Each year, we see transformational changes in technology and trends that have an impact on how we grow and make decisions. 2020 will be no exception to this. Having agile employees that are willing and able to grow and adapt with these changes is crucial to the success of your organization. One of the keys to success is ensuring that your employees have ‘learning agility’. “Learning agility is a mind-set and corresponding collection of practices that allows people to continually develop, grow, and utilize new strategies that will equip them for the increasingly complex problems they face in today’s workplaces and life.”[i] This sounds like a pretty important skill for your employees to have, right?
Statistically, organizations that have employees who are agile learners have:[ii]
- Increased productivity among employees
- A workforce that is well prepared for the future
- Increased potential to grow leaders
- Higher profitability
3 Essential Components of Learning Agility
For employees to be agile, they must have the desire and resources available for them to learn and grow. According to Harvard Business Publishing, there are three essential components an agile learner must possess:[iii]
- Potential to Learn – Employees must be open to learning and experiencing new things. An employee that is closed off to new ideas will not accept and absorb new information.
- Motivation to Learn – Employees must have the desire to learn and grow their skills. An employee that is not motivated to learn will not engage themselves in new material.
- Adaptability to Learn – Employees must have the ability to move forward and apply what they have learned after being exposed to new things. For new information to be valuable it must be applied to your everyday role.
If your current workforce is not comprised of highly agile learners, there are ways to develop your employees in this area. In order to create a more agile team, focus your efforts on encouraging your employees to:
- Seek Out New Opportunities to Learn
Employees that are considered agile learners accept change and new experience with open arms. They often attend seminars, webinars, and actively participate in the training you provide. They have a strong willingness to learn and develop themselves both personally and professionally.
- Ask Questions
It’s important to remember that if you have a question, there are likely many others that have the same question. Employees that are agile learners are always curious about other ideas and are driven to ask questions to ensure that they fully understand new concepts or ideas. Rather than rushing out the door at the end of meetings, welcome employees to ask question and allow time for clarification. Encourage your team to stay curious!
- Accept Feedback with An Open Mind – Good or Bad
Agile learners believe that feedback, whether it be good or bad, is crucial for growth and success. Learning about your strengths and weaknesses and understanding how to capitalize on your strengths is crucial to being agile.
- Apply What You Learn and Make Connections
Arguably the most important part of learning is to be able to apply the new information to the work you do each day. Anything you learn should solve a problem, provide new insight, or make your job more efficient. An agile learner can evaluate different situations and new ideas and make connections with past situations. They can learn from mistakes and grow through adversity.[iv]