To survive in this era of cut-throat competition, employees need to keep upgrading their knowledge by continuously learning new skills. Businesses that invest in providing employees learning & development opportunities gain a positive reputation in the industry and enjoy the benefits of having talented employees wanting to work for them.
It is easy to provide formal learning through eLearning courses and instructor-led training. Creating eLearning courses has become highly convenient because of the comprehensive toolkit provided by popular tools like iSpring Suite. And instructor-led training has been facilitated with tools like web-conferencing software.
While businesses can only provide formal learning opportunities, employees can self-direct themselves to learn through informal learning experiences in the workplace. It allows employees to learn new skills by watching their peers and understanding their way of working, getting feedback from colleagues, mentoring from superiors, etc.
To help you understand why employees need informal learning experiences in the workplace, we have listed below its key benefits:
1. Better retention of information:
Informal learning is spontaneous and borne out of curiosity, which makes the process of learning very natural and highly effective. It allows employees to learn through social learning and repetition.
This allows them to learn a concept and implement it in their everyday work consistently, which leads to a better understanding of the concept. Being a complete self-triggered process, it leads to higher retention of knowledge.
2. Improves employee performance:
Since employees venture into informal learning on their own unlike formal training sessions, they are more interested in learning from it. This leads to them learning new things based on their choices, at their own pace.
This makes the learning process more engaging and fun. When employees learn informally from their peers and implement this learning into their work, it helps in enhancing their performance.
3. Can be adopted by anyone in any work culture:
Informal learning is not restricted to any particular level and applies to everyone regardless of their position in the company. It is also not bound by experience as even the most learned people need to learn new things to stay abreast with the changes in the industry.
Moreover, informal learning can be adopted even in remote work settings with the help of tech tools. This ensures employees always have resources to learn whether they work in the office or from home.
4. Keeps employees motivated:
Employees today have the understanding of the fact that they need to keep upgrading their knowledge to sustain in their jobs. To stay competitive, they can decide what skills they need to learn to boost their performance.
This self-realisation of their shortcomings and learning needs keeps employees motivated to keep growing. Moreover, the ability to learn through their own experiences and to pace their learning however they want makes the whole process very enriching.
5. Stress free learning:
Informal learning is not bound by time nor needs to be tested. Contrary to a structured training programme, there is a higher level of freedom as there are no deadlines, no assessments, no quizzes, and no evaluations.
There is no compulsion to learn a certain topic immediately, nor the need to continue learning at a certain speed. This takes the pressures off the employees and makes learning more organic.
In a nutshell, informal learning gives employees the freedom to learn without any pressure and make mistakes on their way to mastering a skill. Having full control over their learning increases their motivation and makes employees more invested in their growth. Moreover, it leads to higher employee engagement and work satisfaction. This makes it absolutely necessary for businesses to encourage informal learning in the workplace.