A new study by LinkedIn and Deloitte talked to over 2,000 business professionals about their experiences with continuing education. The study showed that the more people learn, the more likely they are to be happy and satisfied in their work. In fact, what the study called “heavy learners”–people who spent more than five hours a week learning–were 21 percent more likely to be happy at work than those who spent less time learning.
Why would continuing education make people happier at work? Other parts of the study may explain. In addition to being happier at work, heavy learners were also 47 percent less likely to be stressed at work and 48 percent more likely to have found purpose in their work. They were 74 percent more likely to know where they wanted to go in their career and where 39 percent more likely to feel productive and successful.
Taken together, it is easy to see how learning can have a tremendous impact on work happiness. It stands to reason that being less stressed, more productive, more purposeful and more successful would be a recipe for greater happiness at work. Some light learners, those who spend one to five hours a week learning, shared the benefits listed above but at lower levels than the heavy learners.
Learning In the Workplace
Any amount of continuing education is bound to be beneficial. In fact, employees who see their jobs as lacking in growth and learning opportunities are more likely to leave a job than those that do have these opportunities, the same study showed. The inability to learn and grow was the top reason given when people were asked what would make them look for a new job.
Employee turnover is expensive, so employers should consider providing continuing education opportunities by bringing instructors to the workplace or sending employees to courses that would benefit them. Continuing education is a relatively low-cost way to incentivize employees to stay when they might otherwise go.
Providing continuing education through the workplace is also important in light of the fact that most employees work over 40 hours a week and said in another LinkedIn study that they don’t feel like they have time to spend on continuing education. Both on-site and off-site opportunities can be facilitated by time off or other incentives in order to prioritize learning and benefit from it.
The workplace is constantly changing, and the truth of the matter is that continuing education isn’t just a nice idea, it’s necessary to keep up with the continuing evolution of positions, tasks and needs of a typical workplace. Whether employers are able to provide continuing education or employees need to take initiative to ensure that their skills stay up to date, much depends on making these educational opportunities happen.
CCSU provides many continuing education courses, including some on-site opportunities for employers. View our open courses to find out how they can benefit you or your employees.