How to institutionalize lifelong learning?

February 28, 2020

Jobs losses due to advancement in robotics and automation are causing concern to everyone. Constantly changing workplace environment demands workers to be regularly skilled and re-skilled. Experts feel the only way we can manage this change is by focusing on lifelong learning.

“Organizations learn through individuals who learn” –  Peter Senge

What are five things organizations can do?

Redefine the objective of performance appraisals:  Employers need to take a re-look at their performance appraisal system and make learning a critical objective. A forward-looking learning objective – linked to the interest and aptitude of the employees and needs of the organization – should be identified; learning paths and processes should be identified; and continuously monitored.  Organizations should award those who achieve their learning objective. In short, learning should be a key performance area.

Train managers in giving feedback: Organization can benefit a lot by offering training to their managers on how to give feedback, positive as well as negative. Feedback, if given in the right way and at the right time, can be motivating. It improves performance. It offers job satisfaction to employees and contributes to their learning.

Look at the attitude while hiring: In addition to looking at job-related experience and competencies, organizations need to hire people who have an attitude to learn, to acquire new skills and to keep pace with the changing environment.

Invest in developing skill-enhancement courses for employees: Organizations need to invest in developing courses for their employees that provide them with necessary knowledge and skills throughout their working lives. There are several online courses offered by companies such as Coursera, Amazon, Udacity etc. Universities are also embracing online and modular learning. Organizations needs to look into these and explore the option of developing some tailor made courses for their employees to enable them enhance their skills, which are critical for meeting the organizational goals.

Learn from other organizations: Even though each organization is different, there is always a possibility to learn from each other. Having a dialogue with different organizations and looking into different practices can benefit all.