It hasn’t always been so easy to elicit curiosity from office employees. Cashing a paycheck used to be the driving factor behind work performance, with little to no interest in excess learning over the course of longterm employment. The incoming workforce is now interested in learning while on the job and from other roles or departments in their surrounding environment. A company culture that embraces learning fosters a sense of purpose while fueling growth, two core components of happy, healthy, and productive people.
What does a culture of learning look like? And once you know, how can you assess which brainy variables should be added to it to amplify the pace at which people absorb new information to their satisfaction? Our five building blocks can take your learning culture to new heights:
Block 1: Identify your current state of learning
Set a solid foundation for a steady learning culture with this first building block conducive to success. Identify the current state of the level of learning your company experiences on a daily basis. Begin the assessment with four key questions:
- Is your company culture creative and does it permeate brainstorming? If your office and its teams are divided by cubicles, chances are there’s a lack of creativity, collaboration, or networking in its culture. Take note of how many brainstorming sessions happen on lunch breaks or in the conference room and if it isn’t many, then your existing culture is deprived of learning opportunity.
- Are your people united or do they share a sense of curiosity? When collaboration and engagement do occur amongst your people try to spot if they’re connected by mutual interests or performance aspirations. If there is a lack of connection and no “spark” between your employees, it’s time to re-evaluate what piques the company collectively.
- What digital tools or channels are most popular amongst your people? If your Slack is constantly pinging or you can see that the majority of your product’s images are created with Canva, write that down! Keeping keen on the digital tools that streamline your people’s workflow could help you decide on subscriptions services or product upgrades.
- Do your people build on top of existing items, ideas, or prior tasks? Consistent innovation is a sign that your people feel invested in the product or their role. It’s also a sign that they understand its functionality and what sets it apart from the competition. Concern yourself with how well your people know the product and whether or not they bring new ideas on top of old ideas to the table when chasing continual success.
Once you’ve answered these, it’ll be easier to add the missing learning links to your existing culture. HR professionals and managers will be able to better determine where they’re lacking, whether it’s in tech tools, people networking, or mission understanding, then confront it head-on.
Block 2: Crowdsource your people
It’s time for the second building block of learning culture construction; ask your people what they want, need, and expect from their employee experience. If you survey the Design department and discover they’ve mastered Canva and crave new tools that let them tell stories visually, you might realize that a Photoshop workshop is overdue. If you poll the Salespeople and find out they feel a disconnect from the Marketing department, you can host meetings between the two teams that allow them to partner on more projects and collateral.
Find out what your people want to learn, as opposed to deciding what they need to know as it strictly pertains to their individual position.
Block 3: Enlist leadership to close the growing skills gap
The third building block is a concrete mixture of your people’s feedback and leadership input. The growing skills gap is an office phenomenon defining the breach between which skills applicants have and chosen skills that employers typically seek. Leadership can tackle this gap with an improved learning culture that gives their people the chance to acquire new skill sets through the workshops, training, and team-building activities made available to them.
Remember: hire for character and present the right learning materials based on which relevant skills will be relevant to a person at each new milestone of their career. Perhaps, recruit a Chief Learning Officer (CLO) to help address the skills gap?
Block 4: Make more learning resources accessible
The fourth building block may seem obvious, but you would be surprised as to how many C-levels skip out on digital tools that would increase productivity and energy levels. Being on a budget doesn’t have to stop you from making learning resources readily available and physically accessible. Industry-based podcasts, Slack Communities, Trello, Flipgrid, and even Hibob’s product features streamline workflow and make the day more fun. It’s about working smarter, not working harder.
Block 5: Carry out social and interactive learning activities
Our fifth and final building block counteracts boredom. No one, and I mean no one, wants to endure a monotonous routine that never switches itself up. Creative spaces saturated with people who like to think outside of the box and apply it to their job produce higher levels of productivity. But, social and interactive activities that are confounded by creative baselines are what takes your learning culture up a peg. Watching a teacher scribble on a chalkboard never really got anyone that far in their education or social network. It was the group projects, the ice-breakers, the field trips, and presentations that boosted people’s ability to recharge, absorb, and retain long term.
Your custom-made building blocks may look different from other companies. You may need to place a larger focus on people networking and connectivity, while the startup next door learns to implement and integrate digital tools into its fluctuating workflow. Regardless, to build a culture of learning is to offer your employees a chance to grow and develop, collecting a diverse set of skills and knowledge that will follow them into the future of work. ‘Cause you better believe, that’s where we’re all heading.