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Workplace learning gives businesses the edge

However tempting it might be in the current economic climate, it would be wrong to think that learning in the workplace is a luxury that only the best-resourced organisations can afford. Learning not only promotes individual development, but can mean bottom-line growth for a whole organisation. As leading business strategist Peter Senge said, 'the only sustainable competitive advantage is an organisation's ability to learn faster than the competition'.

Part of the battle for managers is to create a culture of learning in the workplace. This is not only about encouraging participation in training courses, seminars and other 'classroom' activities, nor just workplace opportunities such as job shadowing, secondments, e-learning, mentoring and coaching - though all are valuable. It's also about fostering a supportive atmosphere that gives employees the space to take time at work to broaden horizons and answer questions for themselves.

Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, recently said it was 'absolutely crucial' that there was time each day to 'read, and think and reflect'. Without this, he said that people who were too busy to sit and think 'would fail in their objectives because they won't be able to sort out in their own mind what it is they are really trying to achieve'.

Acas has plenty of advice on Growing your business and keeping it simple, including on mentoring and developing Skills for supervisors to build effective and productive working environments. Acas also provides practical training opportunities on a wide range of topics and a free interactive Learning OnLine resource.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions page for more information.

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