Most companies are knowledge based. No matter the share of white collars versus blue collars, products versus services and internal versus external activities, just about everything is based on knowledge.
Existing knowledge is useful now. New knowledge is useful tomorrow. There is a continuous change in what knowledge is needed, and employees need to catch up and learn in order to stay useful. The organization must make sure that it is possible – or trust that it is possible to regularly hire new employees with the right knowledge and throw out those with the wrong knowledge; an approach that I, being a humanist, will not recommend.
Then better focus on learning. Learning is what it takes to gain knowledge. No surprise here. But there are many ways of arranging learning. Some of the main philosophies in the field are:
- Stimulating a learning culture
- Establishing a learning organization
- Team learning
- Self-study, self-paced learning
- Life-long learning
- Class room based learning
- Internet based learning (e-learning)
- Learning by doing
- Peer-to-peer training
- Continuous Improvement (has a learning component)
- Analysis (often learning before-the-fact or “learning from expectations”)
- Reflection (coaching, group coaching, brainstorming, post mortem analysis, lessons learned meeting, discussion)
- Speech (listening, writing, giving)
- Learning from experience
- Learning from games, such as a quiz
Since human beings have brains – big ones, even – we do learn all the time. People are made for it and cannot stop. But if an organization should benefit from what the employees are learning, it may pay off to pay attention to how it supports the many different ways of learning, how it inspires to learn in one way or another, and how it can assist in making use of the knowledge gained from all the learning.