Why Learning Together In The Workplace Matters
Modern workplaces are becoming hubs for learning and personal growth instead of being solely about advancing our careers. What’s more interesting is that learning doesn’t have to happen through traditional and uninteresting methods like lengthy training sessions or piles of printed resources. It can become a social process, which includes learning things through interactions with our colleagues, supervisors, and partners within the work environment. This is called social learning, where every employee feels free to share their thoughts with their peers, exchange experiences, and help each other become better, both personally and professionally. Let’s see how you can create a social learning system in the workplace, promoting knowledge sharing throughout various types of employee interactions.
The Rewards Of A Social Learning System
Improve Knowledge Sharing
Communicating with your colleagues in a work environment comes naturally, especially when encountering challenges. Your employees don’t have to wait for a meeting or a one-on-one with their manager to discuss an issue. They message one of their peers or post their questions on a company-wide forum. This makes knowledge sharing almost instant, helping people solve their problems much more quickly. Imagine your collaboration tools or communication platforms as a virtual resource library filled with everyone’s expertise and insights.
Enhance Employee Engagement
When employees meet up—even virtually—they start collaborating and exchanging ideas and opinions. This makes them feel more connected with each other and confident, knowing that they always have support when they need it. Plus, a social learning environment fosters feedback, which is necessary in a work environment. When employees see their efforts being recognized and receive meaningful comments, either from peers or supervisors, they are more satisfied with their work and contribute more.
Speed Up Skill Development
We all know how important it is to acquire new skills in order to stay competitive in the job market. A social learning system is a great way to speed up the process of skill development. Since everyone’s learning from each other, they’ll gain fresh knowledge every day, even if it’s small bits of information. Whether seasoned employees teach new members how to do tasks or staffers learn about their colleagues’ responsibilities to take over while they’re gone, peer learning is important while developing new skills.
6 Steps To Build A Social Learning System
1. Leadership Support
Most of the time, when an organization is eager to adopt new practices but its leadership is skeptical, nothing will move forward. So, when implementing a social learning system, it’s crucial to involve leaders and stakeholders early on to secure support. First of all, leaders should show their enthusiasm about this new idea and promote social learning by adopting it themselves. This can involve them asking their employees questions, participating in conversations, and gathering feedback. Moreover, they should be actively taking part in the decision-making process when it comes to budget and resource allocation.
2. Choosing The Right Technologies
Once you’ve secured the upper management’s support and have decided on a budget, it’s time to start looking for technologies that will support your social learning system. In order to do that, you need to decide what you want to achieve with the program. If you’re going to focus on collaboration, you might want to get a tool like Microsoft Teams or Slack with video-conferencing and chatting features. If, on the other hand, you want to provide your employees with training sessions that they can have discussions about and help each other, purchase a top LMS with enabled discussion forums. Don’t forget to ask your staffers about their preferences for platforms they might have experience with.
3. Creating Engaging Learning Content
Who’s going to pay attention to text-based learning material or dull training videos when there’s tons of multimedia content and bite-sized information out there? The most important thing when creating a social learning system is engaging learning material. Videos, audio clips, images, and infographics are easy to share on every platform and easily digestible. Try crafting relatable stories to immerse your employees in the content. Don’t forget gamification features and interactive elements to engage everyone in the learning process and create a desire to keep trying their best.
4. Encouraging Collaboration
Social learning wouldn’t be social without collaboration. So, to create a successful system, start encouraging your employees to work together and bond even before participating in social learning practices. Once again, leadership should create a company culture that values cooperation by enabling different departments to work together. For instance, you can schedule company-wide meetings and provide opportunities for open discussions. Also, you should assign projects that require cross-departmental collaboration and leverage your tools and communication apps to help your teams complete tasks more smoothly.
5. Networking Events
Networking events are powerful at creating a sense of community in your company. They encourage teams to stop working in isolation and start sharing their insights and ideas with others in the organization. These events are also an opportunity for the whole team to meet with people with whom they wouldn’t communicate otherwise. For example, someone from the legal department will chat with a person from marketing, exchanging opinions about what can be shared on social media, with both parties gaining valuable knowledge.
6. Evaluating The System’s Success
To keep the learning system successful, you must know how it’s going. How are you sure your efforts are paying off if you’re not measuring the program’s effectiveness? Metrics are an essential aspect of this. Make sure you’ve chosen the right ones according to your goals. Participation rates, engagement levels, and assessment scores will help you see if your employees are enjoying the process and retaining information. Remember to ask for feedback regularly. You’ll get insights on what to improve through pop-up messages in the learning platform asking your employees to rate the system or through surveys and meetings.
A social learning system isn’t just a trend to boost your company’s culture and employees’ morale. It’s also a powerful way to transform your organization completely. Apart from the improved productivity and employee engagement levels, you’re creating a strong workforce consisting of people who support each other while also expanding their knowledge. So, do your research, find the best tool for the task, and embrace all the good it will bring.