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Learning agility is the ability to quickly develop new effective behaviour based on new experiences. This ability has a direct impact on an individual’s performance and behaviour at work. Below are seven important attributes, some or all of which are typically shown by learning agile employees:
Self-awareness is the cornerstone of learning agility. An individual who is highly self-aware is cognisant of his/her own strengths and weaknesses, whereas individuals with low self-awareness may have trouble recognising where they fall short. In fact, individuals who are aware of their own shortcomings are far more willing to admit their mistakes and recognise the need to develop further skills and abilities.
Your talent management strategy may set aside the budget for assessments and development plans, but ultimately no changes will take place unless an employee (1) buys into the process, (2) accepts his/her results and (3) is willing to put in the energy to develop further. A learning agile employee is proactive and flexible in the face of changing demands, as well as being self-aware about his/her development needs. This means that your training initiatives are far more likely to be met with acceptance, success and, ultimately, concrete results.
Learning agile employees are key to your succession planning strategy. An individual’s level of learning agility can be compared to their stretchability and willingness to grow within the company, whereas traditional personality, cognitive and competency assessments inform the current picture of behaviours, skills and abilities. Those individuals with high learning agility can grow into more senior roles, and can model learning agility behaviours and values to their subordinates.
A big part of learning agility is always trying to do better. That’s why these employees appreciate both positive and negative performance-based feedback. Not only do they actively listen to this advice, but they consciously use this information to improve themselves.
Effective teamwork is a crucial element of performance. Your learning agile team members are open to people from different backgrounds and with different opinions. They encourage others to share their own contributions, without dismissing any ideas. They are also willing to let go of their own opinions when they see that they are wrong, and instead learn from the advice of other people.
With a strong need to achieve and be successful, your learning agile employees are likely to take initiative in starting new projects. Even without a formalised development plan, this individual may also take the initiative to develop themselves further.
Learning agility implies being able to deal effectively with change, and instill those values in others. Ensuring that these learning agile change agents occupy key management and leadership roles will assist your organisation in being more change ready. After all, being successful in a competitive marketplace means proactively embracing change, not reactively managing the consequences of change.
HFMtalentindex offers assessments that measure the five distinct areas of learning agility: Change Agility, Mental Agility, People Agility, Results Agility and Self-Awareness. These are presented in a comprehensive report, together with an overall Learning Agility score, to be used for both selection and development.