If you read our blog article titled “Why is Creating a “Culture of Learning” Beneficial to Your Business?” then you already know the positive impact a learning culture can have on your company. For many reasons including increased employee adaptability, efficiency, accountability and even increased company profit, creating and maintaining a company culture of learning is extremely valuable to your business model.
What is a “culture of learning” as it relates to your business?
A culture of learning is a company environment driven by the motive to consistently and continuously absorb knowledge. Companies that practice routine professional development, formal and informal training sessions, and overall promote learning in every sector of their business are more likely to succeed.
These are 7 best practices for how to create a dynamic learning culture within your company:
1) Lead by example. This tends to be a best practice for many segments of business because it is certainly influential. The people holding the top ranking positions in the company should always practice what they preach. In order to build a successful culture of learning within your company, this must start from the top. Focus on honing your skills through professional development and continuously seek knowledge. This will become a model that will be easier for employees to replicate while they see it actually working throughout the company hierarchy.
2) Take every opportunity to learn from mistakes & failures. Failure is hiding around each corner and without it, the best companies wouldn’t be where they are. Did you know Arianna Huffington, founder of the wildly successful Huffington Post, was rejected by 36 publishers before getting her first book printed? See many other amazing failures turned successes in this article from the Entrepreneur. Failure is inevitably a part of the road to success. As a company, embrace failure and mistakes by taking the opportunity to analyze them and grow from the analysis. Learning from mistakes and past failures is crucial to achievement and is an integral part of creating a learning culture.
3) Make learning habitual at every level in the company. There is always an opportunity to learn in every part of life. Embed learning into the practice of each day by beginning each day surfing articles on LinkedIn or your favorite news source. Always be seeking knowledge, examples, thought leaders and data to draw from within your daily routine. No matter what position you hold in your company, integrating learning into every task and responsibility will undoubtedly lead to growth.
4) Establish value consistency. The company values, mission and goals should be consistently ingrained into every employee across every department. When learning is embedded into the values and the values are instilled into daily practice, learning is inherent in everything. By establishing consistency of values and vocalizing them across the company, learning will become intrinsic.
5) Set goals for learning and apply them. Setting obtainable benchmarks for learning should be just as important as other company objectives. Besides, how can you measure learning retention and success if you don’t have goals to work from? Examples of team learning goals could be to attend a workshop or conference every 3 months, to share 1 article with the team per week per team member, or to bring in a thought leader to speak once a month. Even if you have to start small, setting goals for learning and applying the learning to your work is a great way to ensure the knowledge is harnessed.
6) Make time for formal and informal training. Learning shouldn’t end when the initial training does. This disconnect tends to be a leading cause of “skill decay,” which is great reason to encourage formal & informal training sessions frequently and consistently. By informal training, we mean opportunities to learn even when time isn’t designated like collaboratively sharing articles, blogposts, videos and other content that increase knowledge and practical application. Informal training methods are great for team building as well, because it encourages your employees to discover engaging content to share with their coworkers and continues the training workflow.
7) Allow unlimited access to materials. The classic training binder given to employees upon hire usually finds its way onto a bookshelf only to collect dust. Allow your employees to access their training materials easily, securely and from anywhere at anytime. This means offering your training materials in digital and mobile formats is of growing importance. Your employees will better absorb the information and can continue to reference their materials when and where they need to.
If you’re still providing only printed training materials, consider this example:
A sales representative pulls into the parking lot of her next appointment and she is doing her best to mentally prepare for the meeting. She wishes she had her training materials on hand from the class 8 months ago to review some relevant sections and notes, but unfortunately she does not. Imagine that there was a learning organization that made her training materials available anytime and anywhere. The sales rep could then quickly and easily open their materials on a mobile device, search for her questions and have them answered just in time for the meeting.
What kind of impact could this have on the growth of your company and your department in the long run?
Creating a workplace that encourages a learning culture is for the benefit of the employees, the management and the entire company. Now that you know how (and why) to encourage a culture of learning within your company, we hope you reap the benefits!