How continuing education can benefit your business

It’s unfortunate, but no matter how great the job or how innovative the company, every employee — at one point or another — will hit a wall. Whether you call it writer’s block, burnout, exhaustion or stress, when inspiration stagnates, it can translate to financial losses for your business, either through a decrease in productivity or employee turnover.

But before you hit a wall yourself, consider this: It can be prevented. While there are many contributing factors to burnout, one of the biggest (and most easily avoided) is boredom. If your team isn’t excited about day-to-day duties, or doesn’t feel the company is invested in their growth potential and overall career direction, it’s easy for people to feel listless, frustrated or undervalued.

So how do you spark enthusiasm and engage your employees? One of my favorite ways — because I know it works for me — is encouraging them to learn something new. You don’t need to be a Fortune 100 company to offer continuing education, either. At Petplan, our program started small but is growing robustly as we scale up. Yes, it requires a financial investment, but the return speaks for itself.

Grey matters

Learning can help combat the chronic stress that fast-tracks talented people to a state of burnout.

At Petplan, we encourage employee book clubs, participate in ideas-and-articles-sharing email groups and offer every employee $250 annually for a class, webinar, conference or lecture of their choosing.

Stimulating the synapses can help empower employees to bring new ideas and novel solutions to the table — not to mention boost morale and self-confidence. Engaged brains ensure productivity, and what better way for employees to freshen their perspective, expand their professional knowledge and challenge their skill set than to take advantage of opportunities to learn?

Choose your own adventure

Sometimes boredom or burnout happens when people feel stuck, like they have no power to make meaningful decisions at work. While continuing education should relate directly to an employee’s career, giving individuals the option of how to grow in that career can sometimes help.

Put the power in the employee’s hands to choose what to pursue; taking a course or watching a webinar that actually interests a person guarantees they’ll be excited about it — and more likely to make the most of the opportunity.

(Human) capital gains

As the saying goes, people are a company’s most important asset; one important benefit to ongoing training and development is that they help improve your company’s human capital.

When you build up employees’ knowledge, skill sets and cooperative efforts, you build a better team. Investing in the improvement of your people also helps you stay competitive within your industry, which goes far in attracting top talent.

 

Losing good people to frustration or burnout doesn’t have to be par for the course. As part of a broader plan to maintain or improve employee retention, continuing education opportunities can help keep creative juices flowing and stem the tide of turnover.

Keeping employees engaged and inspired can be a challenge, but it is one worth tackling.