Learning Strategies for Continuous Improvement

The company of the future will need to embrace a positive attitude to sustainable learning strategies no matter how delayered, disrupted, outsourced, digitized or virtualized they are.  We need to focus on those companies that are preparing themselves today for the future of tomorrow.   Growth is not only a financial measure but encompasses the whole company and people involved.  Seeking growth means looking for new opportunities where companies are capable of leveraging existing data and social capital. 

Resilient and agile organizations stay ahead of the curve… they understand that today’s business trends like socialization, globalization, data-driven decision making, sustainability and changing employee demographics are the game changers of tomorrow.  I strongly believe that not only multinationals but also small and medium-sized companies still have lots of untapped potential.  If they play their cards well in a VUCA world, they can grow faster than ever before.

A unique 5 step methodology for continuous improvement will prepare organizations for growth and the transition to a collaborative learning culture thereby implementing a sustainable learning strategy. 

  1. Discovery: Prepare for a learning mindset

Learning is more than transferring knowledge. To start learning, the learner must be self-motivated and therefore understand the benefit of learning. It is therefore necessary to have a good understanding of what moves an individual – or even an organization – to change or to learn something. 

By auditing individual members, teams, leadership, behaviours and culture of your organization, you can identify problem areas and probable improvements. From here you can define the means to change and advise on the best learning strategy to achieve desired results and trust. This can be done through hybrid learning models or better understanding data and knowledge flows in your organization. 

2. Burning Platform: Create a trusted case for engaged learning 

Once you know where improvement processes can bring added value and trust, prioritization is essential. Within an organization, analyzing quick wins can help to create support and momentum. This means that different learning groups are properly targeted and the proper tools and learning platforms are provided.

All too often, leadership selects tools and programs that can be widely deployed without consulting actual end users. However, they slow down implementation due to lack of alignment with the target groups. Moreover, without ownership and engagement of those target groups there is a bigger risk of low adoption.

By prioritizing and selecting quick wins in line with business opportunities both individuals and leadership can be persuaded to invest in the new learning initiatives.  Those successful business cases can then be used to tackle slightly less-emerging problems. Successful examples will also support the adoption and intrinsic motivation of learners to self-manage their growth.  They see how learning will not only support business success but also personal growth related to this. 

3. Path to Improvement: Learning is a marathon not a sprint

Another advantage of breaking different learning paths into short ones is the measurability and possibilities for adjustment. In addition, we know – from years of experience with marketing – that data-driven campaigns offer more possibilities to have a targeted effect. When we launch learning campaigns, it is therefore useful to determine in advance which data we wish to measure in our dashboards so you can make in-flight adjustments.

A good learning strategy is therefore a learning process and journey in itself. Based on the quick wins we determined in the audit, we set out objectives that are adjusted by progressive insights while actively seeking feedback from the learning communities. To serve this purpose we can use surveying tools which are widely used in the marketing realm thus enabling us to measure e.g. learner satisfaction and NPS. Data and deep learning can also help to make the learning strategy more granular and closer to target and determine the final result.

4. Joint Execution: No success will ever be achieved without collaboration

Agile and resilient enterprises companies have understood for years that targeted adjustments based on validated data are necessary. In addition, these organizations also have in common that they take targeted decisions that are supported by the entire organization. No silos, but collaborative project groups.

When a learning strategy is established, cooperation between business, learning and development departments and other stakeholders (including technology) is therefore necessary at regular intervals. In order to demonstrate the necessary agility as a learning organization, advantage will be taken of project groups that are not evident in hierarchical organizations. Marketing and Learning departments do not seem to be complementary at first sight, but the benefits for employer branding and data analysis are countless

5. Future growth and Improvement: Never stop learning

A learning circle never ends. Not only do we see that employees have to learn new skills on a personal level, as an organization we also have to be increasingly agile to provide answers in this VUCA world.

A learning strategy therefore should be viewed at different levels with different priorities that offer new opportunities from there. Only when we connect these different strategies from a holistic perspective we can start a continuous improvement process that is needed to become a learning organization. 

Conclusion: never waste a good crisis

What we have seen in recent months is that the need for both employees and organizations to embrace hybrid working is high. The lessons we have learned during COVID is that we – as a person, organization and society – are much more resilient and agile than we thought.

Now more than ever is the time to take advantage of the crisis to become stronger for the future. An enterprise-wide learning strategy will deliver competitive benefits and unfair advantages in addition to supporting employee well-being, diversity, equality and engagement. This in turn will not only provide the organization with a better market position, but it will also be on target to become a great place to work for. 

Want to know more: Katja@habitofimprovement.com

Published by Katja Habit Of Improvement

Lifelong learning and an unstoppable drive for innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Katja Schipperheijn is a digital learning strategist and internationally recognized consultant and keynote speaker on learning and engagement in the connected world. Her area of expertise focuses on the interaction of people and technology to achieve sustainable growth based on commitment and well-being. She has worked for more than 15 years with tech companies and learning organizations and holds a Master Degree in Economical Science, an Executive MBA from the Antwerp Management School and Digital Learning Strategy from MITSloan

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