Ride the Wave of Change: Create a Learning Culture

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(Newswire.net — March 9, 2020) St Paul, MM — Imagine having a workplace where your industry’s best and brightest are drawn. Not only do people want to join your organization, they are happy to stay and grow with you. Imagine the uplift in ROI that happens when employees take part in collaboration, spontaneous innovation and fulfilling your organization’s mission, vision and brand promise. A microlearning program designed for your organization, and co-created by your people, is a strategic asset that helps achieve your organization’s highest vision. When successfully implemented, the outcome is a continuous learning culture that:

  • Engages and retains your workforce
  • Inspires innovation
  • Emphasizes integrity and greater purpose
  • Instills a sense of brand ownership
  • Encourages and empowers discretionary effort

Build an organizational learning system that elevates your workforce.

Business organizations spend more than a hundred billion dollars annually on workforce learning, yet few of them have solid proof of the return on their learning investment. Meanwhile, Gallup reports that fewer than 20 percent of U.S. employees claim to have meaningful work experiences where they can learn new skills and develop their career potential. Considering the expense, it hardly seems cost effective for companies on a budget to invest further in employee education. However, what if companies were able to tie their learning investment to performance? How, then, would learning within these organizations change?

Eighty percent of CEOs believe the need for new skills is their biggest business challenge. Employee turnover and the lack of skilled talent can do more to slow a company down than any training expense. Furthermore, hiring talent from the job market is a costly proposition. Seeking talent from the outside can be six times more expensive than developing it from within. At the same time, many employees are eager to learn. According to LinkedIn Research, 94 percent of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. We are reaching a time in history when learning has as much clout with employees as capital.

Learning plays an important role in keeping employees happy and engaged. Millennial and Gen Z employees say the opportunity to learn and grow is the thing that inspires them most and makes them want to work harder. Given that most employees are seeking opportunities to learn and advance, workplace learning should offer an economic advantage. The challenge is in designing a learning program that operates effectively and efficiently within the constraints of a busy work environment.

Managing change requires a new perspective on learning.

Innovative companies view learning as a priority. They develop a culture in which the concept of “lifelong learning” applies. They look at learning as an exercise through which employees develop critical thinking skills along with accomplishing specific competencies. Learning becomes a disciplined routine, much like a physical workout. However, instead of exercising the muscles in the body, the muscles of the mind are being stretched. Much like athletes who condition themselves to perform sports, active learners condition themselves to think and learn on the fly. In the process, they attune themselves to opportunities to innovate and grow.

Companies that build learning into their culture are more productive and resilient. They are better at retaining their workforce through good times and bad. They also are adept at managing change and recognizing the opportunities it presents. According to Oracle’s Human Capital Management division, employees in a high-impact learning culture increase their knowledge, competence and performance. Executive leaders and management alike take ownership of the learning system. Values, processes and procedures all reflect learning’s positive impact on business, which results in the organization outperforming its competitors by a significant margin.

Learning should be compatible with the busy workplace.

Microlearning is education delivered in short, concentrated bursts with the intention of achieving specific objectives. It originated in the technology industry where, in order to collaborate, programmers needed to comprehend, adapt to and apply new knowledge quickly. Micro courses are designed and distributed systematically, which allows learners to anticipate and allocate the time necessary for completion. Comprehension is tracked, recorded and rewarded through the learning management portal that encourages participation while providing feedback to learners and their leaders. Microlearning is compatible with busy workdays and lives, thus it can become a strategic asset that companies leverage to maximize their returns.

Microlearning is not a substitute for formal education or seminar training. It doesn’t allow the time it takes to dive deeply into a subject and explore its tangents and nuances. Such in-depth learning requires focused time and commitment exclusive to activities like work. Instead, microlearning concentrates on a single piece of learning, a fraction of which might be considered a course. It communicates and reinforces essential information while avoiding superfluous content. Structured within a 10- to 15-minute segment of time, a micro course may include video training, quizzes and opportunities for group discussion. Courses are organized into learning tracks that help guide learners through additional courses and studies to develop their desired skills and leadership competencies.

Collaborate on microlearning design, execution and evaluation.

Creating a well-designed microlearning program needn’t be time consuming nor arduous for any one or few persons on your team. Learning opportunities and resources abound in the workplace. The people in your workforce possess much of what is needed to create and maintain a viable learning program. The learning materials obtained inhouse can supplemented with educational resources from subject matter experts and coaches. In some instances, there may be prefabricated learning tools that can be trimmed or edited to fit within the microlearning structure. For example, longer courses may be edited and broken into three or more micro courses, which makes it easier for busy learners to participate.

