How Focusing on Digital Can Help Create a Learning Organization

Posted by on July 31, 2017


For many years, the idea of creating a learning organization was little more than a corporate buzzword that business majors used to encourage leaders to invest in consulting time. Creating a true learning organization requires much more than jargon and a few external classes — you need the rigor of an ongoing commitment to excellence and education at all levels of the organization. Leaders today are finding that a focus on digital may help drive culture and encourage ongoing learning and growth.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is one of the cornerstones of a successful organization, but failed programs can pull time and attention away from strategic initiatives. Why do improvement rates remain low for most organizations? Continuous improvement requires a lifelong commitment to learning, and that basic truth can be difficult for an organization’s leadership to grasp. In today’s world, change comes at the speed of light so many companies must either make adjustments or risk becoming defunct. Visionary leaders are constantly on the lookout for ways to solve problems, re-engineer processes and see the world in a new light — which requires a laser focus on creating an organization where people are continually learning together. Yet, the danger comes when leaders believe they’re creating a Utopia instead of nurturing an environment where business process improvement can occur.

Failing Fast

Perhaps the most inelegant way to describe learning is to “fail fast”, and to ensure that your organization is a safe space that allows leaders and workers alike to feel confidence in taking this step. No one wants to take chances on new ideas when there’s a long-term stigma attached to what some may consider failure. However, a healthy mindset has leaders reinforcing that failure is only a step along the journey to success — and that failing fast and learning from your mistakes is one of the first steps in creating a culture of continuous growth and improvement. Embracing innovation requires a strong and confident leadership team, and constant encouragement to reinforce support to leaders at all levels of the organization.

Fostering Innovation

Innovation is a hallmark of our digital generation, where years are defined by new iPhone and Android offerings that incorporate biometrics, advances in artificial intelligence and new methods of performing everyday tasks and interacting with each other. Keeping pace with the rapid changes in technology means you may be retraining employees on a monthly schedule instead of every few years when you have a major software or other tech upgrade. On-demand learning provides employees with an opportunity to have more control over their learning so it can be incorporated into their daily life. Technology advances can be as simple as a new way of routing telephones directly through laptops to make voice and video calls instead of requiring employees to be in the office to conduct business.

Organizational Tools

Fostering innovation starts with encouraging staff to fully utilize the tools available through the organization, such as content management systems and digital experience platforms. Whether mobile is a part of their personal life or not, the majority of consumers now access the internet through a device other than a desktop computer. Cross-team collaboration provides a great way to inspire others to work together to create a customer-centric organization that is constantly listening — and constantly learning.

Intranets: The Magic Portal

Corporate intranets offer a fantastic opportunity to share best practices with peers across business units while providing transparency to the broader organization. When you take the time to craft a business intranet, you’re connecting points across your business that might not otherwise relate to each other. You can offer learning opportunities such as video courses, shared resources, and Lunch n’ Learn schedules. Plus, the information and document management properties of a properly executed intranet gives employees easy access to the latest and greatest procedural documents and forms, which can greatly reduce the load on HR and IT departments. Want to track staff learning needs and requirements? There are few more effective options than a secure employee intranet that allows individuals to see the available opportunities at a glance.

Perhaps one of the best ways to strengthen learning within your organization is to motivate leaders at all levels to see the value of this cultural trait, so they’re constantly reinforcing the message of learning. Self-directed employees become natural leaders, which in turn often encourages them to empower others. Whether it’s utilizing new methods for asset management, defining new customer experiences through a mobile platform or taking the time to complete online training, a focus on digital supports your goal of becoming a learning organization.


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