Sustainable Learning in your Business
With so much talk around sustainability in terms of the environment, the talk of this area is now picking up momentum in other circles and is being discussed and referred to in terms of sustainable learning at work. With one of the biggest investments most businesses make being in their people how can you consider a sustainable learning culture that will give you a bigger and better return?
Firstly, what does sustainable learning mean?
I view sustainable learning as way of developing our skills now for immediate benefit and for building a foundation for longer term benefit too. Sustainable learning then becomes a way of behaving – open to learning and continuous improvement and development. It becomes a culture that an organisation can adopt and embed in their people.
As an employer you can then create processes that will support this way of operating. This allows businesses to respond better so that even with the current climate of high employee turnover, because an organisation has a strong culture of sharing knowledge and experience, it can cope when individuals leave the business. Sustainable learning can encourage internal promotion of people and can be a move away from businesses feeling they need to hold people back as they are too difficult to replace. It can mean a workforce is motivated to share their ideas, think innovatively about the business and all round gives a better return on investment. A more motivated, committed and productive workforce who stay with you because they choose to.
So how does a business introduce sustainable learning;
Make Learning a Priority
This can be introduced from the onboarding stage. Setting clear training plans for people when they join your business allows you to set a tone with people. If you don’t plan and detail their training when they join how can they believe that their development in the business is important. Do not miss out on this opportunity here to showcase what sustainable learning practices you have in place. Even if you are new to this way of operating make sure your message to new employees are ones that confirm your belief in the importance of their learning and development within your business.
Invest in 1:1 coaching for your leaders. Completely focused and uninterrupted time to talk through out loud the thoughts that are inside your head is an invaluable opportunity for your people. Those of us who are in the world of coaching will know that the knowledge we may well crave is already information we have. We are just so caught up in day to day activities that it can be difficult to get that information out and stay focused enough to make sense of it. Time with a coach will not only help you unravel some of these thoughts but it will teach you skills to manage these scenarios again in the future.
Invest in educating your Managers on how to use coaching when they manage and support their teams. This allows them to become a transformational manager and not just rely on being a transactional one.
Creating internal mentoring opportunities/programmes for your employees encourages those more experienced to share their wisdom and reinforces to other employees that it is important we learn from each other’s experiences within the business.
Align learning within the business to your company goals and objectives. This will support the purpose of any learning for your business and focus employees on achieving their goals.
Measure, Reflect and Feedback
Peter Drucker has been quoted as saying “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”. If we do not review our outputs we are missing opportunities to learn and improve. Make sure to include measure, reflect and feedback stages within your projects, tasks and activities.
Introducing a feedback culture is really important even though so many people can feel uncomfortable at this stage because they are not used to it. Being able to both provide feedback and hear feedback is they key here.
With any cultural change small and simple is the way to begin.
The Kaiser Agency provide many services like coaching, mentoring, training and people consulting that can help your business embed a sustainable culture. Get in touch with us today so we can customise a programme for you.