If organisations are to not just survive but thrive in the midst of a talent war, establishing a solid learning culture is one of the most reliable methods for retaining a solid, resilient workforce. In fact, according to a recent survey, an overwhelming 89% of professionals agree that taking proactive measures to enhance employee skills is crucial for successfully navigating the ever-evolving working landscape.
But while the idea of establishing a learning culture sounds great in theory, taking concrete action to encourage learning throughout your organisation requires some planning. Below, we will explore the importance of dedicating valuable HR energy to establishing a learning culture and provide some starting points you can use in your own organisation.
What is a learning culture?
A "learning culture" is characterised by the shared belief that continuous learning is an essential component in an individual's personal and professional growth. It encourages employees to take ownership of their own learning, fostering a culture in which training is both continuous and collaborative.
Within a learning culture, education is not seen as separate from work, but rather integrated into an employee's daily routine.
Characteristics of learning culture include, but are not limited to:
- Forward-thinking leaders
- A collaborative approach to learning
- Openness to change
- Continuous learning opportunities
- A supportive learning environment
- Alignment of learning with strategic goals
A learning culture in action
One example of an industry-leading organisation that puts great emphasis on building a learning culture is Google. Known for the organisation’s commitment to fostering a culture of learning and continuous improvement, some key aspects of Google's learning culture include:
Educational resources and programmes
Google offers its employees a wide range of learning resources to support employee development. Some of these include:
- Internal training programmes
- Online course
- Access to educational platforms
Team members are encouraged to take advantage of these resources in order to expand on their existing knowledge and skills.
The 20% Project
Google famously implemented the "20% Time" policy, allowing employees to spend 20% of their workweek pursuing projects of their choice. This means that Google staff have the additional push to explore new ideas outside of their regular responsibilities and learn new skills.
Learning from Data
Google is a data-driven organisation, and employees are encouraged to make decisions based on evidence and analytics. This promotes a learner culture of data investigation, analysing insights, and using these insights to drive innovations and improvements within the company.
Benefits of a learning culture
The advantages of implementing a strong learning culture within an organisation are boundless. Some of these benefits include:
The opportunity for organisational learning within the workplace reminds employees that they are part of a team that values their continued professional development. Providing regular opportunities for staff to develop new skills and acquire knowledge fosters a positive work environment that keeps employees satisfied and engaged in their roles, ultimately leading to improved staff retention.
Innovation and creativity
When individuals are encouraged to grow and explore, this fosters a mindset of transformation and change. A successful learning culture will focus on cultivating an environment where employees are empowered to adapt and think outside of the box. This, in turn, contributes to the development of new ideas and solutions, ultimately driving innovation and change within the organisation.
Increased productivity and performance
Organisations with an effective learning culture often experience higher levels of productivity and performance. This is because, as their skills and knowledge are continually enhanced, employees become more efficient as a result, leading to improved productivity. In a culture of learning, employees feel comfortable trying new things and finding new ways to improve in their roles. Additionally, an organisational culture that promotes continuous learning promotes engagement and motivation will positively impact overall performance.
Knowledge sharing and collaboration
In a learning culture, knowledge sharing becomes ingrained as a core value. Employees are encouraged to share their expertise, insights, and experiences with one another, creating a supportive work environment that welcomes diversity and change. This sharing of knowledge leads to cross-functional learning, improved problem-solving, and the development of cohesive teams.
How to establish a learning culture in your organisation
Below, we have outlined some handy tips to help craft a solid learning culture within your own organisation.
Provide continual learning resources
When developing a learning culture in your workplace, it is important that you can offer a variety of opportunities to cater to different learning styles and preferences. Some of these may include:
- Webinars and eLearning content
- Self-paced online courses
By ensuring these opportunities are easily accessible, HR professionals can encourage employees to take ownership of their own learning journeys, doing so in a way that helps them develop new skills.
Promote a growth mindset
Emphasise to your workforce that their abilities can be built upon and developed through dedication and effort. By encouraging team members to embrace challenges and learn from their failures, they will feel supported in their respective education.
Encourage management to lead by example
Leaders play a pivotal role in cultivating a learning culture. For example, individuals in management positions should regularly demonstrate a commitment to learning, serving as mentors and role models within the organisation. By allocating resources, providing support, and participating in learning initiatives, leaders showcase the company's dedication to fostering growth and development.
Foster a safe and inclusive learning environment
Create a safe environment where employees feel comfortable taking risks, making mistakes, and seeking help when needed. This way, your employees will see the benefit that comes from embracing failures and view them as learning opportunities. Celebrating setbacks and sharing success stories highlights the success that can be had from continued learning and development.
Integrating HR software into your learning culture
HR software with a built-in Learning Management System (LMS) enables the creation, delivery, and management of learning and development initiatives. The LMS makes it easy to create, manage enrollment, and track the progress of online courses, provide training materials, and offer assessments to employees. Within your organisation’s focus on building a learning culture, learning and development software can help to streamline learning activities, making it easier for employees to access and engage with relevant content by logging on to the intuitive and easy-to-use platform.
When cultivating a work culture that prioritises continued growth and education, we would always recommend utilising learning and development software to achieve this. Some of the benefits of incorporating HR software into your business include, but are not limited to:
Helps track learner development
A learning culture thrives with continuous feedback and performance insights. Reporting and analytics software provides tools for measuring the workforce’s learning and progress, allowing managers and employees to set individual and team-wide goals, track progress, and receive regular feedback. HR software effectively tracks learner development by providing a centralised platform and a range of tools designed to monitor and assess the progress of employees in their learning journeys. Plus, with in-built people analytics, it’s easier than ever to investigate how L&D efforts are impacting metrics such as productivity, employee engagement, and retention.
Knowledge sharing and collaboration
HR software often includes social learning features that encourage knowledge-sharing and collaboration among employees. Discussion forums, virtual communities, and chat functions via the customisable company dashboard enable employees to connect, share insights, and seek advice from their peers. This fosters a culture of collaboration, where individuals learn from each other's experiences, perspectives, and expertise.
Data-driven decision making
HR software collects and analyses a wealth of data related to employee learning and development. By leveraging analytics and reporting capabilities, HR professionals and business leaders can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of training programmes, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions. This data-driven strategy ensures that learning initiatives align with organisational goals to produce measurable results.
Agility and adaptability
In a rapidly changing business environment, successful organisations are expected to quickly adapt to new technologies, processes, and industry trends. HR software facilitates agility by enabling companies to update learning content swiftly and with ease. It allows for the integration of external learning resources, such as online courses and industry-specific certifications, to keep team members up to date with the latest knowledge and skills.
Try XCD today
With XCD’s all-in-one HR and payroll platform, the transition from onboarding to training and continual upskilling has never been simpler. All of your employees' onboarding, performance management, learning and development, and other HR processes are integrated into one user-friendly platform, making it easier than ever to promote a culture of learning in your organisation.
During the onboarding process, new employees become acquainted with the XCD platform, making it second nature for them to utilise it in their ongoing training requirements throughout their employment journey. Instead of relying on separate systems and tools, XCD HR and payroll software provides everything necessary to create a smooth and cohesive employee experience where L&D is at the forefront.