An often-repeated adage goes: ‘Learning is a lifelong process’. The business of learning in an organization, however, has to be a daily affair. If it isn’t then have a second thought about it. Learning in modern entrepreneurial parlance more often than not gives you that extra advantage over your competitor. It does play a decisive role in making a winner or loser of you. It has been now established that an organization in a continuous learning mode can improve employees’ productivity by as much as about 15 per cent. And, mind you this is no small number.
Such tangible learning outcomes for an organization come through days and months and years of persistent learning that encourages employee to learn, grow and innovate. It makes him or her feel valued by the organization and earn it their unflinching loyalty. But such outcomes are unthinkable unless there is a firm culture of learning in place in an enterprise.
A wasteful expenditure?
It is also often the mindset of a business-head that is crucial for ushering in and then nurturing such a culture over a period of time. For, many see investing on learning as a wasteful expenditure. Such thinking is mostly driven by a fear factor: What if the return on investment made on employees’ learning is nil? What if employees leave the organization after learning at your expense? What if investing on learning hits the company’s bottom line? Such fears are now proven to be misplaced.
Asset to organisation
That is why evolving a culture of learning in the early stages of an organization assumes so much importance. In fact, a vibrant culture of learning spawns a battalion of ever aspiring workforce ready to perform and do well for the organization, come what may. They are an asset to an organization and seldom are driven by short-term career goals. They are the real war horses for an organisation as long as the organization does not look the other way and appropriately rewards them for all their efforts.
Fire in bellies
It is also important for an organisation to have people onboard who have a fire in their bellies to grow and learn to take the organization to new heights and are there not just to dump you for a fatter paycheck than the one he or she gets from you.
Robust learning culture
A robust learning culture in an organization thus is not to be eschewed rather it is desirable. Research and advisory firm Gartner’s study on the matter here is worth mentioning. The findings should be music to ears of those who still pooh-pooh the idea of learning in an organization.
Impact of learning
Gartner investigations on the impact of IT learning reveals:
- Learning IT application boosts up an employee’s performance by nearly 6 hours.
- Cuts down on help-desk support to employee by 15 minutes for every one hour of learning.
- One hour of learning cuts down on ‘review and fixing errors’ by one hour.
- Gartner study also underlined the importance of training. It concluded that against a trained worker an untrained one takes double the amount of time in completing a task, through hit and trial method.
Learning and increased productivity
It, therefore, will not be wrong in asserting that a strong culture of learning has a symbiotic relationship not only with employee’s growth, his passion for innovation but also with the productivity of an organization. And there are studies and figures to prove that.
A Bersin & Associates study based on learning practices and culture in organisations and those without any culture of learning has revealed that workers in the former are more productive than the latter:
- Workers employed with an organization with a robust learning culture are 37 per cent more productive than their counterparts in others organisations with aramshackled or no culture of learning being in place.
- Workers in an organization with a strong learning culture are expected to be 58 per cent more equipped to face up to challenges in markets by virtue of their learning skills.
- Worker with organisations having a strong culture of learning are 32 per cent more likely to come up with an innovative solution to a business problem.
- Workers in an organization with a culture of learning have 26 per cent 26 per cent better capabilities to produce a quality product or a superior service to client.
- Workers in an organization with a culture of learning are 34 per cent more chances of satisfying clients faster than their untrained or unlearned counterparts in other organisations.
So, it brings us to the crux of the entire debate on learning: Should or should not an organization promote a culture of continuous learning among its employees? Spending on learning of employees is, in fact, a good investment with assured return. The sooner you read the writing on the wall the better.