How often do you say to yourself, ‘I learn something new everyday’ after picking up enlightening information you haven’t known before from one of your conversations with coworkers at the office?
Learning is a continuous process, and this happens even if you are not aware of it. You are bound to discover new things in your interactions with people, discussions on online forums, and your activities on social media. This is the premise of social learning.
Social learning is a theory that involves learning outside the classroom through observing and imitating the behavior of others, which significantly impact both the cognitive and behavioral aspects of our persona. This happens when we share, collaborate, and co-create information with others within a social structure.
While this has been around since man has learned to interact with others, it has certainly evolved into a more defined concept at the workplace—making it a great approach at learning well beyond the formal education system.
This can be deemed crucial to an employee’s growth, so as a manager, HR professional, or recruitment consultant, it is important to consider supporting this kind of learning process in the workplace to help improve their skills and cultivate a team of highly competent individuals who can steer your company to success.
Social learning is being integrated into the culture of many companies for its huge benefits not only to the employees, but to the company as a whole. This helps the different teams work together to function like a well-oiled machine—delivering high-performance results to drive the company to success.
But before incorporating programs to facilitate social learning into your company, you must first determine if it fits the culture you have to understand better how you can benefit from it.
1. Essential to Employee Development
There are certain skills that employees acquire from formal education, but there are those that they learn from others. In a company setting, the most common method being practiced is by subjecting employees to various training protocols to enhance their skills and further establish their capabilities for social learning.
These training protocols will have your employees learn how to become better at their jobs while helping them establish rapport with their co-workers and foster teamwork to function better as part of a whole.
2. Encourages Collaboration and Teamwork
Most jobs today are done as part of a team, so by letting groups work together and share the knowledge needed to complete a task, favorable results can be achieved. This means that employees sent to participate in a training course can be complemented with social learning when they share the knowledge among the members of their team.
3. Boosts Productivity
When all the teams start working together as one, an increase in productivity is guaranteed to follow. Social learning reinforces this principle whenever employees interact and share both information and knowledge between managers and peers in a constructive manner.
4. Promotes Competition
Friendly competition between co-workers or teams within the workplace will always benefit the company while encouraging employees to stay on top of their game in terms of their skillset. This kind of competitive working environment is a healthy way to promote social learning, with teams trying to be the best by outdoing each other as they all try to work as one.
5. Models Positive Behavior and Motivates Employees
All these benefits ultimately boil down to a working culture where employees naturally exhibit positive behavior, which forges stronger professional relationships with each other. This is a great motivating factor that will always work to your advantage when trying to achieve the goals of the company.
After a thorough assessment of your company’s ability to adapt to change, integrating social learning into the culture can be tricky.
Here are a few tips help you:
a. Use technology as a platform
With different channels now made available to everybody in the company, it’s easier to communicate and establish social connections.
Create linked or group conversations via Slack or Google Hangouts. Online platforms that are used primarily for work collaboration establish an ideal channel for social engagement, so take advantage of this and make sure everybody is included. This gives them equal opportunity to do their part in contributing ideas and other information to encourage social learning.
b. Conduct training and seminars
This is one of the most common methods to promote social learning. Make sure to conduct training by groups or teams to make it more engaging and informative for all those involved.
You can introduce your company to Coursera and other online learning platforms that offer short courses and trainings to professionals. Give incentives
c. Facilitate informal team interactions.
Some companies schedule a town hall meeting on a regular basis to hold a more informal dialogue between the employees and management, while others conduct trivia quiz games to foster camaraderie while learning from each other.
This allows you to know your team members on an individual level. Managers and HR personnel should work together to determine what kind of approach should be aligned with each employee’s unique skills and capabilities.
Remember, it’s also important to observe and take note key occurrences that happened before, during, and after every team interactions. This way, you’ll now how you can proactively refine your social learning initiatives.
d. Give feedback on each other’s work
Feedback should be given in a timely and appropriate manner if you want to have an effective social learning in your organization. Providing constructive feedback on each other’s project or work can help co-workers improve themselves and the quality of service they provide for the company as a whole.
To effectively encourage your team to do this, implement a formal way on how managers can give constructive feedback to their subordinates. This social learning initiative will prove how your organization gives importance to the growth and development of each employee.
Social learning, at its most fundamental level, can result in employees being more informed.This also gives them the ability to make better decisions through effective engagement with their co-workers.
It is most definitely an advantage to utilize effective means that help your employees develop their skills and reach their full potential, so the integration of social learning is deemed essential in making this happen.