In the typical VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world employees have to constantly weather the storm. While responding to these challenges they are more likely to ask for a coworker’s aid. This is because employees around them have been in a similar position. So not only will they provide useful information but also allow the employee to ask questions that otherwise would seem silly. Thus, Peer Learning becomes an important tool in helping the employee weather the storm.
Below mentioned is a list of 10 steps to guide you into systematically achieving peer learning in your organisation.
1. Explaining the effectiveness of Peer Learning
Facilitating successful realisation of peer learning in an organisation involves explaining its benefits to both managers as well as the employees. Corporate learning has mostly been a top-down learning effort. It is, however, important for the employees and executives to understand that learning is more of a social effort as well. Employees learn from each other through mistakes, experiences, testimonials etc. HR can convey the effectiveness by explaining “What’s in it for me?” to both the parties. Understanding the importance and benefits of peer learning by managers and employees is a prerequisite for successful realisation.
2. Creating a process to establish peer learning
Once the effectiveness of peer learning is conveyed, the next step is to chart out the steps to reach the goal. The L & D team can gain a strategic position here. Forming a committee which aims at materializing the process is very essential. Guidelines can be established for smooth functioning. Identifying the organisation’s objective and then designing a structure with an intention to align the organisation’s needs to that of employees, is more likely to yield the results. Focusing on identifying the common threads such as shared challenges, opportunities, goals, age experience level etc could be used to connect the employee into peer teams and facilitate learning.
3. Identifying SMEs
Once you have the process in place, identifying the Subject Matter Experts (SME) is imperative. SMEs are the ones who have inside out knowledge about what it takes to do a particular job. Tapping into their expertise also helps them pass the torch of institutional knowledge and experience from one generation to others. While sharing their expertise, they deepen their personal understanding and are greeted with new ideas and perspectives from the co-workers. Thus, facilitating development of new skills for the employee and leadership skills for the SME.
4. Training the SMEs
Being an expert in a domain and translating that expertise to teach others are two different things. Experts should be trained in communicating their expertise. This could be done by breaking down the concepts and creating user-relevant content. Training them to emphasize on creating safe environments by maintaining confidentiality, encouraging the employees by employing positive reinforcement and being sensitive to the employee, increases the quality of learning that takes place.
5. Encourage Networking
Organising internal networking events formally as well as informally or lunch and learn sessions, helps the employee build stronger connections. These connections help the employee to flex with the new challenges that they face. According to a blog by Bianca Miller Cole, Forbes, “Networking is not only about trading information, but also serves as an avenue to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits.” It also provides the employees with fresh perspectives and ideas to approach their role as well as staying updated with the current industry trends. A strong network enables the employee to meet relevant people and opportunities for their personal as well as career advancement.
6. Social and Collaborative Learning Platforms
In the past few years social and collaborative learning platforms have risen up in the workplace ecosystem. Discussion rooms, virtual workspaces facilitate peer to peer learning. According to 360 Learning, 98% of the companies plan and most of them have already started using online learning platforms in 2020. They make discussions and sharing possible across the globe, thus, overcoming the organisational barriers.These discussions facilitate new insights and constructive inputs.In the context of workplace learning, implementing the learning on the job is more important than the content itself. Some abstract concepts such as leadership are easy to understand but difficult to implement. In such a situation, enabling a person to share their experience on a social learning platform helps in removing the barriers to implementation.
7. Promoting Just-In-Time Learning
Developing and learning new skills is important. However, making time for it is mostly difficult. When a need arises to learn something new, mobile learning platforms help the employee to access the learning anytime anywhere. This also provides an opportunity to quickly implement what they have learnt, leading to a better consolidation of information. An employee could download the learning material and learn on their way back to home, making the information available on their fingertips. According to LinkedIn workplace report 2020, 57% of talent developers plan to spend more on their online learning programs.
8. Encourage real work-life situations
Peer learning should involve situations and exercises that mirror the actual challenges faced by the employees. An employee won’t prioritize learning about scenarios that they will rarely encounter and are explained in an abstract manner. Real life examples prove the efficiency and explain the utility of the newly acquired skills and promote engagement among the peers. Real life experiences also provide psychological support to the employees when they realize that they are not alone. It provides them with hope and ways to approach the situation.
9. Peer Feedback
Feedback helps the employee gain confidence on their current approach towards learning and identify new areas of development.According to Gartner 2018, Peer Feedback can enhance the performance of an employee by 14%. An employee would be benefited if a peer could observe the situation and provide feedback. It helps in promoting insight and empowering the employee to make an efficient choice. By providing constructive peer feedback, employees present themselves as someone who cares and is concerned in the development of others. It also helps the employee develop a critical eye which helps in differentiating between approaches that work and ones that might cause potential harm. They can then consider other alternatives, thus enhancing the problem-solving skills. Not only does it help improve their communication skill but also helps to learn in collaboration.
After successfully employing all the above steps it is important to sustain the motivation of an employee for long term realization of organisational goals. According to Talent LMS’s 2019 work survey, 83% of employees who received gamified training were motivated whereas 61% employees reported that non-gamified learning lead to boredom and unproductivity. Motivated employees show high levels of engagement. Though learning in itself engages the employees but incentivising peer learning can help them engage intrinsically.
At BHyve we gamify the entire peer learning process. Our expertise lies in using core organisational psychology and new age technology to transform the way learning is approached at your organisation and facilitate engagement. Relationship between peers creates a sense of belongingness in an employee. Hence we help in fostering a harmonious relationship between the peers.
Personalized skill cards are provided to all the employees which enables them to map their interest and career aspirations. Employees are guided through each step of their experience by our constantly evolving recommendation engine.
BuzzBox enables employees to get direct and quick help from trustworthy colleagues. Every collaborative activity earns them BuzzPoints or Badges. Employees can not only flaunt their achievements but also unlock exciting internal company rewards giving them both peer and organisation wide recognition.
Weather your storm in the VUCA world by connecting with us at BHyve.