The COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant changes to people’s life, personal as well as professional. The world saw various unprecedented changes in a very short span of time. In the professional world, adoption of digital technologies took place faster than expected. All the sectors had to focus on adapting to the new normal. Industries and sectors across the economy are getting ready for the new world order, upgrading their technologies and up-skilling their employees. Organizations and individuals are working hard to learn new things, upgrade their skills and adapt to the post-Covid business scenario. Learning has once again become critical for survival in the changed business circumstances.
Founder of Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford once said that “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young”. Therefore, in this column we will discuss the importance of perennial learning with special focus on the rapid changes thrust upon the world by the pandemic.
Why is continuous learning important?
Learning is a continuous process. One should consider it as a life process. Gaining knowledge not only keeps one’s mind and body active, it also helps people adapt to any new or rapid changes. Learning new things keeps one motivated and relevant. It helps people grow in confidence and opens doors for new opportunities. Any person, organization or civilization starts dying the day it stops learning and reinventing itself. The current world where things have drastically changed in a short span of 10 to 12 months, the survival of any professional organization or person will entirely depend on their ability to adapt, up-skill and learn new things.
Developing new skills
Development of new skills is one of the most important outcomes of continuous learning. Professionals who are in the habit of constantly learning not only gain perfection in their own field but also develop new skills. Such professionals, besides performing their own tasks with perfection, become helpful to their colleagues too. Employees with multiple skills become prized assets for their organizations. Multi-tasking will be one of the most important traits that employers will seek in the post-Covid hiring process.
Easy to retain
In the business world shaken by the pandemic, most organizations have been forced to reduce the number of their employees. In such cases, the organizations would prefer to have personnel who can perform more than one task. When it comes to the laying off; the employees having a tendency and attitude to learn new things will be the last to be laid off. Organizations understand that the pandemic might end in near future; however, the changes brought by it, especially in the mindset, are here to stay. With uncertainty looming all around, employers would like to retain employees who are easy to teach new skills and adapt to new situations.
Increased market value
On the personal front, professionals who keep learning new things and upgrade their skills create a higher market value for themselves. Such people always stay relevant and are the most sought after commodities in the job market. Due to the high value attached to such employees, organizations go another mile to hire or retain them. The tendency & ability to learn new things and adapt to new situations becomes the difference between more successful and less successful professionals.
Likeability, motivation and mental health
Employees who continuously learn new things and upgrade their skills have a positive aura around them. They motivate fellow workers to learn new things and spread optimism at their workplace. This increases their likeability at the workplace. Learning and up-skilling have also been linked to improved mental health and high self esteem in the individuals. This in turns improves their productivity and overall well being.
World is more dynamic than ever before
The advent of COVID-19 radically changed the dynamics of the world and business in a short span. Leaders, philosophers and elders have always emphasized on the value of continuous learning. Most of us also understood the value gaining knowledge and developing skills. However most of us were happy with our situation and didn’t want to step out of our comfort zone. Individuals who focused on learning and up-skilling have gained more success than others in their lives and careers. However, in the world stunned by COVID-19 outbreak, learning and up-skilling is no longer a matter of gaining more than others but a matter of survival. Things are changing rapidly at work places and companies are upgrading their technologies and reducing their workforce. Futuristic technologies are being introduced much earlier than previously anticipated. Those who have been constantly learning and upgrading their skills have stronger chances of survival and those refusing or unable to learn new things are bound to perish sooner or later.