According to the Association for Talent Development, a “culture of learning” or “learning culture” is “one in which employees continuously seek, share, and apply new knowledge and skills to improve individual and organizational performance.” And with 86% of employees saying it’s important for employers to provide learning opportunities, a culture of learning is quickly changing from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” in order to effectively engage and retain employees.
Business leaders and executives who want their organizations to thrive, and not merely survive, should strive to create a learning culture in their companies. Here are a few straightforward ways that you can work to create a culture of learning in your workplace.
Most organizations have a mission/vision statement and a list of core values. These are the guiding principles that represent an organization’s highest priorities, exemplify its most deeply held beliefs, and fundamentally drive the organization. To foster a culture of learning, organizations should clearly define learning as one of their core values, with leadership communicating this throughout all levels of the organization.
One of the strongest and most impactful ways to create a learning culture in your organization is through a structured learning and development program. A structured learning and development program provides employees with a formal framework for learning and growth, empowering them with the support and resources needed to acquire the skills that will allow them to thrive in their roles and help their organization succeed.
An effective Learning and Development program is personalized and targeted, taking into account individual and organizational skills needs, identifying competencies, analyzing skills gaps, establishing goals, offering formal training opportunities to employees, incorporating assessments to ensure knowledge retention, and often allowing self-directed learning. Such a program rewards businesses both in terms of culture and in terms of profit: according to the Association of Talent Development (ATD), companies offering comprehensive training programs realize 218% higher income per employee than those without formal training programs.
Humans are inherently social beings. With this in mind, leaders who want to create a culture of learning must recognize and take advantage of the opportunity to incorporate learning into the day-to-day social interactions of employees. In fact, according to a 2022 study, 32% of employees believe training should be more social in nature. Executives and managers can and should encourage employees to share knowledge and new information among their teams and peers each day so that all involved are engaged in continuous learning. This open communication will encourage and empower team members, helping to create a learning culture that is both collaborative and authentic.
In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving world, the average worker spends less than 25 minutes a week on formal learning. This is NOT because workers don’t want to learn. In fact, 57% of U.S. workers want to update their skills, and 48% would consider switching jobs to do it. Additionally, 71% of workers say job training and development increase their job satisfaction, and 61% say upskilling opportunities are an important reason to stay at their job. It is clear that workers WANT to learn and grow, but many times it seems they’re just “too busy” and can’t fit this into their workweek.
By utilizing e-learning and training videos, companies can provide employees with opportunities for them to learn on-demand, at any time, from anywhere, and at their own pace. Expertly crafted e-learning videos can convey key information in an engaging and interactive way, while also giving workers the freedom to learn whenever it is convenient for them.
Last but not least, organizational leadership should exemplify the culture of learning they wish to cultivate through their own direct behavior. If executives and other leaders are committed to their own continuous learning and personal/professional growth, this will influence other employees to follow suit. By being open about specific learning goals, discussing training experiences, listening to and accepting constructive criticism and other feedback, and reflecting on their own mistakes, leaders can help foster the culture of learning that will help bring success to their individual employees and business as a whole.
Intellezy understands that a culture of learning improves engagement, increases employee retention, fosters innovation, and drives businesses forward. For over 30 years, Intellezy has helped businesses create learning cultures that enable efficiency, productivity, and growth. Intellezy offers an online video library of over 250 courses and 10,000 expertly crafted e-learning and training videos that has won several awards and has been recognized by top thought leaders, including Training Industry, The Craig Weiss Group, and eLearning Journal.