Employees have always been a company’s greatest asset. Yet historically, only a few companies have designed their learning and development program to reflect that.
That has changed in recent times. The talent shortage, along with the continuing need to upskill due to technological advancements mean that companies need to take a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to learning. From a recruitment and talent retention standpoint, investing in learning and development helps companies attract (and retain) top performers.
Taking a proactive approach to learning and development ultimately comes down to creating a positive and supportive culture that inspires employees to be their best selves. And one powerful tool that can help with this is people-centric learning.
What is People-Centric Learning
People-centric learning, at its core, is an approach to learning and development that focuses on the needs of the learners. Rather than implementing a standardized, one-size-fits-all module, companies that adopt a people-centric mindset to learning and development ensure that there are options to cater to different learning styles, frequencies, methods, and needs.
What is Knowledge Transfer?
A crucial part of people-centric learning is knowledge transfer, which essentially refers to employees sharing and passing on information vital to your organization’s operations.
Historically, companies have adopted what CIO magazine calls the “knowledge management” approach. They systemize and store information without considering how they will disseminate that information among present (and future) employees. On the other hand, a “knowledge-sharing” approach adopts an employee-first approach to knowledge transfer. The focus is on adopting a platform (or process) that is intuitive, collaborative, and inclusive of different learning styles and training methods.
Knowledge transfer is crucial across all industries but is especially vital in technically-intensive roles such as manufacturing, energy and utilities and transportation. Employees who perform these roles need to stay updated with technological development and automation processes. When there isn’t consistent knowledge transfer between seasoned and new employees, it can create a skill gap in a company that is difficult to fill.
Facilitating Knowledge Transfer and People-Centric Learning through Mentoring
Building proper knowledge transfer in an organization takes work and intention. It’s not enough to document or make knowledge available to employees, because knowledge sharing doesn’t always come intuitively.
This is where mentoring can serve a vital role, in whatever format makes sense. For example, in traditional one-on-one relationships the senior mentor can share their lessons, learnings and experiences with the mentee who may be newer to the industry or the workforce. Meanwhile, reverse mentoring allows younger employees to share ideas or new technological practices that may come naturally to them, but not to the senior employee.
Mentoring and Knowledge Transfer
In a world where employees move from company to company, knowledge transfer is crucial to an organization. Without it, companies risk losing critical information which makes it difficult to establish best practices. In mentoring arrangements, two or more participants regularly meet to share knowledge and information—often related to their work or organization. Mentoring ensures that knowledge transfer takes place on a regular basis.
Mentoring and People-Centric Learning
Implementing people-centric learning principles in mentoring programs can go a long way in facilitating knowledge transfer. When employees can learn in a way that best suits them, they can retain more information and are more likely to be engaged at work. According to a 2021 survey by Gallup and Amazon, 71% of workers who participated in a company’s upskilling or learning development program reported a positive impact on job satisfaction.
The nature of mentoring relationships also makes it easy to practice knowledge transfer on a regular basis. By nature, mentoring relationships provide a safe space for mentees to reflect on their development by asking questions, seeking feedback, and discussing new ideas. These interactions encourage curiosity and cultivate a culture where employees want to acquire additional knowledge and skills that help them excel in their roles.
Tips for Implementing Effective Learning in Mentoring Programs
Cultivating a culture of knowledge transfer and learning requires a company to be intentional when designing and implementing its mentoring programs. Below are some helpful tips to follow.
Set clear goals and expectations
Mentors and mentees need to be on the same page regarding what they expect from one another. The mentor and mentee should also discuss if the mentor’s teaching/training style is compatible with the mentee’s learning style. Not every individual will be fully aligned, but setting the right expectations and being open to adapting one’s approach can go a long way.
Provide regular feedback and support
An ideal mentorship arrangement is one where mentors and mentees feel comfortable (and are receptive to) provide and receive regular feedback, as well as support one another. It’s important to train mentors and mentees to receive and give feedback effectively before the relationship begins.
Make sure the program is accessible for all employees
Opening up formal mentoring to a broad group of employees ensures learning is done systematically across large parts of the organization, if not all. That requires making the opportunity accessible and available to all employees and educating them on what the program entails.
Train mentors and mentees
A good mentor, just like a good manager, requires skills that take time to develop and hone in on. Companies need to provide opportunities for employees to acquire these skills, whether that’s through a formal or informal training programs, resources or self-guided learning.
Provide effective resources
Learning is an ongoing process and mentoring relationships evolve. At some point, mentors and mentees may require different types of support and resources than what they received at the beginning of their relationships.
Guide learning path
Lastly, it’s important for organizations to provide specific goals and milestones for mentor/mentee learning paths. It can be helpful for mentees or mentors to have a guideline they can work from and adapt according to their needs.
Upgrade Your Learning and Development Strategy with Chronus Mentoring Software
A learning and development strategy that puts people at the forefront can cultivate a culture of knowledge transfer. Mentoring is an effective tool and framework to do just that.
Chronus can help your company introduce a people-centric learning strategy to your organization. Its AI-powered matching technology can help you ensure alignment between mentors and mentees and help you take care of the administrative burdens of managing a mentoring program.
A company’s greatest asset is its people. And when you give them opportunities to learn and grow, you’ll see that they’ll strive to be their best professional selves at work.