How can you make your employees and your organisation more successful? This is a question that’s always on any leader’s mind, be it an organisation’s CEO, HR and training manager or department head.
The answer is to become a learning organisation. By promoting a culture of continuous learning for every employee in your organisation, you can expect amazing results. This includes increased employee engagement and productivity, increased profits and the achievement of your strategic goals.
So, what exactly is a learning organisation?How do you build one?And what are the key benefits? Read on to find out.
What is a learning organisation?
A learning organisation has the best chance to succeed and thrive in the future. In his book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, Peter Senge said that a learning organisation is a place “where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free and where people are continually learning how to learn together”.
How to build a learning organisation and why it’s important
Here are five ways to create a learning culture for the improvement and success of your organisation:
1. Model the actions you want to develop in your employees
Tell your employees that you want to become a learning organisation, then walk your talk. If you want to encourage your employees to take on the task of becoming a learning organisation, you should continually learn yourself. When you read books and articles, make sure you share what you learnt with your employees. Attend training sessions and conferences and share your learnings or create opportunities for your employees to attend. If you walk your talk, your employees are more likely to follow your example and help bring your organisation success in terms of accomplishing your strategic goals and vision.
2. Get your employees to develop a ‘test and learn’ mindset
It’s about empowering your employees to test new ideas, to fail or make mistakes, and then learn the lessons of their experiments. It’ll encourage them to understand that learning is important if they want to stay relevant in the modern workplace where there’s constant innovation. What’s more, having an innovative workforce can ensure the continuing success of your organisation.
3. Create multidisciplinary project teams
Allowing your employees to transfer knowledge to others is another great way to build a learning organisation. You can do this by creating multidisciplinary project teams. When you bring employees from different departments together, they can learn more about each other’s roles and be able to work with people who specialise in areas different to their own. And as their knowledge expands, their expertise will both deepen and narrow, which can help produce great results for your organisation, including increased efficiency and productivity.
4. Promote and reward your experts
You should put in place a program that promotes and rewards expertise. For example, let your most talented people study and improve their skills, give them career progression in their discipline, and publicise and promote their success. This’ll tell the rest of your employees that ‘expertise matters’, encouraging them to continuously learn and do better at their job.
Moreover, create an internal directory of experts that allow them to promote their own skills and experiences to others. A great example is a video learning portal where your experts upload videos that show themselves doing their job well or how they solve problems on the job. This allows other employees to learn from their experiences and best practices, which can help improve efficiency and productivity.
5. Invest in professional development programs
You should implement professional development programs that blend formal and informal learning, such as classroom learning, online modules, micro-credentials, on-the-job training, and workplace mentoring. Formal learning like classroom learning, which helps people learn how to improve their skills and also gain new skills and knowledge, can result in greater productivity and satisfaction. On the other hand, informal learning like on-the-job training can help your employees learn quickly on the job.
Professional development programs help your employees to acquire the latest skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their job. In turn, they can also improve your bottom line by:
- Enhancing employee engagement
- Reducing the need for supervision
- Improving customer service and satisfaction
- Reducing absenteeism and promoting retention
- Supporting organisational innovation and dynamism
- Maximising resources and inputs (eg time, existing capital)
- Achieving changing strategic goals in response to market conditions.
How can micro-credentials improve learning within your organisation?
Micro-credentials are similar to on-the-job training, where they offer practical learning solutions and help your employees learn quickly on the job. For example, salespeople learn by making sales calls and customer service people learn by solving problems.
Micro-credentials can also improve learning within your organisation in the following ways:
- Training your employees in hard skills (eg digital marketing, data analytics, front-end web development, social media)
- Training your employees in soft skills (eg self-management, teamwork, communication, customer service, problem-solving, leadership)
- Training your employees to develop specialised skill sets
- Ensuring your employees are sufficiently skilled for interdisciplinary roles
- Ensuring your employees’ skills and knowledge are up to date.
Overall, micro-credentials can help your employees learn quickly, improve their existing skills, grow from their mistakes or failures, and gain new skills and knowledge.
Additionally, micro-credentials can be used to measure your employees’ capabilities and performance to ensure that learning is serving your organisation’s ends. They can also be used to assess your organisation’s rate and level of learning to ensure that gains have been made, such as superior product or service quality, better delivery, and increased market share.
Ready to become a learning organisation?
In a rapidly changing work environment, the key to success is becoming a learning organisation. By allowing your employees to always learn new skills and gain new knowledge, not only will they better themselves and gain an edge, you’ll also obtain the skills you need from your workforce and get a leg up on your competitors. Now that you know the advantages of having a learning organisation and how to build one, it’s time to become one.
DeakinCo. offers learning and development solutions that enhance the performance of individuals and the organisations they work in. To find out more about how our micro-credentials and other services can enhance your organisation’s competitive advantage, contact us for a discussion today.