SparkUp Editor

If people are the lifeblood of a company, then the care and keeping of employees should be top priority for any firm. This goes well beyond simply hiring the right people. It’s in promoting lifelong learning — creating a culture of growth that helps workers become the best versions of themselves they can be.
A recent study by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) found that lifelong learning leads to heightened individual and organizational engagement levels.
ATD found that only 37 percent of organizations actively encourage lifelong learning. Those that do, however, observed “better organizational performance, improved talent retention, enhanced ability to respond to changing business needs, and greater competitive ability as organizational-level benefits of encouraging lifelong learning.”
That’s where programs like TELUS International University (TIU) come in.

A culture of lifelong learning

Launched in 2011, TELUS International Philippines (TIP)’ continuous learning program provides over a thousand employees every year with opportunities to pursue their passions, building skill sets beyond their corporate careers.
According to TIP, their continuous learning program has allowed employees to develop competencies useful to both the company and their personal lives. Participants gain access to coursework in language programs and training in fields like fashion design, performing arts, and information technology.
“We put a premium on work-life integration at TELUS International Philippines,” said Frederick Estacio, TIP manager for learning and development. “The caring culture that we foster and cultivate helps us become better in what we do and an important part of that is creating a work environment that is conducive to continuous learning.”
Among the most popular courses TELUS International Philippines offers their employees is a barista training workshop they’ve designed in partnership with the Center for Culinary Arts Manila. From pulling the perfect espresso to frothing foam just right for latte art, participants gain a skill set that’s not only personally fulfilling, but potentially lucrative as well.
And through TELUS International University, employees are given opportunities beyond simply developing special interest skills. Through partnerships with University of Asia and the Pacific, Asia Pacific College, and Philippine Women’s University, participants are able to pursue full degree programs while they’re employed at TIP.
The program provides special discounts and flexible payment terms (with 50 to 85 percent of fees subsidized by the company), shuttle services for select campus classes, guidance counseling, and an in-house library of reference material. TIU has even expanded the program to offer short courses to employees’ families and friends.
“Our company’s goal is to have a hundred percent of employees with college degrees,” said Carl Angelo Espiritu, a general analyst at TELUS International University.
Thanks to their continued learning program, TIP benefits from a self-driven workforce that’s eager to take on new skills — skills that they take back into their jobs, opening up new opportunities even within the company. “We have a lot of graduates from operations and customer service that took up courses like IT and psychology that have moved on to other departments like human resources.”
“Through the program they can expand their careers professionally, and pursuing their interests personally,” he said.