Creating a learning culture in your business involves a lot more than finding the right mix of training courses and seminars.
It’s about creating a mindset among your team. Leading businesses such as Apple, Google, SAP, American Express have embraced learning cultures and tend to outperform their competitors in their respective market sectors. So how do you create a learning culture in your firm?
Establish a link between learning and performance appraisals.
Your employees need to understand that ongoing learning and development is highly valued and that a capacity to engage in learning is an essential part of their role. Each team member should be set a learning and development objective at the beginning of the year and their performance against that objective should be measured as part of their mid year and end of year appraisals.
Integrate learning into day-to-day operations.
Team members should be encouraged to apply new learning to their jobs. Once links between learning, performance and outcomes are established, managers can support the learning by following up regularly on what employees are doing differently, what improvements they have made to processes, etc.
Make learning a strategic initiative rather than an administrative task.
Learning and development can be used to increase employee engagement and productivity. The best businesses create a robust, ongoing performance management process that fosters collaboration between employees and managers and makes learning from feedback part of everyday life. Give team members the tools to identify skills gaps themselves and empower them to find new learning opportunities.
Identify subject-matter experts.
Another way to deliver learning opportunities is to harness the skills and knowledge of subject matter experts within your business and implement knowledge-sharing programs. With this approach, you can link learning activities with core objectives and measure the impact it has on your business, the productivity of your team, etc.
Employees may see their relationship with employers as reciprocal (even more so with younger generations such as Millennials). They expect access to learning opportunities as a partner in the relationship, but a partnership is a two-way street. As such, businesses can hold employees accountable for their own learning and development objectives. Managers need to be clear about who owns what and give their teams responsibility for their own development – and the tools they need to advance.