Employee turnover is costly, and as many might think, often pay is not the reason why they leave. Most of the time, it is because they don’t find an opportunity to learn and grow in the organization.
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In a recent survey by Instructure, it was found that 70% of U.S. employees would leave their current role for another organization that is known to invest in learning and development.
So what can you do to make your employees stay? The answer is learning culture. It fosters an environment where employees learn, thrive, and grow, while at the same time driving organizational success. It helps organizations remain agile in this ever-changing business landscape.
In this article, we will be taking a deep dive into what learning culture is, its benefits, and how to create one for your organization.
What is a learning culture in the organization?
A learning culture may be defined as a corporate framework or strategy aimed at fostering an environment of learning in an organization. Organizations make sure that they create a conducive environment where learning becomes part of the culture and not forced.
In a learning culture, employees take ownership of their own learning and development. It creates an environment of knowledge-sharing, collaboration, and feedback where people do not fear taking risks. Overall, a learning culture helps employees with their personal and professional development while aligning them with organizational goals.
Benefits of having a learning culture in your organization
Here are the benefits of having a learning culture in your organization:
Increased Innovation and Creativity
A Deloitte report highlights that high-performing learning organizations are 92% more likely to innovate.
What do the companies Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Coca-Cola, and Pixar have in common?
It is not just the success they have achieved globally or that they are all known brands; they all foster a learning culture in their organization. When employees work in a learning culture, they think critically, explore more, do not fear taking risks, and are ready to learn from mistakes.
They are open to new ideas and thinking and ready to take on challenges and find the best solutions to problems. Employees often go above and beyond their job roles to find solutions to problems and collaborate with cross-functional teams. As a result, learning culture inspires innovation and creativity, and results in both personal and professional growth.
Continuous Learning and Development
A learning culture removes any bottleneck, if any, from the learning and development goals of the organization. Employees take responsibility for their own growth and development and make learning a part of their routine.
Not only this, but a learning culture motivates employees to seek opportunities where they can acquire knowledge and learn. Whether through mentorship, formal training, or self-learning, they grab the first opportunity to learn.
Knowledge Sharing and Problem-Solving
An environment of learning culture lays the foundation for problem-solving and knowledge sharing.
Employees who work in a learning environment are better problem solvers. They are always ready to experiment, take on complex challenges, and find the best possible solutions to tackle them. And when people from diverse backgrounds and expertise come together to solve problems, they bring their collective brainpower.
It opens up a common platform for knowledge sharing. With different perspectives, they are able to solve problems more effectively. This in turn improves the efficiency of individuals, teams, and the organization as a whole.
Improves Employee Engagement
One of the latest research by LinkedIn highlights that employees who spend time at work learning are:
- 47% less likely to be stressed
- 39% more likely to be productive
- 23% take on additional responsibilities readily
- 21% more confident and happy
The results clearly indicate that when employees spend time at work learning, they are much more engaged than they would have been otherwise. Having a learning culture that is central to the organization’s mission is thus critical.
Employees, when they see that the company cares for their learning and development, are more involved in their work. They are satisfied and go above and beyond at work to get their work done. As a result, employees are more engaged and dedicated at work.
Learning culture in an organization plays a major role in talent retention.
When employees see that the organization is interested and invested in their learning and development, it makes them feel valued. It creates a sense of belonging. Not only does it help them with skill development, but it also helps them advance their careers in the same organizations. Thereby encouraging them to stay in the same organization for a longer period of time.
How to build a learning culture in your organization?
Building a learning culture in your organization is not a one-day activity, it takes time, planning, and implementation. Here are some ways in which you can build a learning culture in your organization.
Identify Your Current Strategy
Before you start working on building a learning culture in your organization, identify your current strategy and then take the next steps. In every organization, there is some form of ongoing learning, either formal or informal. Interact with your employees and understand what they want and prefer.
When this is over, It will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the current strategy. This will help organizations to bridge the gap between what they want and what their employees want.
Lead By Example
Employees often look up to their leaders and managers for inspiration. Once employees see that the leadership is also committed to personal and professional development, it is easier to get them on board.
Encourage your leaders to actively participate in seminars or workshops and share their stories with the team. Additionally, request them to promote upcoming seminars and workshops. This will further motivate your employees to commit to a culture of learning when they see their leaders onboard.
Provide Learning Opportunities and Resources
To cultivate a learning culture in your organization, make learning accessible to your employees. Monthly or quarterly, give employees the opportunity to be part of webinars, workshops, or seminars that will sharpen their personal and professional skills.
As an employer, engage in discussions with your employees regarding the types of workshops or webinars they would like to participate in. Encourage them to explore various options and assist them by offering the necessary support they require.
In addition to workshops and webinars, provide access to your employees to online learning platforms such as Coursera, edX, Udacity, or Udemy, which will make learning more accessible and easy.
Mentoring plays a crucial role when it comes to creating a culture of learning in your organization. When mentors are paired with mentees, it helps in the sharing of knowledge, skills, and expertise. Not only this, it opens up channels of communication, instills trust, improves collaboration, and helps gain valuable insights. With products like Mentoring Complete by Engagedly, setting up a mentoring process in your organization has become much simpler than before.
Ever wondered why some of your employees never ask questions or interact less in meetings as compared to others? They don’t feel psychologically safe to do so.
What is Psychological Safety?
As Edmondson puts it, “It’s felt permission for candor.” Psychological safety is the belief that an employee will not be reprimanded or scolded for taking risks, putting forth ideas, experimenting with processes, or showing concerns and asking questions.
The main idea is to instill in employees that it is ‘OK’ to do so without the fear of getting judged. It helps employees to be confident, remove self-doubt if any, and openly express themselves. Psychological safety improves collaboration, inspires innovation, and helps employees learn from their mistakes.
Overall, psychological safety not only promotes a culture of learning, but also creates a positive environment at the workplace.
Everyone likes recognition. When employees observe that organizations recognize and reward their time invested in learning, it reinforces their belief that the organization genuinely believes in promoting a learning culture. It can be as simple as a shoutout over email or Slack, or it can be monetary benefits and public recognition. This will also encourage other employees to be a part of the learning culture.
With some performance enablement tools like Engagedly, it has become much easier to reward, recognize, and share praise with your employees.
Promote Knowledge Sharing
Encourage your employees to share more. Every employee has their own set of knowledge, experiences, and expertise. When they get a platform to share it with others, everyone else also learns from their unique insights and perspectives.
Consider organizing both formal and informal gatherings, such as Fun Fridays, where employees can freely share their stories every week, fostering a collaborative platform for knowledge exchange. This creates a channel for open communication and cross-functional collaboration, thereby fostering a learning culture.
Measure and Adapt
Irrespective of the type of learning model you are focusing on, formal or informal, measuring its success is crucial. Analyze completion rates, surveys, training histories, and other data to measure the impact of your learning strategy on your employees. It will help you make changes and adjustments to your overall strategy, and tailor it according to your employees’ needs.
In conclusion, fostering a learning culture is important for businesses to stay agile and adapt to an ever-changing landscape. It helps them continuously enhance their skills, grow personally and professionally, and stay ahead of the curve in the market.
But, promoting or creating a learning culture in an organization is not just a one-day process or simply conducting a webinar, it is an ongoing process. Get leadership support, involve your employees, and build a strategy that is closely aligned with your business goals. A learning culture in an organization should help employees thrive and grow, and, at the same time, lead the organization to success.