Learning is the eye of the mind, or 4 reasons why a manager should learn in sake of oneself and teach others

August 23, 2019 4:31 pm

Sergey Beresnev, HR Director of the electronics & household appliances retail chain Eldorado, MBA alumnus of Edinburgh Business School. Based on author’s column materials for Liga:Zakon.

Self-learning organization – myth or reality? It is no secret that employees who go to trainings and constantly study are more loyal and effective. So is it enough to justify an employee’s ability to develop in the company, or is internal motivation is enough to increase the efficiency?

1. Team building

The culture of lifelong learning begins with each TOP manager. All managers want their employees to be effective and proactive in offering innovative methods for optimizing existing processes. It is unlikely that there is a better source of innovation than attending educational events and sharing experience during trainings and conferences. When a leader constantly self-educates and shares knowledge with employees, sooner or later the “flywheel will spin up” – and the team will begin to develop independently.

It is also extremely important to make employees understand that the only way to build a career in the Company is continuous development. That is why, while designing programs for career growth and staff reserve, we have identified continuous self-development and the desire to educate others as key criteria. For us, this is the basis. We established the process in that way that participation in developmental and educational events became the privilege of the most effective and interested in self-development employees.

For example, as part of the “Step-by-Step” career development program, employees go through self-study programs and confirm their level of knowledge and competencies leveraging in order to be credited to the certification program. The competition is up to 5 people per seat and the queue is a quarter ahead.

Through training events, we also broadcast corporate culture and form the unity of division teams. After participating in developmental programs, line managers use a single conceptual framework, common personnel management tools and are more open to sharing knowledge and experience with their colleagues, which gives an unrivaled synergistic effect in increasing the effectiveness of training and productivity.

2. Ability to achieve goals

We have a number of employees, including myself, who are independently engaged in their education. Usually these are either specialized professional-related programs or long-term MBA programs. It is clear that if you are a TOP manager, you must always be on the cutting edge of new knowledge. It is worthwhile to come to the MBA specifically: decide for yourself how much you are willing to invest time, resources, and put up in your future.

Indeed, eagerness to study is definitely a matter of motivation and self-discipline. For example, our company offers the opportunity to attend English classes. But how many employees are actually willing to take this opportunity? When we just introduced these lessons, everyone was eager to learn, and then it started – “My cat gave birth”, “My niece’s cousin’s birthday is toda”, “Got sick”, etc. But the backbone of those interested remained, they continue to go to classes and evolve. This example is not an isolated one. If there is no intrinsic motivation, then any opportunity will be ignored.

There are also other situations: one has readiness to study, but no time. After all, to keep study also is about ability to manage time. When I started my MBA studies at Edinburgh Business School, I realized that I would go along two paths in parallel: getting a business education and working – it requires and develops self-organization, control and discipline. Without proper planning, it is just impossible to succeed. Everyone should be ready for it, including one’s family.

3. Manifestation of the initiative

Self-betterment broadens the horizons. When introducing the competency model in the Company, we learnt that the most widespread of the low-developed behavioral indicators sounded like “Knows areas of own professional development”. Employees wanted to learn, but did not understand what. We noted this signal and formed specific plans for individual development, which contained, among other things, recommendations of versatile literature.

As a result, all participants in developmental programs raised their personal score on this precise indicator, along with lifting up the one of their subordinates.

Also we began to receive more often requests from line managers and team heads with requests for specific training programs for the development of specific skills – which was not a trend before. It turned out that self-development, like a roadmap, allows employees not only to see where they are now, but also to independently determine where and when they want to be.

4. Сritical thinking

One way or another, learning something new contributes to the assimilation of knowledge not only that precise one, but also in related spheres. That makes the manager more erudite and open ways for person to formulate own original ideas and offers that are more investment-attractive and viable for the Company, which is the key to success for career advancement.

We have many examples when employees receive internal promotion in the Company, also meanwhile through continuous professional growth. Also, the market, partners, competitors can evaluate the level of the company, not only by the professional experience of the team, but also by the educational background.

All this gives us a competitive advantage in doing business and strengthens the HR Brand of the Company.

There is always a risk that after a “pumping” an employee may leave the Company. But here we are already talking about trust and stimulation of an employee for long-term work. I believe that this is the basis of any undertaking.

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