Building a Culture of Learning in Your Organization

For workplace training programs to succeed, it’s critical to get employees to engage with them. If staff are bored or uninterested, they won’t be motivated to get the best out of training.

Making learning interesting and exciting is important. But to get people to understand the value of learning, so that they really engage with it, is less of a presentation issue. It requires building a wider learning culture within your organization—a culture where learning isn’t viewed as some kind of obligation.

Ideally, you want employees to be reaching out to managers and requesting learning opportunities, rather than the reverse.

Step 1

Build a culture where learning is valued by both the employer and the employee, by communicating the benefits of it, and getting them actively involved in it. Start by simply engaging with staff and finding out what they want to know. 

Step 2

Provide opportunities to learn where employees have choices in what they learn. Giving employees input into the kinds of topics they want to learn about is important, as is giving them access to different types of training across different modalities. 

Step 3

Make learning part of your organization’s DNA and a regular part of everything you do. It can’t just be for a month. It’s like when people talk about weight loss: It can’t be a fad; it needs to be a holistic lifestyle change.

To be successful in building your culture of learning, you need to start simply and grow it. Initial training need not involve a lot of cost, time, or effort. Implement simple measures that encourage professional development and learning.

For example, you might begin with regular “Lunch and Learn” sessions. You could invite external experts to these, but also internal staff who have a particular skill or area of expertise they can share that would benefit other colleagues.

Then from there, once you have traction and staff are interested and engaged to grow their opportunities to be able to learn, you can add more elements to it over time.

Ultimately, training should be like a library that’s open 24/7. As an employer, you want to encourage people to “pick out a book” and read it for as long as they like. Learning is professional development, so it needs to be as important as leaving the lights on. 

Many people look at training as if it’s the vegetables to hide in the kids’ food. But if you’ve created a good learning culture within your organization, do you need to bribe your employees to learn? In an ideal world, that shouldn’t be the case. It should be more about supporting them rather than incentivizing them. Or rather, a learning culture should be less about incentivizing staff to learn and more about incentivizing them to find different ways to learn. Their motivation to learn should be about what they are able to achieve.

Vu Tran is the co-founder and head of Growth at GO1.com, an onboarding, compliance, and professional development platform. Founded in Brisbane, Australia, GO1 is an international company with offices in the United States, South Africa, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia.

 

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