Creating and fostering a learning culture is quite different to simply having your Learning and Development team deliver a set of training courses. It means creating an environment where knowledge and best practices are shared between employees and teams as a constant practice. Fostering a learning culture is acknowledging that there is a growth mind-set at the core of your company's values.
By placing constant improvement in the centre, you can encourage a continuous chase of new challenges and opportunities, enhancing your ability to be competitive as well as attracting and helping to retain great talent. According to Deloitte’s 2016 report, training and development opportunities are the most popular benefit an employer can offer to millenials. Moreover, the pace at which technology evolves these days means that a mastered skill may become outdated very quickly. In order to be competitive, it is essential to promote and enable ongoing leaning opportunities: if the only constant is change, constant improvement and adaptability are the only way forward.
So, how can organisations implement a learning culture?
Learning must be seen as a strategic goal for every team. This means your leaders must become training ambassadors and act as role models: managers and team leaders have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. In order to be successful, it is important to make sure that the overall learning goals are aligned with the business’ objectives.
You should gather training needs amongst your employees and draw a learning roadmap that is tailored to them. Avoid creating your own agenda based on what you think is best: ask for everyone’s feedback and respond to it. You should deliver what your teams have identified as the top need: if work-life balance is an issue, for instance, time management and how to ensure everyone has enough off-time and is mentally strong should be your focus. It is important to constantly measure and adjust. We suggest a bi-yearly review of needs and actions, as well as business impact of previous initiatives, to see what works and what doesn’t. Remember that training needs will evolve over time, but learning is always a continuous process.
To increase training attendance (and reduce costs), you can use your own experts to deliver training. This will provide interesting career opportunities for trainers (expertise, new skills, increased motivation), and a familiar face will also get increase interest from your teams.
Offer your employees easy access to all learning tools – both internal and external. Learning tools should be open to everyone and promoted. By opening access to learning tools, you are allowing each employee to define their own learning path based on their needs and interests.
Reward continuous learning and curiosity. Give employees the time and space they need to pursue learning opportunities and don’t forget to praise their curiosity. Show openness to critical thinking and reasoning, even if it challenges authority. When building your teams, hire people who are curious and value learning.
Employees must be held accountable for their own growth, and the link between learning and performance should be as clear as possible. Performance evaluations must include developmental aspects and practical suggestions on how to overcome critical areas for improvement. Training benefits should be presented from the audience’s point of view. Saying something like: “after this training, you will be more equipped to negotiate efficiently” can go a long way. But do make sure your team feels the training has indeed delivered what’s promised – make sure to ask for their feedback.
Learning must be embedded in your corporate language at every level and in every occasion: promotion is key, not just at the time of launch. Work with the corporate communication team to include learning in internal newsletters, message boards and leadership speeches. By promoting learning internally, you are making its importance clear.
Finally, the training platform you choose to host and deliver your training content is at least as important as the content itself. Aspects such as accessibility, customisation and ease of use will determine the level of success of your training initiatives. It is very important to give your employees the flexibility they need to access training content. Having a platform that works on every device and 24/7 is key: teams can make the most of their commute time or any down period to access learning. The technology you choose must be an enabler, not be a barrier: using the learning platform must be a stress-free, intuitive and enjoyable experience – to avoid training churn.
In summary, a learning culture is the best way to ensure your company and your staff remain competitive in an ever-changing environment. Get in touch today and let the bugle team help you implement it!
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Would you like to learn more about how bugle can help you with developing a learning culture in your company?