We can all agree that knowledge is important. However, knowledge development is often still in the same corner as getting enough exercise and working on a healthy lifestyle.
We all know it is important, but it is not urgent and we will only see its effects in the longer term. Skipping sports once or twice is not such an issue. Structurally too little exercise is, however, and in the best case scenario ensures that you are not in top condition. And that is only the best scenario. Translate that to your company and wonder how it is possible that knowledge development is not on the strategic agenda?
We often come across this in practice. Even at organizations where knowledge is the core business, such as IT secondments. Of course, companies don't hire IT people because they are such nice people. They do this because they have knowledge and skills that are not available in-house at that time. If the knowledge of those hired IT staff is no longer up to date, or even better; if this knowledge is not ahead of the average IT professional, you may wonder what the right to exist of such secondments is. What will it bring you if you do put knowledge development on the agenda?
But also for companies for which knowledge is not the core business, knowledge development should be high on the agenda. How else do you stay ahead of the competition? Peter Senge, knowledge management scientist, says the following:
“In the long run, the only sustainable competitive advantage is your organization's ability to learn faster than the competition”
Your company is always in a race – although it may not always feel that way on slow business days – and the only way to be and stay ahead of the competition is by not standing still and continuously developing.
Other reasons to invest in the development of your employees
In addition to competitive advantage, there are of course other important reasons to invest in the development of your employees:
- Happy employees; Offering good development opportunities makes employees happy and binds them to your company. Keeping your current IT staff happy is a lot cheaper than attracting new ones.
- Flexibility; To be able to quickly anticipate trends and challenges, a flexible and learning organization is required. Any change requires knowledge and the ability to develop quickly
- Attractive employer; Good IT people are not easy to find. In order to attract new IT staff, you will have to be really attractive as an employer. After all, many IT professionals indicate that development opportunities are very important in their choice for a new employer.
Why not on the strategic agenda after all?
We get it. Knowledge development is not a quick win and for its ROI you have to look beyond the current sprint. Because there is no immediately visible effect, the (continued) training of employees is often also seen as a cost item. And that while lower staff turnover and higher turnover literally mean substantial profit can be achieved (source). This is even independent of the strategic advantage that knowledge development provides you. However, this requires a longer breath and a strong long-term vision. And that is not easy, especially given the current situation.
In addition, knowledge development is seen as something difficult. These include training plans, development goals, training budgets, purchasing and administration. A learning platform is an enormous solution for those kinds of ‘difficult' things. That takes all these things off your hands and it helps you as a manager to get a grip on the knowledge development of your employees. Insight into their development and progress allows you to better coach and guide your employees in their careers. And that will make your employees happy and ultimately a better operating result.
A good learning platform motivates your employees, provides nudges to get them to learn and gives them the tools to achieve their learning goals and map out learning paths. It is also the central place where all knowledge in the organization comes together. Because it stimulates knowledge sharing, it also ensures better knowledge distribution throughout the organization. In this way, you as an organization take important steps to facilitate knowledge development and to make it a permanent part of your strategic objectives.
Do you want to know how to keep a grip on knowledge development, also from a distance? Or do you need help to put continuous learning on the agenda? We are happy to help you!
HR Consultant UK is a learning platform that is built to fully facilitate IT companies in their knowledge development. The learning platform consists of an LMS with integrated IT academy (3,000+ online and classroom IT training). The platform, together with our Customer Success Team, relieves you of all training efforts.