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Stimulate Your Company's Brain: Build a Learning Culture

Remaining competitive in a continually evolving market requires a commitment to lifelong learning throughout the organization. Automation, AI, and this year's health crisis are transforming the workplace faster than ever.

Here's how to build a learning culture that drives innovation, retention and profitability for years to come.

Get Buy-in at the Highest Levels

A learning culture is one that encourages openness to new ideas and a desire to increase knowledge and proficiency. It's about working toward common goals that are advantageous to both the organization and the people who work in it. It must be clear that lifelong learning is valued at every level.

"Do as I Say, Not as I Do" Won't Cut It

Lead by example.

There is a greater chance that employees will see the value in investing time and effort into building their knowledge base if they see their managers doing the same. If an evident love of learning extends all the way up the corporate ladder, even better.

That doesn't mean that the CEO needs to return to school for an additional degree. Sharing favorite books or relevant talks or webinars shows that you take the time to indulge your own intellectual curiosity.

Don't be afraid to take risks.

Jump into challenging situations where you have an opportunity to learn new skills, such as volunteering for a project outside your primary job duties. Employees will respect your willingness to learn.

Is Building a Learning Culture Worth the Effort?

Signs point to yes!

Recent research indicates that companies with a learning culture are at least 30% more likely to be market leaders in their industries.

Organizations thrive with a culture that:

  • Rewards curiosity and learning
  • Respects diverse perspectives
  • Encourages open conversation
  • Facilitates information sharing

Encourage Engagement

Create a climate where people are comfortable speaking up, even if their ideas are unpopular or out of the box. An encouraging environment is the only way to innovate.

Make It Easy for Employees to Add to Their Knowledge Base

Provide options to accommodate different learning styles. This could take the form of anything from tuition reimbursement, mentoring or directed online learning.

Make time for learning.

The average employee has only 24 minutes a week for formal learning. For most, that's simply not enough.

Focus on the Right Skills

According to The World Economic Forum, there are 3 types of skills workers must have by 2030:

Cognitive Skills

  • Writing
  • Critical thinking
  • Quantitative and statistical skills

Social and Emotional Skills

  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability

Technological Skills

  • IT skills
  • Data analysis
  • Engineering
  • Research

Think your team's not up for the challenge?

Lack of advancement opportunities and training are some of the most cited reasons for leaving current employment.

According to a PwC survey of 12,000 employees, 84% say they want to learn new skills - upskilling - not just getting more training on their current job. A focus in facilitating learning gives you access to the skills your company needs to succeed and improves engagement and retention.

Hiring for the Right Skills Is Tough

It's not always easy to find people with the specific skills you need, especially in individuals who will fit seamlessly into your culture. That's why building skills within your current employee base is so important.

Hire Curious People

Eighty-three percent of recruiters had trouble sourcing talent in the last 12 months. According to SHRM, 75% of them attributed the difficulty to skills gaps. Candidates who demonstrate a love of learning can be a valuable addition to your team. The skills needed to succeed on the job can evolve over time, but a learning culture and a willingness to learn can build an engaged and resilient workforce.