Instead, let us bring them into the light and help them to see the value that continued learning can bring to organizations...
Everything about L&D is focused on doing learning, producing learning, delivering or facilitating learning, reviewing learning, evaluating learning, and finding new people to learn with. That's a lot of learning!
But workplaces aren't populated exclusively by L&D specialists. Other professionals, notably in the fields of operations and finance, may look at the cold figures being spent in pursuit of development and training and not see their true importance.
Here are 10 arguments you can use to convince the doubters.
1.Everyone (else) does it
Growth marketer A.J. Agrawal says,: "There're always new skills to learn and techniques to adopt.
"The most successful people in the world understand that they must continuously learn to be successful. For us to live life to the fullest, we must continually look for ways to improve."
2. If we don't do it, we'll lose out
Skeptics may see investment in learning purely as a cost, not a benefit, with negligible return on investment (ROI). But a valid counter-argument is, "If you think the costs involved in learning are high, you should examine the extremely high business costs of not learning."
Cath Convery, head of operations at the U.K.-based L&D consultants Explosive Learning Solutions, says, "We're seeing increases, across Europe particularly, in learning that's linked to business requirements.
"All L&D activities can make a direct impact to a business's bottom-line, but they won't if L&D professionals don't start emphasizing the ROI that can result from their work, and link their efforts directly to the business need. That's the key: to ensure that L&D professionals are driving true business value."
3. Learning changes things
Any organization that wants to grow and flourish needs to invest in its workers through continual L&D.
Given the rapid pace of change in the modern business landscape, your workforce needs to continually develop new knowledge and new skills to enable your organization to compete effectively in the marketplace.
4. It leads to new opportunities
For individuals, learning helps to broaden horizons and encourage self-development. With their new knowledge, they may be able to identify new opportunities for your organization, or identify more efficient ways of working. L&D activities can expand your people's list of contacts, including potential customers.
5. Learning makes you happier
Learning can be tough but, according to Agrawal, "Studies have shown that the more ambitious goals we set, the happier we are, especially when we achieve them. Personal development is a way to guarantee us serenity from within."
6. It improves productivity and reduces costs
Happier workers tend to be more productive and engaged. They may stay longer with your team or organization, not least because they feel that you value them by investing in their development. That reduces your organization's recruitment, selection and onboarding costs.
7. Learners can inspire and teach others
People who've acquired knowledge or skills can pass that information to others. Indeed, Agrawal says, "The only way to mastery is through teaching. One of the best feelings in the world is teaching others what you've learned.
"As a leader of your organization, you need to make learning a part of your culture. Teach others what you've learned. You should become such a great teacher that your company can run itself without you there."
8. It makes your people more valuable
This is a trickier concept to sell because it implies that, having learned new things, workers will become more valuable to other employers.
However, by the same argument, the "learned" worker becomes more valuable- that is, more efficient, effective and productive - to your organization because of their learning.
It's your organization's responsibility to sufficiently interest, incentivize and motivate that marketable worker to stay working for your organization, and not take their knowledge and skills elsewhere.
9. Learning encourages commitment
Today, perhaps more than ever, workers are "time poor." So the potential learner must see the benefit of doing it. Explain what he or she can gain from the learning. Will it give him a chance to take on higher responsibility? Will it make him a stronger candidate for promotion?
If your team members can see that you are committed to their development, the payback will likely be their increased commitment to you and your organization.
10. Learning keeps the brain active
As you can see from this Mind Tools article, learning boosts the connections within your brain, and your brain can then apply that learning to other areas or problems. So, the more you learn, the better you get at learning!
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