The Shared Value Of Lifelong Learning for Professionals and EmployersMohamed Markar | Founder and President, Center for Professional Education Incorporated
In today’s world, however, people who stand out and rise above the rest are often equipped with an educational foundation that reaches far beyond typical college degrees. People who truly want to market themselves as top competitors in the working world need to be able to show they have the drive and ambition to conquer large tasks without being told to do so. This initiative starts with the pursuit of lifelong learning.
Even after someone has completed a college degree and entered the workforce, there are plenty of reasons to continue learning. Today’s professionals are constantly being bombarded by new technologies, techniques and ways of thinking. No industry is immune to change. Surprisingly, many employers and employees don’t take advantage of educational opportunities—decisions that can be quite detrimental to career and company growth.
The value and impact of continuing education are infinite. Financial professionals who are looking for ways to advance their careers should explore the benefits that can be obtained through continued learning.
Broadening the Skills Base
People who have specialized degrees in subjects such as finance or law—or those who have obtained a higher certification, such as a CPA—often spend so much time in the classroom before they enter the workforce that they’re not interested in returning to school once they begin to earn a salary.
Over time, however, new methodologies and approaches are born. People who don’t pursue continued learning may never realize the benefits that can be obtained from new approaches. This results in stagnation and a “do it like we’ve always done it” mentality, which is bad for both the employer and the employees.
Employees who seek to broaden their skills learn new techniques and ways to approach old problems with creative, fresh approaches. This means the employee will be more flexible and adaptable when change truly needs to happen, either as a benefit to the business or to oneself.
Benefits to the employee: A broad skill set is more marketable, whether employees are seeking new positions within their existing firms or looking for new opportunities with other organizations.
Benefits to the employer: Facilitating growth within one’s own organization creates the intrinsic benefit of having a highly skilled, adaptable workforce.
Employees who seek to broaden their skill sets usually benefit from greater opportunities down the line. Not only does the pursuit of continuing education show motivation and self-determination—two qualities any company will look for when it’s time to promote existing staff or fill a senior position with outside candidates—it also opens doors and allows for greater networking possibilities.
Benefits to the employee: When all else is equal across the board, employees with enhanced skill sets are more likely to be considered for higher paying positions and job advancement.
Benefits to the employer: Encouraging staff members to learn new skills broadens the pool of qualified candidates within your organization, meaning that promoting from within—and choosing people who are already familiar with your culture, mission, and values—becomes much easier.
Promoting Personal Growth
Education provides employees with the opportunity to learn more about themselves, as much as the subjects they choose to study. They might find they like working with people more than numbers, taking them on a path toward management with the right continuing education courses. They may decide they want to work for a cause, shifting from corporate accounting to nonprofit accounting.
The entire learning process, at any age, is about personal growth and developing into the person you want to be. Sometimes, people don’t even realize what opportunities and passions exist until they branch out and learn something new.
Benefits to the employee: Personal growth is essential for employees who want to be happy at their jobs. Being good at something doesn’t mean it makes you happy, but there are ways to capitalize on existing talents while growing toward personal interests.
Benefits to the employer: A happy, engaged staff is more likely to be productive and efficient while keeping turnover costs at a minimum.
When hired as an entry-level candidate, people don’t often have the luxury to choose which title they’ll take or on which path they’ll ride. After a few years in the working world, a person’s passion typically comes to light. At this stage, employees should pursue higher education that helps them learn more about their industry, find an area of specialization, or work toward obtaining skills that will enable them to eventually become a member of the C-suite.
Benefits to the employee: People who have direction are often more confident and satisfied at their workplaces.
Benefits to the employer: Confident employees deliver better service to internal and external customers.
Learning should be a lifelong process. There are so many benefits to obtain from constantly exploring new ideas, innovations, technologies and techniques. As employees and employers look for ways to market themselves to the best bidders, it is imperative that ongoing education become a staple in the working world. Everyone benefits from creative approaches, broader networks and greater knowledge bases.
For an infographic exploring what individuals and employers need to know about continuing professional education, please click here.
Author Perspective: Business