High-learning agile people are good for business, both as executives and employees, and they help companies make more money, Korn Ferry concluded in two new workforce studies.

One determined that companies with the largest amounts of high-learning agile executives helped produce 25 percent larger profit margins versus rival companies. The other offered encouraging data about rank-and-file employees who are agile learners. These folks get promoted two times as quickly as peers who learn more slowly, Korn Ferry said.

Who is a highly agile learner? Korn Ferry defines this type of person/employee as someone who learns from past experiences, but also applies that knowledge to new situations. As well, these folks are on an ongoing mission to learn new skills and jump on new challenges.

Highly agile learners also excel in the face of stresses such as ambiguity and changing conditions, Korn Ferry said in its report on agile executives.

Here’s where most executives and companies should take note. Having agile learners as executives and rank-and-file employees could be key to competing in a global marketplace where innovation and adaptation are crucial to success, Korn Ferry argued.

“With intense innovation comes added complexity, ambiguity, and the need for fast-paced execution,” Korn Ferry noted in the report. “Organizations that excel at innovation strategy leverage strong learning agility to quickly and deftly tackle unforeseen problems and seize new opportunities … Innovation is all about surfacing fresh ideas, making connections between seemingly disparate things, experimenting with new solutions to problems, and pursuing a reinvention focus when warranted.”

Source: Korn Ferry