General Training, Human Resources

How to Implement an Effective Learning Culture for Your Company (Part 1)

AWhile a lot of executives may tout the importance of learning and development programs, very few encourage sincere learning cultures to exist inside and across their organizations. In fact, according to studies highlighted by the Society for Human Resource Management, only one in ten companies has a true learning culture.

Each year, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent worldwide on employee training initiatives and development, yet very few companies will experience any real return on their investments. Why? Because they’re not implementing a true learning culture that exists across their entire organizations.

What is a Learning Culture?

According to Oracle, a “learning culture” is defined as “a set of organizational values, conventions, processes, and practices that encourage individuals—and the organization as a whole—to increase knowledge, competence, and performance.”

Benefits of Implementing a Learning Culture at Your Company

Also, according to Oracle, organizations that have an effective learning culture:

  • Are 32% more likely to be first to market and are 17% more likely to be a market share leader.
  • Experience 37% greater employee productivity.
  • Have a 34% better response to customer needs.
  • Own a 26% greater ability to deliver quality products.
  • Remain 58% more likely to have skills to meet future demand.

So, know that you know the basics of what a learning culture is and why it’s beneficial for your company to have one. Here’s more information about how you can effectively implement one.

How to implement an Effective Learning Culture

Hire the Right People and Promote from Within

Implementing a learning culture across your organization starts with hiring the right people—people who love to learn and who don’t see it as a chore. New hires should be constantly curious about learning new things about their craft, your organization, or your company’s industry. In addition, you should always promote from within your company to encourage others to continue to develop their skills and seek out new challenges and opportunities. People who can’t move forward in some way as a direct result of their learning, won’t often see the point in continuing to learn because it’s not getting them anywhere.

Develop Well-Planned Programs with Metrics

When developing a learning culture for your company, be sure to define what each program’s business purpose is (i.e., to generate more sales, to increase customer service, etc.) so that you can track results. For instance, if you create a program to instigate more sales but see that the program isn’t resulting in more sales, you’ll have to revamp the program. Otherwise, people won’t truly be able to learn from the programs you’re offering (and won’t want to learn) because the programs aren’t serving a real purpose or yielding real results for your company.

Secure Executive Buy-In

Without executive buy-in, there will never be an effective learning culture at your company because it starts from the top. In organizations with effective learning cultures, executives will have to demonstrate their own desire to continually learn and grow, as well as to listen to differing viewpoints and dissenting opinions. Or else, no one else they manage will express their desires to learn and grow either.

[Part 2 of this article will appear in tomorrow’s edition.]