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Talent Management & Development in Learning Organizations

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  • 0:04 Learning Organizations
  • 0:25 Developing a Learning Culture
  • 1:48 Talent Acquisition
  • 2:43 Talent Training
  • 3:27 Talent Management
  • 6:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rachel Matz

Rachel teaches acting and voice. She has an MFA in Acting and an MBA in Business Administration.

Explore the world of a learning organization including how the organization acquires, manages, and retains talent in this lesson. Learn about the development of a learning culture and how employees operate within the learning structure.

Learning Organizations

Why is a learning organization different than other organizations? A learning organization focuses on developing, obtaining, and conveying knowledge, and then adapting behavior to include the information and new ideas. Since the backbone of learning is discovering new ideas, a learning organization creates a culture centered on growth and the pursuit of knowledge.

Developing a Learning Culture

Where do these new ideas come from? They can come from brainstorms and creativity, insiders within the organization, or even outsiders; but from these ideas, organizational improvement must take place. Even if an organization is great at gathering knowledge, applying that knowledge to the growth of the organization is the basis for becoming a learning organization.

General Electric is a strong example of a company which applies key learning to their business practices. They create policies and processes reflecting new knowledge along with displaying behavior that integrates the new ideas. American Express and Apple have also developed effective learning organizations, and they study the inner-workings of their organizations in order to continue to grow. Learning culture starts with the CEO and a growth mindset for the entire organization.

Learning organizations incorporate the following five main activities into their daily operations:

  1. Systemic problem solving: Using the scientific method, data, and statistical tools to solve problems
  2. Experimentation: Searching and testing for knowledge
  3. Learning from past experience: Assessing successes and failures and learning from them
  4. Learning from others: Gaining a new point of view from outside environments
  5. Transferring knowledge: Disseminating the information throughout the organization

Talent Acquisition

Learning organizations want employees who take learning to a whole new level. These people seek knowledge; they apply that knowledge to the betterment of their company, and they share the knowledge with others. So the question remains: how do organizations find and develop this type of talent?

First of all, human resources (HR) departments must structure interviews and utilize assessments and behavioral interviews to hire talent, filtering candidates based on their inner drive, search for information, and methods they use for completing tasks. The candidates must be critical thinkers, driven learners, and competent collaborators.

Learning cultures find talent that operates with low ego, fear, and complacency, since these traits can be obstacles for potential learners. Furthermore, humility is another important characteristic for working in a learning environment, because an employee must be approachable and open to learning new things as opposed to stuck on his or her own beliefs.

Talent Training

Once an employee is hired, he or she needs to be extensively trained to adapt to the learning culture. Part of the training includes thinking about key learning methods, applying them to the job, and sharing them with colleagues.

Team building is another way talent is cultivated, because the focus lies on the team, not the individual. Learning cultures use stretch exercises, which teach innovation and the mastery of new skills, to foster group support. After completing the exercises, the whole team is acknowledged and appreciated.

Team exercises provide a better foundation for learning, because the individuals soak up more knowledge when they gain the support of the other team members. In addition, keeping the teams on the smaller side promotes more agility and manageability in the organization.

Talent Management

Learning organizations foster open communication and the discussion of ideas, even if that discussion strays from the formal reporting structure. Many learning cultures implement a flat hierarchy, which is opposed to a traditional corporate hierarchy in that it has very few, if any, levels of management separating the heads of the organization and the employees. This helps the organization's leaders encourage the tough questioning and fearless exchange of issues and ideas.

Unlike more traditional corporate environments, learning cultures nurture taking risks, even if the venture fails. Building a learning culture thrives on an environment of growth and learning, which includes making mistakes, taking risks, and learning from mistakes, all to avoid repeating them. If employees are risk-averse, then they might be afraid to explore new ideas, which is opposite to the thought process of a learning organization.

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