How can you become a learning organisation?

Knowledge is an organisation’s greatest asset, so providing employees with learning opportunities and skills development is rewarding for individual employees, for the organisation, and ultimately for its shareholders. Here are our recommendations for creating and embedding a culture of learning within your organisation.

What do we mean by a learning culture?

Becoming a learning organisation involves more than providing a calendar of training events for employees. Organisations with a strong learning culture ensure that learning is embedded in its values, practices and processes from the top down. Employees are encouraged to develop and share their knowledge and competencies, recognising that continuous learning improves performance and makes all the difference when it comes to delivering on strategy. Employees in turn feel more valued, as they can see there is investment in their long term career within the organisation, with opportunities for personal and professional growth.

How will a learning culture improve your organisation?

Creating a learning culture offers multiple benefits including:

  • Attracting, retaining and promoting the right talent
  • Increased employee engagement and motivation
  • Better adaptability to change and uncertainty
  • Improved efficiency and performance

The rate at which organizations learn may become the only sustainable source of competitive advantage.

Peter Senge

Practical steps for creating a learning culture in your organisation

Recruitment

Opportunities for learning and development are a key factor for many professionals when making their next move. Make sure that learning opportunities are clearly explained in your recruitment materials and at the interview stage, and that learning forms an important strand in your onboarding process. Look for candidates who value continuous learning and demonstrate a curiosity for learning.

Right content, right time

For learning to be effective, content needs to be available at the right time and in the right format.  Find out not only what your teams need to learn but also how they prefer to learn. This will help you provide the right blend of face-to-face workshops, webinars, video content and online resources. On-demand learning can empower employees to grow by directing their own learning.

Reinforce formal learning

If someone in your team attends an external training event, ask them to send a short email to the rest of the team sharing their key takeaways and how it will benefit the team, or ask them to present the key messages during the next team meeting. If the team attends training together, make follow-up check-ins part of your team meetings or one-to-ones. Are team members following up on commitments they made or action plan steps? Are they using what they learnt? What knowledge gaps do they still have?

Promote informal learning

Encourage employees to share their expertise with each other and create an environment where supporting and learning from each other is the norm. This starts by making sure that they know about each other’s strengths beyond the limits of their job descriptions. For example, keep a log of who speaks other languages, has great editing skills or is an Excel wizard. Share interesting online resources and encourage others to do the same and create forums for employees to learn from each other.

Recognise and reward learning

Celebrate learning and share success when employees have developed new skills or acquired formal qualifications, and encourage employees to deliver team training sessions themselves.  Where possible, allow employees time out of their working day for learning and create a climate where training sessions are not interrupted. Learning should be a formal part of the performance review so that employees can reflect on new skills acquired, how they’ve challenged themselves and overall lessons learnt.

Learn from mistakes

At the heart of a learning culture is the willingness to learn and grow from mistakes. Creating an environment where it is safe to take risks and failure is seen as an opportunity to learn is crucial.  Where possible, give people the freedom to experiment and learn through trial and error. Make reviews an integral part of your process and whether it’s a large-scale project, a client pitch or a new process implementation, give teams the opportunity to sit down together and review what went well and lessons learnt.

Commitment from the top

Finally, for any cultural change to be effective, it needs to be reinforced and supported from the top.  Demonstrate clear links between learning and development and the vision and strategy of the company.  Encourage senior leadership to support and participate in new learning initiatives and to recognise employees who have committed time and energy to their professional development.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

John F. Kennedy

We are specialists in workforce training solutions

 How can we help you?  

  • Review your existing training processes and carry out a needs analysis  
  • Test your employees’ skills levels  
  • Recommend training options  
  • Provide training  

 What will you gain?  

  • Cost-effective virtual training solutions  
  • Increased employee engagement and confidence  
  • Improved international communications leading to better business performance  

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