How to Support a Culture of Continuous Learning

As a leader in your organization, you’ve probably grappled with the best way to deliver learning and develop your people. After all, getting people to actually want to learn and to continue to do so is no easy chore. But if done effectively, the benefits are boundless. A focus on learning and development leads to increased productivity, employee engagement, and company appreciation. Unfortunately, many organizations find it difficult to take any attention away from the day-to-day operations to make it a priority. Luckily, there are a few keys to supporting employee L&D that make a culture of continuous learning much easier to support and sustain.

Provide a “Just What You Need” Approach to Learning

Everyone is busy. Busy with projects, deadlines, meetings, emails… the list goes on. So when employees are looking to improve in specific areas, find answers to unique questions, or even prepare for different roles, they are understandably looking for the most time-efficient approach. In order to support a culture of continuous learning, learning content needs to be structured to fit this tendency.

Think about it, would you spend an hour of your workday searching through the depths of dense learning content to find a tutorial on handling tough conversations? The answer is probably not (especially if getting to that tutorial takes going through an entire leadership course).  This is why content needs to be broken up into chunks and organized into microlessons so that employees can find just what they need when they need it.

Support People Learning from People

When a question pops up, especially one that’s specific to an organization, the tendency is to go to a neighbor. People like learning from other people.  Not only does it fulfill the need for human interaction, it often leads to the right answer faster. Since there are subject-matter experts in every organization, finding those select individuals and supporting them in sharing their knowledge is vital. Not only does this exercise encourage the spread of best-practices, it celebrates high-performers and boosts employee morale. Connecting employees with one another also builds relationships and ultimately trust, which helps foster a safe environment for learning.

People learning from people also helps with the sharing of diverse perspectives, thoughts, and ideas.  When people are able to speak up about their experiences and processes, it gives everyone a chance to reflect, learn, and improve. Not only should this communication thrive in individual locations, it should connect individuals across the whole organization. Location should not isolate anyone from joining or starting a conversation.

Encourage Involvement of Leaders in Employee Development

Employees are much more likely to focus on their own learning and development if they know their managers and supervisors also care. One of the most fundamental ways for leaders to take initiative in this is by giving consistent feedback to their employees. Doing this helps employees to better understand their areas of strength and weakness. During these conversations, goals should be set and development plans should be created. Moving forward, employee progress should be tracked against the development plan to measure progress and success. These practices motivate employees to improve and better prepares them for growth within the organization.  

By providing employees with the content they need, the way they need it, and supporting peer-learning and leadership involvement, organizations will see a significant increase in employees’ desire to learn. This provides value by helping to retain employees and boost overall productivity. The challenge is that this all sounds great in theory, but actually executing on all three is extremely difficult. Without a platform to support these practices, making it easy to integrate them into each day, learning and development usually gets put on the backburner. If your organization is ready to take the next step in supporting a culture of continuous learning, check out a platform capable of fully supporting your organization’s talent and development needs.

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