Organisations serve a pivotal purpose: they exist to create value. Their main goal is to offer tangible and intangible benefits to clients. These efforts invariably anticipate a corresponding increase in stakeholder value. This is especially true for business organisations. Central to the success of this process is the individuals who make up these organisations. Sadly, the connection between employee value and organisational success is often overlooked. Here, we shed light on this underappreciated aspect and highlight how expertly managed human resources influence the learning curve in your organisation.
Employees: The Cornerstones of Organisational Value
Creating value through people is not a simple task. It’s a sophisticated process best handled by HR professionals. After all, who better than these trained professionals are equipped to understand and manage human judgments, attitudes, and perceptions?
Quality and Value: Two Sides of the Same Coin
Quality and value operate in tandem. People create value, and learning fosters quality. This definition of learning, as defined by the dictionary, involves acquiring knowledge or skills through study, experience, or instruction. Quality, in contrast, refers to satisfying or surpassing customer expectations. Therefore, organisations dedicated to learning are more likely to deliver quality services or products, thus gaining a competitive advantage, as observed by Kapp (1999).
Decoding the Learning Curve
The Learning Curve, also known as the productivity curve, indicates the rate of progression as individuals gain new skills or experiences. This curve affects both efficiency and quality. Consider, for instance, the performance of recent college graduates. With repetitive tasks over time, they improve both their outputs and efficiency, leading to reduced effort and cost. This concept showcases the potential impact of the “learning curve” in organisations.
The Inner and Outer Paths to Learning
Learning within an organisation can stem from internal or external methods. Internally, individuals learn through repetition, frequent equipment use, or embracing scientific or technological advancements. External learning methods, on the other hand, involve interactions with others, active exploration, and inter-industry spillovers. Both these learning routes can be fostered by professional HR teams to enhance staff capabilities.
The Power of Thinking Systems
Organisations, like groups of people, are Thinking Systems. As such, human beings are unique in three ways: they continuously learn, they can structure their learning, and their learning always aligns with their goals, even if they may appear contradictory. Despite the capability to learn without any structure, a structured learning approach is often beneficial within an organisational context. HR teams are well-equipped to structure your organisation’s learning, boosting your competitive edge by harnessing the unique capabilities inherent in your people.
Enhancing Organisational Success through Human Capital
Most organisations strive to nurture a loyal and profitable customer base to sharpen their competitive edge. However, a true indicator of organisational commitment to success is the continuous development of a loyal and productive workforce. HR is the key to achieving success through people – through Human Capital, as noted by Ulrich and Lake (1990).
Your organisation’s learning curve doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. An adept HR team can facilitate a smooth learning curve that has a positive influence on organisational capability and value-adding behaviour.
Now, let’s look at seven ways professional HR can facilitate an organisation’s learning curve.
1. Masterful Evaluation of Organisational Competencies
Recognising skills deficiencies among employees requires expertise. Through the use of proper systems for HR data collection and analysis, you can pinpoint staff capabilities and critical skills gaps. This allows HR to plan and implement optimal learning and development actions to enhance staff competency levels.
2. Nurturing Motivation and Managing Performance
Organisational capability largely depends on staff motivation, which fuels their commitment to work and high-performance levels. With a blend of intrinsic and reward-based motivation, HR can develop or update policies and practices to maintain high employee motivation. This results in a more manageable learning curve and lower staff turnover.
3. Promoting Employee Satisfaction and Loyalty
A contented workforce is often a prerequisite for customer satisfaction. It influences organisational performance and profitability. HR policies that promote fairness, work-life balance, and employee goal attainment can boost satisfaction and loyalty, fostering a learning-friendly environment.
4. Advocating Continuous Staff Development
The importance of people within an organisation can’t be overstated. Their growth directly impacts organisational performance and outputs. HR facilitates this growth through the implementation of staff development programs, encouraging the retention of well-developed human capital and supporting a smoother learning curve.
5. Inspiring Commitment to Goals
A competent and productive employee needs the right motivation to perform optimally. HR can encourage staff commitment to organisational goals by improving communication and promoting flexible organisational structures. This commitment fosters an easier learning curve.
6. Preserving Organisational Knowledge
Organisational knowledge is a significant competitive advantage, and its management is key in facilitating smooth learning curves. HR ensures that knowledge within the organisation is preserved, even with staff turnover, by developing knowledge management tools for the effective acquisition, retention, and dissemination of knowledge.
7. HR as a Strategic Business Partner
In transitioning into a role as a strategic business partner, HR possesses the potential to significantly elevate an organisation. By serving as a strategic partner, HR effectively aligns the organisational strategy with the needs of not only the business but also its people. Consequently, this transformation cultivates a holistic entity out of the organisation. In turn, these holistic organisations characteristically evolve into learning organisations that relentlessly innovate to maintain their competitive edge.
Expanding beyond traditional roles, modern HR now encompasses more than just workforce\\\ planning and talent management. Indeed, they substantially contribute to the bottom line and the overall organisational performance. Specifically, they manage the learning and development processes for all members of the organisation, thereby demonstrating their critical role in shaping the organisation’s success.