Leading organizations are optimistic about the future of work. Are you?


Forward-thinking organizations aren’t anxious about the future of work. They’re excited.

Why? Because these organizations have already figured out how to thrive in the face of the skills shortage — and how to attract, engage, and retain great employees despite the war for talent.

What are they doing that others aren’t? They’re becoming learning organizations.

The idea of the “learning organization” isn’t new. Almost 30 years ago, leadership expert Peter Denge, author of “The Fifth Discipline,” began advocating for organizations to facilitate learning throughout their ranks. to enable greater flexibility, agility, and competitiveness.

Denge’s message is even more relevant today. In an age when economic, social, technological, and political outcomes are increasingly unpredictable, the ability to learn continuously will separate those who thrive in the skills economy from those who merely survive.

Research shows that organizations that prioritize and encourage learning at all levels are better at taking advantage of new opportunities. These organizations also:

  • Have the talent they need, when they need it. The World Economic Forum’s 2018 jobs report (pdf) calls for organizations to “reposition themselves as learning organizations” to “ensure a sufficient pool of appropriately skilled talent.”
  • Find it easier to retain skilled employees. Research by Deloitte found that mature learning organizations typically achieved 30-50% higher engagement and retention rates.
  • Increase individual achievement. A “learning orientation,” per Stanford University Professor and author Carol Dweck, plays a pivotal role in increasing both individual achievement and resilience.
  • Drive greater organizational performance and innovation. For organizations, a learning orientation correlates positively with increased performance and innovation (pdf). According to research by Deloitte (pdf), mature learning organizations are 92% more likely to innovate and 58% more prepared to address future demand.

It’s never been more vital for organizations in every industry to evolve from static entities to learning ones. The question is how. While this evolution doesn’t happen overnight, organizations can begin by exploring and implementing six key learning organization practices: establishing a learning culture, nurturing curiosity, enabling employees to drive their own learning, developing learning agility, creating career paths, and focusing on employee empowerment.

Skip-Marshall-HeadshotSkip Marshall is CTO and HCM Technology Leader with DXC Technology, responsible for Human Capital Management (HCM) product strategy and solution architecture. He has extensive design, development and deployment experience in instructional programs, enterprise talent management initiatives and the technology infrastructure to support them. Mr. Marshall specializes in designing technology solutions to address complex business issues within the HCM space.

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