The Benefits of Creating a Learning Culture
If you want to take training and staff development in your organisation to a new level, creating a learning culture is the best approach. This means involving everyone in the company, from C-suite down, and encouraging them to embrace, promote, support, and get involved in learning and ongoing professional development.
In terms of practical tools that create the conditions for a learning culture to exist, e-learning is high on the list. What is a learning culture, though, and what are the benefits to your business?
What is a Learning Culture?
A learning culture is a catch-all term that describes the values, processes, systems, and policies that encourage and support learning in an organisation. It usually includes in-house training initiatives as well as external training. Internal knowledge sharing processes, policies, and procedures are also an important element, particularly when you have multiple teams, sites, and offices.
The immediate goal of a learning culture is to increase knowledge, develop skills, and improve the competency levels of employees. This, in turn, improves overall employee performance
To understand better what a learning culture is, it can be helpful to understand what it is not. An organisation with a learning culture does not treat employee training as an administrative exercise, i.e. something which you must get through, so you can check a tick box.
Instead, an organisation with a learning culture believes medium and long-term success depends on improving the knowledge and skills of its team. Therefore, it focuses on maximising the learning experience and giving employees the support and resources that they need to develop, learn, and expand their horizons.
When you do this, you move away from herding employees into group-think via training programmes they have no motivation to take part in. What replaces this is a situation where both individuals and the organisation move forward together to achieve interconnected goals.
You will also create a situation where teams learn together in an environment where critical thinking is encouraged and supported. In other words, instead of simply doing things because that is the way they have always been done, your business will improve through the development of new ideas, processes, and procedures that are the result of a positive learning culture.
15 Benefits of Creating a Learning Culture
- Better productivity as the skills of your employees will improve, plus the learning culture you foster will also refine and improve some process and procedures in your company.
- You will also benefit from efficiency savings in relation to the practicalities of staff training but also as a result of improving the skills of employees.
- Employees are more likely to see the big picture when you have a learning culture, i.e. they will have a better understanding of where the company is now, where you want it to go, and the path you have plotted to get it there.
- Improves the skills of employees outside the core competencies you need in your business. These are often called soft skills and include skills like presentation skills, team working skills, and communication skills.
- Improves levels of innovation in your business. You will achieve this by increasing the skills and knowledge of your employees as well as by developing a culture where critical and out-of-the-box thinking is welcomed. In fact, from this critical and out-of-the-box thinking, you may discover the best and most profitable innovations.
- Improves problem-solving skills in individual members of staff as well as generally in your company.
- Improves levels of employee satisfaction which leads to better staff loyalty.
- Following on from the previous point, you will also find you have lower recruitment costs, not least because you get better staff loyalty. You will also find your business has increased opportunities to promote from within which, again, reduces recruitment and onboarding costs.
- Helps you attract the right talent when you do need to recruit.
- Develops higher standards in your business resulting in improved levels of customer service and higher quality products.
- Reduces your exposure to skills and knowledge-related risks. These include the risk of too few people understanding a critical element or component of your business. After all, when a wider group of people has the skills and knowledge your business needs, you will have the necessary resources ready to step in whenever individual staff members leave, enabling you to continue with business as normal.
- Better return on investment for your recruitment and onboarding budget. This applies for many of the reasons above as well as because having a positive learning culture helps employees maximise their potential.
- Delivers a better return on investment for your training budget.
- Helps you compete in the marketplace, particularly considering the pace of change in areas like technology
- Increases compliance while also reducing the cost of compliance.
Where to Go from Here
Creating a learning culture in your company is a journey that, by its nature, has no end. Plus, changing mindsets can take time. It is a journey your organisation should begin sooner rather than later, though.