In a world that is constantly changing, being able to learn new skills becomes a priority. According to Charles Darwin, the predisposition to adapt to one’s environment is what enables a species to survive. For an organization, this means ensuring that employees adopt the new skills they require, particularly when the company hopes to align its strategic vision with its objectives and the ability of its teams to achieve those objectives.
Are we able to learn?
Everyone can learn, it's as simple as that. What varies between individuals is their attitude toward learning, which for some people reflects bad experiences and memories of failure
Our intelligence develops through our experience, and thus has the power to evolve. It is not just a question of genetics, it’s more a matter of stimulating our brain to deal with its worst enemies: boredom, routine and inactivity. The less our brains are stimulated, the less agile they will be. It is therefore important to exercise our senses and broaden the range of our activities, especially creative activities.
In short, learning is good for our mental health!
Creating a positive learning environment
To kindle the desire to learn, create a suitable environment. Here are some ideas:
- Provide a suitable physical environment. The physical environment is crucial to good learning. Two basic rules that are not always taken into consideration are: Be comfortable, and avoid distractions that can interfere with learning. Encourage your teams to disconnect during training sessions.
- Encourage employees to share their knowledge. We retain 90% of what we say and do.* The more we share our knowledge, the more we retain it. Likewise, putting learning into practice to the extent possible will help the learner grasp the purpose of a new skill.
- Make it clear that there's nothing wrong with not knowing. Whether you're a director, a VP, a manager or even an employee, you have the right to say “I don't know”. And now knowing can even be a good thing, because it makes way for learning and the desire to excel.
- Encourage questioning. All ideas can be challenged, even those of the company's CEO. Why deprive yourself of the power of collective intelligence?
- Foster diversity in teams. Because we learn a lot through contact with others, mixing people with different backgrounds, skills and origins in a team will enrich the discussion and bring new perspectives.
- Provide learning tools. Depending on the size of your organization and your means, there are various learning tools that you can put in place, including internal platforms for employees to develop their own content, and external platforms that they can access.
- Open up new horizons. Encourage your teams to be open to new perspectives by bringing in outside collaborators.
- Encourage initiative and accept mistakes. Without risk-taking, there can be no innovation. Fear of failure is a major obstacle to taking any kind of initiative. Avoid it by encouraging trial-and-error and learning from mistakes.
Business transformation is not just about technology (introducing new technologies will not in itself make a transformation successful), it must be accompanied by investment in developing employees’ skills. Creating a culture of in-company learning can only be of benefit. You will contribute to the growth and development of your team and consequently to that of your company.
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* Learning pyramid