Learning Culture, It’s More Powerful Than You Think

It’s all excitement on a first day of work. And it probably is after a few months later. But as days go by, followed by weeks, months and years, going to work is purely just a routine. Sometimes you even wonder why are you dragging your feet to the office. Work becomes mundane as you are already an expert in your dedicated domain. You start to wonder if it’s time for a change. This occurrence is all too common among employees and it may be plaguing your organization already. Humans strive towards growth and development. Without any challenges, they start to question their current status. And what comes after is that people start to leave the company for greener pasture.

So leaders, top management, CEOs – if there is one thing you could change, bring in the culture of learning into your organization. Individual’s learning is no doubt of importance to an organization, but it is also equally important for the whole organization to engage in constant learning  and gravitate towards the growth mindset. The more employees gets to develop himself or herself, the more likely it is for them to contribute to your competitive advantage:

  • They are 32 percent more likely to be first to market
  • They have 37 percent greater employee productivity
  • They have a 34 percent better response to customer needs.
  • They have a 26 percent greater ability to deliver quality products.
  • They are 58 percent more likely to have skills to meet future demand.
  • They are 17 percent more likely to be market share leader.

In addition, they are also more likely to feel more committed to your organization, coupled with a sense of ownership.

It is advantageous for a company to promote learning culture, and encourage growth and development within their resources. However, implementation is not a simple process and it takes time to see the result. As such, this activity of cultivating a learning environment may not be the top priority of an organization.

If you or your company acknowledges that learning is an important aspect that cannot be treated lightly and truly wants to grow your employees and organization to be in a state of growth-mindset, read on to find out what are some of the ways you can get started.


Lead By Example

Creating a successful learning environment requires the management to start the ball rolling. Besides announcing that the company (is going to) places great amount of emphasis on developing their resources, the management have to show that they talk the talk, and walk the walk.

Show that you actively participate in learning. Whether it is online learning, attending an industry event/conference, or as simple as reading a book, it is important to lead by example. Don’t hesitate to share with your employees when you come across something useful and meaningful. It can even be humorous. Such simple gesture just goes to tell them that you have them in mind.

When leaders take time off to participate in learning activities, it sends a message that they value continuous learning and growth. It provides a behavior for employees to look up to and the learning attitude exhibited is likely to cascade throughout your organization, setting a culture of learning in place.

Discovery opportunities are opened up as, leaders put themselves through learning, and apply learnt topics and experiment with what works and what does not.

Make Learning A Core Value

Your core values are a reflection of what you are concerned about most in an organization and your employees breathe them day in and out. Besides leading by example (as described above), the team you have should also be shaped into one that value constant learning. It would also be very helpful to hire right at the start – people who are curious and willing to learn.

Do not underestimate the power of peer influence. Seeing colleagues who are motivated to learn, getting better day-by-day, is a pulling factor for the rest.

Provide Internal Opportunities and Platform To Learn

As we talk about learning, we would probably think in terms of classrooms and training sessions.  Those are definitely good channels for building up knowledge but not restricted to. Chances to learn need not be in the form of a class. Knowledge can be obtained from the everyday tasks that the employees perform.

Employees should be exposed to wide variety of tasks and responsibilities. It is not difficult to imagine that one will get bored at doing the same things every single day. A plateau happens when the employee finds that he/she no longer learns anything new. In that sense, any exposure to challenges is deemed a refreshing starting point for them. The challenges can be in the form of new project participation, switching responsibilities within team or a job rotation.

During the change in responsibilities, employees get to work with different colleagues, armed with different skills set. Besides being a source of expertise and technical know-how, their ‘new’ colleagues can also be a source of guidance and support. At the same time, aim to build a community comprising of employees and leaders where both side provide ideas for creative problem solving. This means that organizations need to acknowledge that mistakes are inevitable and that they are opportunities for everyone to learn. Put in place systems and cultures that guides and support rather than faulting (or playing the “Your Fault” game in some cases) when mistakes occur. Also consider a channel where employees can share their experience about their own learning and growing journey. Those stories shared can be a source of inspiration to the rest.

Going on, it is imperative that trainings/learnings be set up based on what your employees need, not what the top wants. Depending on where they are currently in their career, determine the tools and resources they’ll need in order to bring them further. The trainings they received need to be in line with what they do and what they are concerned about. Employees should see the learning opportunities as a stepping stone to be more successful, rather than seeing it as a burden, waste of time or something that they learn because you told them to.

One company who has implemented a learning culture successfully is Zappos. The decision to launch their training system all began with a suggestion provided by one of their employees. Since then, they have seen a boost in their productivity and employee retention.

What about yours? Let us know how you did it through our comments section below. Or if you are in progress of building a learning culture, drop us a note all the same. We love them!

PS: Have some burning questions to ask? Drop an email to regina@invipulse.com. I answer every email.

This post was also published on Executive Lifestyle.​
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