Informal learning accounts for almost 80 percent of all the learning activities within the organization,Why most companies get in the way of employee learning and what you should do about it? Articles then why do most companies focus all their efforts on formal training. “Most organizations don’t utilize the full potential of informal learning” says Ravinder Tulsiani, a Learning Consultant with Training EDGE. Ravinder advocates that “organizations should incorporate informal learning as an important approach to employee education and training”, and explains the factors that can enhance the effectiveness of the informal learning process within the organization.
Research has shown that informal group behavior within the organization exerts tremendous influence on the overall performance of the organization. These informal groups within the organizations also impart right skills to their group members and surprisingly account for as high as 80 percent of all the learning activities within the organization. The formal managers or education and training department of the organization have no role in this informal learning process and therefore, the informal learning may not serve as a very effective and desired training process from the manager’s perspective.
Management cannot control the informal learning process within the organization, but they can influence the quality and effectiveness of informal learning by considering it as an important approach to employee education and training. The managers should facilitate the informal learning process and ensure that their employees have access to the right information when they look for it. The training or human resource department should include the following guidelines for taking full advantage of informal channels of training within the organization:
1. Understand the informal learning process within the organization
It becomes highly imperative to understand the information learning process within the organization to effectively support and facilitate informal learning so that it actually aligns with the formal education and training within the organization. The managers should find out how their employees learn at the workplace in order to understand the informal learning process. The analysis of the worker’s learning process at the workplace can be carried out by using any combinations of the following approaches:
Conducting a Survey:
The managers can conduct surveys by drafting personalberater a questionnaire to collect important information as to how the employees improved their skills. The surveys are better than focus groups or interviews in quickly and efficiently obtaining the information but may require further clarification or follow-up questions to get a more comprehensive understanding of the informal learning process.
The managers can suitably categorize the employees into focus groups and engage in personal conversation with them to find out the source of their information and how they perform their routine jobs. During the personal interactions, the managers can specifically ask how the employees improved their efficiency, what they do when face any work-related problems and what resources are more useful in solving their problems. This will allow the managers to understand the resources that are more important to the workers.