Several studies have highlighted that employee training and development (ET&D) improves the performance of workers as well as the financial performance of organizations. In a knowledge economy, no business can increase revenue and sustain growth without training, reskilling, and upskilling employees continuously. In addition to making employees motivated and satisfied, ET&D helps businesses to curtail the extremely high cost of employee turnover.
According to Chron.com,
“Investing in employee training should improve worker retention rates, customer satisfaction and creativity for new product ideas. Effective training saves labor by reducing time spent on problem-solving and saves money in the long run by producing a better workforce.”
Your organization can design and manage a variety of employee training programs using a cloud-based learning management system (LMS). But you cannot boost your organization’s financial performance if the employees do not share and apply the knowledge and skills acquired by them. You must motivate employees to seek, acquire, share, and apply both knowledge and skills continuously by creating a culture of learning in your organization.
Create a Culture of Learning
According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD),
“A culture of learning, or learning culture, is one in which employees continuously seek, share, and apply new knowledge and skills to improve individual and organizational performance. The importance of the pursuit and application of learning is expressed in organizational values and permeates all aspects of organizational life.”
You have the option to create various kinds of learning cultures – a culture of the necessary training and a culture of continuous learning – in your organization. But you can boost the efficiency and performance of employees only by creating a culture of continuous learning. The culture of continuous learning will focus on making learning a part of employees’ everyday work. Also, it must create opportunities for employees to acquire knowledge and skills regularly just like performing their professional responsibilities.
You must remember that the characteristics of learning culture vary across organizations and industries. You can create a culture of learning for your organization, you must focus on aligning it to your organization’s ET&L goals and strategies. Also, you must facilitate seamless communication and collaboration to encourage employees to share ideas and apply knowledge. At the same time, you must consider some best practices to drive your organization’s financial performance by creating a robust culture of learning.
9 Best Practices Your Organization Must Adopt to Create a Culture of Learning
Create Autonomous Online Learning Opportunities
The culture of learning will motivate employees to acquire, retain, share, and apply knowledge regularly. But the learning culture must make it easier for employees to acquire knowledge and skills at their own pace. Your organization must invest in a cloud-based LMS to enable employees to access a variety of digital content – ebooks, audiobooks, documents, presentations, and videos – anytime and anywhere using their mobile devices. The autonomous online learning options will motivate employees to acquire new skills and knowledge regularly after working hours.
Provide Both Skill and Behavior Training
No employee can perform optimally under pressure or specific circumstances simply by acquiring new skills. In addition to acquiring and honing skills, the employee must learn how to behave and act under specific circumstances. While creating a culture of learning, you must focus on improving employees’ learning behavior. The learning behavior will prepare the employees to react proactively instead of reacting defensively under challenging circumstances. Also, the learning behavior will help employees to apply the knowledge and skill acquired by them through EL&D programs.
Experiment with Learning Methods
Your learning culture must allow every employee to acquire knowledge and skill at his own pace. But you must remember that self-paced learning has its own pros and cons. You can make it easier for employees to retain and apply knowledge by experimenting with popular online learning methods. For instance, you must allow employees to interact with an instructor and watch recorded video lectures, along with accessing a variety of digital content. The new-age learning management systems (LMSs) make it easier for you to implement and combine various learning methods seamlessly.
Gamify EL&D Programs
At present, gamification is one of the hottest eLearning and corporate learning trends. Several studies have highlighted the effectiveness of gamification in learning on improving learner engagement and knowledge retention. While designing a culture of learning, your organization must explore ways to incorporate game designs and game elements into the learning environment and training programs. You can easily gamily EL&D programs by availing of the built-in gamification features – badges and coins – provided by popular LMS solutions.
Implement Social Learning
You can motivate employees to acquire knowledge after working hours only by enabling them to communicate and collaborate with other learners. You can facilitate seamless interaction between instructors and learners using useful options provided by the new-age LMS platforms. Some of them are chats, discussion forums, query corners, and leaderboards. Also, you can leverage these features to boost learning experience and learning engagements by implementing social learning.
Foster Knowledge Sharing
Like knowledge acquisition and retention, knowledge sharing must be a key element of your organization’s culture of learning. You must encourage every employee to share ideas, information, and valuable resources with others after completing a course or training program. The knowledge sharing will boost the performance of other employees and encourage them to collect additional information. Your organization can easily encourage and facilitate knowledge sharing by emphasizing open communication.
Reward and Recognize Learning
While creating a culture of learning, you must focus on making EL&D an ongoing business process. Your learning culture must persuade employees to update their knowledge and hone their skills continuously. You cannot persuade employees to acquire knowledge and skills continuously only by improving the learning experience and learner engagement. Your learning culture must recognize and reward the time and effort invested by an employee to learn after working hours. For instance, you can easily motivate employees to learn by considering the number of courses completed by an employee during performance appraisal. Likewise, you should appreciate the employees who have completed more courses by sending emails.
Collect Constructive Employee Feedback
You can keep your organization’s learning culture open and transparent by encouraging employees to give and receive feedback. Often employees find it easier to share positive feedback than negative feedback. But you can make EL&D more effective only by working on the negative feedback. It is always important to train employees to share negative feedback in a constructive way. It can be done by focusing on important factors like accuracy, specificity, immediacy, and motive. The constructive feedback will help you to make employees share and apply knowledge.
Assess EL&D Initiatives Regularly
You can finetune your organization’s culture of learning only by measuring the effectiveness of EL&D strategies and initiatives. You can measure EL&D activities using a variety of metrics and KPIs. But you can identify the areas of improvement only by conducting employee engagement surveys. The feedback and suggestions shared by the employees will help you to assess both EL&D initiatives and various channels of learning. For instance, you should enable employees to access online digital libraries if they are gathering information about a topic or concept from external sources.
A robust culture of learning will help your business to increase revenue and curtail employee turnover costs. You can create a culture of learning and make the learning culture more extensive by aligning it with your organization’s EL&D goals and strategies. But you must remember that the ET&D trends change from time to time. Hence, you must keep the learning culture flexible enough to adopt the emerging trends and implement new best practices proactively.