In today’s work environment where technology, work methodology, and solutions are constantly and quickly evolving, organizations need to be keen on corporate learning for innovativeness, competitiveness, and adaptability.
Many organizations mistake corporate learning as organizing training programs to help employees upskill. While this may be an aspect of what it encompasses, it is much more than that.
Corporate learning emphasizes creating an environment and work culture that foster continuous learning within the organization. Moreso, establishing a work culture that encourages learning breeds self-development and more holistic employee growth.
This article explores what corporate learning is in detail, its benefits, and the underlying factors that promote or hinder its successful adoption in organizations.
Definition of Corporate Learning
Basically, it is an organized system built to drive employees’ learning so as to make organizations more innovative, competitive, and able to adapt quickly to emerging trends in the work environment.
This organized system includes setting up a work culture that supports self-directed learning, mentoring, employee training and development, employee engagement, collective decisions making, teamwork, ideas initiation, exploitation, and so on.
Apparently, it is beyond organizing an upskilling training program on hard skills, soft skills, or software skills as many organizations think.
That said let us look into the work culture that drives corporate learning.
Workplace Culture That Fosters Corporate Learning
For continuous learning to thrive in the workplace, organizations need to adopt a work culture that encourages employee engagement, innovation, and development.
Some of the workplace practices include:
1. Unification of the workforce
The workplace is filled with people from diverse backgrounds, and different beliefs, opinions, and values. This diversity is what makes every individual unique.
An organization that wants to foster learning should not discriminate or favor individuals based on color, status, or gender. Rather, it should foster the unification of the workforce. This is because synergy and teamwork are key to innovation and productivity.
Furthermore, the work culture should be such that makes employees see themselves as one. The views of every should matter and organizations can capitalize on these varied views to develop better strategies that will help them achieve their goals.
2. Employee Autonomy
Autonomy in this context means a system of work that allows employees the freedom to develop their own ideas, test, and explore them. Building an organization where learning is continuous and effective hinges on this.
Micromanaging employees stifles their creativity and innovation. You don’t need to be there at every point in time to ensure that they are doing their job.
As a matter of fact, micromanagement will only frustrate employees and make them lose interest in working.
What you should do instead is to motivate them to challenge the statuesque, encourage them to share and explore their ideas and tell them to speak to you when they need help. You may further ask them to report to you from time to time to see how they’re progressing.
As a result, employees will be motivated to develop themselves because of the desire to contribute meaningfully to the growth of the organization.
3. Psychological safety
Many employees are scared of failing because most organizations judge failure as incompetence and carelessness.
Moreover, they may get sanctioned as a result. The psychological effect of this is that employees would rather stay within their limits and keep their ideas to their selves, instead of trying them out.
Therefore, organizations need to start seeing failure as part of the learning process. Failure is not an end in itself, it’s a catalyst for success.
Adopting a work culture that allows employees to fail gives them the confidence to try out new things.
A failed trial shows you a way not to do something and by evaluating the process, you can discover what went wrong and improve upon them. This equally pushes employees to keep learning to get solutions.
Experimentation means trying out different solutions and ideas. The goal of experimentation is to fail early in order to succeed sooner. Many of the world’s technology and latest innovations are the results of years of experimentation.
Organizations also should adopt the strategy of allowing for the testing of new ideas. Learning and researching flow naturally with experimentation. Moreso, for innovativeness within the organization, encouraging testing and exploiting new ideas is essential.
Finally, employees can help organizations with new strategies to outrun their competitors if they encourage the testing of new ideas.
Rewarding employees for introducing new ideas and processes into the organization motivates them to do better. And to do that, they will need to keep improving on their existing knowledge.
This reward may come as an award, a training exercise, or a financial reward. However, try to drive employees’ motivation from the inside more often than externally.
Moreso, employees may expect more from the organization in terms of rewards and this can spur resentment between employees and management.
Obstacles To Corporate Learning
While many organizations have implemented some of the aforementioned cultures in different aspects of their organization, they may find that the learning culture doesn’t thrive as expected.
This is because there are systems that limit their effect on organizations. These challenges affect the functioning and positioning of corporate learning within the organization, and they include:
1. Unwillingness to invest in employee training
Employee training is essential to corporate learning. The organization has the responsibility of constantly organizing training or sponsoring employees on training that can help them advance their careers.
When employees see the impact of these training programs on their thought processes and competence, they may develop an interest to commit themselves more to learning.
In contrast, organizations that refuse to spend money on employee training will experience slow growth and lack the innovation and creativity to stay competitive.
2. Rigid central control
In companies with good work cultures, employees are encouraged to come up with ideas and share them. Some other organizations allow employees to set up a team to evaluate and exploit their ideas. The management can then help streamline these ideas.
