7 tips for creating a learning culture in the workplace
It’s no secret that the workplace is evolving at a breakneck pace, and if you’re not actively responding and adapting to the changes, you’ll likely be left behind. Meeting the changing needs of your organisation in the long term is now paramount to your success – and an important first step is creating a learning culture in the workplace.
When embedded as a core facet of your business that extends to all levels of hierarchy, a learning culture is powerful. So how do you implement or strengthen a culture of learning within your organisation? Read on to learn our top 7 tips.
Tip #1: Plan strategically for success
When your team are aligned with your business goals, informed of current trends and equipped with the skills they need to thrive, this will flow through to every corner of your business – but this can only occur off the back of a planned and strategic approach.
Before you dive in and devise any learning and development programs, you need a clear picture of the existing knowledge of your employees so you can pinpoint where both the current and emerging skills gap lies. Only from this starting point can you map out a clear and impactful learning pathway.
"When creating a learning culture, it’s important you start with a strong vision and commitment from your leadership so everyone understands where they are trying to go and they are pointed in the right direction. The buy-in from leaders is key. Having leaders communicating the significance of learning as a fundamental part of the organization's success, by actively participating in learning activities and sharing their experience around the importance of investing in their own learning goes a long way," says Mark Mustavich, Senior Manager, APAC, Learning & Development at Robert Half.
As Senior Manager of Learning and Development at Robert Half, Mark brings over 12 years of experience in the recruitment industry and the credentials and competencies to design and deliver learning solutions that support the growth and performance of Robert Half consultants and leaders across the APAC region. He holds certifications in behavioral analysis, DiSC personality assessment, Myers-Briggs Typic Indicator (MBTI), GROW Coaching, and virtual facilitation training, which enable him to create engaging and effective learning experiences that cater to diverse needs and preferences.
Tip #2: Choose effective learning methods
Understanding what you want your employees to learn is only half the story – identifying the methods, techniques and initiatives that will effectively teach them is equally critical.
There are a myriad of ways to deliver training to your team, so think carefully about the tools and methods that will provide optimum engagement. Often, a mix of mediums is the best approach to keep things fresh and interesting and to cater to the needs of different learning styles.
Tip #3: Foster ongoing learning
Creating a learning culture in the workplace is not about re-hashing the same old training programs year in year out. To truly embed learning in your culture, it must be an ongoing, dynamic and regular part of your employee’s role.
Managers must actively promote, encourage and reward continuous learning as something to aspire for. For this to be authentic, employees need the time and autonomy that enables them to pursue further learning as a priority instead of something that is constantly on the backburner.
Mark says, "A learning culture strengthens when employees are encouraged to have a self-driven learning mindset and take ownership of their development. Providing easy access to learning, whether through a physical library or a digital platform, and creating spaces for both knowledge-sharing and collaboration among employees during working hours can help further foster this learning mindset."
Tip #4: Make it fun and accessible
Gone are the days when training was dull and boring – with the wide range of interactive tools, resources and mediums available today, there is no reason why learning can’t be fun and accessible to all. Different people respond to different methods, so gather feedback to discover what is effective for individual employees and take this onboard when planning future training.
Keep in mind that often people respond best when they are learning with others, so aim to include a social element to the learning, even if it’s as simple as a chat function in online learning or an informal discussion of the progress over morning tea. Face-to-face meet-ups is also a fantastic way to encourage knowledge sharing among employees which adds further value.
Tip #5: Plug your skills gap
At the heart of your learning should be the desire to plug both your existing and emerging skills gaps within the business, so have clear goals attached to any and every training.
Your finger should be on the pulse of what is happening both inside and outside of the company and as new skills gaps are identified, you must be ready to incorporate these into learning resources to keep ahead of the curve.
Tip #6: Create a resource library
A smart and easy way to encourage employees to dip into additional learning that builds on their own skill set as needed is to create and build a resource library. Here you can house all the key learnings you create and refine over time, giving your team access to an ever-growing stockpile of powerful and relevant learnings.
"The active mentorship and continuous feedback from tenured employees will help accelerate the knowledge sharing and grow the learning culture. Establishing a mentorship program where experienced employees can guide and support less experienced ones can provide personalized guidance and help employees apply their learning effectively to specific situations they are facing," adds Mark.
Tip #7: Measure results and adapt
Understanding the impact your learning is having both in terms of the value to the employee and the business as a whole is essential. Be sure to gather feedback from your team directly and be prepared to adapt learnings in response to their preferences.
Remember, success should not be measured purely on the completion of e-learning courses, it is more important to understand the bigger picture and the effect the learning culture (or lack of it) is having on closing the skills gap.
Mark says, "establishing a feedback-rich culture is another key element. Whether it’s through a mentor or a leader, encouraging regular discussions where employees can get constructive feedback on their performance, learning progress and areas for improvement can have a big impact. Learning often comes from failures and challenges, so we want to encourage a growth mindset that views setbacks as opportunities for growth. If we can embrace mistakes and failures, we can foster an environment where employees feel safe to take risks and make mistakes while enhancing their own development in the process."
Creating a learning culture in the workplace starts with you
A learning culture is not something that should be isolated – it needs to be demonstrated and endorsed across all levels of the business, from the top down.
From increased employee engagement to improved performance and enhanced innovation, the benefits are clear. So don’t allow the skills gap to widen – put your focus on creating a vibrant learning culture that supports individual and organisational development and seamlessly aligns with your overall business goals.
Because in an ever changing Hong Kong market, a strong and robust learning culture is key to increased success and competitiveness in the long term.
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