Employee learning and talent development cannot be sustained — let alone produce return on investment — by attending a webinar here and a conference there. Such a belief is outdated and unrealistic.
What employees ultimately learn from are the challenges that crop up while they wade through the weeds of their everyday workflow. Staring past professors, PowerPoints and projectors can’t compete with solving any kind of problem real time.
Spontaneous problem solving creates lasting employee learning that is relevant and applicable to the world businesses face today, rather than the nice-to-have ideas and trends that conference speakers and webinar instructors educate employees on for tomorrow.
Uncovering disguised learning opportunities that lay dormant within an employees’ daily workflow is the key to unlock operational excellence in employee learning and talent development. Companies of all shapes and sizes can use their daily departmental workflow to create sustainable learning and increase overall employee productivity by adhering to three simple rules of thumb:
1. Bottlenecks become breakthroughs. Whether onboarding new hires, procuring new goods and services, maintaining the IT infrastructure or making travel plans, it’s often the little and seemingly insignificant daily back-ups and bottlenecks that, over the course of weeks and months, snowball into significant wastes of time, money and resources.
These are also missed opportunities to create and implement practical employee learning. Before they can successfully capitalize on a user-generated learning economy, organizations first need to identify where bottlenecks lay within their employee’s daily workflow.
2. Embrace educator-employees. Similar to a “player-coach,” a member of a sports team who simultaneously holds both playing and coaching duties, every organization has key team members who are great at getting the job done and teaching their fellow colleagues. Especially for the millennial generation, learning doesn’t come from the top down. It comes from the bottom up.
Employees know best when it comes to identifying the overlooked, yet constant setbacks that arise within the day-to-day workflow. Management teams can benefit from these everyday scenarios by letting their employees generate a crowdsourced knowledge base. Fostering a culture of employee-led education leads to better adoption, faster development, greater colleague support and better team performance.
3. Praise practical platforms. Many traditional learning management systems on the market are based on the consumption of static instructor-led training or outdated online courses. But consistently curating and delivering this type of learning content is unsustainable, and the content itself is often inapplicable to what’s really going on in the business. If employees are learning and developing in real-time, the LMS must be designed to deliver learning content in relevant, bite-sized learning blocks.
A learning platform should easily integrate into the daily workflow, instead of having to integrate workflow into an LMS. The kind of learning platforms that companies need today emphasize interactivity, networking and collaboration.
Excellence in employee learning and talent development is all about creating opportunities, which should function as naturally and organically as the rest of daily business processes. To get there, management teams must audit their workflow through a learning lens. The three aforementioned rules will make an impact on company culture and on the bottom line.Filed under: Leadership Development, Learning Delivery