three brains illustrating learning culture

Society has changed, and so has an organizational culture. Each new wave of employees expects constant innovation and improvements with their overall development within the company.

Employees increasingly value a workplace that nurtures learning. According to Oracle, Learning and career development have become crucial in retaining your employees, particularly the younger generation.

“A learning culture is one with organizational values, systems and practices that support and encourage both individuals, and the organization, to increase knowledge, competence and performance levels on an ongoing basis.”Business Vancouver

There are countless benefits to establishing a learning culture within your organization. If you haven’t yet implemented a learning culture, the initial change may be met with hesitation and resistance. Knowing how to deal with this change can be the difference between adoption and rejection of these policies.

Establishing a culture takes a lot of time, effort, and consistency. That goes for any culture, whether in a sporting team or an organization.

Changing the culture that has been in place since the employee’s interview process can be a difficult task.

If your new learning culture is seen as something fun, engaging and beneficial to an individual’s overall development, then the chances of the longevity of that program greatly improve.

Here are 5 steps you can take to establish a successful learning culture in your workplace:

1.      Recognize Individual Learning Styles

Without starting a debate on the Western education system – from a young age we have all been taught to learn a certain way as standard procedure.

As adults, we (should) have come to the realization that we have a preference in the way we learn and retain information. Audio, visual, flashcards, copious amounts of caffeine, and so on and so forth. We are all different in how we like to learn – there is no standard process.

Establishing a learning platform that recognizes these differences and allows the employee to learn at a pace and style that best suits them can mean the difference between adoption and rejection by the employee.

For example, the Verb platform caters to an individual’s learning preferences, through different types of personalized content designed to maximize an individual’s specific learning style.

2.   Set an Example

Whether it is the president, the captain of a sporting team or the CEO of a corporation, these individuals are held to a higher standard and expected to lead from the top down.

If a company’s organizational culture is being changed to focus on learning and development, then this change needs to be seen across the board in all departments and seniority levels.

Even those at the very pinnacle of the organization have new skills and new processes to learn and develop. 

If middle managers and employees see this at the top, then adoption of this new culture will trickle down into all parts of the organization.

3.   Offer Incentives

Motivations sway every behavior – you come into work because you want money, you go to the gym because you want to feel good in your bathing suit – you adopt a learning and development program because you want…?

That is the question. What is going to incentivize each individual to continuously learn and develop their skillsets?

Learning typically leads to new skills and, in turn, promotional opportunities – which is a good place to start when providing incentives for employees. Leading employees down a learning path that heads toward promotion is a great way to maximize the adaptability of the program.

The other, perhaps obvious solution – is a monetary bonus. If X amount of employees are in the program and achieve X results, then they will receive X bonus at the end of the year.

4.   Utilizing Technology for the Millennials (and everyone else).

Millennials may be a lot of things – but most importantly, they are officially the largest workforce in the country. They are also extremely motivated to develop their career – shocking, right?

How do they want to learn? For a millennial, this will be heavily focused on utilizing technology and implementing platforms designed to make learning and development easier.

Applying these platforms will help all individuals in the company enhance their learning, but none more so than the millennial.

5.   Create Goals and Measure

If you don’t have set goals or you aren’t measuring your goals, then you cannot determine successes or failures, let alone adapt to that information.

Measure the usage of each learning channel that you are providing and conduct surveys with employees to determine the overall level of satisfaction of your new learning program.

As the HR team, you should integrate your overall learning goals and expectations as a standard part of your value system.

“Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.” – Gary Vaynerchuk.

 You may be developing your employee’s skill sets but, in reality, you are providing so much more.

The overall benefit of implementing a learning and development culture is that you are creating an engaging, loyal, and passionate group of individuals who want to work with you. If the employee believes you have their best interest at heart in developing their future, then they will return that positive mindset back to you.