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Secrets to Building an Agile Organization

Cornerstone Editors

Why do we consider agility to be the number one characteristic of a successful company? In today's business world, inundated with rapid advancements in technology, constant change is becoming the 'norm' and a company's agility trumps their efficiency when it comes to predicting success. Organizations that can react to changes in the marketplace, recognize and close employee skill gaps and align talent strategically will be in a much better position to pivot when business demands it.

Companies that are agile have developed this ability through building learning programs that test, implement and share employee knowledge. The most nimble companies prioritize knowledge sharing, building trust and learning from failure within their learning programs. Bersin by Deloitte research (from their 2010 "High-Impact Learning Culture" research) shows that of organizations with high-impact learning cultures:

  • 46 percent of organizations are more likely to be first to market.

  • 34 percent respond better to customer needs.

  • 37 percent have greater productivity.

Capture and Retain Expertise

Employee knowledge is a company's greatest resource. Companies can further foster knowledge sharing within their organization by creating a searchable database where employees can both share and find the expert information that they need. Take one federal banking company as an example. When a group of their most experienced examiners were nearing retirement, the company hosted and recorded a chat session with them. The recordings were turned into video vignettes and stored in a searchable database to be used for training and reference purposes.

Ditch the Classroom

Training and development makes more sense when it’s tied to day-to-day learning. Customer feedback cycles and after-action reviews are valuable ways to give employees real-time insight into their projects and daily tasks. A one-size-fits-all approach won't work in today's diverse workplace, and that's why learning programs that are tailored to the individual employee have a much higher chance of succeeding. Technology can be a strong resource here. For instance, one global childcare company used an integrated talent management system to set up individualized development plans for their workforce.

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