Last week I talked about IBM’s full-on dive into social, well, everything, and it got me thinking about our research into Relationship Centered Learning. Brandon hall Group’s soon-to-be-published study on RCL looks at companies that seem to have figured out the new learning ecosystem and how everything all works together. A big part of that is the social element. What is “social” if not relationships, right?

As an introduction to the concept of RCL, I will share with you the characteristics that are present in organizations that we would consider to be relationship focused:

  • Proactive Learning Orientation (employees take responsibility for their development and seek out learning with little or no push from leadership).
  • Automated processes that use technology to present employees with opportunities to connect to informal knowledge sources throughout the organization.
  • Each and every employee is presented opportunities for development based on personal strengths, weaknesses, job role, or interest from a source other than their immediate leader.

Now I want to tie all that back in to social with a simple data point from the study. We asked organizations what their policy was when it came to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc. Among those companies that exhibit the characteristics above, 40% said they promote employee access. That isn’t just ignoring it, that’s encouraging it. Among companies that do not meet the RCL characteristics, less than 20% say they promote it. In fact, these non-RCL companies are more likely to prohibit access than encourage it. Only about 8% of our high RCL companies said they prohibit access.

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What does all this mean? To me it indicates that companies that are ahead of the curve in the learning landscape understand the power of these social interactions and the value they provide in keeping their employees connected. The openness to external platforms reflects an overall attitude towards connectedness and the idea that knowledge can be found almost anywhere. If you are at work, go ahead and click on any of those links to get an idea of where your company might be.

Be sure to check out our webinar on Relationship Centered Learning, and look for the paper soon.

David Wentworth

David Wentworth has been a senior research analyst in the human capital field since 2005 and joined the Brandon Hall Group in 2013. He has authored reports and articles on various human capital subjects with an emphasis on workforce technology. He has contributed to several reports published by ASTD, including authoring Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations, and Instructional Systems Design Today and in the Future. His work has also appeared in Compensation & Benefits Review and T+D Magazine.