Why Lifelong Learning Is Essential
Over the last decade, lifelong learning has become a necessity for employees, companies, and society as a whole in order to meet the, technological, professional and climate challenges, that we will face both now and in the future. Moreover, according to a report by Dell and the Institute for the Future, a Californian think-tank "85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not yet been created."
However, becoming a learning society is not something that just happens overnight. It requires an ecosystem that lends itself to lifelong learning. This implies a willingness on the part of employees and organizations to embrace learning, an adequate range of training programs, and much more. While the benefits are undeniable, turning to training is far from being a natural reflex for employees and companies. It is therefore up to each of us to ensure that we have the training we need and to capitalize on everything we learn. At HEC Paris Executive Education, we offer a comprehensive range of lifelong learning programs that have been designed to meet the specific needs of both employees and companies.
Increasing access to lifelong learning in the working population
There is no doubt that "lifelong learning fosters people’s capacity to deal with change and to build the future they want. Learning to learn and managing your own learning journey must become basic competences," underlines UNESCO's 2020 report Embracing a Culture of Lifelong Learning. To increase our employability, become more agile, open up new career opportunities, or even create a business, acquiring new skills and developing creativity through training is essential. As learning is a collective process, learners have the added bonus of expanding their networks and being able to capitalize on the experiences of others.
However, developing our own learning abilities and accepting to go outside of our comfort zone is far from natural for all of us. According to a study by Randstad Research published in 2020, only 50% of the workforce had followed a training course in 2019. So, why is there so much reluctance among employees? Some of the most common reasons include:
- Lack of time
- Confusion concerning training entitlements and the different administrative steps involved
- Lack of interest - working for a company that does not prioritize training means that employees do noy have the necessary incentive. Similarly, the idea of going back to school and learning passively can put people off.
- There are general misconceptions surrounding training - for some people, applying for training is like admitting to a lack of knowledge, when in reality it is proof of maturity and self-confidence.
Despite the obvious benefits of training, how can we generate interest, and above all, the desire to learn on a regular basis?
The pivotal role of companies in promoting lifelong learning
UNESCO reminds us that "workplace learning is a crucial driver of lifelong learning and becomes increasingly important, considering the ongoing transformation of the nature of work and the changes taking place in the labor market."
The company plays a crucial role because it is responsible for instilling a culture of learning. In order to do this, it must display a clear managerial commitment to training and communicate effectively about training opportunities and rights. Given the plethora of professional training programs now available, the company can, for example, pre-select offers that are specific to its needs and its sector, and even collaborate with schools or training institutions to design customized training programs.
However, there is also a certain reluctance to actively promote lifelong learning in some organizations. For many of them, especially small businesses, the absence of an employee for training purposes can have a significant impact on activity. Training also requires a financial investment by the company. Moreover, the larger the company, the greater the training needs. Yet while the needs and resources to implement training differ from one organization to another, the benefits remain the same.
The virtuous effect of lifelong learning on companies
The impact of lifelong learning is not always apparent immediately, but companies that invest in training their employees, and consequently in their human capital, always reap rewards. The benefits of training their teams are numerous. It enables companies to improve performance levels, become more competitive and resilient, have a greater ability to innovate and meet the challenges of tomorrow. It also makes companies more attractive to talents.
Training is also a major source of well-being and motivation for employees, and this can have a significant impact on the success of a company. According to a recent study carried out by Warwick University, a happy employee is 12% more productive, contributes more to the common good, and is more creative and innovative.
How HEC Paris Executive Education provides support for lifelong learning
Many professionals have understood the impact of lifelong learning and want to develop their own learning journey once they enter the workforce. HEC Paris Executive Education is fully aware of the importance of lifelong learning, and therefore offers a comprehensive range of training programs to meet the specific needs of employees, as well as customized programs for companies wishing to develop their teams.
HEC Paris Executive Education is constantly reinventing itself and enriching its training portfolio to offer flexible, relevant and impactful training programs. Everyone can shape and determine their own learning journey. They can, for example begin with a short program and then supplement their knowledge by following a certificate program. They can then use the credits gained towards an Executive Master's degree. Our Program Advisors are at hand to help participants put together the most appropriate and impactful learning journey.
Working closely with institutions such as HEC Paris to co-develop customized training programs for their teams, can also be of great interest for companies. As well as designing a training program for the specific needs of its employees, the company also benefits from personalized advice to ensure that its expectations are met and that its constraints are taken into account. Companies can opt for the most appropriate learning methods (in-person, distance learning, blended learning) and adopt an action-based learning approach. This learning by doing approach plays a key role at HEC Paris Executive Education. It enables us to offer interactive and experiential training programs, which feature practical cases, quizzes, and group reflection activities to promote commitment and the application of knowledge, and to guarantee maximum impact for both the participants and the company.
As UNESCO reminds us, “regardless of age, method or context, learners can learn whatever they choose, be it to update their knowledge or skills, to adapt to an ever-changing environment, to get a better job or simply for the joy of enhancing skills and satisfying curiosity.”
So, where are you on your lifelong learning journey?