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I Don’t Have Time to Learn! You Don’t Have Time Not To

October 19, 2015

Here are three reasons why you should make time for learning.

Company voice:

“We believe in you.  That is why we hired you.”

“We invest in our employees!”

Employee voices:

“How am I supposed to do my job when I cannot take time to learn what I need to?”

“This company doesn’t care about me or my development.  Produce, produce, produce.”

Wow.  What a disconnect. We see that disconnect every day when working with clients. Most clients have the best intent. They spend time creating values, defining a desired culture, and they recruit and hire based on that work.  But the problem begins when the actual work must to get completed.  We work more hours than we used too.  We sleep with our smart phones by our side and take them with us on vacation.  We lack the time to think and innovate, let alone go get developed.  In addition, we do all of this with less people and resources then in the past.

Employees often cancel professional development courses because they feel too busy, do not want to look uncommitted to their work, or because their manager requests them too (over and over again). The truth is we have a culture of crisis when it comes to developing our employees.  We have a turnover in leadership occurring right now and a crop of employees that have not been developed to take those leader’s places.  We have employees that have difficulty being proactive and are not consistently sharpening their saws.  What will the impact be?  Why is this so important?

Here are three paramount reasons:

  • It will get painful.  We are getting more and more calls from clients and prospects in crisis.  We have seen mass exoduses, union activity, and significant drops in morale and productivity, increases in sick days and accidents, and more.   No one wants a department or a company to grind to a halt, but that is exactly what starts to happen.  The culture deteriorates to the point that people are viewed as objects; not consciously of course.  But work becomes unbearable and employees feel unappreciated. 
  • Innovation…forget about it.  Innovation and change occur because people can take the time and space to think about things, let ideas percolate, and reflect.  Our minds need time to let go of the tasks on our desks and a chance to be creative, free.  Most great ideas are thought of when not concentrating on our own tasks, but when we are distracted by something else entirely, on vacation or by accident.  The more life experiences we have the more likely we will think differently and in new ways. 
  • Loss of the good…people that is.  One of the top reasons people stay with a company is because they feel they are learning and have opportunities.  Employees realize that have a 30-50 year window to keep the income rolling in.  They have seen their parents and friends lose their jobs.  Employees today are more focused on themselves and rightfully so.  When staying with an organization is good for both the company and the employee, both parties win.  Employees will leave and seek out opportunities to stay sharp and leave your organization with the employees that are fine with being dull—not a good recipe for staying competitive. 

It is time that values and culture live and breathe consistently beyond hiring and recruiting.  And it starts with allowing time for learning because it makes a clear statement.  It tells your employees that you care about their career, their value to the organization, and you appreciate them.  That is the bottom-line!

What say you?