This practice keeps formal training and mistakes to a minimum, while making sure that employees are operating at their maximum.

(a version of this post was published by nojitter)

The ability to train and educate employees as quickly and efficiently as possible, on a continual basis, is essential for any organization that wishes to be successful. The modern business world demands that employees be flexible in their roles, as companies consistently adapt to industry changes. So why wouldn’t learning and training adapt in the same way?

Businesses can save costs, time, and energy by utilizing active workflow listening. Active workflow listening is a solution first vs learn first outcome by which employees can crowdsource an immediate answer from company tribal knowledge by using keyword search or real-time communications. In turn, this is linked to the exact coworker or manager with the answer, which can then be shared directly into an employee’s daily workstream.

Employees can find solutions to workplace dilemmas and have questions answered in their daily workflow, seamlessly learning from mistakes colleagues have made in the past. Constant learning on the go through active workflow listening helps to keep employees’ mistakes low and productivity high.

Informal learning and training on the job occurs at the watercooler and in the break room.


In a typical workplace environment, when an employee makes a mistake or encounters an issue for which they do not have a ready solution, they either stall/procrastinate or search for the answer by leveraging whatever tools are available to them.

Organizations that have the means or tools in place to empower employees to solve problems on their own, or with crowdsourced knowledge base systems to easily tap the network power of their peers, are able to resume their workflows quickly with minimum interruption to others. Online knowledge sources powered by social intelligence can help to decrease the time it takes to rectify a problem in the workplace. Workers employing these tools can see how their coworkers have solved the same problems and questions in an attempt to move past the issues to the next step of a task.


The modern business world is fast paced, and every day it becomes more decentralized. Employees need to stay connected even when working from home, on a plane, or in disparate offices across the globe – or else they risk falling behind. Businesses need to adapt to this change in office dynamics to give employees the chance to peek over the now virtual cubicle to ask a simple question.

Even with the business world becoming more virtual, our company found in a recent survey that 81% of American office workers think that peer collaboration helps their productivity, and 48% say that is their preferred method of learning at work. Employees might be working separately physically, but it doesn’t mean that they should be disconnected entirely. Active workflow listening relies on co-workers being connected to share information between their teams and improve the knowledge of the team as a whole.


In the same survey, we found that only 35% of workers are aware that the power of active workflow listening is available to them, delivering a solution to workers when they need it in the daily workflow. While workflow has traditionally been considered time spent in the office, the modern workflow is around the clock in a global market where workers are learning via video, collaborating with others (in person or virtually), and at the customer edge.
Informal learning and training on the job occurs at the watercooler and in the break room. In a global workplace, the watercooler and break room conversations can be lost if employees are working in different time zones and on different schedules. Waiting for your supervisor halfway around the globe to wake up and answer your question breaks up a workflow and is detrimental to task completion.

Organizations need to make sure that employees use active workflow listening to pick up on what others in the workplace are doing right, and train themselves to do the same. Employees who can see what their peers and others before them have directly struggled with, can learn to correctly accomplish a task without making the same mistakes. This practice keeps formal training and mistakes to a minimum, while making sure that employees are operating at their maximum.