Creating a learning culture at workplace
Much has been said about the importance of continuous learning and this became indispensable last year when pandemic caught us all unawares. Most organizations have had learning & development as a critical function in their org-chart yet many face the challenge of truly leveraging value out of the same. The differentiator is ‘learning culture’. A learning culture, simply put, is all about fostering an environment that empowers people to learn. A learning culture not only helps organizations build capabilities to deliver on their business strategy but is also crucial to promote continuous improvement across organizations and to stay up with the pace of change in today’s VUCA world. Here are some of the ways in which organizations can build a learning culture:
Instill a growth mindset
If every single person in your organization is focused on learning, you’re more likely to outperform your competition and have a greater employee satisfaction rate. According to a research by Deloitte, companies with a continuous learning culture experience 37% greater employee productivity and are 17% more likely to be market share leaders. Leaders in the organization must encourage a growth mindset and promote curiosity, allowing people to be more collaborative & innovative. Learning does not always come from theories and concepts; it also comes with sharing experiences, feedback and making errors. Creating an environment where people are encouraged to take risks, fail, and try again without fear of being judged allows for greater commitment towards one's goals and higher chances of making it big.
Creating a learning culture at the workplace becomes a lot easier if organizations screen for learners at the time of hiring. These people are always ready to learn new things and expand their knowledge base. Hence, when we hire people who are naturally curious then one need not worry about their willingness to learn and they make training and development interventions more effective because it’s easier to augment potential than travel against someone’s nature.
Make learning easily accessible
It’s very difficult to trigger deliberate changes in people and it becomes even more difficult if people find the path to that change arduous. For example, if attending a training program requires too many approvals or if your Learning Management System is outdated then people may not be inclined to take the plunge and put in efforts to learn. Hence, it’s very important for organizations to ensure that the learning process is as seamless and friction-free as possible. For example, if you’re using an LMS then make sure it’s user-friendly, intuitive and people should be able to access it from anywhere.
Reward continuous learning
It’s always a good idea to reward employees who genuinely take efforts and invest in their learning. These can be as small as a shout out or as large as providing them with a clear path for career progression and continued opportunities for development apart from monetary rewards. Rewarding people not only keeps them motivated but also inspires and encourages others in the organization to start learning.
The need for creating a learning culture at the workplace has become even more pertinent now as the COVID-19 pandemic made us realize the paucity of skilled workforce in most organizations. Changing the culture of an organization is not easy and weaving learning into the organization’s DNA may take time. Rather than trying to do all of it at once, leaders should approach it gradually with care.