If you’re not learning, you’re dying. If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. There is no in-between. Staleness is not a middle ground, it’s a sign that you are dying, shrinking, or moving backward.
Whew, a bit dramatic, but you get the point. According to Bridge, an employee development suite, good company culture benefits both the company and its employees, and building that good company culture stems from building a culture of learning. In fact, based on a survey they conducted, a culture of learning had the greatest impact on engagement and loyalty!
At Joy Energy Time, we believe that taking proactive steps in all areas of wellness, whether that’s your individual wellness or enhancing wellness practices at work, is everyone’s responsibility. We believe that leaders can emerge from any position and encourage you, regardless of your position at work, to be a leader. If you’re reading this, you’re already headed in the right direction!
I, Erika, am obsessed with learning. I think that’s why I’ve done so well in school (except late middle school-early high school, I went through that phase as a teenager where I fell asleep in class and, eh- settled for not the best grades.) I secretly wanted to stay in grad school forever. I love researching, writing, learning, reading, teaching, and growing. I got to pay it forward by being an adjunct professor for a few semesters. I just love the whole process of learning and get excited about sharing that with others.
So, employees and employers- if you’ve been feeling such stagnant energy around learning and growing, here are five great ways you can cultivate a culture of learning at work, which will most likely have a positive spillover effect in your personal life.
INVEST IN HIGH-QUALITY CEUS
I had to start with the most obvious ones. In the healthcare world, receiving a certain amount of continuing education units is required to maintain our professional license. Essentially, there are two types of therapists:
- Those that look forward to continuing education courses all year long that will advance their professional growth.
- Those that get them all done last minute and look for the cheapest and easiest courses to take.
Do you think the second example is the type of healthcare professional you should strive to be? No way! I get so geeked out with CEUs and look for courses to take throughout the year that are really rich and juicy in learning objectives. With that being said, I absolutely love MedBridge!
MedBridge is a subscription-based online continuing education platform. You can get all your needs met in one place, from continuing education courses (including LIVE webinars) to patient education. MedBridge’s high quality courses make consuming CEUs so much more enjoyable and something to look forward to (yes, I have taken some pretty Zzz CEUs online, which turned me off to online courses for a while).
As our world gets pricier, having an affordable subscription without sacrificing high-quality education is a perfect two birds and one stone deal for physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, nurses, and athletic trainers. You can start your subscription here or use JoyEnergyTime at checkout to save $175 off your subscription to get you started.
IMPLEMENT INTIMATE AND FREQUENT TRAININGS
Learning doesn’t have to be an eight hour long course on a Saturday, although there’s nothing inherently wrong with that (again, I geek out over courses!). Learning can come in bite-size pieces. In fact, companies that valued learning— and communicated this value to employees—had a 33.7 percent increase in engaged employees and a 55.7 percent increase in loyal employees according to Bridge. Trainings that are actually relevant to employees’ needs versus what you (if you’re a manager) THINK they need. Of course looking from the outside in, you may have a good idea of what your team needs, but always having those conversations around what employees need at that time and building in opportunities to learn can help build engagement, higher organizational commitment, and increase personal and professional growth. Think hard and soft skills here.
- ‘Hard skills’ include: clinical skills, evidence-based interventions and training
- ‘Soft skills’ include: communication skills, coping skills, time management skills
With that being said, let’s move onto number three…
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
To maintain tenure and decrease turnover rates, think about work-life integration. As much as you are tempted to treat work and the rest of life as separate entities, ask yourself this:
- When was the last time you brought stress from home to work, or vice versa?
- Does an inability to fully rest and recover during my off-time impact my energy and productivity at work?
- If things are going great at work, how does that impact my personal life, and vice versa?
Although your organization may not be able to provide all the types of trainings to support well-being (especially those far-fetched ideas like, I don’t know, underwater basket weaving), ask yourself, ‘What trainings can support employee well-being that will have a direct impact on their occupational performance at work?’
According to Panagioti et al. (2018), investments in organizational strategies to monitor and improve wellness in healthcare professionals and therefore improve patient outcomes is needed. In fact, interventions geared towards improving the culture of healthcare organizations- and as we know, building a strong culture of learning- and support the wellness of individual employees that are supported and funded by healthcare organizations has been found to be beneficial.
Wellness initiatives need not be extravagant or expensive. To support a culture of learning, support the wellness needs of yourself and your team to enhance your commitment your work. How can you start to implement wellness initiatives in the workplace? Grab our free 10 Workplace Wellness Ideas in Healthcare for Little-No Cost download to get you started!
INVEST IN EACH OTHER
In healthcare, we typically engage in interdisciplinary interactions on a regular basis. Even on an intradisciplinary level, we can bump heads, suffer from the consequences of ineffective communication, and have poor relationships with our co-workers overall. Invest in growing together. Uh, here we go- there’s no I in team (please forgive me). Although you may not like like a co-worker and want to be their BFF outside of work, let’s face it- you spend a lot of time at work. If you solely show up at work to do your work and leave (or have built a team of employees that do this), how can you foster meaningful interactions that will enhance overall team morale? This can be done even for contracted employees that don’t have set hours. Be a leader and invest the time and energy to learn about each other, know each other’s birthdays, each other’s appreciation languages, whether they like matcha or coffee, etc. Effort goes a long way.
BUILD TRUST AND LEADERSHIP FROM THE GROUND UP
You can’t build a sturdy house on a sand foundation, right? If there’s a lot of cleaning up to do, it’s best to address basic and individual needs before you can focus on teamwork and growth needs. I have yet another goodie for you- here is a 12-question survey download that breaks down the four type of work needs to foster engagement. This survey can serve as the basis of how work gets done at your organization, with some real gut-check questions. If you can’t say yes to these questions, it may put you at risk for being not-engaged at work to being straight up vengeful at work because your needs aren’t being met…yikes.
To sum it up, you’re learning or you’re dying on the inside, so get to learning with your team! Summary of tools listed in article:
- $175 off yearly subscription for CEUs through MedBridge
- 10 Workplace Wellness Ideas in Healthcare for Little-No Cost
- 12 Question Employee Engagement Survey
Written by: Erika del Pozo, co-founder at Joy Energy Time
Panagioti, M., Geraghty, K., Johnson, J., Zhou, A., Panagopoulou, E., Chew-Graham, C., Peters, D., Hodkinson, A., Riley, R.,& Esmail, A. (2018). Association between physician burnout and patient safety, professionalism,and patient satisfaction: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, .doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.3713