November 16th, 2021 · 4 min read
Best practices for cultivating learning agility in the workplace
Written by: Rocio Alvarez
What is learning agility?
- Your employees’ ability and willingness to learn, unlearn, internalize information and apply it effectively within their roles. In practice, this can look like developing new skills, updating existing ones or reskilling entirely.
- Your ability as an organization to cultivate a working environment where agile learning thrives. This includes providing access to relevant resources and programs which enable employees to develop the modern skills and competencies required to do their jobs effectively and support business growth.
Why is learning agility an important skill for the workplace?
Key components of learning agility
- Curiosity: They ask a lot of questions, seek out development opportunities and want to understand how their work affects the business as a whole.
- Adaptability: They can make new and old tools work for them and have a solid grasp of current operations that gives them a good foundation for future skills.
- Ingenuity: Given the right training, they can utilize new technologies and information to help them perform the tasks associated with their role.
How to develop L&D programs that enable learning agility
- Include the latest information
As a people leader, it’s critical to ensure you’re partnering with learning providers or academic institutions that have coursework designed to meet in-demand skills. This ensures that employees have access to the most up-to-date information that’s highly relevant to their roles.
- Provide employees with tangible outcomes
In the same way that you need to see a return on investment for your L&D programs, employees want to see a return on the time and effort they invest into learning. Motivate employees to take advantage of learning by helping them to visualize a clear path to the career advancement that can happen as a result of their efforts.
- Develop customized learning pathways
The routes your employees take on their learning journeys should be unique — not only to their learning styles but also to the needs of their specific role, level of experience and educational background.
- Prioritize stackable learning
No two employees have the same professional and educational background. That’s why you should prioritize stackable credentials that help employees build upon their existing skills and competencies to “stack” them towards something larger over time, such as a degree or certification. This approach to L&D enables team members to pursue learning and/or education in smaller “bite-sized” pieces, allowing for more flexibility if they’re not able to commit to a long-term program.
- Leverage technology to promote accessibility
Empower your people to want to learn by providing options that are easily accessible and cater to a variety of learning styles. In today’s world, hybrid and remote work have quickly become the default for many businesses. As a result, the modern adult learner requires a solution that’s flexible and accessible from anywhere. Engage an e-learning solution that’s simple to use — both for your employees and the administrators who have to maintain it.
3 proven practices that promote ongoing learning agility
- Foster a culture of learning
A learning culture means that L&D is an inherent aspect of your employee’s day-to-day life at work. It also inspires curiosity and facilitates a workplace supportive of constant improvement and forward motion. To foster this type of environment, learning has to be central to your company and its core values — starting from the top and extending to all levels.
- Monitor, measure and optimize progress
People managers should regularly check in with employees to measure progress and make any necessary changes to an employee’s developmental path. Additionally, avoid development plateaus by continuously identifying ways that employees can demonstrate what they’ve learned on the job. Employees don’t need to wait until they complete their coursework or training to apply their learnings to their work.
- Rethink mentorships and sponsorships
Many workplace mentorship and sponsorship programs are underutilized and ineffective. Your company leadership can additionally support employee L&D by providing direct, one-on-one guidance, practical training and feedback that will help workers prepare for future positions and competencies. This type of on-the-job support exposes employees to new perspectives and helps them become more comfortable with unfamiliar situations — boosting their ability to be agile learners as a result.