The formula for creating a successful microlearning program is summarized with the acronym BRIGHT. To be BRIGHT, micro courses must be:

Brief—Micro courses focus on a singular topic. They are specific and have all the fluff removed. The content along with course review should take no more than 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Courses are created in a consistent framework so that learners are not surprised or apprehensive about fitting them into their busy work schedules.

Routine—Micro courses may be performed once or twice weekly or even daily. For example, what begins as two 10-minute micro courses per week adds up to more than 17 hours of focused learning within a year’s time. When weekly learning is balanced with 10-20 minutes of timed discussion, teams also develop their talent for collaboration and communication.

Inclusive—Make your micro-course catalog available and interactive. This doesn’t mean that everybody in the workplace takes the same courses (unless that’s your plan). Rather, everyone in the organization is given the opportunity to learn. Also, it means that the learning process involves group discussion and evaluation.

Germane—Micro courses should align with the learning objectives of your organization, which must clearly be defined before any course design begins. Create courses that relate to your company’s vision, mission and core values. Additionally, include courses that encourage best practices along with relevant skills and techniques.

Honorable—A valuable learning system is one that is used. The way to maintain your learning system’s value is through prioritization, acknowledgement, and honoring the learners who actively participate. For example, if the objective of a learning track is leadership advancement, then the benefits should be made clear and deliverable when the learner fulfills its requirements.

Trackable—A learning system that improves your organization’s bottom line will leave clues. Therefore, it’s important to observe and capture early success indicators. Keeping track of employee participation is just the beginning. Consider brand value creation, innovation, customer and employee retention among the metrics that your learning system identifies and follows.

Learning offers corporate leaders a strategic advantage.

Leaders who realize a return on their learning investment are involved in the design and promotion of learning within their organization. Corporate executives have a strong influence over the success of employee learning. Additionally, they can leverage their organization’s learning system toward the facilitation of their strategic plan. In order to capture potential rewards, the c-suite’s ongoing role in learning should include:

  • Ensuring that learning is strategically aligned. Course descriptions need to explain what the coursework is about, who it’s for and why it matters
  • Making learning a priority and recognizing achievement
  • Creating space for learning and structuring it in a way that’s practical, efficient and manageable
  • Encouraging knowledge sharing and promoting learning opportunities
  • Allocating disciplined time for virtual or live discussion to recap and reinforce learning
  • Replacing performance evaluations with learning evaluations that track performance
  • Making learning personal—measurable—rewarded

Furthermore, corporate executives who model the behavior they wish to see in their workforce contribute strategically and cumulatively to their organization. They understand the value of making learning an integral part of workplace culture.

Build upon a culture of continuous learning.

A high-impact learning culture can put the power of microlearning to work in an organization. Employees who wish to advance their careers gain a clear learning path to follow. Leaders obtain evidence of their employees’ aptitude and acquire the tools to develop their potential. A well-designed and managed microlearning system helps leaders to recognize, develop and retain top talent. It also improves the organization’s ability to advance from within, which reduces recruiting expenses.

To provide maximum returns, the learning system must be built on a framework that supports learning at all levels and across all divisions of the organization. Executive leaders who actively promote a culture of learning can turn microlearning into a strategic asset by:

  • Defining skills and competencies that are paramount to success: Focusing on competitive advantages through which your organization will continue to win and grow
  • Creating learning programs to develop skills and competencies: Designing coursework that enhances the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve its stated objectives
  • Ensuring that learning is aligned strategically: Communicating the company’s mission, vision, values and strategic plan well in advance of course design
  • Identifying, testing and capturing metrics on learning and retention: Knowing where to find evidence of success in people, processes and performance overall
  • Monitoring the effect of learning programs on select metrics: Understanding the degree to which learning contributes to corporate success and where improvements can be made
  • Developing and deepening a continuous learning culture: Leveraging the power of learning within the workflow of your organization.

By making coursework understandable, practical and accessible to your entire workforce, you communicate a high value for learning and an appreciation for the learners on your team. Learning is facilitated when the catalog contains BRIGHT courses created from a template that maintains consistent formatting, time and quality standards. Consistent formatting enables employees to engage in both learning and creating new material.  Additionally, when the c-suite is engaged in learning, they become a catalyst for learning that’s difficult to ignore. Lifelong learners and high performers can experience more fulfillment. Beyond company perks, workplace wellness and flexibility, learning can be a powerful force in developing and retaining talent, all which have an impact on ROI.

About Spirit of Success LLC

Successfellows.com is a microlearning platform published by Spirit of Success. Successfellows.com helps business leaders engage, develop and retain their talented workforce.

Spirit of Success LLC

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St Paul, Minnesota 55110
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