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How to build a learning culture in your business

14-Jun-2019 13:32 | Lisa Docherty (Administrator)

By Michael Page

A company with a strong learning culture is one where everything from the structure to the processes to the culture are all geared towards allowing but also encouraging employees at all levels to continue their education in skills, knowledge, and performance. Importantly, this culture allows for insights and facts to inform growth across the entirety of a company.

Try these tips to instil a learning culture in the workplace, and reap the benefits of a workforce that is constantly improving and growing:

Implement formal training

On-the-job training is commonplace throughout organisations but at times can be informal and more on the relaxed side. For some employees, this can create an atmosphere where the training isn’t taken as seriously as it should be, and those skills may not be implemented as a result.

It’s vital to put training at the forefront of your culture by creating a formal process for upskilling, no matter the employee level.

Reward learning

As much as most managers understand the value for learning, there’s also the very common problem that nobody has spare time especially when business deadlines, priorities and problems need immediate attention. It’s therefore easy for learning to fall by the wayside.

Creating a formal structure for rewarding learning will encourage employees to bump training up their list of priorities, and to show learning is just as valuable as meeting targets. In many companies, often a full day of intensive learning on a Friday means an early mark as a reward.

RELATED: Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian’s co-founder, says lifelong learning is key to the future of work

Create time for learning

To truly show your commitment to creating a learning culture in the workplace, it’s essential to carve out time for employees purely dedicated for learning. An example could be pausing an employee’s projects one day of the month to allow for learning time, or setting aside a company-wide time slot to watch and discuss a presentation or similar.

Lead by example

Set the standard as a manager by bettering yourself through learning. Whether it’s through courses, conferences, or even simply sitting down with employees with different skill sets of your own, showing others in your team you are committed to learning demonstrates: you value their development, you lead by example and you follow through.

When others see you taking the time and genuinely enjoying the process, they may be more inspired to commit to learning themselves. After all, the responsibility of defining and setting the example of the business’s learning culture often comes from the top and filters its way down.

Ensure new skills are applied

To highlight both the importance of learning and then ensuring those new skills aren’t wasted or forgotten you must find ways to test, utilise and review what your employees have learned. You might consider incorporating their new skills into their tasks, or create a brief test or exercise to double-check that the new knowledge has become ingrained.

Hire the right people

Another fantastic way to create a learning culture is by planning ahead and hiring those who show a genuine interest in improving their skills and knowledge. They can help take ownership of your initiatives and may have some new approaches, since knowledge and further development comes naturally to them.

Incorporate questions into your interview process that will allow those with curious minds to shine, and include a penchant for learning as a bonus factor when making your hiring decisions. Eventually, this should lead to a workplace filled with staff who proactively seek learning opportunities, strengthening your business and its culture as a result.

If you're looking for your next role in Western Sydney, or need help with staffing, contact a Michael Page specialist today

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