by Kathleen Federici, M.Ed.
Keeping your skills current is one of the most important ways you can do your job well and remain resilient when faced with the ever-changing demands of the workplace. Training can also prepare you for new opportunities and help you keep your job in a difficult economy. But don’t make the mistake of thinking training is entirely your employer’s responsibility. Training is not a one-way street.
To stay current, you must value yourself as an employee. Most employees’ skills decline gradually during a period of months or years. Evaluate your skills periodically so you do not fall behind. Instructor-led training is one of the most effective ways to improve skills, but cost and time can be a barrier. In a technology-driven world, there are many online training opportunities that complement instructor-led offerings.
Other ways to stay current include subscribing and contributing to relevant discussion boards, forums, trade magazines, and blogs; listening to podcasts and watching videos, and most importantly, networking with colleagues.
Strengthening your skills can help you:
- Build confidence to handle new tasks well.
- Stay motivated and present yourself when the opportunity arises to tackle a new project.
- Be more productive and better manage your time.
- Stay marketable to promotions and career advancement.
Ongoing training has a positive effect on employees. It can improve morale by increasing job satisfaction, boost productivity, and free up colleagues from providing support. It’s time to start looking at ongoing training as an investment – not an expense. Training is not a one-way street. Take the time to evaluate your skill set and attend relevant employer-sponsored opportunities.