If L&D professionals were granted three wishes, they might ask for time, time, and more time. Not just more time to do their own work, but more time for employees to learn—time crunch is one of the biggest pain points facing the industry, and it’s only getting worse.
Research shows that “during the average 40-hour workweek, employees have only 24 minutes to learn.” A constant time crunch means that learning is often bumped to the bottom of to-do lists in favor of more-pressing projects and deadlines. But employees want to grow and develop in their jobs, and companies need employees to learn new skills and innovate—none of which is likely to happen without learning.
How can you help your team make learning a priority? Learning in the flow of work, a term coined by global HR analyst Josh Bersin, describes learning opportunities that are so embedded into the regular workday that it’s no longer seen as learning. Teams find their learning flow by seeking out learning opportunities in the meetings, tasks, and projects that are already part of their jobs. This could be learning a new skill on the job, taking on a temporary stretch assignment, or engaging with microlearning in a moment of need.
Learning shouldn’t be treated as something separate from our daily work. While there’s a time and place for formal, dedicated learning, learning in the flow of work is an opportunity for employees to grow and develop in ways that align with and support their normal workflow. Consider stretch assignments, which give people the chance to develop new skills while helping the organization solve a real business problem (even better if the assignment supports their career goals). Stretch assignments aren’t extracurricular tasks that require people to add time to their calendars. Instead, they’re an opportunity for people to learn as they work. In a time of jam-packed days, meeting overload, and an always-on work culture, it’s likely time to reinvent how your people learn.