Continuous Learning & Employee Engagement

Oliver Bell

Everyone talks about the importance of Continuous Learning - but can it really spark engagement in your employees? This week on ProjectHR, Oliver Bell, CEO of Oliver Bell, Inc., shares his insights on continuous learning and how training can be transformational, on an organizational level as well as for individual employees. In this episode of ProjectHR, we'll talk about:

  • The distinction between Continuous Learning and Lifelong Learning
  • Formal, Social and Self-Directed learning
  • The availability of "off-the-shelf" educational content
  • How training contributes to both employee retention and engagement!

Oliver Bell

Learning & Development

“Don’t train just for the sake of training. Train because you’re going to get a result, you’re going to make people better, you’re going to make your work climate better, you’re going to make your organization better.”

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What is Continuous Learning?

  • Continuous Learning refers to learning in a business context, and consists of the set of educational experiences you have from the time you enter an organization: this may include formal training programs, exposure to working environment, onboarding, and professional interactions with others on the job.
  • Outside of a business context, this process is referred to as “Lifelong Learning”.
  • Both Lifelong and Continuous Learning often overlap!


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Different Types of Learning

  • Formal - classroom-style training 
  • Social - Interactions at work, learning by observation, culture may impact learning styles.
  • Self-Directed - formal training that delivered in a way that allows employees to move at their own pace (such as online training, or apprenticeship-style situations)

Do Organizations Create Their Own Learning Systems?

  • Companies do NOT have to create their own training from scratch!
  • There is so much educational content on the market right now - “off the shelf” training materials are available, as well as some materials  that can be customized (or semi-customized) to better suit your audience.
  • Learning & training design is important - and training goals can change over time, so it’s important to see your training materials as agile enough to change with those goals,
  • Be aware that training material content often overlaps, from topic to topic and from vendor to vendor.
  • Training should engage employees, and should give them takeaways that they can use upon leaving the training session.
  • “Don’t train just for the sake of training. Train because you’re going to get a result, you’re going to make people better, you’re going to make your work climate better, you’re going to make your organization better.”

Who Needs To Engage in Continuous Learning?

  • Continuous Learning is for all, and ESPECIALLY leaders!
  • Regardless of where they are or what their business is, leaders should make a point of seeking out communications training, as that skill is so critical to leadership responsibilities.
  • Culturally, training provides clarity for all, helps people understand the organization, why they want to be a part of it, and why they want to continue to be a part of it. This is how training contributes to retention! 

Oliver Bell, Inc.

  • A wholistic approach to improving the workforce overall.
  • Focal points: Leadership Skills, Communication, Engagement, Managing Diversity & Inclusion, The Role of the Supervisor, etc.
  • According to the Conference Board, 90% of employees are engaged when you hire them; six months later, that figure drops to just 35% -- good training, such as that provided by Oliver Bell, Inc, can help push engagement back into the 90% zone.

Oliver Bell: Backstory

  • B.S. in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point
  • Served as Chairman of the Board for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
  • Mr. Bell’s currently serves as CEO for Oliver Bell, Inc.


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