Successful business personalities and businesses have one thing in common: They strive for continuous learning. With organisations operating in rapidly changing and unstable environments continuous learning has become imperative for organisations to stay ahead and evolve in order to survive.
Creating and nurturing a culture of continuous learning within organisations will drive skills and knowledge expansion for the personal and professional growth of employees. This will subsequently influence their productivity in a positive manner and add value to the organisation. Though it seems contradictory, personal development in this nature will lead to professional advancement which the organisation can then make use of to meet its objectives.
An often overlooked aspect of continuous learning is that it helps expose the gaps or areas that need further training and development within in an organisation. Managers must engage staff in training and development programmes so they can monitor and evaluate any developmental areas that are brought to light. The nature of continuous learning is therefore not to learn the same aspects over and over again but rather to discover and improve new concepts to drive an innovative organisational culture.
There is an African proverb ‘Izandla ziyagezana’ (loosely translated to ‘one hand washes the other’). As organisations lean towards continues learning they continually develop a culture of investing in people and developing from within which creates loyalty to the organisation by the employees and reduces employee turnover. Retaining talent drives consistency and prevents institutional knowledge being lost. This has a long term effect of increased productivity within the organisation.
Training and development managers will be tasked with ensuring that human resources are continually developed so as to increase their growth options internally. This kind of motivation translates to employees going the extra mile in their duties as they understand that the organisation cares for them.
By creating a culture of continuous learning, organisations will reap the benefits through a number of ways such as maximising the potential of individuals, growing creative and innovative mindsets, maximising on high performance individuals, developing skills needed for the future as well as keeping abreast with technological advancements especially with regards to the fourth industrial revolution.
Businesses should strive to learn not only from themselves but from the world around them so they can adapt well internally to the external changes. The lesson is simple: Organisations that fail to learn are preparing for failure.
Thulani Dube is Quality Assurance and Operations Faculty Manager as well as the Entrepreneurship and Economic Transformation Faculty programmes co-ordinator and Business Studies lecturer at Cornerstone Institute.