How to Help Your Employees Learn from Each Other

Effective Skill Sharing Structure
0

Managing a growing company is a challenging but important task. One of the most prominent challenges most new enterprises face is employee training. According to the 2018 Training Industry Report, US corporations spent over $87 billion on learning programs. However, the same report points out that the number has decreased in comparison to the previous year. What is the reason behind this?

There are plenty of different systems you can organize to teach employees. Although many companies rely on outside resources, enterprises are starting to adopt peer-to-peer training systems. According to WSJ, more than a half of Fortune 500 businesses are using some form of a mentoring program. So, what are the benefits of such systems, should you implement them and how can you help your employees to use them effectively? Let’s find out.

Benefits of a Peer Learning Program

Establishing a safe environment for everyone to speak their mind and be proactive. If your employees have ideas that might improve the company – why not listen to them?

In most cases, when a new employee needs to learn something about their job, they will refer to their direct superior. This is definitely a valid dynamic, but it is not the most effective one. More often than not only one side gets feedback in such conversations. Peer learning, however, involves idea sharing between all the parties.

Other benefits of peer-to-peer learning include:
  • Establishing a safe environment for everyone to speak their mind and be proactive. If your employees have ideas that might improve the company – why not listen to them? Reward the most creative initiatives to further motivate your workers.
  • Creating healthy workplace relationships. Peer learning can connect people that would normally never talk to one another. With proper management, such a program can be used to build a strong unified team.
  • Developing leadership skills and qualities. Even if an employee is not a natural-born leader and isn’t planning to become one, developing leadership skills can still be useful in their activity. If a person is able to make an informed choice, make sure that their peers follow the plan and take responsibility for their decisions; they are much more valuable of an asset than a mindless working bee.

Business Mentoring and Why It Is Important

Mentoring is one of the forms of peer learning. In it, a qualified experienced worker (mentor) is paired with a new employee or employees. The mentee is free to consult with their mentor on anything they need, and the mentor should try their best to be helpful.

Although such a relationship seems similar to the boss-employee one, there are some key differences. The most important one being the lack of pressure and power difference – both parties are still peers. So, why is this scheme so effective and popular with huge companies?

Here are some of the benefits of mentoring:
  • Unlike some peer learning systems, mentoring has a direct approach to communication. There is no need to set up regular meetings and wait for your turn to speak – the learning process is a conversation between two people.
  • It boosts the confidence and leadership skills of the mentor. If you pick someone to be a teacher, you show them that you believe in them. Additionally, the mentor gets to feel superior to a rookie they’re teaching.
  • As with other peer learning systems, people would get to know each other better. However, due to the nature of the program, it is much easier to feel empathy, so the connection people experience is much stronger.

How to Arrange an Effective Skill Sharing Structure

Effective Skill Sharing Structure

Now that you know about the advantages of peer-to-peer learning, it would also help to find out which management skills would help to implement one.

The steps you would need to take are:
  • Make sure everyone is on the same page – if you want your system to be effective, all the employees should be on board with it. If not – change their mind.
  • Create a positive atmosphere – for example, make sure that being the mentor is treated as a privilege, never force anyone to do what they don’t want to, reimburse mentors for the time they spend teaching, etc.
  • Support networking – if people know how the company works as a system, they will better understand how to do their part right. Set up events with people from different departments, encourage skill sharing and connections between branches. A simple thing, like community lunch, can go a long way.

Conclusion

Peer learning is one of the best ways to train your employee. It simplifies the educational process and, if managed right, doesn’t cost a lot of money. Such coordinated cooperation also leads to a friendlier team, positive atmosphere, and proactive work approach.

As a manager, you shouldn’t control the peer-to-peer process too much. However, you cannot be idle either. Your main task is to create the most favorable conditions for the project. Although it doesn’t seem like much at first glance, it’s a hard and time-consuming task. If you feel overwhelmed, we’re ready to help! Reach out to us at DNA325 and we will aid with all your recruitment needs.