The benefits of lifelong learning for companies

The benefits of lifelong learning can be expressed in business terms. In the modern business world, which is characterized by constant innovation, continuous business success is built on the willingness of managers and employees to constantly develop and learn new skills. This article explains the benefits of training programs for companies and how managers can successfully implement these measures.

Lifelong learning on the job

Learning means the acquisition of knowledge and the development and training of skills. It is particularly important in companies, as it helps to make optimum use of human resources. By definition, however, lifelong learning is part of being human. The process begins in early childhood and - depending on your perspective - never ends. Even people at an advanced age continue to develop and learn new skills, often by necessity, in order to adapt to new conditions. According to this definition, it can therefore be said that lifelong learning is the normal state of affairs.


This premise is promising for companies: employees and managers have no choice but to continuously adapt to new conditions during their careers. You learn either actively, by consciously engaging with innovative technologies or completing further training, or passively, by developing new skills based on situational needs.


Are company-organized training measures superfluous, as employees and managers acquire new knowledge anyway? It's not quite that simple.


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Continuing education in companies - facts and figures

In 2020, the year of the coronavirus pandemic, 77% of German companies offered further training measures. This is a pleasingly high figure and proves that managers are aware of the importance of trained staff.


Classic courses, seminars and training programs were offered by 63% of companies. At 73%, other forms of further training such as job rotation, e-learning events and information days were even more popular.


The extent of further training on offer varies depending on the size of the company: 57% of companies with ten to 19 employees offered further training measures, while this figure is 95% for companies with more than 1,000 employees.


On a statistical average, employees spend 28 hours a year on training courses. The increasing importance of occupational health and safety is reflected in the fact that 37% of further training measures dealt with this area - a significant increase compared to 20% in 2015. This significant increase in the importance of this topic in 2020 is likely to have been largely due to the pandemic.


The training costs per participant amounted to EUR 1,846 and the costs per employee to EUR 966.


Lifelong learning as the cornerstone of entrepreneurial success

Employees and managers benefit equally from further training measures. It is not just about learning new hard and soft skills. Further training helps to develop the personalities of employees and managers and promote a corporate culture in which lifelong learning is an essential component.


The benefits for companies are manifold: employee training increases the performance and productivity of the workforce. Employees are empowered to use technical innovations, such as ChatGPT tools, competently and safely. A culture of lifelong learning also enables a faster response to changing market conditions and/or customer needs.


For companies, this means that a qualified workforce gives them a competitive advantage over their competitors. Investment in further training measures pays off in the form of higher productivity of individual employees and, as a result, increased sales. Training programs not only increase profitability, but also reduce employee turnover by up to 50%. In turn, lower staff turnover reduces operating costs as less time is required to train new employees. This also means that further training is a suitable means of preventing the loss of qualified specialists; in times of skills shortages, this is also an invaluable competitive advantage.


Last but not least, trained employees who are committed, authentic and well-informed ensure greater customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.


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Organize further training measures correctly

When companies plan further training for their employees, there are two options to choose from: They can organize in-house training courses or commission an external provider to design and implement a training course.


Advantages and disadvantages of in-house training

There are two points in favor of in-house seminars: The training content is optimally tailored to the needs of the company. As the event takes place on the company premises, the costs remain manageable. There are no accommodation bookings, travel costs or expenses. In-house training courses also offer the advantage that the company's own training managers can set specific priorities that are important for the company.


In addition, there is no risk that information exchanged in the course of training will reach unauthorized third parties outside the company.


A disadvantage, however, is that in-house seminars are more prone to disruption than training courses that take place off-site. In practice, it regularly happens that an event participant has to interrupt the training because they are urgently needed at their workplace. These disruptions have an unfavorable effect on the atmosphere during the training and reduce the learning success.

Advantages and disadvantages of external training

Specialized conference providers have both the rooms and the infrastructure to carry out external training measures efficiently and without disruption. In most cases, companies have to send their employees to the seminar venue, which increases staff absence costs. Added to this are the costs for the provider itself.


Employees from different companies often take part in external training measures. Many participants appreciate the fact that such a setting promotes exchange and releases synergies. In addition, thinking outside the proverbial box helps to look at internal company challenges from a different perspective.


In addition, training abroad increases the motivation of the participants: for the employees, the training measure is an event in itself, consisting of the travel preparations, the journey, the measure and a closing event. The unusual environment and the design of the training as an experience have a further effect: the content conveyed is associated with positive emotions and is therefore easier to recall.


E-learning for further training

Digital formats enable just-in-time learning and therefore offer greater flexibility. Employees can spontaneously decide to take part in a specific training measure without the need for extensive preparation. These formats also make it possible to react quickly to changing conditions - for example due to new legal regulations or technical innovations.


The disadvantage of online events is that the opportunities for interpersonal interaction are limited. As the coronavirus pandemic has shown, there is also an increased risk of distraction with these formats.


For these reasons, online training should be seen as a supplement to other training formats and not as a substitute.



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The IT security of the future
Companies that continuously train their employees have an advantage over their competitors. Such companies also find it easier to retain qualified specialists and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction. Through lifelong learning, companies secure their economic future viability.


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