Covid-19 has given organisations an opportunity to take stock of their environment. We all know by now that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on how businesses operate. Organisations have had to change where they work and how they work and also reconsider the available services they offer. The ability to learn, to adapt and continuously improve in the face of this challenge, is vital.
Changing the way, we work in this era of Covid-19 is an understatement. Creation of learning culture is a very complex task that involves a continued process, practices and behaviours. It involves embedding learning in the organisation’s way of doing things and this is a positive that translates into innovation.
Professionals need to identify tangible organisational practices that support learning. Organisational ability to adapt, transform and support learning and other practices requires that systems be put in place as well as resources aligned to the goal of learning.
There is need for businesses to tie the gold thread between different levels of learning in the organisation. Organisations need to take a three-point approach:
How do organisations learn and adapt, how do teams learn and adapt, and how is learning translated up to the organisation while doing things.
It should be remembered that this is not about face to face training because this is going to be a challenge for organisations for some time. It is about how people learn and adapt.
Key factors to consider are strong leadership that supports learning and responds promptly, having a collective vision of what learning looks like and what it should entail in the organisation.
Other factors to consider include having feedback processes in place, adaptation, acceptable risk taking by employees and a safe place where people can test ideas.
These are important if new learning has to translate into action. Learning culture is broad, it is not about individual learning or team learning or organisational learning. It is all these three put together and making sure the organisation can use learning to change and adapt to the new normal.
This kind of approach will benefit organisation to get better while doing and applying these approaches and so will the employees because the learning leads to growth, transformation, accountability, productivity and enhanced performance.
Therefore, when organisations support learning, in all its forms, and encourage knowledge sharing and management this enhances the workforce skills leading to improved performance.
When organisations develop and create a learning culture, this leads to organisational commitment leading to job satisfaction and retention. Therefore, organisations stand to gain when they concentrate on the learning environment and cultivate a learning culture that helps to tie up tangible organisational practices.
They (organisations) need to consider good learning environment for individuals and tie it to specific practices, behaviours and policies. These are clear tangible things that can practically lead to progress.
In conclusion, organisations need to focus on daily tangible practices since these can effectively shift cultures. This is because practices and behaviours ultimately help demonstrate a culture in any organisation. Learning culture is important and its all the way more important now in the wake of the Covid-19, especially when we think of organisations are willing to adapt and individuals needing to upskill, reskill and multi-skill.
Organisations need to take practical steps to establish a learning environment along with practical ways to move the status quo.
Dr Caroline Sekiwano is a human resource & organisational Development Advisor.