Best Practices to Promote a Learning and Development Culture

A transferable report from the telecoms industry that tracks the sense of learning and development amongst telecom professionals.

Learning and development - training magazine

The pandemic has sparked a shift in the mindset of employees all over the world – no industry has been left untouched by the effects of global lockdowns and continued restrictions. From the future of the workplace environment to the newfound perspective workers have on work-life balance, career aspirations, and professional development – the world of work will be forever changed once we emerge fully.

Telecoms Technology Training providers, Mpirical, have been monitoring the mood in their industry – tracking a general sense of what they believe will lead to a ‘Learning Revolution’. In a recent benchmarking report investigating the state of Learning and Development in Telecoms, Mpirical found that 73 percent of telecoms professionals had been encouraged to take up additional training during periods of lockdown, with 79 percent claiming they will be actively seeking new opportunities to learn more once workplaces return to the new normal. Furthermore, a staggering 88 percent believe that learning opportunities should in fact be a standard job entitlement – akin to holidays and salary – and over two-thirds said that the chance to train was a factor in their decision making to join their current organization.

Drew Mason, Mpirical Director quotes:

“The desire is there. Employees are hungry to learn and to upskill, but organizations must do more than simply offer training opportunities. To reap the full benefits of this employee movement, organizations must ingrain professional development into their culture, aligning learning with overall business goals.”

So how do you create a good learning culture – what are employees looking for, and how can organizations ensure lasting, meaningful results from their learning and development (L&D) strategies.

Recognition & Reward

In their study, Mpirical found that only 47 percent of respondents claimed to be happy with how learning and development achievements were recognized and rewarded in their organizations, and 36 percent claimed there was no formal tracking of learning progress at all.

“Staff deserve better recognition for their learning efforts,” says Drew “The vast majority of our students are motivated to train not primarily for their own personal gain, but to facilitate an existing or upcoming project. Organizations must recognize these achievements, and reward them.”

Recognizing learning achievements could be as simple as direct acknowledgment from a line manager, bringing in light competition with a staff leader-board, or going further and aligning promotions with training accomplishments.

Internal Advocates

As with anything, personal recommendation and word of mouth should not be underestimated when it comes to promoting internal training. From senior leadership to peer teams, a good learning culture is one where all levels get behind the benefits of professional development.

When employees know that their leaders are championing continued learning, and learning is aligned with business goals, they are more likely to take notice. This buy-in should run through the heart of your organization – straight to the workforce itself.

“Top learners in an organization can become your very best internal advocates,” says Drew “Find out who they are, what motivates them to learn, and in our experience, they will be more than happy to share their learning benefits and achievements with their colleagues.”

Introducing a buddy scheme for learning can have a similar peer-to-peer effect. Learning in isolation does not come naturally to everyone, so having an understanding of different learning styles, with processes in place to cater to as many types of learners in your organization as possible will be key to establishing a good learning culture. Pairing team members to motivate each other to learn with a buddy system can be a good place to start.

Choosing the right provider

It is up to organizations to ensure that the training they provide can be applied to specific roles and projects, and are clearly aligned with business goals.

This is a major factor to consider when choosing a training provider. Those who offer innovative tools that specifically help to bring learning to life and enable real-life application will find the most engaged staff.

Similarly, employers must not forget what employees crave in the first place – recognition and reward for their learning efforts. Provide them with a platform that offers good visual ways of tracking progress, reporting for managers, and any reward features such as badges or certificates. Learning platforms must be easy to navigate, intuitive to use, and afford employees a good learning experience.

Communicating learning opportunities

Your organization could have the very best learning opportunities in place – but it’s completely pointless if those opportunities are not communicated effectively. In their report, Mpirical found that this communication was lacking in telecoms organizations in particular. Over a third of survey respondents claimed that the communications of learning opportunities in their organizations were not effective.

There have been many studies published on the importance and impact of internal communication, with alarming stats like 74 percent of employees feeling they are missing out on company information (Trade Press Services); so this is in no way a new challenge.

Evaluate your internal communications – ask your employees themselves – are your learning opportunities, and indeed the learning needs of individuals, being communicated in the best way to your employees? Choosing to partner with a training provider can pay dividends when it comes to having the best collateral to showcase the courses and features your learning opportunities provide your workforce.

So how do you create a good learning culture in your organization?

Despite the industry you are in, the very same set of principles apply: Offer the right learning opportunities, that align with your business goals. Communicate learning needs and opportunities – both internally and as part of your recruitment drive. Ingrain learning into the fabric of your organization with senior-level buy-in and internal advocates. Recognize and reward learning achievements, and choose a training partner who understands your business and learning aims and can facilitate your learning strategy.

Hannah Haworth
Mpirical are a specialist provider in telecoms training, with a focus on mobile and wireless technologies including 5G, 4G, VoLTE, Wi-Fi and more.