Businesses need to keep up with changes in society and technological advancements and transform with their customers if they want to be successful in the long run. Building a good learning culture forces an organisation to pay attention to learning.
In other words, learning is the most important thing for everyone. Employees have access to a lot of tools, are happy to talk about their progress with coworkers, and set aside time to take new courses. A strong learning culture gives an organisation the chance to try new things and grow its own skills.
And entrepreneurs will benefit from making learning a part of the culture of their startup. As you start to hire people and grow your business, a workplace that encourages personal and professional growth will help your employees grow and stay with your company.
What is Learning Culture?
A learning culture is when everyone in an organisation encourages, values, and talks about learning. It helps build a talent pipeline, keeps employees interested, and contributes to their overall health.
The different parts of a learning culture are creativity, experimentation, communication, the exchange of information, empowering people, sharing resources, and helping management.
A learning culture is more than just free webinars and printed materials; it needs to be built into your whole organisation, from the top down. Consider putting the following features into your programmes if you want to build a company that is focused on learning.
Employees should be encouraged to come up with new ideas. You could have brainstorming sessions, pitch contests, or a “no bad idea” policy that encourages junior employees to tell their managers what they think and feel.
Experimenting takes creativity to the next level by letting employees implement their ideas. Start projects like an internal venture studio where employees can work on new products and ideas to create a culture that encourages innovation.
Be proactive about telling your employees about the learning resources your company has. Tell them how you, as the owner of the business, plan to learn new skills or use new programmes and policies.
People who are working can share a lot of useful information with each other. Think about starting an internal system for sharing information. For example, you could ask managers to give mini-lectures on things like graphic design that they are really interested in.
Employees are more likely to share resources like free classes, lectures, and e-books if their company has a strong learning culture. The founders set the standard that if you find something useful, you should tell your coworkers about it.
Give your employees the freedom to make their own schedules and find time to learn. You could say, “Every Wednesday, set aside an hour for everyone in the company to learn.” Make sure your employees are always comfortable sharing ideas or giving feedback to management.
It’s important to get everyone in the company on board, including middle managers. You could set up workshops to teach managers how to teach their direct reports better. You could also give them tools for leadership training and time off to learn.
How to build a learning culture in your businesses
A company’s learning culture can be seen in its programmes and initiatives, such as innovation competitions that last a week or educational expenses that are paid for by the company. Here is how you can build a learning culture in your businesses:
Online learning platforms like LinkedIn Learning and Udemy both have plans for businesses that make it easy to start giving your employees the chance to learn. You can also make online courses or in-person workshops on your own.
Make incentives that can be measured
Employees can get caught up in the tasks they have to do every day. Make it easy for employees to take breaks to learn new skills by giving them specific incentives. If you don’t have a lot of budgets, you could start a programme where managers regularly praise employees who are very interested in learning.
Change KPIs so they include chances to learn
Promotions within a company usually depend on how well an employee does their job. Change your company’s key performance indicators (KPIs) to show that it is focused on learning. You might want to include learning goals, like finishing a certain number of online courses or attending virtual webinars.
Begin at the top
Try to give your employees and managers reasons to learn, and don’t just focus on your employees. Managers who make time for their direct reports to learn should get bonuses. Make a “kudos” programme so that employees can let managers know how much they appreciate their efforts to learn.
Tell people about changes
When a new learning programme starts, employees may be excited, but they may forget about it when they get too busy with calls and projects. Tell people about changes in learning often. For example, managers could send their employees a list of resources once a month.
Use what employees know
Most likely, your company is full of professionals who know a lot about their field. Your marketer is a pro at making content, and your software engineer can speak more than one computer language. Set up a network of teachers and students like Google does to take advantage of the skills of your employees. You could give employees a bonus if they host webinars, make digital booklets, or teach online courses. These things will help other employees learn and build relationships.
Measure and improve the culture of learning in your organization
As with most things in business, you have to try, try again, and improve as you go. Ask employees what they think. What do they want as a reward? What kind of learning are they most interested in? You could do a monthly pulse check on your learning culture by sending out a survey to the whole company.
Every organisation has different needs, so try out different methods to see which ones work best for you.