We easily focus on individual learning. Why should organizational learning be on your radar, and what is it?
No matter what your job entails, you are already familiar with the concept of learning and how the absence of it can stagnate your current skills or even entire career. Whilst individual learning is restricted to you only, organizational learning is a wider concept that ultimately transfers knowledge within an organization.
But it has to be successful in order to add value. Real learning needs to be harnessed and used both on an an indiviudal and group level amongst employees. When the company can use what you have learnt to improve and move out of the potentially danagerous “business as usual”, organizational learning is at its finest. If not, vital information and know-how gets lost in a corner, in an employee or two that could have benefitted a much needed development for the entire company. Eventually, it can be a small aspect of a larger learning experience that can put your company out of business if your competitors are better at it.
Training of new employees and professional development isn’t enough. Your organization needs to continually learn to adapt to an everchanging environment. Individuals within your organization learning new skills isn’t enough. The organization as a whole must learn and adapt for long term success.
How to get there?
1. Make sure your company is putting learning high up on the agenda in the first place. Encourage courses, grants for more education, or even eployees getting together in a formal or informal setting to learn from each other on a certain topic.
2. You now need a system to record or store what type of knowledge is available, so that others can access it. Who knows what, and what other business areas can benefit? Make it accessible to as many as possible, ideally the entire organization with various levels of access to the specifics in cases of sensitive information. One such example is the use of an intranet with tagged topics.
3. Make sure this knowledge actually is transferred after you have retained it. Besides sharing it on the intranet, you can allocate a montly lunch to a certain learning topic. A good advice is to put the employees who solved a problem and what they learnt at the heart of this, instead of it being presented by top management. Keep the learning points coming from as close to the source as possible.
Remember: different parts of the organization can benefit from knowledge that might not initially seem relatable. It is when two different aspects can be combined in novel ways that innovation and genius solutions arise.
Consider making organizational learning a priority in 2022 if you want to be set for future success. A nice “side effect” is that employees appreciate an open and inclusive learning and knowledge approach. It is shown to highten employee satisfaction rates regardless of business areas.