After a universally difficult year, and much of the workforce stuck in home offices with the lines between our work-life balances blurred, seeking creative ways to keep yourself feeling inspired is as challenging as ever. If your company offers learning and development budgets, they’re an effective tool to use to regain inspiration.
What do Learning and Development (L&D) budgets typically encompass? From certifications and networking events to workshops and mentoring, your employer can invest in your growth in many different ways. Depending on how L&D budgets at your company are managed, your employer may choose how it will be invested, or it may be up to you to spend according to your own needs.
Constantly growing your skills and educating yourself is key to progressing further in your career. In today’s fast-paced work environments, it’s important to stay on top of new trends, technologies and approaches emerging in your field. Having a L&D budget available to invest in your growth is a great benefit, and utilizing it will not only enrich you, but also show your employer that you take your career progression seriously.
So what sort of L&D opportunities might you be offered by your organization? We’ve outlined a few:
Workshops are a great way to learn new skills related to your organization while staying up-to-date and in-the-know regarding the latest tips, trends, and technologies. They can also provide you with support s to seek more varied, multidisciplinary approaches towards your responsibilities or repolish both hard or soft skills pertaining to your field of focus.
Depending on your industry, there can be a lot of need to get certified for one skill or another. Certifications are an investment in yourself, ultimately increasing your value on the job market and putting you a step ahead. Some certifications may be offered directly via your employer, or you may obtain them from external companies. In the latter case, do your research to find out which certifications are highly regarded in your field and which companies offering them are the most trustworthy.
Conferences & Events
While during the pandemic, conferences and other in-person events seemed to be an artifact of a different lifetime, they are now again reemerging and still hold a great deal of value offering a concentration of inspiring content along with the opportunity to make new, relevant connections in a short period of time. Conferences or events also provide you with access to up-to-date industry knowledge, products, technologies and even perspectives.
If you work in a multi-cultural office across multiple countries, having the chance to engage in a new language, be it the local language or that of a country where frequent business is conducted helps you expand your ability to communicate and cultural awareness which could be crucial in professional settings.
Request a Shared Bookshelf
Your employer providing you with access to necessary books, journals or other published works is another ideal option for your learning and development budget. Building an in-office library can also provide resources for independent learning as well as an opportunity to engage with team building activities. A book club can help you connect with your colleagues while deepening your understanding of a given topic related to your professional life as you process textual takeaways.
Request an expert for an in-house talk or training
Ask your employer to bring in a professional who has something of value to offer you and your colleagues -- be it motivational and inspiring or more concrete and hard-skills-oriented. Bringing outside ideas and energies into the workplace can help shake up your creativity and inspiration.
Our mentoring programs are fantastic ways to get deeper, one-on-one attention from a professional in your field of interest or expertise while growing your career. We work to pair you with a suitable mentor to help you grow in your current role, learn new soft or hard skills, and provide a different point of view.
Access to E-learning Platforms
Online-learning is more accessible than ever and the possibilities are endless. Ask for subscriber credits to platforms like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning or Masterclass for you to use your stipend towards what seems most interesting or inspiring to you personally.
Wellbeing Enabling Tools
Working continuously on your mental health and overall well-being is an ambiguous challenge, especially in the post-pandemic world. While there are many factors that play into what might strain mental health, it’s been reported that 51% of workers suffered stress, depression or anxiety in 2019. In recent years however, tools to explore and support wellbeing have become more widely available. Subscribe to tools like Headspace or Calm that offer meditations and help with better sleep. This will allow you to engage with your own mental health, and might even encourage your colleagues to do the same for an overall happier workplace.
Ask your employer to run team-building activities.
Having your team connect with each other and see one another more humanely always has profound impacts on team dynamics and your ability to problem solve effectively. Liking each other, and the space one spends 40+ hours per week in should not be overlooked. Asking for recreational time where you and your colleagues are able to get to know one another will make it so much easier to spend time together and work well as a team.
By providing a range of tools, resources and opportunities, your employer can set you up for success. Supportive Learning and Development programs lead to improved wellbeing, stronger skills, and increased productivity. Using your Learning and Development budget on the right opportunities will give you a competitive advantage, improved skills, and invaluable experiences.