Company Culture. It’s something you hear a lot about in HR and management. But if you’ve ever been tasked with creating one - maybe in a new business, or in a team where things haven’t been going so well - you’ll know that creating a culture is hard. Really hard, in fact.
This is true for company culture. It’s also true for the kind of culture that we’re especially concerned with at 5Mins - cultures of learning.
A culture of learning is the holy grail for anyone involved in L&D. It shows that you’re doing your job right - you’ve given your people the space, encouragement and resources to pursue their own learning and share it with each other. When L&D becomes learner-led and self-sustaining, it’s both more effective - with more engaged learners - and more cost-efficient - since learners will be more likely to seek out what works for them on their own accord.
A workplace learning culture is one where employees continuously learn and develop their skills. This is different from simply a workplace with a lot of L&D. You could have all the L&D opportunities in the world, and still not have a culture of learning.
For there to be a culture of learning, your people need to be learning often. They need to be sharing their learning with one another. And they need to be doing all of that of their own accord. A learning culture means people actively seeking out learning - it can never be top-down.
But just because a learning culture ultimately comes from the employees’ willingness to participate in it, that doesn’t mean there aren’t strategies you can use to try to encourage one.
Some of the most effective strategies include:
1. Give a broad range of learning opportunities
2. Create a learning environment
4. Encourage employees to share their knowledge
1. Give a broad range of learning opportunities, in a range of media
One of the biggest reasons that people find workplace L&D boring is the one-size-fits-all approach. Different people have different styles of learning, and these learning styles need different content styles to really cater to them.
The way to do this is to offer a broad range of content, and styles of content. This way you are maximising your chances that your learners will find something that really suits them, and encourage them to pick up the ball and run with it.
2. Creating a learning environment
What’s a ‘learning environment’? Well, it basically means setting aside time and space for learning. Hard-line managers might grumble at this, but the gains to be had from a small amount of learning time should seriously outweigh the losses to productivity that an hour a week will incur.
As well as setting aside time, try creating physical space for learning. Many top businesses book out meeting rooms for a short time once a week for the specific purpose of using them as a learning space.
The important thing in both of these cases is to make this space optional. If people have a busy schedule, then forcing them to work for an hour is going to be pointless. If they prefer learning at home, then pulling them into a meeting room to do it isn’t going to help either.
3. Encouraging social learning
The value of collaborative learning is extremely well-documented -- it’s been a bedrock of educational theory for many decades.
More recently, studies have found that social learning is especially highly-valued by Gen-Z.
Ultimately a culture of learning is a social entity. It’s defined by people’s willingness to take their learning and share it with others, and to learn outside of the confines of a specific learning session. Social learning is one of most important steps you can take in making that happen.
4. Encouraging employees to share their knowledge
Getting your employees to actively lead one another in what they find interesting is the ultimate mark of a healthy learning culture. It’s the thing we should all be aiming for - it’s much more effective and cost-efficient than any top-down learning could ever be.
This could be cultivated through setting up mentorship programs, or offering employees the opportunity to lead training sessions.
Alternatively, you could use 5Mins. Our L&D solution offers unparalleled social and sharing features. Learners can compare themselves against their teams, and their teams against their company as a whole. We also make it super easy for employees to share what they are loving with their peers.
We provide everything you need to produce a culture of learning that really thrives. Come see for yourself!