Company cultures that value open communication and transparency can easily foster engagement and loyalty among employees. Showing a commitment to the individual growth can help to attract and retain top talent. However, one of the biggest challenges in shaping company culture — particularly a culture of learning — is encouraging leaders to actively support and enable their employees. So, perhaps we must first devote our attention to shaping the values and behaviors of our leaders with brand training.

Encouraging a culture of learning, with a focus personal development, will do wonders for your company brand, employee development and reputation. By enabling your employees to grow within your company, you are more likely to keep your top talent and be a more successful business. Today’s employees want to feel valued, and encouraging continuing education and a culture of learning within your company is a great way to give them that feeling.

Using Brand Training to Overcome a Poor Learning Culture

Having effective managers in place to direct the learning and development (L&D) of the rest of your workforce is critical. Good managers attract strong job candidates; drive performance, engagement and retention; and play a key role in maximizing employees’ contributions.

What exactly is the role of managers in enabling learning? Short of allocating time and money, leaders can model learning values and motivate their employees to follow suit.

Applying Motivational Theories to Promote Learning Culture

When it comes to employee engagement and motivation, there are several theories from the fields of education and psychology that provide some insight:

Herzberg’s Two-factor Theory

Herzberg’s two-factor theory suggests that employees are motivated by two independent factors: motivators and hygiene. Motivator factors are what light fires under your employees and encourage them to work harder. For example, a motivator that plays on social factors might involve career advancement or recognition for a job well-done. Hygiene factors, on the other hand, are things that don’t motivate on their own but that, when absent, can lead to dissatisfaction. They include salary, benefits and relationships.

It’s important to understand that brand training cannot remedy some hygiene factors. Low salary, for instance, will impact motivation regardless of a positive learning culture. However, brand training can show employees that their organization and leaders value their individual growth. Custom eLearning activities that build knowledge around the importance of learning can help to shape leaders’ values and offer tips on how to enable employees to learn on the job.

Herzberg’s theory also emphasizes building positive relationships among employees and the role of social reinforcement in learning. This element of motivation is particularly important for leaders who have an influence over their employees’ engagement and learning consumption. Applying this theory, the better you can develop manager/employee relationships, the better your learning culture will develop.

The Hawthorn Effect

The Hawthorn Effect is another prudent way to look at building a culture of learning within your company. This theory suggests that employees work harder if they know they are being watched (though not in a creepy, lurker kind of way). This theory was built around research conducted at Western Electric in the 1920s and 1930s that found that employees demonstrated increased productivity when they knew they were the subject of attention.

There are several ways you can leverage the Hawthorn Effect both within your brand training and within your broader employee training and development initiatives. For instance, consider creating social cohorts for continuous learning. Having accountability within a group setting can encourage employees to engage in personal growth. You can also train your leaders to have conversations aimed at getting to know their employees as people and finding out about the learning paths or job goals that are important to them. Use that information to build a supportive and productive culture where employees feel encouraged to grow.

Creating Internal Influencers

Keep in mind that the influential employees in your organization aren’t limited to the management team. Internal influencers can be employees with numerous workplace friendships or who participate in corporate clubs. Singling out these employees to become models of your learning culture values will go a long way toward engaging the rest of your workforce while driving positive changes company-wide.

Internal influencers are typically peer-nominated. They receive recognition and respect for their ability to energize teams, accomplish goals, solve problems or communicate well with their peers. They have an innate ability to build a community culture of learning by working with senior leaders and communicating needs and desires to colleagues.

Brand Training Best Practice

Generally, brand training is the vessel that does most of the work in communicating company values. Though you can certainly use it to educate new hires and tenured employees on the importance of a culture of learning, leaders will be vital in any cultural transformation. So, help your managers and internal influencers shape company values and behaviors around continuous employee development.