How to develop a continuous learning culture in the workplace:

12 November 2019

In last months blog post we explored the personal benefits of continuous learning to individuals.  

But it doesn’t stop there!

There are real, tangible benefits to be achieved in business and organisations too; namely increased turn over and staff retention!  

Reports show organisations that sacrifice staff development and learning in pursuit of never ending deadlines and short term wins experience: 

– decreased turn over

– less proactive, less disciplined, less satisfied staff

– inharmonious teams

Sound familiar? 

Meanwhile your competitors that do prioritise and invest in their staff through innovative learning and development programmes are experiencing ever greater success! 

So we’ve established it’s at very least worth considering…. but where do you start? Here’s a few tips to help you and your workforce on your continuous learning journey: 

– Align business and employee Interests and goals: 

When you as a business owner or manager think about training your team, your mind probably goes straight to whatever your employee’s work entails and how to make them better at specific tasks. This is your first mistake. People are not machines. Talk to your employees, do some research, the results may surprise you. Increasingly popular areas of learning and development are in interpersonal/ soft skills and achieving better mental health and stress management. These are great areas for ongoing learning and increased personal motivation because they directly benefit both the individual and the company! 

Another important factor is considering individuals career goals and looking at how you can link learning with promotion. Staff need to understand that training is a facet of successful work performance and that their careers can be boosted through being proactive about their own learning as well as having a positive impact on the companies success and competitiveness as a whole.  Check out our blog on encouraging reflection in a team for tips on coaching, improving management and staff relationships and implementing development plans.  

– Learning should be encouraged at all levels not just for managers: 

Mentally resilient, engaged, positive staff with more initiative and increased performance are qualities that transcend all working sectors and roles. This is what a successful, competitive business is made up of. Providing and encouraging easily accessible learning opportunities to all staff members is the most straight forward way of achieving this.

– Use continuous learning as an opportunity to assess employees’ skills set and competencies: 

On paper an individual might look like the perfect addition to your team with all the right qualifications and experience but the reality can be very different. Poor interpersonal skills especially, can be one of the most overlooked factors in a demotivated and under performing team. Managers can be left feeling confused and unsure of how to proceed with a team member who is technically hitting targets but not working at peak efficiency or worse having a negative impact on others. Instead of ignoring the problem and ultimately losing a valuable employee, consider another way. Personal development training may be the solution! You can also check out our top tips on giving critical feedback here. 

– Be the change you want to see: 

Take ownership of your own learning and be a positive role model! 

Note: This is a simplified guide to get you thinking but it’s important to bear in mind that there is not an ultimate learning culture template that you can model exactly from. To create and promote your own successful continuous learning culture you need to consider your organisations specific needs and goals and tailor accordingly. 

So what’s stopping you? 

The most common hurdles to implementing a continuous learning culture according to elearningindustry.com is budget and proving a return on training investment. Thinking about how you will measure this can be a vital part of the continuation of the organisations learning culture:

1. Decide what you’re measuring: Number of trained employees? Skills? Revenue? 

2. How will you measure it: What are your strategic business objectives? Use these as a guide to set measures, for example: Were staff engaged in the learning process and did they enjoy it? What did they learn? Can this knowledge be applied to the workplace? Can it be tested? Does it benefit the business?  

Without such measures in place it can be hard convincing senior executives of the importance and intrinsic value of continuous learning for the organisation. 

At Empower- Be The Change we do some of the work for you! All participants complete a ILM accredited measure at the beginning and end of all our programmes, generating their own personal development report. By completing an ILM accredited qualification with Empower- Be The Change participants have the opportunity to learn vital team member skills or gain coaching, mentoring and leadership skills that are relevant in community, education and employment settings.  

Our courses are proven to make a real and measurable difference. We really do empower people to achieve their potential, realise their self- worth and build positive mental resilience. 

For more information on how we can empower your organisation visit: https://empower-bethechange.org/

By Rhiannon Tuesday 12th November 2019

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