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Why Build a Learning Culture

Developing a learning culture can take time and may require additional resources, but the benefits outweigh the investment. Building a learning culture empowers your employees to reach their full potential and allows you to continue to grow your business.

It’s said that the ability to learn faster than competitors is the only sustainable advantage you have. If you want to build a powerful organization, you need a solid foundation for learning and growth. 

Yet, 42 percent of learning and development pros report that creating a learning culture is one of their top three challenges. Talent experts know that the key to greater employee satisfaction and better business performance is a culture of learning, but getting into the rhythm of one is hard. 

Studies have shown that 84 percent of employees in the best-performing organizations receive the training they need, compared to 16 percent in the worst-performing companies. Don’t be the worst, be the best. This article shares how you can build a learning culture and become one of the best organizations.

What is a learning culture?

A learning culture is a work environment where continuous learning is a priority. A company with a learning culture believes education and career development are important and enables employees to grow and improve. It involves taking external information, like market changes and technological advancements, and helping internal teams adapt, upskill, and create a more competitive organization. 

A learning culture helps organizations stay resilient and builds a confident workforce by strengthening employees’ skills and competencies. A learning culture can also help to: 

  • Maintain a competitive edge
  • Improve employee engagement 
  • Increase job satisfaction
  • Decrease employee turnover

“The only way for a company to truly grow is for everyone to always be their sharpest and to always be willing to get better,” says Jen Scopo, Instructional Design Manager at WorkRamp. “The only way to achieve that goal is for your company to be completely invested in learning both in action and time.”

“Once your team experiences the sincerity in your investment in their development, they naturally become more loyal to the company as they feel appreciated and validated,” she adds. “A company with a strong learning culture doesn’t have a limit to which they can grow and will have an engaged, tenured team at the helm.”

The benefits of a learning culture

Empower employees

Your employees are the one group of people that impacts your company’s performance. Fine-tune your learning and development programs to motivate team members, and you’ll soon see better engagement and employee retention.

In fact, 20 percent of employees voluntarily leave their jobs because of a lack of career development and training. Empowering employees with new skills and growth opportunities helps to keep employees engaged and motivated.

Instead of taking a company-wide approach to continuous learning, tailor your strategy for individual team members. Understand the motivations and aspirations of each employee and create a plan to address their ambitions. 

Some 78 percent of employees say a clear career path would compel them to stay with an organization longer. A learning culture where employees, managers, and executives play an active role can empower employees and create a thriving work environment.  

“WorkRamp enables us to empower teams and their managers to rise to their full potential, which, in turn, boosts employee engagement scores.”

— Robyn Barton, Global Director of Talent Development, PartnerHero

Gain a competitive advantage

A culture of learning is a competitive advantage. Organizations that enable employees to learn continuously and apply those skills can stay agile amidst tougher competition, shifting buyer preferences, and technology advancements. 

A culture of learning helps you gain an advantage by:

  • Enabling employees to learn and transfer new knowledge to create organization-wide value
  • Empowering employees to rise to challenges and excel 
  • Creating an agile firm that responds to disruptions and changes quickly
  • Creating efficient, flexible workers 
  • Helping C-suite executives adopt technological innovations and apply them to business processes, reducing costs and increasing profits
  • Helping employees be creative and turn new ideas into solutions for customers 

Build trust 

Trust is the core of all human relationships, whether it’s family, friendships, or business operations. Trust between employees and leadership results in happier employees and higher employee engagement.

It shows that leadership cares and builds the confidence and security you need to thrive. Both parties benefit from building trust: Managers get a motivated and engaged team. Employees get the freedom and independence to work in their own way. 

A Harvard Business Review study found that employees working in high-trust versus low-trust environments saw the following results:

  • 106% felt more energetic at work
  • 76% experienced more engagement with their jobs
  • 74% felt less stressed

Trust is critical to any organization. If teams don’t have trust, it can be difficult to communicate and coordinate. A learning experience helps build mutual trust between colleagues, creating a more productive workplace where people feel safe and respected. 

Attract and retain talent

It’s no secret that keeping top talent is vital to any organization’s success. Yet, 45 percent of employees who leave companies do so because of one preventable reason: a lack of advancement opportunities. A learning culture is critical to attracting, developing, and retaining top talent.

A learning culture helps employees:

  • Develop new skill sets
  • Create value for the organization
  • Grow in their careers 
  • Take advantage of internal promotions and opportunities 

If you’re not investing in upskilling and reskilling your people, they will find work elsewhere. Data shows that employees who don’t believe they can achieve their career goals with a current employer are 12x more likely to consider leaving. For new employees, that number increases to 30x more likely. Learning and development help save time and money by keeping employees energized, motivated, and involved, so you don’t need to replace talent regularly. 

Creating a learning culture takes time, buy-in, and technology

A lot of hard work goes into creating a culture of learning. To build one, you’ll need to make employee training a core value of your organization, create energizing programs, and encourage employees to continue learning. 

Remember that everyone is part of a learning culture, from employees to managers and even executives. Creating a culture of learning may require time and resources, but, remember, learning exists to help organizations empower employees and improve business performance. 

Help your leadership team understand the value of a continuous learning culture to get the buy-in, resources, and funding you need to create and implement an effective learning and development strategy. The benefits will outweigh the investment when you have a team of happy, engaged employees who are able to upskill and reskill to excel in their roles and help your company achieve long-term success.

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