We’re all very aware of the short lifespan of skills these days. Many of the skills taught in training sessions on specific processes and programs are obsolete less than a year later. As a result, the value of soft skills, especially learning agility, has increased exponentially. Without employees who can adapt quickly and create new solutions, organizations won’t be able to provide the value that retains clients and keeps customers coming back.
In a 2015 SHRM article, Josh Bersin said, “The single biggest driver of business impact is the strength of an organization’s learning culture.” To achieve a learning culture, we have to understand what practices and tools encourage learning agility in individual employees.
Learning agility is that golden mindset of being curious, open to new knowledge and experiences, and resourceful in new situations. How do we train people to be agile learners, though? Point them toward ways they can flex their learning muscles on the job, anytime, anywhere, and reward them for it!
Offer Accessible Content in Various Formats
Online training options are plentiful, and some employees may seek out these opportunities on their own, but if you want to foster a strong learning culture, you have to be invested in providing content that meets their needs and preferences. Make sure that up-to-date content in a variety of formats (videos, interactive e-learning, e-books, etc.) is available at employees’ fingertips whenever and wherever they need it. This approach allows them to learn in the more autonomous, self-directed capacity that underpins a learning culture. The short, single-subject nature of microlearning, in particular, makes it easy to fit into employees’ busy schedules, so they can cultivate a habit of developing new skills every day.
Classroom training has its benefits, but your organization can’t rely on in-person training alone if you want to develop a culture that is continuously learning. Training content today should be available 24/7 and adapt quickly to the shifting skills needed in today’s workforce. A curated, on-demand content library that’s consistently updated provides a simple solution to helping employees direct their own learning and develop their innovative thinking. Always-on training plays a central role in moving organizations from an event-based training mindset to a mindset of continuous learning.
Gain Insights and Reward Curiosity
Providing an online training content library is the first step toward developing a high-performing organization through fostering learning agility. Beyond delivering content, take advantage of all the insights that online learning platforms have to offer. By tracking elective learning, you can see which topics are most popular among your employees and use that insight to encourage those who aren’t participating as much in learning. You can also use gamification features to challenge teams to view and share content, discuss what they’ve learned, and foster collaboration.
Be sure to pay attention to which employees are engaging in learning most, and reward their curiosity. Use the online learning platform to deliver feedback and publicly praise employees who lean into self-directed learning. Managers can be helpful here, so give them access to learning insights for their team, and encourage them to share content and facilitate discussions around it. Understanding what an employee is interested in learning sets up the relationship for a plethora of great conversation points, including the employee’s strengths and weaknesses, company values alignment, career pathing, and more.
Make It a Shared Effort
The Corporate Executive Board Company defines a learning culture as “a culture that supports an open mindset, an independent quest for knowledge, and shared learning directed toward the mission and goals of the organization.” The way your organization provides training will have a considerable impact on how employees approach innovative thinking and sharing ideas. With self-directed, online learning, you can put training into the hands of every employee and help them take ownership over their own skill development. Learning cultures view training as a joint effort, where the organization guides and empowers employees in building their skills sets.
When your people are primed to look for learning opportunities every day, they’ll generate innovative ideas, big and small, that help your business overcome challenges and easily adapt to changes that come its way.