Developing a learning and development culture is no longer just a ‘nice to have.’ Building an L&D culture promotes employee happiness and satisfaction and also a company’s bottom line. In fact, businesses with a strong learning culture enjoy employee engagement and retention rates around 40% higher than those without.
So how can a company foster a learning culture? Start with HR. Here are some tips on how human resources can lead the way to creating a corporate culture that truly embraces and encourages employee learning and development.
Make Learning Part of Your Hiring & Onboarding Process
To build an L&D culture, train talent managers to assess a candidate’s ability to learn using behavioral interviewing techniques. After making a hire, add learning and development to an onboarding program to set the tone for years of learning to come.
Create a Non-traditional Learning Environment
Learning in the workplace no longer needs to take place in a classroom-like setting. With advancements in technology and the abundance of remote employees, online courses, webinars and social networks can greatly augment your L&D efforts. Where HR used to provide and lead courses and seminars, they should now focus on supporting independent learning year-round.
To get started, consider integrating a learning platform for online courses, which employees can access any time. This can be a product bought off-the-shelf, like Lessonly (an OpenView portfolio company), or built custom for the business.
Embrace the Cross-Media World
If your existing L&D content isn’t achieving the results you had hoped for, consider exploring new avenues of communication. Try social media, self-directed learning platforms and online learning centers. Learning needs to differ not just from individual to individual, but from topic to topic.
A good learning culture should transform HR departments from compliance-orientated to human-development orientated, putting an emphasis on lifelong learning in the workplace.
Get Buy-In from the Top
With HR focusing more on learning and development, HR leaders need to make sure learning goals are aligned with business goals. Business leaders need to be visible advocates of the learning culture they seek to promote and ensure that every employee, regardless of seniority, knows why it’s a priority for the organization. Building a learning and development culture really does need to come from the top down.
Turn Managers into Coaches
While it is imperative for business leaders to buy into the value of a learning and development culture, managers will be the ones charged with executing on and implementing this culture. They therefore need to be fully bought in.
Managers need to meet one on one with employees to understand how each individual would like to learn in the workplace. Workers look to their managers for encouragement and support. It is important for managers to be their coaches and allow individuals to spend time on L&D activities.
Learning and development programs must be evaluated time to time to make sure they are doing their job. It is imperative to receive employee feedback. Keep in mind that it is okay for programs to fail so long as HR learns along the way how to improve.
Developing a learning culture is not easy and will take time away from day to day jobs. But the initial investment will be well worth it for years to come.