Every business is built on its human resources. Those people have experienced unprecedented change since 2020 and the companies they work with.
Many employers are paying more, increasing benefits and adding flexibility to a once-rigid schedule to attract and retain top talent. Meanwhile, economic uncertainty is forcing other companies to rein in their costs until they can ride. In this war, it is difficult to predict which strategies will help a business stay ahead of its competitors.
It’s not a good strategy to achieve growth by reducing employees to noise. Instead, companies should focus on building their employees themselves, so that they, in turn, can grow the business. Adult education can be the perfect way to achieve this.
Helping employees flourish where they are planted is changing business as usual. Companies that make this change will also benefit. Here are a few reasons you won’t want to miss out.
Adult education raises everyone
You’ve probably heard the Dr. Seuss quote: “The more you read, the more you learn.” The more you learn, the more places you go. The value of lifelong learning is never disputed. But it’s no longer just about learning more or reading or traveling more on the job. It’s about adult education.
The adjective “adults” is relevant here, and not just because those who are learning are of an age. It is used because working adults face many additional obstacles in the learning process. There’s the transition back to school, the cost, the time it takes to devote to it, and all the distractions of a regular full-time job, kids, and—perhaps—a social life.
Employers have the perfect opportunity to remove some of the barriers for employees who want to continue their education. If employers use it, they can develop their own skills to better match the needs within their organizations.
Most employees agree that access to professional development opportunities is important. If they are given access, they are more likely to continue working for an employer who has invested in them.
When employers actively promote adult education, they increase retention, engagement, job satisfaction and productivity. In that case, everyone has to go places.
Adult learning is a piece of the HR strategy puzzle.
Automation powered by the advancement of artificial intelligence and machine learning is changing the business landscape. Long-term HR strategies must consider the impact on the company’s workforce. The clamps and holes rotate simultaneously.
It is a wonderful idea for HR managers. They’re looking at the workforce and seeing how many people they can save with technology. At the same time, they are looking at the novel niches being created by that technology and wondering where they will get the talent to fill them. Adult education must be part of this puzzle.
The potential for automation in emerging technologies will transform everything from sales and marketing to customer service and fulfillment. In fact, he is switching roles and accelerating the changes every day. The management of the company needs to keep an eye on the road and plan accordingly.
Consider the workers whose jobs will be replaced by automation. Provide the learning opportunities needed to transition into newly created roles or to master the roles required by new technological developments for future roles. A smart reskilling strategy is a great way to keep a company’s best and brightest.
Taking the long view will transform other HR functions such as creating job postings, recruiting, hiring and onboarding. Of course, technology has challenged the situation since the invention of the wheel. Adult education helps companies meet the challenges of today’s technological advancements.
Adult education promotes diversity.
The pandemic, social unrest and sharp political divisions have prompted companies to confront their diversity demons. Diversity, equity and inclusion have changed everything from board and C-suite agendas to exit interviews. No one said it would be easy to change hundreds of years of shared corporate history.
Most companies continue to struggle to reach their DE&I goals. In fact, many have made little progress. And if they can get diversity right, they don’t seem to follow the equity and inclusion bit.
Creating a diverse workforce requires a sea change in many business practices, from writing job descriptions to eliminating hiring bias. Adult education should not be overlooked as a potential means of achieving the highest goals of diversity. And it can do so on two key fronts.
First, adult education can change entrenched top-down attitudes towards leadership and HR on diversity issues. Second, companies can offer educational opportunities to current team members. Employees of certain races, social backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations may lack some of the educational opportunities of their white, male, heterosexual counterparts. Adult education can bridge that gap. And once these different employees are on the job, continuing education can help them move up in the company.
Using adult learning as a tool to create a truly diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce is smart. It makes companies less dependent on market forces and more self-reliant. Instead of paying lip service to DE&I goals, they are creating their own success from within.
Education can be the key to business success. Employees know that, and are often eager to advance their own interests in order to grow their careers. Companies should embrace and support these employees.
So many forces are changing how business is conducted these days. Adult education is simple and profitable, taking employees and employers to the top of the class.