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Service Desk: Creating a Culture of Learning Instead of an Education Policy
Top talent is looking for organizations that will help them learn and grow, so integrators need to evolve their education policies.
We no longer live in a world where a large salary and a 401K or pension plan are enough to attract and retain talent. Today’s worker takes a hard look at the culture in their current or prospective company.
Most are now focused on becoming a part of a company with a strong culture that revolves around education, training and personal development.
Simply put, your top employees are looking to you to continuously educate them.
In order to attract that top-level employee and stay competitive in the tech world you may need to develop or create a new culture to support them. Let’s explore a few ideas to get you there.
Make education a part of onboarding
Start educating your staff during your onboarding process. You need to train them anyway, so why not develop a mini–training program for each system they use? Many of the products you use offer training courses or videos, so use them.
Do not forget to address employee soft skills. Emotional intelligence, critical thinking and people management are necessary soft skills for your front-line staff.
Talk about education being a requirement, not an option. If education becomes part of your culture, it’s not thought of as an option anymore. In your company, strive to be sure everyone stays current and educated.
If you have staff that choose not to take part in continuing their education, they either aren’t a fit for your new culture or aren’t a top–line employee. You will likely need to address whether they’ll have an extended future with your company.
Once you’ve successfully onboarded an employee or have current employees already at your AV business, it’s time to determine what types of certifications you want to make standard.
Maybe you have a set of three or four you think would be integral to your level 1 staff. Perhaps there are a few more for the level 2 staff. A mix of general skills, security and networking are a good baseline.
You may also want to add in project management, service management and focused technical training for level 2.
Some certifications will need to be refreshed periodically. Others are current if you get related certifications, while some will need updating as products change. You will need to decide what is relevant in your company.
Now that your employee has invested the time and effort to achieve this knowledge, how are you rewarding them? Do you offer a pay bump after a certification? Do they get a badge, a special parking spot, or another spiff? Have something as an added benefit.
Rewards are an integral part of culture. Not all have to be monetary, but they do need to be meaningful.
Who pays for all this knowledge?
Education is part of your benefits package and should be regarded as such. Speak with your accountant about the potential benefits of covering these costs, as well as college as employee benefits.
Choose a learning platform that gives you an option to create learning paths for your employees. This allows you to track progress and create incentives and rewards for those who meet their goals and deadlines.
Harness that knowledge
Creating a learning culture should bring you the additional benefit of innovation. With the right balance of soft skills, certifications, and college education you are developing leaders, not just learners. Those leaders will help you drive innovation in the company.
Give staff time to work on projects to drive that innovation. Often, a crazy idea that refines itself over time from a staff member working on a project becomes a profitable venture when given the time and resources to produce that innovation.
Creating your learning culture
We know that the modern worker is looking for personal and professional development. Creating a culture that fosters that development in turn creates employee engagement. Engaged employees are happier and drive innovation.
Make learning a part of your onboarding. Create ongoing learning paths that aren’t optional. Make learning part of your benefit package and have a reward system. In no time you will have a way to both educate your staff and benefit your company’s bottom line.
About the author: Dawn R. Sizer is the CEO of 3rd Element Consulting, Inc. She has been a member of The ASCII Group since 2018.
Reprinted with permission, courtesy Commercial Integrator