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Shifting the Mindset Around Learning at Work

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Learning, Video

A few years ago, I met someone who asked me what I did for a living. So I told him: I was a professional development trainer and I work with companies to help elevate employee performance, he said, “Oh man! That sounds awful!”

I was SO shocked. I had never gotten a response like that. In fact, most people think my job sounds really fun, and it is!

Obviously, this person had some bad experiences with workplace training. And this got me thinking…There are actually a lot of misconceptions about learning in the workplace. So today, I want to help set the record straight.

The article below summarizes the video content.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have had bad learning experiences at work. Some training is downright boring and irrelevant. Not mine, of course, but some.

Even when the training is good, I’ve discovered that a lot of people are still resistant.

That can be a problem if you want to engage in training for yourself or your team, and you’d like your organization to support it financially. If the mere idea of training makes people bristle, you have an uphill battle.

Here are some of the most prevalent negative mindsets I’ve encountered about learning in the workplace and some thoughts on how we can help shift them.

Training is a waste of time.

Let’s be honest: time spent learning is time NOT spent working. That’s true. When you’re in a busy workplace, it can be hard to devote the time necessary for learning when there are so many other things vying for your attention.

BUT, that doesn’t mean learning is a waste of time. Think of it more as an investment. Yes, there’s an upfront cost, both in terms of time and money. The payoff happens at the backend. A few hours spent in training can give you NEW skills so you’re able to do more for YEARS to come. And it can enhance your existing skills so you’re able to do the same things faster and better.

The best way to make sure training doesn’t FEEL like a waste of time is to make sure it’s relevant and actionable. Relevant – meaning it directly applies to the work you’re doing and Actionable—meaning that, when you get back to your desk, you can do something specific with it.

Training is only for leaders.

UG…I’m so sick of this mentality. Why should leaders be the only ones to benefit from training? The right training doesn’t just build and enhance skills, it also helps people feel valued. When a company invests in training its staff, people feel supported. They want to stick around! And guess what…those “non-leaders” you trained may actually become your future leaders. In the meantime, they’ll help make your current leaders more effective. Afterall, it’s much easier to lead people when they’re engaged.

Training should be an equal opportunity benefit. When organizations neglect certain categories of employees, it doesn’t go unnoticed. It creates unnecessary and unhelpful divisions.

A little training can bring out the best people… You never know what potential may go untapped when you focus ALL your training attention solely on leaders.

Training is only for low performers.

Once again, training should be for everyone. Sure, low performers need it, but high performers want it. Both sides of the spectrum and everyone in between can benefit.

When someone is struggling to meet expectations, training can help give them the tools they need to succeed. Of course, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. A lot goes into performance. People need certain skills, knowledge, and abilities, but they also need motivation, recognition, and a desire to do well. Training can be one important component for improving low performance, but other support may also be needed.

That being said, high performers need the same things. If someone is really good at what they do, they may get bored if they don’t have continuous opportunities to grow and challenge their skills. They may decide to find those opportunities elsewhere. They may lose motivation and feel under-appreciated if they don’t receive the support they need to continue performing at that high level.

If you, your colleagues, or your leaders have fallen victim to these misconceptions, it’s time to make a change. Get vocal. Be an advocate for learning in your organization. Show people that, no matter how skilled and how experienced you are, there’s always room for growth. No matter what your role, you deserve to enjoy the benefits of workplace learning. It’s a valuable—even enjoyable—activity that is well worth the investment.

If you’d like to bring relevant, actionable training to your organization, connect with me at Eat Together, we can create a customized learning plan to meet the unique needs of your team.

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About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and certified Professional Career Manager (PCM). She is an author, in-demand presenter and international speaker known for engaging, entertaining, educating and empowering audiences of all sizes and backgrounds. Learn more here.

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