Why should you build a learning culture at work? From boosting employee productivity to improving customer retention, not only are its benefits impressive, but it is also a crucial component to drive transformation.
“Learn continually — there’s always “one more thing” to learn”.
The late Steve Jobs couldn’t have said it better. Rightly so, learning never stops, it never should…
We’re all biologically wired to learn — which is why every organization has ‘learning’ as a core cultural value. Learning almost comes naturally to us. Whether we like it or not — we’re constantly processing information, identifying what’s important, and deciding how to act based on it.
To get your employees to stay inquisitive, act decisively, and as they say ‘think out-of-the-box’ — you need to imbibe a practice of continuous learning into the very DNA of your organization.
That said, while organizations are acutely aware of the importance of learning, they have been lagging behind when it comes to their Learning and Development (L&D) initiatives. According to a report by Lorman, close to 59% of employees claimed that they had no workplace training and further stated that most of their skills were self-taught. True, all of us are busy running in and out of meetings, rushing to meet deadlines, and not to mention dealing with the mounting workload — but that shouldn’t be a blocker to nurturing your workforce’s desire to learn. In fact, learning should be deeply intertwined with your organization’s strategy and talent management processes.
Before we move on, I want us to pause and think about this: Learning happens every day at the workplace, but what are we doing to cultivate it?
The importance of building a culture of continuous learning
A learning culture drives the business forward in more ways than one. How, you ask?
For starters, having a learning culture will help you ensure that each and every team member is acquiring the knowledge that they need; not just to get their job done well, but also to be more aligned to the larger goals of the organization. This includes being in tune with the company’s mission, values, customers, and products.
What does this mean for your organization? Besides being a substantial step-up to greater success, the results of a learning culture have been impressive across the board. A learning culture creates an atmosphere of mutual stimulation where team members stay curious, seek wisdom in everything that they do, and are constantly pushing themselves to grow and go the extra mile.
From boosting employee engagement and customer retention levels to driving innovation and future-proofing your workforce — honing a learning culture drives bottom-line success.
Considering the below numbers, according to LinkedIn, talent developers are promoting learning solutions at work now, more than ever.
The science behind creating a learning culture
I strongly believe that a culture of continuous learning is what will help organizations thrive in today’s digital age and prioritize for the future. With technology disrupting just about every industry, the need for human expertise has been on the rise. Employees need to be agile to adapt to fast and demanding business environments. Bringing about this level of agility is never easy.
Here are 4 steps to help you build a strong learning culture in the workplace:
- Keep it a continuous and day-to-day process:
As we saw earlier, learning needs to be an everyday process. Introduce a day-to-day learning practice; take time out from the daily grind for learning. Make courses easily accessible to your team members and ensure that it is a continuous process with new courses being added from time to time.
- Drive it from the top:
If you thought the leadership team had no role to play in cultivating a learning culture, think again. The same LinkedIn study reported that 56% of employees claim that they would be ready to take on a course suggested by their managers. The leadership team should be actively involved in driving the employee learning experience, only then can you expect visible results.
- Encourage knowledge sharing:
You don’t always need the experts to be imparting knowledge. Encourage your team members to share what they have learned. If you find information that has helped you in your role, don’t think twice to share it. After all, there’s nothing like firsthand information. Peer-to-peer coaching and collaborative brainstorming can help you reap multiple benefits.
- Make it a point to reward learning:
Motivate employees by rewarding them for the time that they have invested in learning. Company-wide recognition and incentive programs can prove to be extremely helpful in getting more employees to come forward and take part in training and development programs. Giving an employee a shoutout over email or sending across some prize money on completing a course, will let them know that you value the effort they put into learning and upskilling.
Continuous learning creates a lasting change
In today’s radically changing digital landscape, continuous learning has become a prerequisite for transformation. Adapting a continuous learning practice will help in re-engineering our thinking process. It also helps us break free from habitual thinking patterns and be more open to change.
I’ve got data to back up this claim; according to this report by Deloitte, organizations that are invested in continuous learning are 92% more likely to innovate.
Digital transformation is a tall order. It calls for a business model reinvention — one that requires different departments to work with one another in new ways. A continuous learning culture will not only make your employees more competent but will also take your organization to new heights, transcending the barriers to growth.
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