Building a Learning Organization: the importance of learning culture
It was 1990, when Peter Senge, through his book “The Fifth Discipline”, popularized the term Learning Organization. Although I would like to believe that it was not so long ago (had I not been born a mere two years later), the truth is that a few decades have passed. However, it seems that the concept has never made more sense than it does now. In today’s volatile and competitive world, especially at the corporate level, it is becoming increasingly imperative for organizations to create an environment that is supportive of continuous learning for their employees, so that they become professionals who can face future challenges (as creatively as possible).
The main characteristic of a Learning Organization is its capacity for continuous transformation, which allows it to adapt to external pressures and remain competitive in the marketplace. The key? Allowing all employees to learn quickly and constantly (even from each other). This way, new ideas are aligned with company policies and executed using new knowledge to promote change, making the organization always one step ahead and able to keep up with the evolution of society and the market. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to discuss the need to create a learning culture in companies to prepare them for future demands, to ensure that they are still able to compete in a constantly changing world. The truth is new work environments will be continuous learning environments.
How can we evolve and improve without first learning something new? In the absence of learning, companies, like people, repeat the same practices (eventually the same mistakes).
Over the years, training programs have been implemented in companies without a prior commitment to learning by all employees, a paradigm shift at the cultural level.
How to build a Learning Organization? Where to Start?
The first step, as in any change process, is to look inside and see what’s going on. Do a self-assessment. Realize whether the company is effectively open to this change. Assess what the current learning culture is. What are the gaps in learning, what are the gaps in training? Is there support from the leaders? Are they prepared to set an example? To show all levels of the organization that continuous learning is now the norm?
It is important to be prepared to make learning a habit!
Yes, but how?
We already realize the importance of building a culture of continuous learning, whether this is through online classes, e-Learning platforms, mentoring programs, on-the-job training, webinars (have you watched our talkIN techs?) – the method depends on the goal you want to achieve. In any case, regardless of the method, it is important to give workers the tools they need to grow and develop, since if they believe that what they are learning will help them, it is very likely that they will be more motivated to continue learning and, as a result, feel more involved with the organization and the work itself.
What are the real benefits?
When a company shows its employees that it is available and committed to investing in their success, the results are invaluable to the success of the organization itself.
– First, comes the happiness of the employees. This is the biggest competitive advantage an organization can have over its competitors. Happy employees mean less turnover.
– The sense of community that is created when a company shows its employees that it cares about their opinions makes them, in return, care more about the organization itself, making them increasingly available and invested in working towards organizational goals and achieving joint successes.
– When we create an environment in which we clearly show that learning is a valued process that should happen constantly, we stimulate the emergence of new ideas and the exploration of new and increasingly creative solutions to the challenges that come our way.
– Success based on knowledge sharing – the more people come together and contribute their knowledge around shared goals, the greater the likelihood of success. When, instead of working alone, focused only on our individual goals, we come together and share ideas and suggestions, decisions are more sustained because they are based on multiple opinions (which result from different learning and experiences).
– Finally, companies gain smarter and better-informed employees. When they invest in their employees and provide tools for them to develop and perform their jobs in the best way, organizations get more efficient and confident employees in return, which in turn leads to higher productivity, better customer service, and more ability to innovate.
That is why we believe that investing in the training of our employees is the key to our success in the future!
At Integer, we believe that these benefits are real, that they impact our results and positively influence the way we work. We invest in training, we promote a learning culture, which works, above all, because we have the right people with us, who value this type of context and who are available and motivated to learn! This is the key to success.