Chained up by complicated emails, cross-departmental meetings, and confused employees lies a beast that far too few companies have yet to tame, and its name is Workplace Learning. This animal is just like any other, feed it, and the opportunity to gain a life-long companion presents itself. However, you do not approach a wild animal without caution, especially when neglected or treated improperly. You learn as much about it as possible, in this case, the 5 W's and the 1 H questions of Workplace learning. Consider this article your guide to training this beast because you will learn the What, Why, Where, When, and How of Workplace learning.
This information will not only equip you with working knowledge of how Workplace Learning should be tackled, but advocates from the consulting company EdOpp Solutions will give advice based on over ten years of experience. edOpp has worked with a multitude of clients that ranged from educational to corporate settings. This topic is so vast that it will spread into five articles: What, Why, Where & When, and How.
This article tackles the question: What is workplace learning? That sounds easy enough, but workplace learning is fluid in its definition and can mean different things to various people.
Workplace learning can best be defined as learning the way skills are upgraded, and knowledge gets received at the place of work. Most of the time HR managers will come up with a training plan/program or companies may even hire a third-party contractor who specializes in adult learning and employee development to come up with a training program. Most of the time these training programs revolve around the teaching soft skills to employees. Soft skills, which is broadly defined as “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” These skills revolve around concepts such as communication, leadership, time-management, and teamwork. A 2018 LinkedIn article on workplace learning has explained that society’s workforce has come to the agreement that the training of soft skills is the number one priority in today’s competitive job market. The article also suggests that the most important soft skills that employees can learn are in specific areas such as leadership, communication, collaboration, and some role-specific skills which cannot be outsourced to autonomous resources.
There are three major types of workplace learning which are in-house training, experience-based learning opportunities, and training through coaching and mentoring.
In-house Training opportunities
can also be seen as a formal method of workplace learning. In-house training can be in or out of the work environment. Examples of in-house training would be half-day, one day, or multi-day classes on how to be a better team player. The in-house training mode brings the classroom to the employees in their workplace and is led by a qualified instructor.
Experience-based learning opportunities
are on the job learning experiences. This mode of workplace learning can be formal or informal and can take many forms. Formal forms of experienced-based learning can range from a one-on-one sit-down meeting between employee and supervisor that entails mentoring, reviewing performance, and doing evaluations. Informal forms of this mode of learning can be quick, in-the-moment coaching between employees and managers or amongst employees themselves. Experience-based learning mostly happens in an either unplanned or an unaware manner during the usual day-to-day tasks of the workplace.
The final type of learning, continuous-learning, may include a group of employees who work together to figure out how to improve specific processes. Just like experienced-based learning, continuous-learning can be formal or informal was well and also depends on the context. Work environments that have this mode in place a large portion of time and energy on learning new skills and knowledge so that employees can continuously improve. Most companies that offer continuous learning have specific materials that make this mode of learning possible through the use of manuals, employee handbooks, and other material related to the job and work environment.
So, why is it important to be familiar with workplace learning, what does it have to offer exactly?
A competitive edge, for starters. Today, companies across the country are always looking to find new and innovative ways to become more and more competitive. They are finding that workplace learning might be the answer. Employers are no longer just competing for the title of who has the best product, but now they are competing on which company has the most talent within the company.
Workplace learning gives a company a competitive edge in two major categories: hiring and productivity. When candidates search for jobs, they look at how they will be compensated, and we live in a world were compensation doesn’t always translate into money. Employees want a company that will invest in them, give them the skills to succeed, and establishes a desire to promote from within.
“76% of Employees Are Looking for Career Growth Opportunities.”
This opportunity for growth lays down the fundamental groundwork that leads to a business culture of productivity. Employees that are trained regularly have a higher value that is perceived both by themselves and their company. Productivity increases because there is now a direct link to advancement and turnover decreases because employees feel invested in.
“Companies that invest in employee training enjoy 24% higher profit margin versus companies who don’t.”
Source: Huffington Post
So, to maintain a positive image in the eyes of employees and applicants alike, many companies have begun investing in employees, and therefore their organization, by hiring third-party companies to make workplace learning happen. It can be intimidating to think this weight is your alone to carry but remember that there is a company called edOpp Solutions that prides itself on helping companies achieve their peak performance. EdOpp Solutions, can perform a needs assessment for your company, provide employee coaching, train soft skills, and consult with various aspects of any business. We work with clients that can range from non-profit, governmental, or corporate businesses. EdOpp covers it all, and they have the ability to transform the workplace through employee empowerment and training. If there is ever a gap in your company’s performance or lack of soft skills training, you now know what it means to address it and what could happen if it is neglected.
Stay tuned for our next installment in this five-part series of articles!
Next up: Why is Workplace Learning Important
Author: Andrew Martinez