september 07, 2023
How to Make Learning a Part of Everyday Work
Work imperatives invariably overshadow the privilege of learning. But what if we could integrate more learning into our daily work? How can we use workflow to support learning? First of all, be open to learning opportunities throughout your day.
As AI and new employment models reconfigure the business world, lifelong learning is now accepted as a business imperative. Eighty percent of business leaders now see the need for new skills as their biggest business challenge. For employees, research now shows that development opportunities have become the second most important factor in happiness at work (after the nature of the work itself).
How do we integrate learning into the powerful current of the daily workflow? There is a way, a new paradigm, “learning in the workflow”.
1. What is learning in the workflow?
Learning in the workflow refers to the integration of learning activities and resources directly into employees’ daily workflows. Rather than organizing separate training sessions or dedicating time to learning, this approach seamlessly integrates learning opportunities into the natural flow of employees’ work. It aims to provide just-in-time support, relevant knowledge and easily accessible learning resources when needed. Learning in the workflow emphasizes the idea that learning should be a continuous and integrated part of the work process, enhancing employee productivity, performance and development.
2. The employee-initiated learning approach
What could you do, as an individual with a taste for learning, to learn as part of your job? Here’s a practical approach you could implement today.
A. Learn from colleagues
Be aware and present in your daily work. This has many benefits, including a greater capacity for learning and development. For example, don’t just sit in on a negotiation with a purchasing expert; notice and learn their tactics and techniques as you engage with them. Ask product managers about product features, salespeople about industry trends, your peers about your presentation skills. These types of inquiries are learning experiences, and most peers love to tell you what they know.
B. Keep a list of things to learn
Every day, you’re confronted with many learning opportunities and, with a degree of metacognition, you’ll notice more of them. You often have to let them pass immediately because you’re busy with something else. But that doesn’t mean you have to waste the opportunity. Write down a list of concepts, thoughts, practices and vocabulary you’d like to explore, mark them in your browser and add them to your list. You can explore them later, when you have a few moments to reflect.
C. Build learning time into your schedule
Agree with your manager on a reasonable proportion of your working week that can be devoted to learning (an hour, for example). Then set this time and stick to it. It can be as little as 15 to 30 minutes a day. Treat learning as an important task, not an option.
D. Subscribe to a small number of highly relevant newsletters
Choose them carefully, according to your role, industry and personality. In the end, there won’t be many that are both excellent and relevant. Unsubscribe from the rest.
E. Contribute actively to a learning channel where people actually work
Work happens in different places in different companies, but the examples we hear most often are from people using SharePoint, Slack and Teams. If your company doesn’t have a learning channel, create one. LiveLearn is the right platform for this. There you can learn and share content with your colleagues.
When you share something new and interesting with your colleagues on these platforms, don’t just paste in a URL. Help people understand why you’re sharing it, by explaining which aspects of the content are important and why.
2. The employer-initiated learning approach
When HR managers are asked how they plan to acquire new skills in the future, almost two-thirds say they will go out and recruit the new skills they need. This method is costly: it’s six times cheaper to develop technical skills in-house than to find them on the job market.
So, how can companies make better use of workflow to develop the skills of their workforce?
This section is particularly aimed at business leaders who are ready to change systems, processes and culture to increase the capabilities of their workforce.
A. Share content internally
It’s now possible to use technology to harness the organic learning that happens in one part of the company and extend the benefits to the whole organization.
Technologies such as LMSs can help you share content internally and manage your training and skills enhancement programs quickly and easily.
B. Make sure the company’s knowledge systems are accurate and easy to use
Your employees are constantly on the lookout for information, and are likely to go to Google and YouTube to find answers. Accept this reality, but devote time to maintaining and improving the internal systems (such as LiveLearn) you have to make them faster and more useful.
C. Dedicate a channel of your corporate communications software to learning
Create a dedicated learning space in your communication software and promote it with meaningful contributions from company leaders. Encourage naturally active sharers and influencers to publish and promote new content. If these contributions come from your organization’s leaders, the message that learning is essential will ring out louder and clearer.
D. Develop mentoring programs
Match experienced employees with those looking to learn and develop. Mentoring promotes knowledge transfer and professional growth.
E. Reward continuous learning
Create incentives for employees who invest in their own development, such as bonuses or opportunities for advancement.
F. Regularly assess skills needs and offer training opportunities
Stay up to date with industry developments and new technologies, then adjust your training programs accordingly. Invest in training by offering courses, workshops and professional development sessions. Make sure these opportunities are accessible to all employees.
Making learning part of the daily routine for both individuals and employers promotes professional growth, innovation, long-term competitiveness and a culture of lifelong learning. It also helps to strengthen employee commitment and create a positive working environment.
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