Are you looking to improve employee retention rates and organizational performance? According to a recent study, factors such as learning agility can play a huge role in appraisals. The study found that employees who are able to learn quickly and adapt to changes are more likely to be retained by their organization. So what can you do to assess learning agility in your employees? Check out the tips below.
As part of the appraisal process, employees are often expected to demonstrate their learning agility. But what exactly is Learning Agility?
What’s Learning Agility?
Learning Agility is the ability to learn new things quickly and effectively. It is sometimes also called ‘learning how to learn. Developing your learning agility can help you improve in job roles where there is an element of uncertainty, such as project management.
Your overall level of learning agility will tend to be influenced by many factors like personality type, upbringing, etc., but that doesn’t mean that it is fixed for life. There are lots of ways you can influence your learning agility; here are some examples:
– Be an active rather than passive learner – instead of waiting to be taught, seek opportunities to learn new things on your own.
– Practice overcoming obstacles in your day-to-day life, e.g., fixing something that’s broken around the house. This will help you develop problem-solving skills and self-confidence in yourself as a learner.
– Get feedback on your learning process – for example, you could ask someone at work for their thoughts after you’ve given an important presentation or if they can attend one of your training sessions.
Why is learning agility part of the appraisal process?
It is because employers want to know that employees can adapt quickly to changing circumstances at work, which may require them to learn new tasks or take on more responsibility, e.g., if they are promoted. They want to know that you will avoid falling into the trap of sticking with your comfort zone, e.g., by avoiding learning new software or taking on a project that isn’t already established within your job role because it is outside of what you have been trained to do.
But even if you don’t have an element of learning Agility in your job role now, there are still things you can do to prepare for the future by developing your skill set. So it’s worth thinking about how this could play a part in your appraisal at some point down the line.
Learning new skills
In a global economy, employees must learn new skills and change job roles to remain employable. Continuous learning is a key means for employees to satisfy their career goals. As such, organizations have established formal processes for knowledge management that provide ways for employees to build their network of contacts within the company and legally acquire new skills (less formal processes may not serve these goals).
These kinds of formal learning opportunities are often limited in number, both in the amount of time allotted to them and what employees can learn. Consequently, employees must take full advantage of any opportunity they are given; otherwise, their knowledge acquisition will likely stagnate.
Theory of planned behavior (TPB)
The theory of planned behavior (TPB) provides an appropriate framework for understanding how perceived behavioral control influences intentions to engage in continuous learning. TPB suggests three key constructs that influence intention: attitudes toward performing the behavior, subjective norms influencing the behavior, and perceived behavioral control.
Past research has demonstrated that attitude plays a particularly important role when individuals perceive high levels of behavioral control because people with positive attitudes are more likely to take action when they feel confident in their abilities.
Based on TPB, Erez and her colleagues developed a model for understanding learning agility, which proposes that the attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control associated with continuous learning are influenced by individual differences in learning Agility. Learning Agility refers to an individual’s ability to “acquire new knowledge and skills.”
Individuals high in learning Agility are more easily able to learn new things because they possess certain personality traits (e.g., open-mindedness), motivational orientations (e.g., self-efficacy), cognitive capacities (e.g., metacognitive efficiency), and/or social styles (e.g., interpersonal trust). The current study aimed at validating Erez and Eisenkraft’s (2009) model.
Being agile is not just about being able to sprint across a field; it also has benefits for your role as an employee. The term ‘learning agility’ refers to how flexible you are when learning new concepts or putting old ones into practice. So what does this mean, and why is it important in appraisals?
Busting the myth of perfection
The idea that we must be perfect at everything we do contradicts the basic premise of learning (which is growth and progress) and creates anxiety. But nobody can achieve perfection in most things they try out; humans by nature aren’t perfect – we learn from our mistakes, correct them and then aim for improvement each time. Learning Agility means recognizing our limitations and lack of expertise but still proceeding with a positive attitude.
Being open to learning from mistakes is the only way we can improve our performance and increase motivation, making us more likely to succeed next time around. In this way, becoming a learning organization through encouraging agile employees produces better results overall.
Office politics or enhancing relationships at work?
Learning agility also helps you navigate tricky situations that may come up in your place of employment due to differences in opinion on how best to achieve a goal. For example, workplace politics often rely on a person’s emotional intelligence, i.e., their ability to understand what others are feeling and empathize with them. But when there’s conflict at play, people tend not to listen but instead get defensive if they feel wronged or threatened by the opinions of others.
Learning Agility teaches you to be open-minded and manage conflict rather than play the blame game. When someone has a problem with you, it’s not about whether or not they’re right – it’s about how that affects your relationship and what you can do to resolve the issue. Strong relationships between colleagues are vital for a healthy working environment.
Learning Agility is an increasingly important trait for appraisals. There are many benefits to partnering with an agile learning company, but the most valuable one may be the increased productivity and efficiency of your workforce. If you haven’t already considered incorporating some elements of learning agility into your appraisal process, now’s a perfect time. Contact us today.