Change is the only constant. A continuously changing macro-environment is forcing organizations to redirect and realign a ‘return to work’ after the new normal. Agile ways of working demands that employees change too. This can only come from a mindset of continuous improvement and change readiness, which in turn, stems from a continuous learning culture. In fact, the organizational learning ethos has undergone a drastic change in the past, with ‘employee-driven learning’ fast replacing a top-down approach to driving the learning agenda.
The new learning ethos
Gone are the days when organizational skill-building was about getting people together into a closed classroom and disseminating knowledge one-way. The modern-day employee as well as new-age organizations are focused on self-paced learning, which places the employee at the heart of capability building. The rise of remote working, and therein, the necessity to go digital, has transformed the way learning is disseminated and consumed.
As many employees continue to work-from-home, the learning imperative is on the employee. Leaders must support this change by making the right investments in state-of-the-art learning tools and learning content, to unleash the best of the workforce. Many organizations have taken this in stride, and revamped the learning ecosystem, but this can only be realized if learning becomes an integral way of life for its people. Here’s how:
§ Leverage the power of teams: Agile teams are becoming the driving unit of organizational performance. Teams will be able to learn and adapt faster than individual workers alone, since teams of motivated individuals will challenge each other to come up with better, more creative ideas.
§ Track future skills: Being informed on the latest skills-landscape and anticipating future skill needs is a must-do to stay relevant and add value to the organization. For example, the advent of AI and machine learning was a natural progression from building big data capability. Make it a point to keep track of future skills and hot skills to invest in learning.
§ Invest in learning in the flow of work: Learning must be an ongoing activity, but sometimes it is difficult to dedicate time to learning in the midst of work. Identify ways to practice the skills you’re learning during work and remind yourself of your learning habits, block time on your calendar, and set up an appointment with a mentor to review learning.
§ Leverage learning analytics: It is critical to be adept at the latest tools and technologies. Learning platforms offer many insight-driven action steps to boost your learning agenda, make sure you make the most of it. Perhaps the biggest, and most far-reaching L&D trend for 2021 will be the mainstream adoption of data in corporate learning design.
§ Enhance workplace collaboration: Effective team management stems from a number of sub-skills, which may need to be consciously built. Collaboration, communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, problem solving, critical thinking, are only some of the necessary skills for career success. Identify ways to engage in cross-team learning, and job rotations that can help build these skills.
§ Stay curious, ask questions: Perhaps the single biggest habit that can help one grow as a professional is to be curious, and ask questions to authentic and reliable information providers. Being curious means you get into a habit of staying up-to-date. What’s more, asking intelligent questions is a great way to demonstrate your worth at work.
These are some of the key learning habits that can accelerate learning, optimize skill-building and career growth. It is equally important to track progress and seek inputs on the learning goals from one’s manager and leadership. Furthermore, organizations must enable an ecosystem of learning to support the learner and to create a highly engaging learning culture.