How To Develop Your Company's Learning Culture

How To Develop Your Company's Learning Culture
Summary: Developing a learning culture is critical to organizational success. Investment in careful planning will create visionary training programs for employees.

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What is a learning culture? Each organization has its own culture, and included in that culture is a set of assumptions and practices around training that's otherwise known as the organization's learning culture. Common goals and methods in this realm include training, upskilling, reskilling, knowledge management, and peer-to-peer engagement.

Developing a culture that supports learning is not only an investment, but it also provides tremendous benefits for the organization. It future-proofs your workforce to boost retention and engagement, and the organization can also reap long-term benefits and create a competitive advantage.

According to research by Bersin & Associates, companies with a strong workplace learning culture have employees that are 37% more productive than organizations that don’t value workplace learning. They are also 32% more likely to be the first to market an innovative solution and have a 26% better track record of producing quality products and/or delivering stellar services.

Before thinking about how to develop those, it's essential to assess where your organization currently stands on the learning culture curve.

Assessing Your Company's Learning Culture

While companies will have different elements of their learning culture that are more or less mature, we’ve found a continuum of maturity which typically falls under four stages:

  1. Chalk and talk
    At this stage, organizations have a young learning culture, and training technology is minimal.
  2. Brilliant basics
    Here, organizations usually have an LMS and are looking to deepen their understanding.
  3. Investors in people
    Organizations at this stage are committed to performance management and talent in development. They provide training opportunities that extend far beyond what's needed and seek a strong return on training investment.
  4. Future gazers
    Organizations that are Future Gazers have a mature learning culture and encourage employees to engage with self-and professional development as a part of their workday routine.

As seen above, a learning culture goes beyond training workshops and eLearning. It's about developing future leaders and empowering employees with new skills that will enable them to take on new roles and challenges.

Developing a company's learning culture cannot happen overnight, but there are actionable steps that you can take to move in the right direction.

8 Concrete Steps To Developing A Learning Culture

1. Examine Your Organization's Current Learning Strategy

Before implementing these changes in the workplace, it's crucial to assess where your organization currently stands. Take a look at how your employees are currently learning, what they're learning, and what training materials they have.

Through this, you'll be able to identify your organization's strengths and weaknesses and start to create a strategy that'll provide both powerful and effective coaching for your employees.

2. Develop Personalized Learning Plans

When creating a company training program, it's vital to craft personalized learning plans with tailored content for your employees. These are more engaging and support employees in achieving their individual goals.

3. Make Training Easily Accessible

Employees aren't going to make an effort to learn if the process isn't seamless. If you're delivering training through an LMS, it's important that it's user-friendly and comes with an intuitive dashboard. Ideally, you should also have on-demand training that enables your employees to access learning materials anywhere at any time. This is especially important in a modern workforce as it allows for greater flexibility.

4. Lead By Example

Organizational leaders are often in an influential position, so they must be engaged and dedicated to their own continuous development. If they are, it helps with reinforcing a learning culture. Some ways to lead by example include sharing with employees about the goals they've set for themselves and talking about the training they've taken.

5. Reward Training

Recognition is important. Employees want acknowledgment for the time that they've taken to invest in their learning. It's a good idea to have company-wide initiatives that reward employees for their hard work. This can be something small like a contest, or it can be larger and more motivating, like a prize or financial reward. This will not only help with the uptake of courses, but it'll also show your employees that you value the time that they're investing in their training.

6. Set Aside Time To Learn

When there are deadlines, ongoing projects, and endless meetings, it can be challenging to find time to learn. When it comes to building this culture, it's imperative to advocate for learning time. Employees need to know that they're allowed and encouraged to take time out of their day to focus on this.

7. Experiment With Various Learning Methods

When thinking about how to develop a training program for employees, there is a myriad of methods out there. Face-to-face training sessions and online training courses through an LMS are widely used along with one-to-one coaching, etc. While both are incredibly effective on their own, they can also be integrated into a blended learning model.

8. Measure And Adapt

It's crucial to measure the success of your methods continuously. By measuring engagement, completion rates, etc., you'll discover the real impact that this training has on your employees. Monitoring and measuring can also allow you to tweak and adapt your courses and tailor them to your employees' needs.

Why Is Developing A Learning Culture Important?

In this modern and technological age, there are a few trends that are influencing business and learning. They include:

  • The growth of a workforce that is globally dispersed and remote
  • Increased demographic of digital-first generations that are technologically advanced
  • Pressures of automation and the talent gap

Companies must develop their learning culture and transition into digital learning or risk being displaced. Only by moving from an elementary to a visionary learning culture and along the maturity continuum can organizations develop their employees, shape future leaders, and meet the demand of changing markets.

Developing Your Company's Learning Culture And Beyond

Developing this culture within your company is an investment, but it also provides massive benefits. You'll be capitalizing on your employee's potential, growing your business, and increasing overall employee engagement and productivity. A learning culture is something every organization should strive to develop, and it's an investment in your company's long-term success.

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