On the other hand, a rigid central control is such that does not consider the input or opinions of employees in the organization. This indicates that they have no real intent to promote learning in the organization.
Moreso, it stiffens employees’ creativity and innovation and kills their enthusiasm for work. And if they cannot find fulfillment anymore, they may be tempted to take their ideas somewhere else.
3. Hoarding knowledge instead of sharing
Knowledge is a form of power. Rightly so, some prefer to keep what they know to themselves than share them with team members or mentor junior staff because they want to feel superior.
Organizations that do not encourage knowledge sharing are not maximizing their potential for continuous learning.
Moreso, the success of a team lies in putting ideas together. As such, when employees in the organization begin to hoard knowledge, the idea of corporate learning may not scale.
4. Adopting a one-size-fits-all approach to learning
In the workplace where there is a multigenerational, personality-diverse workforce, using a one-size-fits-all approach to education would be ineffective. The goal is to foster continuous learning for every individual.
Many organizations make the mistake of looking at seminars only as a learning method. Whereas there is a myriad of employee training types to adopt.
We all have our preferred way of learning. Hence, one of the best things to do is to ask individual employees what aspect they need training for and what method they prefer. Through this, a better consensus can be reached or the organization can see ways to adopt more one learning approach.
5. Fear of failure
As stated earlier, employees may hold back on their ideas because they want to avoid getting a sanction or misunderstanding with the organization.
In organizations where rules cannot bend, employees may have no choice but to focus on their roles and avoid initiating ideas that may put them on the spot.
What Are The Benefits of Corporate Learning?
The benefits of corporate learning include:
1. Fosters employees’ growth
Growth is a function of continuous learning. Instilling a learning culture in the organization drives employees to always see a need to improve upon their existing knowledge.
Moreso, an environment that encourages innovation and idea initiation drives healthy competition among employees. This competition pushes everyone to be proactive with learning. As a result, they are able to advance their career.
2. Drives organizational competitiveness
For organizations to stand out in their industry and in the workplace, they need employees who are innovative and creative.
Innovative employees know how to take advantage of opportunities and turn them into profit-making avenues for their company.
They can develop new processes and methods that beat the old. For instance, they can develop strategies that will help organizations reduce work time and save costs on operations.
Moreso, they can easily create solutions to problems when they arise. In addition, they will be able to cope with the rapid proliferation of technology in the workplace. This way, such organizations can dominate their market and gain a competitive edge over their competitors.
3. Motivate remote workers
Remote jobs are now prevalent. Many individuals are also seeking to settle for remote jobs. According to research, many employees say they prefer remote work to traditional office work.
But this may come with the problem of keeping employees engaged and motivated to work. By instilling corporate learning culture, organizations can engage their employees and motivate them to strive for improvement wherever they are.
4. Minimize skill gaps
Building a corporate learning culture in the organization can limit the gap between highly skilled professionals and less skilled individuals. First, highly skilled people can mentor less skilled individuals.
Not only that, when everyone keeps growing regardless of their skills, they can attain a level of mastery that makes them highly proficient at their job and more competitive than their counterparts in other organizations.
5. Reduce employee turnover
When employees experience growth in their workplace they are motivated to put in their best work.
Moreso, employees feel valued and appreciated when their ideas are sought after, heard, and considered. A happy employee will barely consider leaving the organization for another.
In addition, employee turnover drains the organization’s productivity and the cost of hiring new employees is high.
To avoid this, building a work environment that enables employees’ growth, innovation, and easy adaptability is crucial.
5. Fosters Talent management
Corporate learning helps managers to spot talents and identify their needs. Moreso, by encouraging them to develop ideas, and share and exploit them, they are able to gather experience and skills that make them better.
Why is corporate learning important?
It is important because it is the key to driving innovation, competitiveness, and adaptability in organizations.
Is corporate training the same as corporate learning?
No. Corporate training is programs that help employees upskill. Whereas, corporate learning is the development of a system and works culture that fosters continuous learning within the organization.
What is the future of corporate learning?
The future of corporate learning entails the diffusion of technological solutions such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, etc. into learning.
How do you develop a corporate learning strategy?
Developing a corporate learning strategy starts with working out a work culture that supports idea initiation and exploitation. Furthermore, creating a flexible management style that encourages collaboration with employees.
Building a corporate learning culture is not an easy feat. But the benefits it presents are enormous, and organizations that really want to advance in today’s workplace have to put in the effort to make it work.
Moreso, the recent pandemic revolutionized the work approach and many people are settling for remote jobs. Hence, the need to look into technological solutions for learning such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the like.
Since corporate learning is about driving a work culture to be innovative, flexible to change, and competitive, organizations should as well look into training employees to gain technical knowledge and skills.
Finally, you may check the article on people management skills to learn those qualities that will help you manage employees better as a manager.
I hope this article helped.
Thanks for reading.