How to Keep Learning as a Long-Standing Employee

Vertical movement isn’t the only type of learning and growth at work. If you’re happy in your role or company but are looking for new ways to engage, start here.

Blinkist for Business — August 31, 2023

Staying in the same role for an extended period of time can be highly fulfilling and rewarding. However, after spending several years in the same position, you might start feeling a little restless and yearn for new challenges —that’s completely normal!

While there may be no immediate opportunity for vertical advancement within your company, it may not be reason enough for you to leave, and there are still many ways you can enhance your career right now which will pay off long-term.

In this article, we’ll explore strategies to help you stay engaged, keep learning, and expand your skills without having to move on from a company you most likely love.

Become a Lifelong Learner

Continuous learning is a catalyst for personal and professional development. Regardless of your title or position, there are always opportunities to develop your knowledge and competencies. Here are a few ways you can keep developing every day:

1. Allocate dedicated time for exploration

Cultivate a habit of discovery by setting aside regular blockers on your calendar. Whether it’s one hour a week or you can allocate more, you can delve into new topics, read about emerging trends, and experiment with new tools or technologies.

To start building your learning list, sign up for newsletters related to your field of work in advance so that you don’t waste too much time researching relevant content.

The Upskilling Imperative by Shelley Osborne is all about lifelong learning. Osborne explores the importance of continuously developing new skills in today’s rapidly changing world, offering practical tips and strategies for identifying and acquiring the skills needed to thrive.

2. Invest in training and workshops

Look for relevant courses, workshops, or conferences that align with your interests and the goals of your organization. If you’re working for a company that has a Learning & Development offering, take advantage of it: have a look at their catalog and sign up!

These programs can provide new insights, expose you to emerging trends, and expand your network. Broadening your knowledge can help you bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to your work.

If your company does not have a learning budget currently, talk to your People or HR team and advocate to get one. Get buy-in from teams and work with your colleagues to make this a priority. Learning budgets are becoming a company benefit that many prospective professionals are expecting and can help with retention. Use yourself as that example!

3. Look for new tasks and projects

If you’re feeling like you need more, or a new challenge, talk to your lead and offer your expertise for projects outside your department. Be your own advocate and seek out tasks or projects that push you beyond your comfort zone. Embracing challenges allows you to develop new skills, test your limits, and discover untapped potential.

Schedule a few coffee chats with different teams and see if you can help in any way. This offers a chance to network, meet new colleagues in a less formal setting, and ideate on how to work together or learn from each other.


Two Ways to Expand Your Network Today

Let’s go into that last point on coffee chats a bit deeper. Interacting with new colleagues and expanding your professional network not only leads to great ideation, it can invigorate your work experience. Here are ways to connect with others and gain fresh perspectives:

Foster new relationships

Participate in channels, groups, and meetups relevant to your field. It could be internally, a group you found on LinkedIn, or through a local chapter for your industry. Get started in conversations and engage by asking questions, and contribute your insights. Putting yourself out there and connecting with like-minded individuals may be intimidating but it can foster new relationships and expose you to diverse viewpoints.

Seek out mentors and mentees

Everyone wants to make a difference, right? So why not help others, or ask for help yourself? Reach out to other experienced professionals within your organization or industry who can offer guidance and share what they have learned in your industry or specialization. LinkedIn, as mentioned above, is a great tool for finding like minded professionals. 

Simultaneously, consider mentoring someone who may benefit from your expertise. Becoming a mentor not only helps the mentee, but can help you to gain a new perspective, too. When you are mentoring someone, you step into their shoes and see their point of view.

Gaining a new perspective like this is a valuable learning experience for both you and your mentee, and could lead to a new outlook on your role as well. By understanding the challenges and opportunities that your mentee faces, you can provide them with support, examples from your experiences, and helpful advice.


Growth Doesn’t Haven’t to Stop

As a long-standing employee, your thirst for knowledge and development doesn’t just run dry. By embracing a growth mindset and proactively seeking learning opportunities you can keep your passion alive and your skills sharp —and gain some support along the way!

Remember, growth doesn’t always mean moving up the organizational ladder; it’s about expanding your knowledge, broadening your horizons, and developing new skills while having fun along the way. Focus on the journey not the destination!

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