Building a Learning Culture: Fostering Curiosity, Exploration, and Innovation
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A learning culture is simple—it’s when you promote and encourage the members of your organization to keep on exploring new information. This can be done through specific courses that you offer or sign up for as management. Alternatively, it could just be the encouragement of reading new information and staying updated with trends in your industry or area.
In a business or organization, a learning culture is a great tool for boosting morale and for improving productivity. In businesses specifically, research shows that employees perform better when they receive training. They’re also far more inclined to remain in a job for a longer period if there’s training and education on offer. This boosts retention rates and adds to the skills value of your workforce.
So, how do you go about creating a learning culture in your organization?
Decide What You Want Your Employees To Learn
The first step is working out what you want or need your employees to learn. They might need specific training to do the job or to understand how your organization operates. This needs to be planned for and properly implemented so that every member feels confident in their ability and the execution of tasks.
Now, you’ll have a baseline of knowledge within your organization.
Talk to Your Organization About What They Want
The next step is actively engaging your members or employees in this learning culture. The best way to do this is to ask them what they want. If you can provide training in a way that they prefer and offer courses that will help them with personal goals (while still aligned with your organization), you’ll find that people are more inclined to get on board with the process.
The desire to learn is a massive part of a positive and strong learning culture within an organization.
Get The Right Courses and Learning Materials
When offering training or courses, you must offer options that make sense for your organization. This doesn’t just mean looking at the skills that the courses train attendees in. You also need to consider how the course is run. Can it be done in employees' own time? Do they need to attend workshops in person? Is there a grading system or tests?
All of this will impact how your organization interacts with the course and the learning material.
Incorporate Learning into Your Onboarding Process
It’s important for you to set the tone for a learning culture. When you onboard new employees, start with training from the very first day. Show people that learning is a top priority for the organization by having a well-planned onboarding process that includes workshops and mentorship. This way, everyone in your organization will have a learning mindset from the start.
Encourage Collaboration and Teamwork with Learning
When a learning culture combines with a social culture, you get much better buy-in from your workforce. It’s more enjoyable and interactive to learn together with other members of the organization or employees from the company. Attendees can talk about the coursework, compare notes, discuss findings and outcomes, and keep each other motivated.
Encouraging people to share learning material and resources that they’ve found will help to grow your learning culture too. Having a forum dedicated to learning is a great space for asking questions and sharing insights.
Start Sharing Knowledge and Information
Speaking of sharing experience, insights and resources and insights, it’s vital that the learning culture comes from the top down. Owners, managers, and leaders must lead by example. If leaders in the organization get into the habit of sharing resources that they come across, it will encourage others within the group to do the same.
If you’re subscribed to an industry newsletter that includes interesting industry insights, share particular articles via email with everyone—or share the entire newsletter. If you’re attending expos or industry events, make sure you send out updates to your organization on what’s being discussed by the experts.
Give Everyone Time to Learn
Learning takes time. If you want the members of your organization to want to learn, they need to have the time and space to do so. For example, you can’t expect employees to take on a course if you don’t give them set times in the working week to actually study or work through the course material.
Training needs to be scheduled into their hours on the clock so that it doesn’t take away from their lunch hour or break times. It also shouldn’t interfere with the work expected from them. You don’t want learning to become an activity that adds pressure to the workday or extends office hours. It should complement the workplace experience without adding to an employee's workload or making them feel overburdened.
Link Learning to Growth in the Organization
This point is particularly important for businesses or organizations that need managers and leaders to keep rising up the ranks to take on new projects and roles. When you encourage people to learn new skills, they need to see the reward for their hard work. The new skills should translate into moving up the ranks of the organization, with the pay rise and new title where possible to reflect this too.
In a business, offering the chance to further an employee’s career through in-house training can turn into a major success story. You build a more loyal workforce, and you help to provide great career growth for everyone.
A Learning Culture Goes a Long Way Toward Organizational Wellbeing
A learning culture should always be a positive attribute of a business. You encourage the members of your organization to be curious and to improve their knowledge and skills. This helps to make everyone feel more positive about being part of the organization and improves the mental and emotional well-being of everyone involved. It’s truly a win-win situation.