One concept that business owners sometimes have to remind their employees of is that learning doesn’t have to stop after college. In fact, it never stops.
Successful businesses are staffed by employees who are willing to hit the books (figuratively, at least) during their free time, and continue to expand and perfect their skills. It’s not always easy to encourage this kind of informal training, however. You need a work culture that encourages continuing education.
What is a Culture of Learning?
This is a basic phrase employed to identify the way that employees learn to value improvement. Workers who embrace the learning culture make goals to further their education and celebrate achievements.
They’re going to be better equipped to handle and manage change when it comes, which it inevitably does. When employees are fashioned by a culture of learning in the workplace, the company ends up with better people.
They understand the utility of honing their craft and expanding your business as well as their career. Almost anyone would agree that education fosters minds that are worth more money and more highly valued by their organization.
The importance of this in a work setting can’t be understated. Technology is always changing, and we’re regularly presented with more efficient and cheaper ways to accomplish tasks. When they don’t have a culture of learning, firms are hesitant to accept changes and tend to lose out on opportunities.
Four Ways to Instill a Culture of Learning at Your Office
It’s hard to create this kind of culture from scratch. Too often, you’ll have employees who aren’t interested in continued learning, especially after they’ve recently left the formal educational system.
If you’re finding it a struggle to bring more education into your workplace, here are four tips that might help.
1. Develop a Learning Management System (LMS)
An LMS is a software application that facilitates the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of online education and training programs. Essentially, it’s a tool that companies can rely on to create course content and deliver it to the employees.
Free tools such as TalentLMS are available for businesses that are looking to build their own LMS. These kinds of tools empower you to choose the coursework and content that trains your employees, so you have some control over the educational direction and content they receive.
LMS tools make it easy for you to track completion and monitor feedback and other data that contribute to more effective education across the board.
2. Have Regular Trainings
No one wants more meetings, but educational training sessions can do a lot of good for a company. This training should not be held too frequently, so as to avoid wasting time, but a monthly or bi-monthly session can be very useful for boosting employee education.
During these sessions, such topics as new technology can be raised to help improve efficiencies, or you can introduce unique strategies to transform current processes.
Holding successful educational training will require a formal training and development plan. Trying to “wing it” will most likely result in useless sessions that waste everyone’s time more than accomplish anything.
Sit down and create a tentative schedule for the meetings. Make room for flexibility in case you come across something new and exciting that you didn’t know about at the time you drew up the schedule.
3. Incentivize At-Home Learning
Most people learn better on an individual level rather than as part of a team. They like the opportunity to challenge themselves and develop a learning plan that will benefit their personal career and responsibilities.
But it’s not easy to persuade people to learn on their own time, or even if they’re on salary. Once they finish work for the day, they check out and procrastinate on tackling these extra assignments. So you might have to incentivize their learning.
When you assign an at-home educational task, encourage office members to want to do it. You might make it a competition, by saying that whichever department logs the most educational hours will get a prize.
You could also offer a bonus for anyone who completes a course from your LMS or other educational task. Combined with the intrinsic benefits of the learning itself, prizes can be the clincher to get people involved.
4. Have Employees Do Some of the Teaching
If you’ve done any teaching, you might be aware that you often learn more than the students. You immersed yourself in the material because you don’t want to look like a fool when you present the lessons.
Use this tactic to your advantage to make the education really hit home. For each session, ask a different individual or group of people to teach what they’ve learned on the topic. Employees will benefit from different teaching styles, and those who teach will likely bank more knowledge.
Furthering employee education is inarguably worthwhile, and these tips can help make it happen in your firm. Any organization that adds more knowledge to its core will do well in its industry.
Collaboration Photo via Shutterstock
Engaging in regular trainings give your staff the chance to grow as well as instill the habit of learning. So it is a win-win for the staff member and the company.