In order to be the best organization, you must hire the best people, right? Well, not necessarily. I mean, let’s be honest, all of us are not created equally. There is usually a small pool of folks that for all practical purposes are nothing short of rock stars. So, how can we leverage their knowledge and expertise to magnify the overall strength and performance of most workers in our organization? The answer is peer-to-peer learning.
Knowledge Shared is Power Multiplied
Most managers understand the power of learning. However, the most powerful tool in the workplace is peer-to-peer learning. In fact, most learning is informal and one need only look around the workplace to see this happening. Therefore, the focus should shift from classroom training (to include virtual and e-learning) to tapping into the institutional knowledge and the experiences of high-performing workers.
Peer-to-peer learning saves time and resources. It also allows you to maintain knowledge of simplified processes that might disappear when a high-performing employee changes positions or leaves the organization. Peer learning also allows managers to identify where knowledge gaps exist and to task the right people with closing those gaps.
From Whom Do you Harness the Power?
Generally speaking, when determining peers, consider people that are in similar situations but do not have a role as a teacher or an expert. They also share the status as a fellow learner. Most importantly, they do not wield power over one another by virtue of position or responsibilities.
Methods to Initiate a Peer Learning Program
Here are some tips to initiate a peer-to-peer learning program:
- Get executive support by showing them why peer learning is effective and worthwhile.
- Form a committee to set the strategy and decide who will manage the tasks.
- Create processes to establish the peer learning content.
- Identify experts in your office and maximize who creates content.
- Promote a peer learning environment by managing quality control and encouraging participation.
- Monitor consumption of content. Keep track of who consumes what and how they rate the information.
- Promote user engagement. Solicit comments and feedback and use the data to improve the quality of the content over time.
Lastly, supporting this program can be included in performance objectives to emphasize its importance. Some examples include: employee growth, effective communication, team building, organization effectiveness and leading change and innovation.
LaMesha Craft is part of the GovLoop Featured Contributor program, where we feature articles by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Contributor posts, click here.