No matter what kind of organization you run, you use technology. The emphasis on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in schools today is no accident. In today’s society, foundational knowledge of STEM subjects is essential for almost every job. Unfortunately, not many people have the drive or interest in seriously pursuing STEM in school—just 28% of high school freshmen want to consider a STEM major and career. That leaves a skill shortfall in many workplaces.
Sure, your team may know how to navigate an operating system and send an email, but do they have the in-depth knowledge of STEM skills and the tools they need to succeed? Not everyone needs to be a master coder, but it is important to provide your team with the resources they need to advance and excel in the workplace. Here are 7 resources you can provide to help your employees learn and advance.
There are so many great resources out there that will let your team learn the basics of core STEM skills, like coding. Codeacademy is a great way to start, since it’s free and offers self-paced lessons in all kinds of coding language. It’s important for your team to have the right motivation and the time to practice coding, so build in some time and consider having the learning culminate in a project team members can share.
2. Bring in a Speaker
Are there specific skills or knowledge you think could benefit your team? Bring in an expert for a lunch session and teach the group something new. It should be a subject that is applicable to everyone. For example, you could bring someone in to talk about data creation and storage. With the massive amount of data being created every day (44 trillion gigabytes will exist by 2020), everyone should understand the role of data centers in the workplace, and how the cloud and networks operate. If there’s a subject everyone could learn something from, consider hiring a speaker.
3. Do Interdepartmental Training
Depending on the team you oversee, technical skills might not enter into their everyday work all that often. However, you could have incredible resources within your own company for teaching the basics of those skills to kickstart your team’s professional development in STEM. If you have a development team, consider starting up a “buddy system” for mentoring. If your developers are too busy to be a mentor (and let’s face it, most are), you could do interdepartmental trainings for 1-2 hours a week to give other departments a glimpse into what it takes to get and keep your company online.
4. Share Relevant News
You can take education into your own hands simply by keeping up with trends in technology. Google Alerts is a free service that sends you the latest news every day about the topics you choose. It only takes a few seconds to set up Google Alerts, but you’ll have relevant and interesting information to share with your team when the latest STEM topics come up.
5. Create a Fun Challenge
Adults don’t normally like to admit it, but it’s a lot of fun to channel your inner child into a project. As a team leader, you can tap into this excitement and break up the monotony of the day by creating a fun challenge. Try using these teachers’ tools for STEM projects to come up with something fun, but productive.
6. Case Studies
Knowing why learning STEM matters is important for engaging your team with learning new skills. Find some examples of where technology is being used in unexpected ways—like the use of cutting edge technologies in healthcare, including 3-D printing and virtual reality. Seeing how diverse applications for technology can be might help get your team talking about how these and other technologies can be implemented within the company.
You don’t have to have a big budget to get your team learning. Alison.com is a great resource for teaching specific skills. Its online courses cover a wide range of STEM topics, and each student can go at their own pace. If your employees need to learn a STEM skill, Alison is a great place to start.