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Eighty percent of learning takes place through on-the-job interactions with peers, experts, and managers, according to Bersin and Associates. This type of informal learning, referred to as social learning, is key in driving employee development and engagement across an organization.
In fact, 86 percent of employees say they learn what they need to know for work by collaborating with others, according to River Software’s 2014 study. Yet, organizations still spend too much money on formal training — for instance, a whopping $164 billion in 2012, according to ATD.
The ROI of Social Learning Infographic explains why managers should take a step back from formal training to focus their efforts on social learning.
Are Formal Training Programs a Poor ROI?
- The cost to have 1 hour of formal learning available is $1,798.
- In just 1 week people FORGET 70% of what they learned in a formal training program.
- In 1 month, they will have forgotten 87%.
- In other words, money spent on quickly-forgotten formation is wasted, and could even result in employees leaving.
- 8 in 10 employees will leave an organization if they don’t receive the right training to perform their job effectively.
What Impacts Employee Development
- 86% of employees said that they are learning what they need to know for work by collaborating with others.
- 80% said working with people they like is highly motivating. This increases to 90% for employees 36 and older.
Hands-on Learning Experiences
- 52% of Americans say active participation through hands-on training is the best learning merhod.
Providing hands-on learning increased students’ participation from 34.7% to 44.4%.
- Employees working under leaders who give honest feedback tanked highest in employee engagement (77the percentile) while employees working under leaders who gave minimal feedback, if any, ranked lowest in employee engagement (25th percentile)
Why Do We Learn Better Socially?
Much of what we learn at work occurs as we learn from our own experiences and what we observe of the experiences of others. (Clive Shepherd, author ofThe New Learning Architect)
Social learning has always taken place in the workplace but new technologies open up greater opportunities. You can ask a question to fellow colleagues… take part in an online chat or read a relevant blog post with advice from a colleague and respond. (Con Solidis, LearnKotch Consulting)
People have always learned best from one another – social media enables this to happen unrestricted by physical location and in all kinds of extraordinarily creative ways. (Marcia Conner, author of The New Social Learning: A Guide lo Transforming Organizations Through Social Media)
Social Learning Is the Solution
Here is what happens when employees have the opportunity to learn from one another socially:
- Smoother onboarding: 90% of organizations believe employees make their decisions to stay within the first year.
- Higher employee retention: 76% of respondents said opportunities for growth was the top reason they stay in an organization.This increases to 90% for millennials under 25.
- Increased employee performance: Trainees increased their performance by 22% through deliberate reflection and sharing lessons learned with others.
Social learning doesn’t require everyone to work from the same place, but employees do need the right tools:
- Visual demonstration tools: 32% of women and 25% of men say visual demonstrations help them learn best.
- A feedback mechanism: 41% of non-Millenial and 29% of Millennial employees expect more feedback than they currently receive.
- Social communication tools: 49% of Millennials support the use of social tools for workplace collaboration.
- Content development tools: Empowering employees to train others resulted in a 15% increase in employee engagement and a 7% increase in creativity.
- Tools to facilitate on-on-one mentorships: 40% of organizations have mentoring programs in place to help prevent losing knowledge-hungry Millennials to other companies
Create more social learning opportunities and soon your employees will be brimming with expertise and know-how.