Learning is the key to survival.

We are in the midst of another Industrial Revolution, a monumental shift of systems based on new capabilities for people and machines. These sweeping tech advancements will require people to boost their current skills and develop new ones to meet the demands of the workplaces of the future.

Nearly all organisations are undergoing digital transformation — about 84% according to a 2017 IDC and Cornerstone study. The study also found that two of the top three barriers to digital transformation involved people, with 43% citing cultural resistance and almost a third saying they were unable to retain critical talent.

The best way to overcome these challenges is by building a culture of curiosity and learning. Organisations will need to encourage the kind of thinking that disrupts the status quo and allows businesses to develop and grow.

Start With Trust

To encourage innovation, an organisation needs to be transparent and create an encouraging environment in which innovation can thrive. To that end, an employer should trust their employees. We’ve all experienced micromanagement and know that it can be suffocating. Some freedom to work autonomously and collaborate with colleagues has huge benefits to an organisation — namely growth.

Take Facebook’s approach. In a Freakonomics podcast episode on CEO problems, Mark Zuckerberg talked about trust and freedom at Facebook: “One of the basic strategies of our company is to learn as quickly as we can,” he said. “The best way to learn is to basically try things out and get feedback. A huge part of how Facebook works is giving a large amount of freedom to our engineers at the company, and to people who use the product to make with it what they will.”

Time for Curiosity and Learning

Money isn’t the primary constraint to learning; time is. making sure employees have time to learn new things is one of the most meaningful decisions an organisation can make. It’s important that managers see the long-term benefit of learning, and agree to let their teams “not work,” knowing it’s important for the business.

People’s attention is a scarce commodity. It’s generally measured in the context of social media, where marketers strive to find ways to keep users’ attention. When brands are constantly vying for your attention, it’s no surprise that attention spans are shortening.

To keep your employees’ attention, it’s important to give them access to learning content anytime, anywhere, so they learn on a schedule that’s best for them. Some learning content may need a makeover in its format, or how it’s delivered. Organisations are beginning to move to learning-content subscriptions that mirror how we digest other forms of media.

Innovation Comes From Curious Places

Organisations should invite the whole workforce to be curious, and reward this behaviour. Encourage employees to have a “sponge mentality” — absorbing knowledge, insight and understanding from their everyday experiences. But know that this can only happen if the learning process is transparent, clear and open to all.

Maersk recently implemented a new learning strategy that helps their employees access training courses and collaborate with their peers no matter their location — office or oil rig. The ease of access and the plethora of content has helped the organisation foster a culture where employees not only complete their assigned training on time, but actively seek relevant learning courses and materials on an ongoing basis to advance their careers.

Curiosity is a powerful trait. Learning intersects work all the time, but building the right environment of trust, support and reward is essential for it to translate into innovation.

This content was provided by one of our UNLEASH sponsors.