News Article

THE NEW NORMAL The Ongoing Benefits of Upskilling and Learning – to Employees and Employers

Posted 16th September 2020 • Written by People First •

In mid-April, when much of the world was shielding from coronavirus in lockdown, Google searches for terms like ‘online courses’ and ‘free online courses’ reached a historic high. 
LinkedIn reported that in the first week of April, people watched 1.7 million hours of video content on LinkedIn Learning compared 560,000 hours in the first week of January.

And a survey of 2,002 U.K. adults taken during the lockdown by The Open University found 24% had taken on additional learning opportunities to “boost their employability and protect the value of their skills”.

Although interest has declined since that peak week in April, those search terms have still not returned to their pre-coronavirus levels. Clearly, our appetite for learning is not yet sated.
Why learning?

The reasons are manifold.

Some, without a commute, are making the most of more time in the day to learn,
Some people upskill because they need to protect their earning potential
Others are increasingly persuaded to learn by their employers.

Employees at  AnswerConnect, are encouraged to spend at least 150 minutes learning per week and the company pays for relevant professional courses and books.
They share resources with each other, recommend new articles, etc.
Employees continually develop their skills, but it also keeps them mental active and helps their personal wellbeing.
Good for the company too.
Everyone benefits by learning and then sharing what they have learned.

A mentally well, present and productive workforce is incentive enough, but there are other benefits.
Research by the American Society for Training and Development looked at the training investments of 575 U.S.-based, publicly traded firms between 1996 and 1998.
It found an increase of $680 in a firm’s training expenditures per employee generates, on average, a 6% improvement in a firm’s total shareholder return in the following year, even after controlling for many other important factors.
Firms that spent the most on training also enjoyed higher profit margins and higher income per employee.

Some companies are even designing their own online ecosystems to support long-term remote work practices and are building in dedicated portals that can be populated with courses and training packages. This is coupled with tools to effect cultural change: you’ll see chat channels dedicated to learning, people filming and posting 10-minute video summaries of completed courses in company social media feeds, badges earned and proudly ‘pinned’ to online profiles.

Interestingly, the recent lockdown appears to have persuaded some employers that training should extend beyond professional development and into personal and creative passions, such as online music lessons in guitar and piano, to masterclasses in crafts or creative writing, with those who take part talking up the minimizing effect on stress and the benefits of activating different parts of the brain. 

We have many Upskilling ideas here on our website, it will be good for your mental health and could be good for your career too.

There’s little doubt we’ll see e-learning portals populated with far more than work-related training modules in the coming years, as the working world grasps the wide-ranging benefits of a lifetime of learning.


Adapted from an article on  

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