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Creating a Learning Environment

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Did you know that 60% of managers fail in their role within the first 24 months? And, 47% of new managers do not receive any management training! This is truly shocking when you consider that the #1 reason people stay OR leave a job is because of their manager.

One could debate a wide range of reasons why failure or success occurs but the value of investing in organizational learning must be high on the list.  The Association for Talent Development (ATD) reports firms that invest $1,500 per employee in training, compared to those that spend $125 per employee, experience, on average, 24% higher gross profit margins and 218% higher income per employee.

Since it would be impossible to move your organization forward without people, keeping them engaged and motivated is critical.  There are several ways to motivate employees, and providing your employees with tools for success by creating a learning organization that invests in employee development is one such approach.  A recent article in the Harvard Business Review defined a learning organization as one skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.

Creating a learning organization that allows employees to grow and acquire knowledge will help decrease employee turnover, keep productivity high, and allow managers to gain skills allowing them to become more upwardly mobile.  In addition, employees will feel more valued, develop a stronger sense of ownership and accountability, and create an improvement mindset.

Support of a learning environment begins with the organization’s leadership team.  Learning organizations invest in training and believe in a continuous learning culture.  Today’s organizations face rapidly changing and demanding environments, and creating tomorrow’s leaders by upgrading their skills is essential for survival.  A learning organization creates opportunities for collaborative learning which can be integrated throughout the strategy and business plans of the organization.

Organizations can create an effective learning environment by offering training on an ongoing basis.  This begins by implementing an organizational policy that places value on learning and creates a formal training process.  Providing employees with time to learn and creating an environment that emphasizes “learning through action” can help develop employee confidence through the use of key skills and ideas.  For some organizations this may cause a mindset shift, but creating a culture of effective leadership through a learning organization is a sustainable proposition, not simply a fashionable one.