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Unleashing the Power of Continued Learning in Des Moines Workplaces

Continued Learning

January 11, 2024

It is crucial that, if Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses want to be successful in the market, they never stop learning.

It happens all too often — leaders get a status quo that they’re happy with, trust that those under them will ensure it's maintained and treat that status quo as a foundational truth that isn’t to be messed with.

What these leaders don’t understand is that the “current state” of the market is never solid ground to build upon. Instead of a grassy plain ripe for building, the market is more of a roaring ocean; you can sail on it, but if you don’t keep an eye on the changing winds and the shifting currents, you’re likely to sink before you know anything is wrong.

Benefits of Continuous Learning

The way to avoid this occurring is to invest in continuous education for your staff. For example, Wellmark offers up to $15,000 a year in education assistance to eligible staff, alongside a student loan repayment program. “Education assistance is a benefit that I truly believe is a win-win for both employers and employees,” says Wellmark’s Marci Chickering. “From our perspective, while it might not be the flashiest benefit on the block, investing in your employee’s education shows you’re invested in their future growth and development.”

Education allows you as a leader to keep your eye on current trends and challenges in workforce development, while empowering your employees to become innovators in their own right. It also makes employees happier while they’re at work, opening doors for them to develop in new and exciting ways.

If you’re a Des Moines business leader wondering how you can take a proactive approach to challenges in the market, sharpen your competitive edge and both attract talent and increase retention, you’re in the right place. Let’s talk about the benefits of ongoing education.

Attracting Talent

First off, there’s this: what drives the modern-day employee is an opportunity to grow, especially for fresh graduates looking to make a name for themselves in their field. What they want is to sign with a stable company that will offer them opportunities to develop their skillsets in new and interesting ways.

If you’re having trouble attracting employees with your listings, try advertising your in-house training opportunities as large-scale businesses like Casey’s and Wells Fargo do. Whether all your employees take advantage of in-house training opportunities or not, its presence tells them that you are willing to invest in their professional development. Further, the expenditure of resources required to set up in-house training will be returned a thousandfold in your employees picking up new skill sets, making them increasingly valuable assets in your company’s development.

Too many employees have the inverse experience; being promised a guiding hand in their professional development, only to be sidelined by an ever-increasing mound of immediate tasks. Putting your training offerings front and center will put you miles above those who don’t in the eyes of potential applicants, making a concrete promise for a future full of steady career development.

Enhancing Retention

Likewise, providing opportunities for employee education will help ensure that your workforce sticks around for the long haul. Professional growth opportunities contribute to employees’ happiness, and one of the many benefits of providing ongoing education is that it allows employees to branch out in the directions that make them happiest.

Eighty-seven percent of millennials prioritize professional development as a key factor in what makes them happy in the workplace, and research from Gallup shows that 90% of businesses see benefits like boosts to productivity, sales and employee engagement.

Additionally, ongoing education allows you to fill skill gaps in your team. Say your graphic designer has just resigned, and you have a boatload of infographic scripts, social posts that need accompanying graphics and multimedia assets in production. But you also have a writer who has expressed interest in graphic design. You could help them get a leg up by offering graphic design training options, such as in the Adobe suite of design software.

This enables them to learn a new skill which they can also put to use for your company and is going to be a lot less expensive than a new hire. Allowing them to explore their passion not only leaves them feeling happier than before but fills the gap of the former employees’ absence while also keeping the writer role filled.

This effect of keeping a team’s cohesion intact is why you need specialized employee training. It’s how you build employee loyalty that can’t be easily swayed by a higher dollar amount, or other proposed amenities.

Finding a workplace truly invested in employee development can be a difficult proposition, and it’s a niche often occupied by larger businesses that have taken root in DSM, like Hy-Vee and Mercer Health and Benefits. Both have comprehensive employee development and well-being programs that encourage career growth and keep longtime employees happy and healthy.

Unlocking Innovation

Finally, we come to the crux of the matter: your employees can’t come up with creative solutions if they don’t have all the tools at their disposal required to do so. Training them in the fundamentals of their practice with an online course ensures they have the foundation to perform well, and shows them new tactics that they may not have been aware of previously.

Courses or tutorials from platforms like Udemy, Wondrium or Khan Academy teach your employees a wide range of skills and approaches that they can leverage to meet their goals. It’s only with that solid understanding of the basics that they can begin to dream up alternative, innovative tactics of their own.

That said, there’s nothing like taking advantage of what’s right here in DSM. Professional development opportunities abound, from the Small Business Success Summit to the DEI Management Certification Program. Additionally, organizations such as Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) can ensure your employees are able to learn valuable new skills at a pace that suits them and your business. Continuing education options at DMACC include career-focused training, professional licensure and relicensure, interactive online courses and more.

We hope that this guide was helpful and demonstrated adequately that with an institutional expectation of ongoing education, your local business can crest the waves of the market without so much as slowing down.

Job opportunities and career resources are abundant in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Whether you're looking to find an internship, a job, develop professionally or grow as a student, we have the resources to help you thrive.

Sam Bowman

Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.