Learning organization is the next step in the corporate Learning & Development evolution. Simply speaking, these are organizations committed to employee educational growth and fostering a knowledge-building culture.
We often hear about several Fortune 500 companies that make it to the sought-after list. Yet most of them completely disappear after a run of a couple of years. This is because such companies do not invest enough in company adaptability and employee upskilling. World Economic Forum reports that the life of an average Fortune 500 company is roughly between 40-50 years. After this, they are either sold or are merged into other companies.
Such modest statistics can prove to be demotivating for young business professionals. Luckily, there exists a solution in the form of learning organizations.
What is a learning organization?
According to the acclaimed writer, Peter Senge, the term means a follows:
Organizations that encourage adaptive and generative learning, encouraging their employees to think outside the box and work in conjunction with other employees to find the best answer to any problem.
Peter senge (The Fifth Discipline, 1990).
Peter further elaborates on the idea and gives five disciplines of these organizations.
- Personal mastery - The willingness of individuals in the organization to grow and learn.
- Shared vision - Joint goals of the organizations and the employees.
- Mental models - The difference between the existing 'knowledge predispositions' and actual facts.
- Team learning
- Systems thinking - The idea that individuals exist as a part of a bigger system.
One of the primary ideas behind developing such an intensive learning model is also to reduce the dependence on L&D professionals. Here, knowledge goes through a process of trial and error. Unlike the strictly expert-led model, where errors are carefully ruled out. These organizations cherish mistakes as they help in learning.
Moreover, a key feature of such a learning model is the emphasis on keeping a horizontal structure of sharing knowledge. It aims to break away from separate information silos that exist in departments. By doing so, it bridges the gaps between different sections of the companies, making them into one organic family.
Characteristics of a Learning Organization
- System Problem Solving: Adapting and learning every step of the way and then spreading the learning models onto the rest of the organization. Which is to say, scaling the learning.
- Experimentation: A key defining trait of such a learning model is trial and errors. With experimentation, one sees which methods work best for their needs and make the most of the present resources. Moreover, make use of real-life simulations for knowledge and experience building.
- Transfering Knowledge: For an organization to operate as a singular entity it is absolutely crucial that there is seamless pathway for exchange of ideas and opinions. Having a horizontal structure of communication means everyone in the company is prioritized equally and is heard.
- Learning from past experiences: This trait is all about reviewing the content and learning from its past application. Moreover, it represents that making mistakes is not a problem so long you get to learn and grow from it.
Benefits of learning organizations
Maintains institutional knowledge
Institutional knowledge requires a due process to sustain itself and be moved onto newcomers. Hence why this model is important as it enables the companies to retain all that information. Besides, it requires capturing information from experts and uploads onto the company content library for others to utilize.
Makes learning convenient
Traditionally, to transfer knowledge, time slots are set i.e. work seminars or training sessions. These don’t always coincide with everyones’ schedules. Hence prove to be unfruitful most of the time. With this particular learning model, learning opportunities are diversified in the form of mentorships, online programs, company wikis. Consequently, people can easily access information at whatever time necessary, hassle-free.
Such organizations make it their primary goal to work alongside their employ s to set clear and achievable goals. These goals then help the workforce to keep up with them and stay on track. As a result, employees also become more aware of their tasks and performance.
How to become a Learning Organization?
Here we have some steps with which you can transform your institutional culture into a dynamic one.
Reel in experts
Seek internal SMEs within the organization and ask for their assistance in developing the models for a learning organization. Alongside that, send out surveys to determine the knowledge gaps which exist within the organization and need attention. You can also ask new recruits to isolate any existing pain points in the organization as they have fresh experience working with multiple organizations and are in a unique position of giving an apt review.
Facilitate active learning
This step is all about diversifying knowledge deliverance. Create fun yet educative courses, wiki pages, and take surveys feedbacks. Essentially, engage the employees in the creation and application of learning. To make the most of this, use a collaborative learning platform that supports collaborative learning strategies.
Teachfloor provides just the resources one requires. Because of its wide range of features that support cohort-style collaborative learning such as Peer-reviewed and discussion boards, it makes for a great digital platform for such organizations.
Enhance the training content
By the changing needs, make sure to keep modifying the content to keep up. For this, conduct training and need analysis to ensure that employees are keeping up with the content and that there are no learning gaps. Moreover, seek timely feedbacks to evaluate the performance of the training and act on the changes necessary.
Encourage career growth
If you wish to truly interest your employees in actively participating in these training sessions, make sure to give them some incentives too. A great way to hold their attention is by providing them the opportunity to grow professionally. Enable them to polish their skills and advance their careers.
Scale the learning process
Expand and grow the learning models onto the rest of the departments as well. However, all the whimakingake are sure that the content is specific to the requirements of each department as well. By doing so, you will be able to grow the organization as a whole as opposed to a single department.
These were some simple steps to help you understand how you too successfully transform your organization into a learning organization. The process may not be as simple, however, but we are here to support you every step of the way.