the new year, remember that employee learning and development should rank at the top of your list. Explore the wide variety of learning opportunities, from conflict resolution to assertive communications courses. It is wise to invest time, energy and funding into programs that foster the skills of emerging leaders and motivate them to use their knowledge to enrich the organization.

Why Workplace Learning and Development is Important

1. It keeps employees engaged.

Be honest; have you ever been bored by your job, past or present, day after day, hour after hour? Chances are, without new knowledge development opportunities, some of your employees have felt this way before. Boredom can make the work day seem interminably long and can create dissatisfied and restless employees. Learning new skills and developing them on the job increases employee engagement and makes work more interesting and enjoyable.

2. It keeps key talent within the organization.

Not devoting enough attention to talent management is a big problem in organizations from Fortune 500 corporations to small nonprofits. Providing learning and development opportunities for your employees demonstrates that you value each of them for their talents and contributions. At performance reviews, ask people what skills they are interested in developing and find ways to help them reach their goals. Seek out educational courses or resources that will benefit your whole team, and devote time to them. Show employees that you are motivated to help them be successful within the organization, and they will be more satisfied with their work and more likely to stay.

3. It provides new opportunities.

Sometimes within the course of employee learning and development, you discover new information that can improve how your organization operates. If your sales team takes a computer training course, you may learn a better way to organize your account data. If a key member of your team is dissatisfied with her current position but takes a management class that sparks her interest, you may be able to adjust her job responsibilities to suit her needs better.

Continuous education is beneficial to everyone in an organization — in what ways do you plan to encourage learning and development this year?

Find out more information about the EDSI Increasing Personal Effectiveness course.

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