HRD practitioners constantly search for new initiatives that can enrich the development of the workforce.
It is profound that formal learning cannot be the only weapon in the employee development arena. By formal learning, we mean all the skills and knowledge that are produced in off- the- job educational facilities, such as schools and universities. On the contrary, informal learning appears to be a vital ally in shaping professional consciousness among the workforce.
Informal learning has been examined by many theoreticians through the prism of behaviouristic, cognitive and experiential learning theories. The majority of experts conclude that the process of attending a series of professional seminars cannot be the only form of learning. Researchers identify an unconscious production of knowledge, which derives from the continuous interaction between employers and employees. This knowledge is acquired through workplace relationships and activities. Employees ‘teach’ each other through daily work activities.
On a deeper level, a common mistake for most organizations is to believe that their employees will behave in rational ways. People will share their skills and knowledge only when they can trust each other. Thus, there should be a safe and trustful context and a ‘we-I’ balance. Only then will individuals obtain a team spirit and will they become group-oriented.
HR Managers should implement those practices that promote learning and career development. They should know what motivates and what disappoints their employees.
It is really important to understand that learning can occur through work and it can be ‘formal’, ‘informal’, ‘intentional’ or ‘unplanned’. As a consequent, there is an imperative need for policymakers and HRD professionals to find on-the-job learning resources and to achieve what we call, workplace learning.
Manager’s Office Hellas
MSc in Human Resource Management & Training