There’s exceptional enthusiasm from the leaders we talk with to double down on creating a company-wide Learning Organization this year. We think any Learning Organization is one that provides the optimum level of autonomy, creativity, and growth for employees which leads to greater employee engagement, financial outcomes and customer satisfaction.

With employee disengagement and remote burnout as top concerns this year, anyone responsible for Learning and Development has unprecedented challenges to face. Cultivating employee engagement through an intentional Learning Organization framework that relies on active and continuous learning is the ideal foundation for meeting the most important needs and wants employees have right now.

The model is also valuable because it encourages social interaction, professional development and active participation through learning – which are more top goals for 2021.

There are three main qualities of most Learning Organizations:

First, Learning Organizations support managers. Too often successful employees are promoted to management without additional hard and soft skills development on how to:

  • establish communication expectations,
  • host effective meetings,
  • manage complex projects,
  • create low-authority/high-accountability teams,
  • use remote management tools,
  • evaluate performance and coach for improvement, and
  • prioritize employee well-being.

(These are specialty topics we constantly provide training for, so contact us to learn more.)

Relying on managers to simply model what they saw their manager do is not an effective L&D strategy. And it’s not just new managers that need skills. As any job gets more complex and/or delegation is more complicated, it’s time to upskill your teams.

Second, Learning Organizations maximize the talents of all employees.

Less than half of US employees report having the right opportunities to learn and grow at work. And Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, shows that a lack of development and career growth is the No. 1 reason people leave their job.

Savvy organizations know that finding the right people is expensive and it’s important to develop and keep the talent that you have invested in. When people have the skills and resources to do their job well they are much more engaged and productive at work.

Third, Learning Organizations enable smooth communication. 

Learning Organizations centralize communication, often with online tools like Microsoft 365. The online tools help set the priorities of completing one’s own work as well as allow for knowledge-sharing which creates a culture of learning. Employees can also give and receive each other informal coaching, support and appreciation through these online tools.

A goal for any year is to set employees up to succeed; don’t add more tasks that require new skills without preparing them. With the benefits of the Learning Organization model aligning perfectly with the challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we agree that 2021 will be the year of the Learning Organization.

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