‘Learning in the flow of work’ was initially coined by Josh Bersin, pre-COVID, in reference to the in-formal, on-demand learning that happens in the workplace.
While the benefits this approach has to workplace learning are obvious, we think there's also a lot to be gained by applying this approach to workplace communications – and due to COVID it's becoming crucial.
For a long time now HR professionals have been frustrated at their internal modes of communication. Traditional methods have become outdated, clunky and inefficient.
Most were designed to offload as much information as possible, and had never been optimised for efficiency and absorption.
The way we seek information has changed
Think about the last time you needed an answer, it doesn’t have to be work related. Maybe you wanted to check the weather forecast to see if you'd need a jacket or you wanted to see what times the trains were running. How did you find the answer? Chances are you googled it.
Most people turn to search engines to get answers fast, and why wouldn’t they? In our globally connected world we’re accustomed to accessing information on the go.
When employees are used to finding what they need in the click of a button, accessing information in the workplace needs to be equally as frictionless.
Employees are overwhelmed
As digital technology rose, the number of communication platforms increased. But if your workplace is harnessing multiple modes of communication, you could be doing more harm than good.
Not only are we overwhelming employees, but research has shown they're unable to process all this information, it is stress inducing, demoralizing, depletes energy and leads to an attention deficit.
We’ve made it impossible for our employees to communicate effectively and absorb information.
And then COVID accelerated everything
Right now organizations around the world are trying to do more with less, and that includes people. Employees are upskilling, taking on new responsibilities and troubleshooting issues they’ve never faced before – all at breakneck speed. And they need every minute of productivity they have!
That's where communicating in the flow of work becomes essential. You should be able to communicate with employees without disrupting their flow of work.
How does it work?
Communicating in the flow of work is all about reaching your employees with the right message, on the right channel, at the right time.
Rather than overwhelming employees or breaking them out of their flow with an urgent email with a 10-page attachment, offer employees bite-sized information as they need it.
We get that sometimes it's not possible to condense an entire policy into a bite-sized piece, and it doesn't have to be. Make your initial message short and sweet, but ensure the more in-depth information is easily accessible so your employees have the opportunity to dive in when they have the time.