Many companies see the value of continuous learning. Yet it often happens that companies get to work very enthusiastically, but that over time enthusiasm fades.
It turns out not to be easy to create the right mindset, as an organization you quickly fall back into old patterns. What can you do now to get into that continuous learning mode?
Why continuous learning?
First, let’s zoom in on why continuous learning is actually so important. The world around us is changing faster and faster.
How do you ensure that your organization remains relevant? By learning. Peter Senge, American knowledge management scientist and director of the Center for Organizational Learning, puts it this way:
“In the long run, your only sustainable source of competitive advantage is your organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.”
Your people are your capital. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find, captivate and retain the right talent.
By stimulating continuous learning as an organization, your performance will improve, you will be able to change faster and respond flexibly to changes around you. You not only develop your human capital, you also fascinate and bind them. That way you stay ahead of your competition.
It sounds so easy and yet it often doesn’t happen. Why? Right now, here and now, it doesn’t hurt if you don’t invest in continuous learning.
You are busy, the business is running like crazy. A training plan? That means long training courses and that costs time and money. Moreover: how should all of that be done? Plenty of reasons not to get moving.
Until the famous Kodak moment presents itself, where you as a company are overtaken by reality.
In 1999 there were two start-ups: Hot Orange and Coolblue. Nobody knows Hot Orange anymore. At Coolblue we all get at least an itch in one corner of our mouth. A good example of an organization that has embraced continuous learning.
Organizations that have continuous learning high on the agenda and are also fully engaged in this experience a lot of benefit from this. Learning interventions ensure a 14% increase in employee productivity. The costs of the organization fall by no less than 36%.
Strive for the same goals
In companies that continuously learn to embrace, we see that learning & development has the same goals as the business. HR and the business share the responsibility for a learning organization.
The training processes are optimized and learning and development takes place at many moments, not only formally but also informally. Moreover, employees are involved in shaping their own development.
This situation may seem like a utopia. But 15% of organizations succeed, so why not strive for it?
What can you do as a manager?
As a manager you have a great influence on the learning of your employees. What can you do?
Provide a clear objective and include your employees in this. A clear goal ensures that your employees see the usefulness and necessity of continuous development. Set their learning goals together with your employees and make them concrete.
Ask your employees about their development and ask questions such as: What do you need to perform as well as possible in your work? And give compliments when someone tries something new.
Change your mindset.
Think outside the box. A training or education does not always have to be the right way to learn, for example by linking an employee to a buddy with whom he or she can work together. And you don’t always have to go through an e-learning from A to Z, sometimes it is better to pick out exactly those things that are relevant to you.
Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it. – Steve Maraboli
Set a good example.
Show that you are also learning and that you make time for it in your diary. Try out some new things and discuss your mistakes and learning moments.
Make employees (co-) responsible for their development. Let them come up with ideas and initiatives about how they want to meet their learning needs. Also give them the space to try out their newly acquired skills and knowledge in the workplace.
Make use of tools that support learning.
What can you do as an HR (D) department?
As an HR (D) department, how do you take the business along in a mindset of continuous learning?
Remove any possible resistance to learning. Make learning as accessible as possible. Managers often see learning as the well-known bear on the road. Make sure that the organization gives space to learn and make learning a topic of conversation. And above all: start small. You do not have to set up enormous training programs immediately. Start small and build from there.
Like the managers, the HR department can also use tools that support learning.
Just in time
Ensure that employees can learn ‘just in time’; the moment they have a learning question, that it can be fulfilled, for example by setting up buddy programs or having a good insight into who within your company are experts in what. Also provide digital support, for example by ensuring that screen tools or microlearning tools are available.
Involve managers in setting up development processes and ask managers to involve their employees in turn. Ask both managers and users for feedback when you are developing training paths.
Use internal social media such as Yammer or an internal chat app to promote your learning activities within your company.
Avoid the Kodak moment
It takes us an average of 66 days to learn new behavior. You need some time to make learning a habit. Moreover, learning requires guts, you have to dare. Learning requires you to get out of your comfort zone. But learning is also decisive for lasting success. And that’s what we all want, right?
Do you also want to put continuous learning on the agenda, but could you use some help with that? We are happy to help you give knowledge development an even more strategic role. Please feel free to contact us.