Industry Insights

What is Learning in the Flow of Work?

Posted by John Wills on Oct 25, 2023 2:54:41 PM

In today's fast-paced business world, ensuring your employees have access to the right knowledge at the right time is essential for a motivated and efficient workforce. Traditional methods of training have their limitations, especially as the digital landscape evolves, and employees are inundated with various software tools in their daily workflows. As a result of constant tech evolution, it's no surprise that 91% of employees express frustration with workplace tech.

Could learning in the flow of work be the solution?

Termed in 2018 by Josh Bersin, learning in the flow of work is reshaping how we learn by seamlessly integrating it into our daily routines. In this blog post, we'll explore what this innovative approach means, why it's crucial for employee development, and how StratX ExL can guide organizations in implementing it.

What does learning in the flow of work actually mean?

This concept of "learning in the flow of work" (LIFOW) revolves around the idea of acquiring knowledge while actively engaged in tasks, seamlessly integrating learning opportunities into employees' existing workflows, thus delivering training content precisely when it is needed without disrupting their ongoing activities.

This approach, although simple, yields remarkable results, making learning an integral part of an employee's workday rather than a distraction, results in increased engagement, heightened productivity, and a substantial return on training investments.

Recent research highlights that the adoption of the LIFOW model, which integrates learning into daily work routines, can reduce stress by 47%, enhance productivity and success by 39%, increase the willingness to take on additional responsibilities by 23%, and boost employee confidence and happiness by 21%.

What does learning in the flow of work mean for day-to-day practices?

In practice, LIFOW represents a major shift in how organizations approach employee development. Instead of employees going on lengthy quests for answers to their problems, LIFOW is the idea of meeting the employee with the correct information right as they need it.

Here's a glimpse of what it looks like in daily operations:

  • Microlearning modules: Short, focused lessons that employees can access on the go, catering to their immediate needs
  • On-the-job mentoring and coaching: Peer mentorship, immediate feedback, and collaboration with colleagues to enhance learning during work tasks
  • Access to resources: Easily accessible databases, knowledge repositories, and tools to provide quick answers and guidance
  • Personalized learning paths: Tailored learning experiences that adapt to individual employee goals and competencies

By enabling learning in the flow of work, businesses can streamline their operations, focusing on giving employees the specific information they need to excel in their roles.

In contrast, traditional training often leaves the responsibility of remembering crucial information to the employee. Learning in the flow of work ensures that the necessary knowledge is just a tap away, consistently supporting employees in performing at their best and results in improving overall customer experience.

Why do we need learning in the flow of work?

The need for LIFOW is not just a passing trend but a strategic move companies can implement to excel. Here are a few reasons why it’s a must:

  • Adaptability: As industries evolve, employees must stay relevant. LIFOW ensures they continuously adapt to new challenges and technologies
  • Efficiency: Traditional training programs can be time-consuming and disrupt workflow. LIFOW integrates learning seamlessly, reducing downtime
  • Employee Engagement: Engaged employees are more likely to stay and contribute. LIFOW fosters engagement by making learning relevant and accessible
  • Competitive Edge: Organizations that invest in employee development through LIFOW gain a competitive edge by staying ahead of industry trends

The benefits of learning in the flow of work

The advantages of integrating learning into the flow of work are far-reaching and transformative. Let's take a closer look at how this innovative approach can bring a host of benefits to organizations and their workforce:

1. Enhanced employee performance:

One of the most immediate and compelling benefits of LIFOW is the remarkable enhancement in employee performance. When learning seamlessly accompanies daily tasks, employees become more proficient, productive, and confident in their roles. With a continuous stream of relevant information and skill-building opportunities, they're better equipped to tackle challenges, meet goals, and excel in their respective positions.

2. Cost-efficiency:

Traditional training sessions, with their overhead costs, venue rentals, travel expenses, and printed materials, can strain an organization’s budget. LIFOW, on the other hand, introduces a cost-efficient alternative. By integrating learning directly into the work process, organizations can reduce the need for formal, resource-intensive training sessions. This translates into significant savings while still maintaining a high standard of employee development.

3. Knowledge retention:

In the whirlwind of modern business, knowledge can quickly become outdated. However, LIFOW tackles this challenge head-on. The continuous learning approach ensures that knowledge remains fresh and applicable. When employees learn and immediately apply their newfound knowledge within the context of their work, it solidifies their understanding, making it more likely to be retained and put to practical use in the long run.

4. Innovation and real-time problem solving:

Embracing LIFOW not only nurtures a culture of innovation within an organization but also empowers employees to tackle real-time challenges and foster creativity. By prioritizing seamless learning and adaptability, it gives employees the tools to think outside the box, resolve issues as they arise, and experiment with novel approaches to their tasks. This spirit of innovation has a transformative impact, leading to the emergence of fresh ideas and strategies that spread throughout teams and the wider organization.

5. Talent attraction and retention:

Organizations that offer LIFOW have a distinct advantage when recruiting as 94% of employees claim they are more likely to stay at a company that invests in their career development. Moreover, this approach also plays a pivotal role in retaining top talent within the organization.

Best practices for embedding learning in the flow of work

To ensure the successful implementation of LIFOW, it's crucial to minimize friction between employees and their learning experiences. Now, let's delve into some best practices for seamlessly integrating learning into the flow of work:

Identify relevant skills and knowledge gaps: Before implementing LIFOW, it’s essential to know where the gaps in knowledge exist amongst employees. In-depth assessments of employees help to identify common issues and point to what resources companies need to invest in

Alignment with goals: Ensure that LIFOW is closely tied to your organizational goals and individual employee objectives

Supportive technology: Invest in technology that facilitates easy access to learning resources and tracking of progress. Eliminating barriers to access is vital in ensuring ease of learning for your employees so choosing the right tool is paramount

Use short-form, visual content: Optimize knowledge retention by creating engaging and interactive content in short, visual formats

Encourage collaboration and mentorship: Create a culture of knowledge sharing and mentorship among employees. Additionally, establish a feedback mechanism for employees to continuously improve the learning process

Assessment and adaptation: Regularly assess the effectiveness of LIFOW initiatives and make adjustments as needed

Getting started with learning in the flow of work in your organization

By providing knowledge when and where employees need it, businesses can achieve higher engagement, improved productivity, and cost savings. StratX ExL offers solutions to help you implement this transformative approach effectively, ensuring that your organization stays ahead in the competitive landscape.

Ready to embrace the future of training and upskilling? Contact us today to discover how you can seamlessly integrate learning into the flow of work, empowering your employees and boosting your bottom line.

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