Lifelong learning is key to happiness in the workplace

When it comes to the issue of poor job satisfaction, there is no simple solution, as it can be a complex and multifaceted topic. Stephan Fortier – Regional Director, UK/I at Instructure explores why companies should prioritise education by investing in it. 

One common issue in the workplace is unhappiness linked with a lack of opportunities for learning and development. Whether real or perceived, the absence of growth and progress can have a significant impact on job satisfaction.

Research from Bain & Company sheds light on the high levels of work-related stress experienced by young professionals, stemming from concerns around job security, finances, and unfulfilled career aspirations. Graduates in particular often feel burnt out and unchallenged after leaving behind the constant intellectual stimulation of their academic years.

An increasing number of young professionals are recognising the importance of continuous learning and skill development in promoting job satisfaction and self-esteem. Many are proactively seeking opportunities to upskill and enhance their career prospects through further education. Businesses are also striving to provide development opportunities for employees. The positive correlation between happiness and job performance is now widely recognised, further fuelling this trend. It’s a virtuous cycle that many people miss out on as they focus on improving their day-to-day work rather than taking time to learn and develop new skills outside their comfort zone.

With the pace of the modern workplace constantly accelerating, and the likelihood of a single career spanning 40 years decreasing, it’s more important than ever to prioritise ongoing learning and development in order to continue growing on our professional journeys.

Slow growth of upskilling in business

Offering professional development and growth opportunities is a key strategy to retain top talent. High-performing individuals are often motivated by the opportunity to improve and develop, and if they feel like they have reached a ceiling in their current role, they will likely look elsewhere for new challenges.

However, in the current economic climate, learning, and development typically take a back seat as companies implement cost-cutting measures. Instead, businesses are looking to new talent or temporary contractors to fill the skills gap. However, when compared with the time, costs, and effort required to onboard new talent, investing in your existing workforce is undoubtedly the best path to take. The tide is changing, though; research from a recent report by Instructure reveals that there is a growing demand for competency-based and skills-based learning to help enable career progression opportunities in a cost-effective and efficient way.

One way to achieve this is through micro-credentials. Micro-credentials are a form of certification that demonstrate proficiency in a specific skill or knowledge area. They are often shorter and more focused than traditional degrees or certifications, and they can be earned online from a variety of sources. Micro-credentials can be a valuable tool for learners to showcase their newly acquired skills to current and potential employers, providing proof of their abilities and setting them apart from other candidates.

Many businesses are now recognising the value of micro-credentials and are incorporating them into their training and development programs. By offering employees the opportunity to earn micro-credentials, businesses can support their employees’ professional growth while also demonstrating a commitment to developing a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Additionally, employees can use these micro-credentials to demonstrate their readiness for promotions or to seek new job opportunities in their field.

Moving forward

It’s clear that upskilling has become increasingly important. However, many organisations still struggle to implement effective learning programmes, leaving employees with the burden of self-directed learning outside their regular work hours. To make upskilling a success, it’s important to view it as a valuable investment in the long-term success of the business and the personal development of employees

By creating engaging, collaborative, and relevant learning opportunities, companies can make the upskilling journey a joy, rather than a chore. Whilst it can seem daunting at first, with the right resources and support, upskilling can be a rewarding journey that leads to increased prosperity and engagement in continuing education, benefitting both the employee and the organisation.