Every organisation strives for a learning culture to stay ahead of the game. Learning and Development is all about unleashing human potential and capabilities. Learning is an individual process, while development is a group or organisational process.
Learning can be formal (through organised programs), informal (through self-directed activities), experiential, and social. The development includes training, coaching, mentoring, consulting, coaching-consulting partnerships etc.
The learning and development function focuses on the creation and management of knowledge. The main objective of this function is to manage the knowledge asset of an organisation. Knowledge is created by people at work. Learning creates new knowledge or adds to existing and current knowledge. We learn every day about everything around us. This involves observing, questioning, listening, interacting with others and self-reflection.
Covid has had a huge impact on the world in the last year and working from home has become the new normality for most of us. Adapting and upskilling your workforce has become more imperative than ever. Here is five reason why learning and development is so important to organisations in 2021 and beyond.
1. Todays Employees Demands Opportunities to Learn
Learning can be done through formal e-learning programs or informal development programmes like mentoring, coaching or leadership programmes which are facilitated by a coach/trainer who is an expert in their field. It is important to have a strategic approach when implementing learning and developmental activities in an organisation or institution because every employee should be actively involved in it.
2. Hiring is more expensive than employee retention.
The most successful organisations are those that have a culture of learning and development. It is the way that an organisation becomes more productive and capable of adapting.
This involves building the capability for self-development as well as developing others.
The challenges of mature organisations are often to transform themselves from a mindset where individual abilities and contributions take precedence, to one that sees individuals, teams, and departments as part of a holistic whole, working together towards mutual goals.
Individuals, teams and departments are part of a holistic whole in which individual abilities and contributions become less important and more focused on the whole.
This is a huge change from the old mindset where individuals and teams took precedence over the organisation as a whole.
3. The number one concern for most organisations is the retention of key employees, not recruitment.
Many large organisations have recognised the need to retain employees who bring with them the credibility and understanding of their organisation as well as their particular areas of expertise. This is because it is more difficult to train new employees than to retrain existing ones. Retraining is time-consuming and costly, which results in a loss of productivity and profitability.
4. Every day millions of organisations are learning and developing their employees for the future.
In an era where globalisation is ever-increasing and competition from other countries is fierce, learning and development is now regarded as a growth strategy. Learning skills, work processes and values are no longer just the preserve of those individuals in the top echelons of the corporate hierarchy.
Large international enterprises have set up learning centres in many different countries, to enable their employees to learn from people who have different cultures and characteristics but similar goals within their jobs.
5. Learning is a process of change.
Organisations have to learn constantly about themselves and their competitors, if they are to remain competitive and successful. Learning for the organisation is required at all levels, from top management and staff to the public at large.
To ensure success, organisations have to be clear about exactly what they need to learn and what the benefits will be.
Learning is more than knowing.
Learning is often regarded as acquiring knowledge and skills through training and development programs, conferences, seminars or workshops, through practical experience etc. It also includes exposure to a new culture such as exposure to organisational change, new technologies, information systems that are different from the ones currently in use. Training is important for all employees, but it should be linked to overall business goals.