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June 2, 2022
As many employers today are finding ways to combat attraction and retention challenges, learning and development (L&D) efforts are one way for organizations to find and keep employees. Workplace trends and protocols change fast, so today’s workforce wants to broaden their skill sets to keep up with industry and role evolution. To meet this desire, a culture that promotes continuous learning can facilitate an environment that equips employees to maintain a competitive skillset.
Understanding Learning Culture
An authentic learning culture supports a growth mindset, an independent pursuit of knowledge, and collective understanding related to organizational missions and goals. Employees want to learn and apply new skills in their job and company, but they’re also open to sharing that knowledge with others. Employers can cultivate a workplace culture that offers opportunities to help support employees on their learning journeys.
In addition to being a robust recruitment and retention tool for organizations, a learning company culture has the potential to impact workplaces by:
- Closing worker skill gaps
- Keeping up with workplace demands
- Increasing employee innovation and creativity
- Boosting employee productivity
As with any workplace initiative, L&D efforts are an investment, and employers should consider L&D an investment in both employees and the organization. Consider the following statistics from ClearCompany that reinforce the importance of workplace L&D opportunities:
- Most employees (94%) said they would stay at a company longer if it invests in their careers.
- Employees who have access to professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged.
- Companies that spend $1,500 or more on employee development annually report 24% higher annual profits than organizations that pay less.
Creating a Learning Culture
Developing a learning company culture takes time and dedication, but the payoff is typically worth it in the long run. Consider the following ways to build or reinforce a workplace culture of learning:
- Personalize learning. Employers can offer personalized learning plans to help guide employees on their journeys to make learning efforts relevant. Instead of focusing on course completion, employers can support employees’ long-term learning to reach their career goals.
- Support risk-taking. Employers can tolerate and perhaps even encourage mistakes—if they support learning and growth and manage employees appropriately. When employees feel safe taking risks, a significant increase can occur at the individual and team levels. The feasibility of this strategy will vary based on industry and organization.
- Reward and recognize learning. Employers need to show their appreciation and value of learning regularly. Focus on how employees apply their newfound knowledge versus their accomplishments.
- Leverage technology. Employers incorporate e-learning, online coaching, and learning management systems (LMSs) to train and develop their workforce. The right technology learning environment can facilitate and support continuous learning, making it accessible for all employees.
- Hire lifelong learners. Recruiting and hiring managers could leverage assessments and behavioral interviews to gauge if candidates are a good fit or add to the company culture. For example, such an assessment could help reveal if a prospective employee is driven, curious, or has a learner mindset
A motivated and engaged workplace is a powerful one. An approach to workplace learning that focuses on the culture can help ensure that employees continuously learn and develop. A learning culture can motivate and develop current employees. Still, it can give organizations a necessary competitive edge in today’s tight labor market by attracting workers who want to broaden their skill sets.