Staying in the one job you until you retire is uncommon practice these days, with many employees often switching roles in favour for something that will challenge and inspire them. So, why is personal development important for job satisfaction, what are some ways you can upskill and how can it step up your career game?
It is human nature to want to grow; this applies to personal life as well as to work. Those who are just starting their careers have different ideas and goals than older colleagues. Employers who want to have a motivated – and ultimately productive – team should therefore attach great importance to the further development of their employees. Research from Hays and GO1 reveal that 92 per cent of Australian professionals say they always, frequently, or occasionally need to learn new skills at work, with 83 per cent expressing interest in learning something new. Despite this, only 48 per cent of employers believe their employees are inclined to learn something new, and only 52 per cent of employees actually receive resources to learn and develop within their role. This mismatch means that many employees are frustrated in their attempts to upskill and grow within their roles, and may be tempted to look elsewhere for elevated growth opportunities.
Lots of good reasons to continue your education
The world of work is dynamic and constantly changing, with digitisation always placing new demands on employees. The catchphrase of lifelong learning is becoming increasingly relevant: those who do not continue their education regularly run the risk of falling behind. After career breaks, such as unemployment, longer parental leave, or a sabbatical, it is often even the basic prerequisite for successful re-entry to adapt and expand previously acquired qualifications. In addition, professional training is the basis for higher salaries and better positions within a company - and it increases the chances of finding an attractive new employer if you want to change jobs. In addition to these more factual arguments, there are also various soft skill factors that give the topic meaning. Further training not only increases competence, but also increases the satisfaction, motivation and self-confidence of employees. Learning new things protects you from monotony and boredom in everyday life and broadens your horizons…and more and more people (especially younger people) are looking for exactly that.
What companies offer
Many companies have adapted to this expectation and now offer their employees various options for further training. One example is coaching, which can be done individually or in a group, depending on the topic and goal. If suitable premises are available, in-house training courses by external trainers or internal specialists can be a good opportunity for the further development of employees. With on-the-job training, employees receive new knowledge and skills directly at the workplace under the guidance of an experienced colleague or manager. A targeted expansion of competencies in certain areas can be achieved through internal or external workshops and seminars. Job rotation has also become established in some companies, in which employees swap jobs and thus have the opportunity to learn new areas of responsibility. Project work and workshops can also provide new impetus for both the company and employees to expand their skillsets.
Strengthen professional and personal competence
It would be hard to find a career these days in which professional development and further training was not possible. Whether it's about specific additional qualifications for a particular job or expanding personal competencies such as leadership skills, time management or communication techniques, the possibilities are diverse. Particularly for employees in technical professions (but by no means only for them), without regular training skills will quickly become outdated. Professional skills are an important criterion for getting a job at all, not to mention being able to meet the requirements of a role.
The interpersonal and social skills of employees – the soft skills – are also of great importance to employers. Getting along well with others is crucial for a successful professional life – often even more important than other qualifications. Those who lack the ability to work in a team or the willingness to compromise will find it difficult to climb the career ladder. Like technical skills, interpersonal skills can also be strengthened and trained, for example in coaching sessions and seminars. In the run-up, however, an intensive discussion with oneself should take place. In a honest self-assessment, with a little time and patience, it is possible to work out which soft skills you have mastered, and where there is still room for growth.
Be active yourself
If you wish to actively promote your own development within the company you’re employed at or outside of it, you should ask yourself a few questions in advance:
- Where do I want to go professionally?
- What goals do I want to achieve?
- What qualifications and skills are required for this and where can they be acquired?
- How can my upskilling be financed?
Answering these questions prior to approaching a manager for support means having all relevant information at your fingertips when explaining why further training would benefit both yourself and the company. After all, it is in the employer's interest to promote committed and motivated employees and thus ensure their long-term loyalty to the company.
The advent of a global pandemic has meant digital learning has fast become ubiquitous. With access to online coaching, webinars, podcasts, audio and video courses and more, further development is now possible anywhere in the world and within shorter timeframes.