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Stay Focused on Organizational Growth by Creating an Ecosystem for Learning

An organization’s ecosystem, much like a biological one, should support growth. In a biological ecosystem, life interacts symbiotically to achieve growth. For instance, plants provide oxygen that animals breathe. An organization can support growth by creating a learning ecosystem where curious, innovative, hard-working employees are rewarded.

This is what happened at Gannett, according to Harvard Business Review, when Erik Bursch reached out to Jason Jedlinski, SVP Consumer Products, and proposed they merge their engineering teams in the technology department. Jedlinski was receptive to the idea and accepted Bursch’s offer. As a result, Bursch was able to learn new skills and grow within Gannett versus taking his ingenuity elsewhere.

“I was really seeking the challenge of aligning technology advancement to support a product vision. Being able to have a larger impact on our business gave me and my team the thrill and excitement that comes with a brand new job, without losing momentum and expertise,” Bursch said of the exchange.

The fact is employees need their managers to grow. In a learning ecosystem, managers support the growth that keeps businesses from failing by offering new opportunities to employees who display drive, curiosity and a willingness to learn new things. In simple terms, achieving high-growth requires the support and development of high-growth employees, even those who exist outside of the management bubble.

Much like ecosystems in nature, the concept of growth capacity is important in the workplace, too. In an ecosystem, new life can continue to grow and thrive until the capacity for resources is reached. In a learning ecosystem, an employer will continue to grow and evolve until they’ve reached their full potential in that role. Once that occurs, if management doesn’t determine which employees need a new learning curve on which to embark, they may lose valuable talent and skills to their competition. 

To avoid running into this issue, employers should assess employees' skills and talents while seeking new learning curves for them. For example, at Rovi, the heads of two feuding HR departments were asked to switch places when they struggled to work together.

“This forced switch in perspective made a huge difference. Neither of them had the experience initially to perform the new job, but they had enough knowledge of the business generally, and they had people working for them who understood the specifics,” said Chief HR Officer, Eileen Schloss, to Harvard Business Review. “This purposeful shakeup improved understanding within each function, as well as capabilities.”

This kind of disruption encouraged a more well-rounded HR department by ensuring the leaders of each group within the department had a holistic understanding of HR practices and principles. The job swap is one of many strategies businesses can deploy to ensure their office learning environment does not go stale.

A thriving business learning ecosystem helps both people and businesses grow while keeping innovative organizations in competitive industries focused on new development. To deploy best practices and HR strategies that will keep your business ahead of the competition, contact the Lynch Law Firm. Our team of learning, HR, legal and strategy experts can craft an intentional culture of learning for your organization.