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Lifelong learning and success: where’s the one, there’s the other

Our senior management team and, indeed, our CEO Alistair Cox take lifelong learning extremely seriously, as such they have made summer reading recommendations to help assist you in your continuous learning. And, in a recent LinkedIn Influencer blog, our CEO outlined the benefits of lifelong learning within a senior leadership team 

As stated by the Harvard Business Review, summarizing several studies: "Evidence suggests reading can improve intelligence and lead to innovation and insight." No wonder that Alistair Cox, CEO of Hays Plc, has always taken self-development and lifelong learning very seriously. He sees the benefits everywhere: “When I step back and think about the most successful people I have come across in my career, they share a common theme. They all seem to genuinely enjoy learning new things and will continually challenge themselves to grow and develop. They may be at the pinnacle of their game, but they accept that they still have much to learn and actively go out to discover what they are missing. I really haven't found an exception to that rule. For them, lifelong learning is a huge part of their fulfilment and happiness, both inside and outside of work.”

That is why he has a clear message to fellow leaders: “Ask yourself this question: if lifelong learning and success are linked, is continuous learning really a personal priority to you, as the leader of your business, and, importantly, are you the role model your workforce looks up to in this regard? If the answer is anything but an unequivocal 'Yes', then there’s a real danger your best people will start to wonder if they really are in the best place to help them continually learn and develop. And you really don't want to lose your best people.”

Be a role model

The CEO of Hays Plc considers his self-development as never ending. “I strongly believe that you are never too senior or old to learn something new”, he says. “In fact, the best leaders I know are those who are always learning new things, always reading or exploring a lot and above all, always make their own development a personal priority. These people usually lead high-performing businesses. And that’s no coincidence. As I see it, if the leader of a business is committed to their own learning, generally their entire workforce can be too. And that can only lead to good things.”

Furthermore, he pushes people to always challenge themselves with a few questions: “Challenge yourself with this: what have I learned in the last year, how did I do it and what do I want to tackle next? Secondly, did anyone notice what you've done and how do you think they perceive the new, developed you? I personally think it's important that you actively show your business that you are genuinely committed to your own career development - that learning is personally important to you and your career, and that, essentially, the rest of the business should take a leaf out of your book. By doing so, a culture of lifelong learning will start to permeate.”

People leave managers, not organisations

Last but not least, the lifelong learning doesn’t stop with CEO’s or CFO’s. “This role modelling should never just start and end with you”, he continues. “Your people managers must also embody this philosophy for it to really make a difference. But that might mean you need to spearhead a change in mind set. Your managers mustn’t see learning and development as a cost, or a waste of time, rather an investment in the long-term health and sustainability of themselves, their team and the wider organisation.”

Want to read more on lifelong learning? Take a look at these three blogs:

The one attribute employers are looking for
Seven ways to upskill yourself out of the office
4 simple steps to prepare for future jobs

Job blog articles