In your opinion, what is the best way to foster a learning organization? Support your answer with evidence from your readings and experience.
Leaders think that their organization should impart learning to the employees to articulate a clear vision by offering them better incentives for learning and providing them with lots of training. The idea of value learning is still unknown to many leaders and hence this is a big flaw in the learning process and the growth curve of the organization in times of intensive competition, advancements in technology and shifts in customer preferences. Value learning is still missing in many organizations and this culture is not part of the organizational culture. In today’s world, an organization should be a learning organization such that its culture and the employees are aligned to the futuristic needs of the organization, participate in open discussions, think holistically and systematically. Adaption to the current scenario with a planned approach for adaption to unpredictable futuristic needs would require a progressive learning culture in the organization.
To foster the right learning culture in an organization, a deep understanding of how an organization learns would be required. This step should be made part of the organization’s primary objectives in order to inculcate a learning organization. As per my understanding, there are three pillars of fostering a learning organization. These are mentioned below:
Supportive Learning Culture – which includes appreciating difference between people, Mindfulness and open to new ideas, most important is time for reflection
Concrete Learning processes and Practices – which would involve experimentation, information collection and analysis, education and training of employees
Leadership – which would help cultivate and reinforce the learning culture in the organization
An organization should always keep assessing if it is on the right track in building and maintaining the right learning culture. As per my understanding and experience, for a learning organization it is important that:
- The leaders of the organization emphasize on the benefits of the learning and lead by example by investing sufficient time in helping their subordinates develop professionally as well as personally
- Employees should be able create their own career development graph in consultation with the organizational leaders and monitor it to track if they are on the right path
- In my organization, we have regular spot awards for employees who provide innovative ideas or suggestions for process improvement. This activity helps boost employee confidence and promotes learning culture in the organization
- We also have internal discussions with respect to trainings held and how it would impact or impacted the daily work, what are the benefits realized and how the trainings can be improved
- We also have the culture of internal job postings for people with high ratings where they can apply and move to other projects of their choice which would help them in their learning and development
- For promoting constant learning, we also have an eLearning portal in the organization where employees can learn new skills
- There is also a strong system for feedback in trainings where all employees are asked on their views over trainings and how they can improve the training process. They are also asked if they would want training on any topic of their interest.
- There is also an internal portal in organization where people can indulge in discussions and knowledge transfers on a topic of mutual interest
- Finally, we do have monthly town hall meetings where organizational leaders impart their knowledge to the employees and also look forward and take suggestions from the employees to cultivate a culture for learning and development