In the quest to achieve better business results, companies do all sorts of things. They innovate solutions to problems within the company and for their customers with their products and services. They seek out and hire the best talent they can afford. And if they’re smart, they also provide rich opportunities for workplace learning. When done right, it improves company operations, advances the careers of workers, satisfies more customers and keeps the bottom line moving in the right direction. As learning and HR thought leader Josh Bersin put it in a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, “…learning is a rising tide that lifts all boats.” Shouldn’t something so valuable be happening each and every day? Here’s how daily workplace learning benefits everyone.
Shifting the Learning Mindset
Bersin also notes in the same article how the problem that arises is when “…the urgency of work invariably trumps the luxury of learning.” This is why a shift in mindset is needed – one that views workplace learning not as a luxury or nice-to-have, but as a necessary and vital investment into giving all parties involved a pathway to better business results.
When workplace learning isn’t given the priority it deserves, it’s easy to see why it so often fails to deliver the results everyone wants. Learning content isn’t relevant or engaging. People can’t find what they need when they need it. Using the company’s learning management system (LMS) is an exercise in frustration.
Smart Workers Want More Workplace Learning
Workers who want to stay relevant understand they must be constantly “upskilling” themselves through learning. After all, a study at Oxford University revealed how the “half-life” of job skills has shrunk from 30 years back in the 1980s to just five years in today’s rapidly-changing, tech-driven work environment. And as it turns out, a growing number of workers are recognizing that the quality of learning opportunities made available to them through the workplace matters to them deeply. In fact, one study with a rather small sample size (826), found employees rated learning and development over salary. A larger LinkedIn survey involving 2,400 participants found opportunities for learning and developed was the number two driving force behind workplace satisfaction. By correlation, this means companies that want to improve employee retention would do well to make sure they’re providing robust opportunities for learning and development to all of their workers.
Lots of people still use “to-do” lists at work, and Bersin recommends employees keep another list called a “to-learn” list – jot down the things you notice you need to learn to do your job better or to advance your career rather than just letting them slip by unaddressed. This information can be valuable for both individual employees and the company as well in order to begin identifying workplace learning needs and how to best meet them.
Take Advantage of Microlearning
Returning to the HBR article, Bersin also notes how “On average, knowledge workers carve out just five minutes for formal learning each day.” Although at first glance that sounds both sad and depressing, what if your workers could learn something truly valuable in those five minutes? This is exactly what bite-sized learning can do, and a growing number of companies are leveraging microlearning into great business results.
I don’t think microlearning should be the sum total for all learning in any company. There are some topics and skills for which microlearning is not the best approach – but you might be surprised at how often it can and does work. For more information on what microlearning can do, check out these articles:
- Microlearning Essentials: The What and Why
- 7 Microlearning Myths Dispelled
- Integrating Corporate Microlearning into Workflow
Many businesses have improved operations by taking a “just-in-time” approach. In manufacturing, it involves working out ordering systems and supplier relationships so raw materials arrive as they’re needed, rather than wasting space and money to store inventory. It has been applied to retail inventory management systems as well. When you think about, though, it makes sense to incorporate this methodology to workplace learning. When you have a question and you use Google to find an answer or watch a YouTube video tutorial, you’re essentially taking a just-in-time learning approach.
This is why I mentioned the frustration so many people have around the company LMS. People are growing more and more accustomed to finding what they want to know when they want (or need) to know it, thanks to the far-reaching power of the Internet. The same can’t always be said for the company LMS. This can be as simple as switching to an LMS with a more robust search functionality. It might be more complex if the learning content you typically distribute through your LMS isn’t good, isn’t optimized for quickly learning smaller chunks of knowledge that can be consumed rapidly and immediately applied (such as microlearning), and so on.
The Business Case for Daily Workplace Learning
In addition to the employee retention and satisfaction angles mentioned earlier as important rationales for more workplace learning, there is another important reason that goes into the business case for it. If your company is serious about building its internal capacity with the skills of the now and near future, how will it do so? Do you expect HR to recruit and hire for those needed skills? That’s a very expensive way to go about it. Many businesses find it is hugely less expensive to tackle this issue through learning programs and content to build those skills internally.
And it goes without saying that if your company takes learning more seriously than it currently does by figuring out how to fit it in and around the everyday working life of your employees, you’re going to get better business results from all that learning!
Learning Culture is Key
If it’s not already apparent from everything you’ve already seen in this article, a commitment to daily workplace learning requires establishing a learning culture that might not already exist in your company. If that’s the case, you have a longer, tougher row to hoe to get the job done, but there’s no time like the present to get started. Check out some of my previous articles about the why and how of a learning culture in the workplace:
- 5 Reasons for Fostering a Learning Culture in the Workplace
- Learning Culture Assessment at Your Company
- Creating a Learning Organization: Fostering a Learning Culture
If you start your journey towards daily workplace learning and realize you don’t have the learning management system (LMS) you need to make it happen, take a closer look at the eLeaP solution to realize the following benefits:
- Robust features that are easy to use.
- Monthly pricing that is affordable.
- A Library of 850+ training videos on all kinds of business topics.
- An eCommerce solution to turn your learning content into a revenue stream.
Best of all, you can sign up right now for a free 30-day trial to experience all of this and more for yourself. If better workplace learning is on your agenda, then eLeaP should be too!