Why is a learning culture so important?
We’ve all been there. You send your employee on a training course. You are both excited for the changes that will happen once they are back. But once they are back—nothing changes. It’s like they didn’t learn anything and you wonder if the course was a waste of company time and money.
While it might be tempting to blame the employee for not following through, there could be more to the story. Issues, meetings, and time get in the way. What’s more, is that as their leader, you also have a responsibility to ensure they incorporate what they have learned.
Establish a learning culture
A learning culture is a working environment where the value of knowledge is understood, learning is rewarded, change is embraced, and staff are empowered to ask questions. Organisations that survive economic slumps and grow in booms are those that continually develop their people, products and markets. They identify problems and fix them, and they seek out growth opportunities and seize them. This kind of growth and success will only happen with a learning culture in place.
Even before your employee starts their course, organise a meeting time for the day they return to review everything. Review what was learned, including what was good, what wasn’t, what was challenging, and their action plan. Ask them what they expect from you to help with their development. And tell them what you expect from them as well.
Your Action Plan
Anytime one of your team receives training, you must have your own action plan in place to help embed what they have learned. A few of the ways you can do this is to:
- Ensure the right equipment is available to support new skills, e.g. the latest version of Word.
- Discuss the goals and objectives of the training and how they feel about them.
- Agree on how the new knowledge, skills or behaviours can be implemented in the workplace.
- Keep positive about ideas. The employee will be motivated and positive, so try not to stifle that.
- Use assessments to gauge performance as a result of the training.
Passing on the Knowledge
Whenever employees attend a training course, encourage them to tell colleagues about what they have learned when they return. The knowledge can be passed on in many ways. A Q&A format, a knowledge sheet, or spending some coaching time with each person. Ensure they gain feedback on the sessions as well, and support them in being proactive about this.
Leaders Should Lead the Way
When it comes to learning, leaders must lead by example and participate in training courses. Don’t just buy into the idea of a learning culture and encourage employees to adopt learning behaviour—adopt it yourself. By undertaking development courses and sharing the outcomes with your team, you’ll demonstrate that learning is valuable and relevant at all levels.
Learning programs and experiences with your employees can be frustrating. However, if you incorporate the knowledge here, you’ll find a whole new world of learning will emerge.