Acquiring and sharing of knowledge is not new, it’s as old as mankind. Parents send their children to school to acquire knowledge that will position them for a good life. Organizations seek a potential workforce that has the right knowledge that will transform the system and improve their knowledge base.
The big question is; what role does learning have in workplace productivity? We must understand that not all learning has a positive effect on productivity. The different kinds of learning and how they impact the organization’s productivity can be seen below:
- Applicable knowledge: Applicable knowledge has the power to transform organizations’ productivity. When workers do not only have theoretical knowledge but they can also apply the knowledge to daily challenges in the workplace, performance is high and can be sustained. Applicable knowledge gives power and stability. When such knowledge is applied, there can be mistakes but such individuals can learn and grow faster than applying theories from textbooks that have not been tried nor tested.
- Mentor/Mentee knowledge: Another dimension of knowledge that promotes productivity is Mentor/Mentee knowledge-sharing in the workplace. This is when a young or new person is attached to a senior person in the department who is more skillful, has better and sound experience in the delivery of values required to get the job done. At this level, the mentee gathers knowledge, ask questions, and apply all that has been learned from the mentor.
- Coach/Coachee knowledge: The Coach and Coachee knowledge generation is a deep process where the coach takes the coachee by the hand to inspire and develop new ideas and hidden knowledge, overcoming challenges and helping him/her to achieve the set target. The knowledge generated in this process is owned by the coachee as he/she generates his/her original way of achieving results. This is not head-knowledge rather unique knowledge that comes from within; this is a phenomenal way to ignite new ideas for workplace productivity.
- Updated knowledge: We cannot have better productivity unless there is newer knowledge in the organization. There is a need to build upon the obsolete and existing knowledge as both cannot be compared. Knowledge is as powerful as its update. In organizations, stale knowledge will not produce any new skill or the process of getting better results. Therefore, updated knowledge is key to workplace productivity. Employees must be encouraged to regularly attend professional seminars, take new courses, and register for new programs that will transform their organization to the required performance level.
Having understood the kinds of learning that help to increase productivity in the workplace, we would look into the kind of knowledge that workers should seek to bring about the level of productivity that is required. Knowledge brings about productivity; therefore the content is very important.
- Knowledge of self – How much of yourself do you know about the work that you do? If you do not know yourself, you may work amiss or compete with others who have the inborn or the personality to function in their role in the organization. Self-knowledge/awareness is a great journey everyone must embark on as it reveals the key to performance and likewise sustains the energy needed to perform.
- Knowledge of the work – How much knowledge and skill do you have about your work? Your performance review is tied to your productivity, therefore, if you don’t have the appropriate knowledge of your work, it will show in your results. Getting the right skills to deliver your task is germane. The knowledge of your work is what makes you a professional; you need to take this seriously.
- Knowledge of the industry – How much do you know about your industry? The knowledge of the industry will give you the edge you need to operate and get better results. Your understanding of the dynamics in the industry and the ability to perform with this knowledge will make a great difference. This includes local and international exposure and training, webinars, and taking advantage of every avenue to learn the best and standard practices related to your industry.
- Knowledge of the market – How well do you know your market? The knowledge of the market helps you to position for sales and in marketing your products or services in the marketplace. This is a great edge against competitors. Your productivity will be rewarded when your knowledge culminates in great sales and profitability.
- Knowledge of customers – How well do you know your customers? Customer knowledge is very important to organizational growth and profitability. Customers are the heartbeat of a business and they are the bedrock of sustainable profit. The more you learn about customer behaviors and buying style, the greater advantage you have against your competitors. Knowing the emotional reasons why customers buy, and the perception that brings about buying is good information to have.
- Knowledge of your Boss – How much do you know about your Boss or supervisors at work? You need to know how to manage your Boss or line managers for maximum productivity. Knowing, understanding, and managing your Boss’s emotions will be of great advantage to achieve your goals without stress. It is your Boss that certifies your performance. In the equation of workplace productivity, learning about your boss is important.
- Knowledge of your colleagues – How well do you know your colleagues in the workplace? Learning about your peers will give you an understanding of their world and why they do what they do? What motivates them or what kills their productivity? Having this understanding will bring great harmony that will always translate into workplace productivity.
Learning may be a common language but the kind that will bring about productivity in the workplace is not common, it is intentional and strategic. The result of learning is to create change and have outcomes that are tangible and visible. Consequently, the goal of anyone in the organization is to find the appropriate knowledge that will bring about tangible evidence at work.
In as much as theoretical knowledge is not in itself bad, we must realize that the pursuit of theoretical knowledge is in its effective application to the day to day activities on the job. The knowledge application is therefore more important than the knowledge itself if we must achieve the required productivity in our workplace.