Thanks to the rapid expansion and accessibility of the internet and technology, most industries have experienced rapid changes for the past few decades. In 2020, we saw a dramatic shift in how businesses and consumers used technology, especially during pandemic shutdowns. This shift to a technology-first landscape forced many businesses that had not evolved to focus on their digital presence: how could they adapt to continue reaching their target audiences?
It’s the way of the marketing world-advertising agencies have always evolved with the latest technologies, consumer trends and changes in the marketplace to survive. The best way to stay relevant: investing in employee education.
A phrase frequently used in our office is: “what got you here won’t get you there.” That phrase is one of the many reasons The James Agency’s 2021 theme is “Level Up.” We’re putting our focus on improving all aspects of our agency, including our team members and their skill sets.
But what does “ongoing education” look like? We’ll walk you through a little of what we do here at TJA to empower our team’s learning and give you some insight about how you can apply our methods.
Ongoing education can take many forms. University degrees and certifications are great, but there are other avenues your team members can take that require less time, less money, and develop skills that aren’t commonly found in traditional academia. Things like webinars, online courses and meet up groups are all productive, effective methods-best of all, they’re inexpensive or sometimes free. TJA often uses the following resources for our team members:
- Google Academy
- LinkedIn Learning
- Industry webinars
- Conference attendance
At TJA, we foster employee education in a couple ways. Primarily, team members and directors meet monthly to discuss their goals, aspirations and ways they can grow within the organization to develop their career paths.
Other times, we’ll see a collective need within the company-a topic or skill that several employees need refreshing or could benefit from learning. Ultimately, we want to invest in our team members who are truly interested in ongoing education, want to learn more about their role, or want to expand their knowledge.
When selecting a small online education program for an employee, it’s important to schedule them an appropriate window of time to take the course (especially if it benefits the company). Add it to their calendar as a reminder! If their workload is heavy as the date approaches, allow them to make work up the following week-or reschedule their course accordingly. If your team members treat classes and trainings like a meeting or important call, it’s a more enjoyable, beneficial experience. We’ve found that without this commitment, “important” things are bound to appear and halt learning before it even begins.
Businesses often worry about investing in their employees’ education, fearing their workers will take that newfound knowledge to find a new job. Unfortunately, that’s a very real possibility. However, that shouldn’t deter you from investing in your employees. Why? Because of the other extreme. Not investing in employees could leave you with a workforce that is behind the curve, unsatisfied and ill-equipped.
Additionally, education investment shows commitment to employees. Your buy-in on your team members’ roles helps retain talent, all while improving the tangible skills that move your company’s proverbial needle. Allowing employees to learn and grow makes your business stronger, simple as that.
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Do you have a favorite ongoing education resource? At TJA, we’re always looking for ways to keep our employees educated and in-the-industry-know. Head on over to our Instagram or Twitter and tell us about your employee learning experiences.