How to create a learning culture within your organization?


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Written by Paulien Lobeau

Customer Success Coach

One of the few constants in an organization is: change. Growth, development, and innovation go hand in hand with changing needs and requirements. People often look to the Learning & Development team to respond. With the right learning culture, you can move quickly and respond to employee and organizational growth.

Obviously, this is easier said than done, since a good learning culture does not come out of the blue. How do you motivate employees to learn? And how do you make the learning culture fit the corporate culture?

Why is a learning culture important?

It impacts all areas and functions of your business. From retention to productivity, from the machine operator to the CFO. An IBM study proved that 84 % of employees that work with the best performing companies receive the training and support that they need. It shows that an investment in a good learning culture helps the employee to stay longer in his role with the company.

What is continuous learning?

Development on a professional and personal level is an ongoing process. With the right knowledge and tools, you can continuously learn new skills. This process will not only boost the personal development but will also be better for your business. Continuous learning needs to be approached with the right tools and mindset. By repeating and practicing certain things, you will see measurable growth. It helps training your employees so they learn new angles to counter problems.

If you offer constant learning moments with fresh content, you will create lifelong learners in every level of your company. Continuous learning keeps your employees focused, driven and up to date with the latest trends, techniques and strategies. As a company, the continuous flow of learning is primordial in order to prevent low employee satisfaction and a high turnover. You will also be ahead of your competitors. This goes hand in hand with our blog on how to upskill or reskill your employees.

Continuous learning comes in many forms:

  • New trainings
  • Expanding your professional network
  • Trainings being created by employees with years of experience in order to share their experience for the next generation
  • Creating, executing and give a revision on current learnings
  • Learning from new blogs, whitepapers or books


Evaluate your current learning culture

Before making changes to your learning culture, it seems prudent to first examine your current learning culture from different perspectives:

  • Employees: how do employees experience learning in an organization and what do they think of the existing options? To find out, you could use a survey to ask questions about the accessibility of the current system, the time given to learn, and whether they prefer digital or classroom training.
  • Trainers: which training programs have already been organized or created? Are these digital, classroom or blended learning courses? The trainers themselves can give a lot of useful information, as they have a good understanding of the common pitfalls for participants and how the current trainings have been set up.
  • Quantitative: “to measure is to know!” How many training courses are already being offered and how many employees actually take them? What is the ratio of digital to classroom trainings? Which topics are popular, and which get less attention?
  • Corporate culture: While the three perspectives above are paramount, a fourth one, i.e. corporate culture, is certainly also an important factor for a successful learning culture. Does the organization have a specific outlook on learning? And if so, what is it? How does management view learning and is learning already part of the corporate culture or not?

Insight into these four matters will not only help clarify what potential obstacles hide in the current learning culture (or lack thereof), but can also shed light on opportunities, which makes for a good starting point to any successful learning culture.

Prioritize learning

Regardless of what learning culture you have in mind, learning will likely need to become a higher priority. First, it is good to give employees time and space specifically for learning. Their current work and tasks will of course need to go on, which can prevent time from being freed up for learning.

Thus, as an organization, determine how much time can be spent on learning and communicate this to your employees. Make this as specific as possible: half a day a month, for example. This allows employees to better incorporate learning into their schedules.

When employees start prioritizing learning, trainers can also be more focused. This gives them more time and space to train colleagues on the job or to set up and follow up on learning programs.

Consider every profile

Usually, organizations have many different types of people. Not just people in different functions who need different information, but also people who learn more successfully in different ways. These different profiles obviously have distinctive needs and desires. To meet them, you will need to invest in a diverse selection of training. Another good idea is to create a channel where people can make suggestions for topics or recommend a particular course to their colleagues. You can also read our blog on how to implement a knowledge management solution.

One particular example of different content learning needs is the method of learning. Everyone has their own preferences. Therefore, alternate between classroom, digital and social learning.

Make learning fun

Many people say they are eager to learn but find themselves grumbling when (mandatory) training sessions are scheduled. Maybe they feel like they already possess that training’s knowledge? Or maybe they think they’re going to be faced with large chunks of dry, boring text. These expectations often give a distorted picture: learning can be much more fun than that!

  • Make sure your learning activities are attractive in look and feel, but keep in mind they also need to be easily accessible and functional. Because let’s face it, there’s little more frustrating than images that don’t scale properly on mobile or buttons that just don’t work.
  • Use gamification elements. Reward employees by earning points, getting a badge or a nice certificate. You can also have employees compete for the highest score in a ranking.
  • Reward employees when they are engaged in learning. Consider organising a nice lunch during training sessions, handing out a small gadget or awarding prizes.
  • Explore alternative learning methods. What about a question box from which employees can fish out a tip or an assignment? Have you yourself ever gone through a vlog-based training? Think outside the box and allow yourself to go beyond the obvious options!


Learning never stops

Learning is a continuous process. You never really stop learning in life, and the same is true for your professional life. So even if you have a good learning culture already, keep putting time and effort into it. Invest in innovations to make your learning culture even better and maintain the learning activities you already have. Having an e-Learning program in place will help you to maintain this.

Discover how FLOWSPARKS can help you create a learning culture.

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