Skip to content

Transform the learning culture in your organisation

Dan Finnigan, CEO of Workday, a cloud software company that specialises in finance and human resource management solutions, said: “In the 21st century, jobs are being eliminated more rapidly than they can be created. The best way to stay employed is to have a skill that’s very rare and valuable.”

As technology continues to develop at an unprecedented rate, companies must adapt or face extinction. “Organisations that do not adapt to these changes will fall behind,” says Finnigan. This shift has changed the way we work; skills once considered valuable are now redundant, meaning employees are being forced to enter the job market with new skills. “To support this change, organisations should support and embed upskilling and continuous learning within their business culture,” says Finnigan.

Research shows that employees who receive training are 1.3 times more likely to have higher performance ratings, while those with an annual budget of £4 million or below can spend around £640 per employee for learning and development activities without any return on investment because they simply don’t realise the positive impact it has on their business.

If employees aren’t encouraged to invest in their careers, they soon become unmotivated and unmotivated people don’t provide the best service. As a business leader, having a thriving learning culture is your responsibility.

What is a culture of learning?

Learning organisation culture is a set of shared assumptions about how people learn, a set of common practices that support the process of continuous learning. This culture of learning is different from the organisational structure that dictates how work gets done, which comes first. A company’s learning culture drives its organisational structure and process, not the other way around. 

Why do I need a learning organisation culture?

Every organisation faces change in some form or another. Organisations whose employees embrace curiosity will foster creativity, adapt to changes, be better problem-solvers, and generally perform better. The more open and trusting the climate, people will feel comfortable sharing ideas which can not only increase productivity but also improve morale as well!

A learning organisation is the ultimate in competitive advantage because in today’s fast-paced world it’s hard to stay ahead of the competition when you are in a constant state of reaction. It’s time to stop reacting and start innovating! A culture of learning is the key ingredient to innovation.

How to transform the learning culture in your organisation?

When it comes to learning, every organisation is different. However, the goal of remaining competitive should remain in focus going forward; hence building a better culture for employees who want or need to improve their skills can go a long way towards transforming your company’s current approach when training people for new tasks at work.

Start by understanding your organisation’s unique culture and how it interconnects with your people. One of the most powerful aspects of being human is self-discovery, so identifying what makes you click as an individual can lead to discovering what inspires others.     

Once you have a clear understanding of what your company believes, values and practices are, it’s time to look at specific aspects of creating a healthy, transformative, and inclusive culture of learning.

1)  Rethink hiring to help build a learning culture.

When hiring, make sure people understand the focus of your organisation’s culture and that you hire those who want to embrace the direction it is going.  It is also important to include employees in the hiring process and consider their input as well because they will be the ones working with this new person.

Also Read: Develop a scientific approach to recruitment

2)  Survey employees to understand their learning needs.

Prior to hiring a new person or launching a new project, conduct a survey of your employees’ learning needs and interests to ensure that you are staying on top of what they want and need from the company in terms of learning opportunities.  Not only will this help with future training initiatives but it will also help you tailor your existing initiatives to be more effective.

3) Make learning a priority.

Create engaging learning opportunities that are customised for your unique workforce.  Find ways to make learning a priority by including it in job descriptions and performance reviews so people understand the positives of investing in their careers.  Be sure to include internal training programs as well as external courses or seminars so employees have a variety of options when it comes to learning.

4)  Promote curiosity and a “can-do” attitude.

Encourage people to ask questions, take initiative, and try new things because those are the best ways to learn.  If employees feel they cannot share something for fear of being judged or ridiculed, it will stifle the learning culture within your organisation.

5)  Create a knowledge-sharing group.

Inform all employees that you are going to create a “knowledge-sharing group” and ask them how they would like to contribute. Ideas could include posting articles on the company’s internal blog, taking part in social media conversations, having lunch roundtable discussions, or attending webinars about company-relevant topics.

6)  Connect employees to each other.

Learning doesn’t have to be a solo activity nor can you expect people to improve their skills without being supported by others. Understanding the value of teamwork, include opportunities for learning with colleagues so people can gain insights from those they spend more time with at work. Learning is more powerful when it is shared.

7)  Make training fun.

At this point, most people are used to learning events that are boring or tedious. Apply some creativity when designing your training programs and consider adding elements of play to engage employees more in their development. For example, consider design thinking boot camps or team building initiatives around a unique problem or challenge.

8)  Personalise learning.

The best way to get employees motivated about their development is to make it personal so they have a clear path towards the outcomes they want from improved skills. When creating your training programs, consider tailoring activities and assessments so people can see how what they are learning relates to their current role or future ambitions.

9) Embrace technology and innovation.

Employees are already plugged into social media and technology so consider how you can incorporate those tools in your learning programs. Try gamification initiatives or allow employees to take courses through an online portal, for example.  There are a plethora of learning solutions available now that were not as accessible even five years ago.

10) Actively promote the learning culture.

Make sure you are sharing your initiatives with employees so they can see what you are doing to support their development and help them achieve success. Also, consider publishing case studies about what people have learned or how their skills have improved since joining your organisation.  If it worked for someone else, it might work for them too!

11)  Follow up with employees after training to reinforce learning.

Don’t just wait until the next training session to provide support or enhance what people learned during their development programs. Follow-up with individuals to see how they are applying what they learned, suggest new opportunities for them and check in regularly on their progress. This will help reinforce their learning throughout the year and maintain momentum.

12) Sustain the change.

Even if you have created a great learning culture, it will not last for very long unless everyone is committed to making it work. You may also want to hold them accountable by tying a percentage of their performance review to how well they have been learning and applying what they have been learning. This will guarantee that your company’s learning culture does not revert back to normal.

The Next Steps

First of all, you must appoint a learning and development (L&D) manager. The main role of an L&D manager is to define, design, and deliver learning activities in order to meet organisational needs. The L&D manager is responsible for the organisation’s training and development programmes and employees’ educational needs in accordance with the organisation’s business strategy. 

If you are not able to do this in-house, consider teaming up with your L&D partner like Learnsure AI. We have an experienced team of international L&D experts who will guide your organisation through transformation every step of the way.

Share the article

Join Our Newsletter.

Sign up free to receive actionable insights on learning and development directly to you inbox. You can unsubscribe any time.