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Most of us would agree that learning needs to be continuous in the modern workplace. The business environment changes daily and therefore we need to change with it. But it’s not just employers that expect their staff to want to learn and build their skills, its employees who want an environment that allows them to do that too! Millennials are the ones most keen on an allowance for training and development, with Deloitte's 2016 report suggesting that training and development is the most “coveted job benefit”. Learning culture in the workplace needs to be built from the ground up. How? Let’s find out.
This is precisely what is meant by developing from the ground up. Learning culture needs to be ingrained in the organisations values to be successfully implemented. By making it a part of the core values, employees will feel like learning is supported by leadership. This core value is going to present commitment to learning culture from the top down. It also means that the organisation is willing to provide the tools necessary to facilitate continuous learning and development. This sends a positive message about learning culture in your workplace to your employees and potential employees.
Your employees won't be on-board with an initiative if they don’t feel like you support it! Organisational leaders - particularly senior leaders - have a lot of influence on employees behaviour and performance. So if you want to foster a strong learning culture and drive an interest in learning among your team, you should show an interest in learning yourself. You can do this by taking on projects outside your main job, undergoing training (and talking about it with your employees) and asking for and implementing feedback. By doing so, your employees are likely to recognise that learning is important at all levels and reinforce the learning culture.
Training that is tailored to your employees is much more relevant and effective than regular training. Personalised learning turns the focus onto the learner rather than the organisation. By creating more personalised learning, you are likely to see higher engagement rates and aid with developing skills. This technique takes the focus off the course itself and places it on the individual developing their skills and achieving their learning goals. You can personalise learning by using a Learning Management System (LMS) that allows for mobile training, different types of learning and engaging content (such as videos and graphics). An LMS that does this is going to assist with learning and engaging staff to participate in training and development.
Ideally, employees will be intrinsically motivated to learn and upskill, but that's not always the case. Implementing small rewards for continuous learning can help encourage even the most resistant learners. Rewards don’t have to be large at all, they can be something as small as a chance to win a prize, virtual learning badges or recognising achievements in a team meeting. The rewards should support learning efforts and promote those who have put in effort.
Make it clear from the beginning that learning is important in your workplace. Have discussions during the hiring process about your company's commitment to learning and upskilling. Market leaders are having these discussions during the hiring process, which reinforces their strong learning culture from the very beginning. This will help you weed out candidates who aren’t willing to learn, attract candidates that are driven to grow and present your company as attractive to prospective employees too!
Informal and social learning is actually a much bigger part of learning culture than you might think. Knowledge sharing encourages socialisation, creative problem solving, improves consistency and boosts efficiency. With all these benefits, it's hard not to want to implement knowledge sharing. Some ways you can encourage knowledge sharing are: create collaboration spaces (whether they are physically in the office or virtual), create a supportive culture and offer resources. There are many other ways you can encourage knowledge sharing, but these suggestions are a great way to get started with creating an environment for knowledge sharing among employees!
Developing a learning culture isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. There are a lot of things you need to do to successfully build a strong learning culture and it’s up to leaders to really implement these strategies and allow the effect to trickle down the organisational channel. Make sure you introduce the learning culture from the bottom, with the organisation's core values and then work your way up to reinforcement.
If you need help building a strong culture of learning, start with an amazing Learning Management System that will engage your employees and make the process of building a strong learning culture that much easier. Schedule a live demo of Learn Central today!