A continuous learning culture refers to an ongoing process that encourages growth, development, and innovation among employees in an organisation. A company with a continuous learning culture invests in learning and provides a framework for employee development to improve overall performance and enhance skills.
According to a Deloitte report from 2019, ‘People now rate the “opportunity to learn” as among their top reasons for taking a job’. Companies with a continuous learning culture, therefore, attract and retain the best talent, which in turn boosts profitability and productivity.
Furthermore, Deloitte has found that companies with continuous learning cultures have some key factors in common, including the following:
An article in Harvard Business Review shared the results of a survey showing HR executives surveyed expect managers to spend about 36% of their time supporting the development of subordinates. The same survey showed managers averaged dedicating only 9% of their time to this cause.
There are many ways to improve learning within the team, but formal education and training is one of the best ways to bring new skills in. This is challenging, because it’s not always possible to enroll employees in full-time programs that will take them away from their desks for 2weeks at a time. A good solution is an online education platform like Shaw Enterprise, which offers 100 courses in business, personal development, wellness, and more. The courses are flexible, and usually take 16 weeks to complete, but classes can be rescheduled and recordings are available to recap knowledge.
If your managers and leadership team are not prioritising learning, it sends a clear message to everyone else that learning is not a priority. A culture that excludes the leadership team is not really a culture, and it’ll be impossible to instill this sense of culture if not everyone is on board.
Your team members themselves are the best source of learning. In hiring, you’ve brought together a brilliant team of highly skilled individuals, each with their own strengths. Make sure you understand your team’s strengths, and foster an environment in which everyone is constantly sharing knowledge.
Learning is a nebulous concept without clear, achievable, realistic goals to work towards. Work together with your etams to establish what these goals should be and how best to measure success.
It is a common mistake to add the task of learning to an already strained workforce, whose days are already overly full. Learning needs to be properly, fully prioritised: it can’t be left up to employees to slot it in when time allows. Allocate certain time slots explicitly for learning, and ensure that this doesn’t interfere with your team’s ability to reach targets and complete their other work.
It’s important to educate your leaders, managers, and employees on how to give constructive, meaningful feedback that people can use. This is a skill, and it can be learnt. Consider hosting a workshop to teach everyone how to provide feedback in the best possible way.
Keep in mind that encouraging innovation doesn’t just mean asking your team for their ideas. It also means giving them the agency to experiment, fail, and learn. Failure is, at times, an even better learning opportunity than success; make sure you’re getting together as a time to celebrate the things you’ve learnt, rather than trying to avoid any failures. Also remember that micromanagement is the enemy of innovation: it is absolutely key that your employees feel free to try new things without having to go through rigorous approval processes or bottlenecks to get anything done.
There are many wonderful, creative ways to bring learning into everyday work. Here are a few examples: