The world of business is ever-changing, ever-evolving. With new technologies, and adaptations needed to comply with environmental and political developments, it's no surprise that in order to succeed in business, you have to be continually learning and improving.
But, before we look at how to create a culture of learning, let's have a look at some of the benefits:
Increased employee engagement and lower staff turnover
Increased employee motivation and productivity
Better candidate attraction
Better customer service
Better innovation, problem solving and initiative
As you can see, the benefits are undeniable, and a great learning and development (L&D) strategy can undoubtedly give you a competitive edge. However, it's essential your employees are as excited about learning and development as you are. So, here are our top tips that you can implement immediately to create a culture of learning.
It starts at the beginning
Did you know that 89% of employees say opportunities for L&D are important to them when looking for a new role? In the current candidate-driven market and the time of the Great Resignation, your L&D programme could hugely increase your candidate attraction.
Ensure your organisation's marketing collateral details the importance of L&D and talk about it in interviews with candidates. Set a precedent from the very start that a culture of learning is essential to your business.
Listen to your employees
How often have you had to participate in a training course or conference just because you were told to? Well, as with pretty much anything, if you want your employees' buy-in, you need to speak to them.
Ask employees about how they want to progress their careers. Is there any specific training they would like to do or need to do to further their careers? As well as what training, find out how they would prefer to learn and you could consider giving each employee a training budget, so they feel empowered to take responsibility for their own learning.
Make training accessible
The last 2 years have seen businesses rapidly shift towards flexible and hybrid working. While employees have largely welcomed this, it can cause some issues for your L&D team.
Previously it would be relatively easy to organise training days, with all staff in the office at the same time. Or to hold mini-training sessions throughout the day; however, if you have some staff members that work from home, you have to ensure they have the same access to training as everyone else.
Many training companies, including us at Supportive Solutions, offer a range of learning options to ensure accessibility for all. We provide face-to-face training, virtual classrooms held via Zoom or our new eLearning platform can help your employees feel a sense of responsibility for their own learning as well as being accessible from anywhere at any time.
"The most effective, successful professionals are constantly learning, they take the time to apply what they have learned, and they continually work to improve themselves." – Joel Gardner
Make time to learn
L&D shouldn't be a once a quarter or once a year rush to catch up on whatever training is required; it should be built into the daily activity of every employee.
Set a weekly minimum of hours that each employee should dedicate to L&D or help employees better manage their workload and time to ensure they can make time for formal and informal learning. If they don't currently have a course they are working on, they could make time for reading or watching a video relevant to upskilling.
Is your training death by PowerPoint?
I'm sure you can think of at least one time you have attended a training session that involved sitting in a conference room for several hours, listening to a "trainer" read from their PowerPoint presentation. How much information do you remember from that session? Did it keep you engaged? Probably not.
No matter how old we are, there is still a child inside, and our brains need to be engaged to learn. Try to make training interactive with roleplay, scenarios, gamification, quizzes and more. Employees will be much more inclined to create a culture of learning if what they are doing is fun.
This can also include rewarding continuous learning. It doesn't need to be expensive; a simple email or well done at a team meeting shows employees you value the effort they are making and lets them know they are appreciated.
Undoubtedly, a robust L&D strategy will ensure you benefit from a more productive, motivated, innovative business that keeps you ahead of the competition. However, to do it well, you need to actively create a culture of learning and encourage each employee to take responsibility for their own learning.