Culture of Learning –learning is a reward for employees!

By Val Harlow, Learning & Development

A learning culture promotes a constant search for, sharing of and applying new skills and knowledge by employees.  This culture will help to improve individual performance and have a huge benefit to the organization’s success.  But just saying your organization has a learning culture does not make it so!  It must be ingrained and a way of life in the organization. 

How does this come about?

  • Managers are actively involved in before, during and after learning efforts their employees take. 
  • Learning happens outside of “structured, formal” processes
  • Employees are constantly building the learning culture

Managers are actively involved before, during and after learning efforts their employees take.

Before employees begin a learning effort, managers meet with them and ask the employee what they want to learn, how they plan to apply the knowledge or share with the team.  This happens in advance of a formal or structure learning process/program as well as for those informal occasions.  The manager can also share their expectations for the employee when the learning is complete, why they should participate in the learning or ideas of how they might apply the learning to the job.

Learning happens outside of “structured, formal” processes

Learning is not just focused on formal structured programs in the organization. More informal learning efforts/processes need to be recognized and highlighted.  Whether it’s two employees huddling up to learn a new software application or procedure or if it’s understanding customer profiles and how products and services apply.  Fostering those learning efforts is important to an organization.

Employees are constantly building and cultivating the learning culture

Through their self-awareness and desire to be developed, employees help to build the learning culture of an organization.  If they are empowered to identify learning needs they have and have access to resources/solutions to seek information to help them fulfill the needs, it will foster continuous growth and learning.  Managers play a key role in this as well.  They must set the expectation of constant learning no matter how long employees have been with the organization.  These conversations set the tone and promote continuous learning which helps to make organizations more nimble and resilient.

Providing ongoing development and learning opportunities will foster a learning culture in an organization.  That in turn will help to cultivate employee engagement and overall retention.