Avcomm Solutions staffers have been celebrating college and high school graduations with their family members this month, and we have heard some great commencement speeches. Typical advice shared by graduation speakers is that the end of formal education doesn't have to be the end of learning. This is especially true today, as there are many opportunities to learn — from home — at our fingertips. And, many are available at no cost!
Learn a foreign language with the Duolingo app; iTunes U offers everything from Introduction to Psychology to Woodworking; Coursera is used by Fortune 500 companies for professional development; and YouTube videos are another way to learn everything from how to tie a bowtie to playing guitar and checking tire air pressure.
One of our employees likes Master Class, which offers online classes from experts. She especially likes the cooking and wine classes taught by Gordon Ramsey. Other employees take dance classes with their spouse; host foreign exchange students to learn about other cultures; and take golf lessons at a nearby municipal golf course.
The benefits of learning new languages, skills, sports and ideas have the potential for new relationships, world travels, career advancement, and more. Your brain also benefits from learning, because the neurons are stimulated and form more neural pathways, which slows aging.
With all of these advantages, and opportunities to learn, our advice is that today is the day to learn a new skill and invest in yourself. Now, go out there and make us proud!
While some professions require ongoing training for recertification and licensing, such as pharmacy technicians, medical professionals, and accountants, it is truly beneficial for all industries to consider staff training and development as part of their mission. Why? The benefits seem to outweigh the drawbacks, and lead to positive outcomes for both employer and employees.
Here are just a few of the benefits to providing ongoing training and development:
•Staff Retention. Employees see the investment that their organization makes when they provide training opportunities. The employees feel that they can contribute to the organization by attending the training and learning about the ideas presented to them. Hiring new staff, and training them, is a much bigger investment to an organization, compared with a day (or even a week) of sending current employees to a training opportunity.
•Increase skills and productivity. When employees know more, they do more. And, they do it better. For example, providing excellent customer care can get a boost from learning new ways to handle customers and situations. Computer and technical skills can be polished and enhanced with training in the newest technologies and processes available.
•Less supervision. Employees who are confident in their job duties can be trusted to handle those responsibilities independently. This frees supervisors to focus on other areas.
•Increase morale and motivation. Happy employees are successful employees. In a study by the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, researchers found that happy employees are 12% more productive than those who are not. When employees see the investment a company makes in the employee's career, this makes them feel valued and appreciated.
•Break from day-to-day duties. Taking time away from the daily grind also gives employees the chance to look at situations at work with fresh eyes. Sometimes when sitting in the same spot day after day, year after year, it can be difficult to step back and see the big picture. A day or two away from the workplace can make a huge difference.
Staff development and training could include:
Attending training as an individual, or with a team
Training at the workplace for a few hours, or an entire day
One staff member trains another
An online course
These are just a few of the many training possibilities available. Is staff training and development a priority for your organization? Let us know on the Comments tab, above.
It’s Monday morning, and Avcomm team members are grabbing cups of coffee, and settling in for a discussion … about a book. Maybe not a typical business discussion, but here at Avcomm Solutions, we continually search for ways to best serve our customers. We’ve found one way to serve customers is to educate and inform our employees. Training sessions, weekly meetings, and our latest venture, a book club, all serve both customers and employees by bringing knowledge to the table.
We have begun our book club with “Monster Loyalty” by Jackie Huba. Sara brought the excitement about Huba back to the office after seeing her speak about Monster Loyalty at the 2015 SOCAP Annual Conference in October. “Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Fans Into Fanatics” likens Lady Gaga’s rabid fan base to creating and maintaining a strong customer base at the business level.
Huba’s main premise: Lady Gaga’s core fans, called the One Percenters, are her primary focus; as a business, you need to be focused on your One Percenters, too. How do we create advocates for our business, who will in turn evangelize for us?
Gaga, known for wild costumes (meat dress, anyone?) and completely “out-there” stage makeup and hair, can be off-putting to some. When you look past her appearance and stage antics, her raw talent and incredible marketing ability ensure that Gaga will survive the “pop star” test of time. By sharing core values, building a community, being transparent, connecting to emotions, and other innovations, Gaga is an exemplary entrepreneur.
Each week, our book club members complete the assigned reading (approximately a chapter a week) and then come together as a group to discuss what we read. Our book club is a small group of about 8 people who represent marketing, social media and upper management. We felt that it was important to not limit the book club to management only, which has proven to be very valuable. It has been interesting to not only discover others’ takeaways from the readings, but to also cultivate new ideas and learn about what is happening within our own organization.
With only two chapters discussed, there are plenty of more good ideas that are bound to surface as we delve deeper into the material in the months to come.
Tell us: do you have a company book club, or another way to meet and discuss ideas within your organization? Do you have suggestions for Avcomm’s next book selection? Share them with us on the Comments tab.