Every organization needs a collection of organizational conventions, values, practices and processes. Employees and organizations, thus, get encouraged to develop knowledge and competence. Learning culture in an organization encourages continuous learning, which uplifts an individual, not only as an employee but also as a human being. This builds opportunities for the establishment to constantly transform for the better.

With the growth of an organization, arises the need for larger teams. But recruitment brings along a myriad of challenges. Selecting individuals that fit the job description only takes care of the work scenario. Familiarizing them with the organizational culture is another story altogether. Let’s go over a few steps, their implementation and benefits.

Important Steps Towards a Learning Culture

  • Aggressively devise an organizational work plan and develop new ways of working

Implementing critical thinking strategies based on organizational functions and how this could improve its efficiency and effectiveness is an important factor.

  • Putting in efforts toward employee training, development and advancement

Organizations must opt for learning cultures by placing a major focus on helping employees in acquiring new skills and growing their leadership knowledge, business and marketing tactics.

  • Programs that foster a spirit of dynamic education and lifelong learning must be implemented

Employers mostly intend to build a team that is constantly growing and improving, but not everyone follows this. Organizations that move from an autocratic culture to a learning one often devise a plan to encourage employees to constantly up themselves and make learning an integral part of the workplace.

  • Consider Your Business Goals

Periodical assessment of the organizational culture must be executed to stay at par with the organizational goals. Consider whether the ongoing culture is in tandem with the organizational goals and whether it will help or hinder the business in the distant future.

  • Create an Environment for Subcultures to Grow in

An organization will definitely have an overarching culture, but each team will form its own version of that culture, thus forming a subculture. Leaders need to understand these subcultures and how each one needs attention. Each team manager must help in developing these subcultures and accept them as part of the organization as a whole.

Implementation of the Learning Culture in an Organization

  • Formal and informal programs must be developed to focus on learning

Many believe that employees learn “on-the-job.” It’s true, but it isn’t the best approach. Informal learning programs with integrated coaching, on-demand training and performance support tools have proved to outperform formal training programs.

  • Being rewarded and recognized for learning as a skill

Highlighting the efforts of team members who are constantly growing and learning in their roles is a practice that organizations must inculcate. Leaders need to appreciate advancement as it applies to learning and finding ways to reward employees who are challenging themselves to acquire new skills.

  • All aspects of the workplace need to incorporate learning

This should not only happen during set times or during formal training sessions. During meetings, the management must involve employees and encourage them to participate and share their knowledge on specific subjects.

  • Devising out-of-the-box learning strategies for employees

Many organizations have derived unique solutions to help employees participate in ongoing learning initiatives. Some also have learning-centric book clubs that enable employees to gain more knowledge and insight from opinion leaders from the same industry. This propels innovation and can even help team members bond over shared interests and improve employee relations.

How does a Learning Culture Benefit?

Organizational cultures that promote an ongoing development of employees, healthy collaboration amongst teams and productive feedback loops are creating the ideal environment for a healthy learning culture. These cultures foster an environment for mutual gain, where employees are constantly challenged to learn and develop while simultaneously provide talent and knowledge that an organization needs for growth.

Such an organization helps its people grow and in turn, the people contribute towards the growth of the organization.  A learning culture becomes agile and responsive to its environment as the internal skills, systems and structures change with learning. As an organizational strategy evolves with customer needs, the ability to innovate new products, improvisation in service delivery or penetration into a niche market also evolves. A learning culture is a strategic tool for organizational growth and advancement, but it hardly develops on its own. Organizations need to adopt intentional strategies to create a continuous learning environment.

It is high time that we mold our thoughts. Learning cultures must be created and correct conditions need to be developed for a learning habit, but it should also be entertaining. Learning needs to be as fun as most things in life need to be. Interacting with your teams more often, not only about work but sharing your interests with them, encouraging them to share theirs with you, creates a pleasant environment for learning. Practicing pockets of learning every day will help every individual in an organization opt for healthy learning habits, which will, in turn, reflect on your organization’s growth scale.

Every team needs to build the skills that they require in order to face any challenge. Organizations must have engaged and agile employees who strategically think, collaborate effectively and adjust to change. It is obvious that there will be no one way of looking at an effective learning culture, and that there will be differentiating factors, but having one in place that works best for your organization will only give you and your employees mutual progress.

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Setare Irani Degamwala heads the people and culture department of IdeateLabs, a digital communications and marketing agency. She has over 15 years of experience in the human resources arena. Throughout her professional career, she has developed a deeper understanding of people management and various aspect of human resources gamut. Her focus has always been to creatively engage employees, manage good talent and ensure this while managing a team of strong individuals with an even stronger point of view.


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