A learning culture is a collection of organizational conventions, values, practices and processes. These conventions encourage employees and organizations develop knowledge and competence.
An organization with a learning culture encourages continuous learning and believes that systems influence each other. Since constant learning elevates an individual as a worker and as a person, it opens opportunities for the establishment to transform continuously for the better.
The Advantages of a Learning Culture
There are many benefits of a cultivated learning culture in an organization. These include, but are not limited to:
- Increased efficiency, productivity and profit
- Increased employee satisfaction and decreased turnover
- An improvement mindset among employees
- A developed sense of ownership and accountability
- Ease in succession/transition
- A culture of knowledge inquiry and sharing
- An enhanced ability for workers to adapt to change
For learning to be effective in an organization, the knowledge that is encouraged must be related to the business. More so, individuals in an organization should be working together rather than learning individually. Shared learning enables companies to increase their staff quicker and solve problems more efficiently.
How to Create a Learning Culture in an Organization
The first step in creating a culture of learning in your workplace begins with your leaders. Since they are reinforcing training initiatives, they should be supportive of a learning environment. Otherwise, they should alter the way they see the company and look at it from a different perspective.
Some key steps in creating a learning culture in the workplace are as follows:
- Formalize training and development plans. For a learning culture to be ingrained, it should be mandatory for all individuals in the organization. Training and development plans that are not formalized run the risk of not being taken seriously and as a result, not implemented.
- Give recognition to learning. Employees who have successfully learned new skills and abilities should be recognized and encourage others to follow suit.
- Get feedback. Sessions and polls should regularly be done to evaluate the benefits of training and development, as well as to determine whether the training investment is well spent.
- Promote from within. One of the advantages of training is having employees who are ready for a bigger role. Announce an internal job posting to encourage employees to gain knowledge.
- Develop knowledge and information sharing into a formal process. People will be more encouraged to share knowledge and information if they are required to do so. Formalizing the process makes sure that everyone who needs the information gets it.
Keep Your Company Competetive by Developing a Learning Culture
Since the business environment quickly changes, many companies feel pressure to learn faster than the competitor or risk losing the business altogether. This is apparent in digital technology where companies keep churning out new models of products at a fast pace to outperform competitors who are doing the same.
Developing a learning culture is no longer just another fanciful idea. It is becoming more imperative for companies to cultivate learning if they wish to stay in business.
The question that every organization faces as it considers a learning culture is its readiness to embrace such a radical concept. Is your company ready to give up confrontational attitudes for an open culture of trust and inquiry? Are you ready to unlearn competition among groups and individuals, and replace it with cooperation, openness and dialogue? If so, your organization may be on its way to developing a learning culture. This will enable you not just to survive in a hostile business environment but to grow organically and thrive.
Building a strong learning culture can lead to positive business outcomes. Learn more by completing the below form to download a free copy of the “Coaching and Culture” issue of Training Industry Magazine.