A culture of learning.

We’ve all heard the term, but really what is it?

Simply this: a workplace mindset that encourages learning, development, inquisitiveness and self-improvement.

It may be easy to define, but is it easy to create? If you follow these simple guidelines, the answer is yes.

A culture of learning should be instilled in employees from day one. It should be incorporated as part of the orientation process and built upon during a comprehensive onboarding program. It’s much easier to forward a learning agenda when it’s been a part of the employee’s life with the company since their first day in the office. As part of that process, work with your employees to set learning goals beyond any mandatory training.

I’m sure you realize that since technology is always changing it’s a good idea to keep abreast of developments and new software and programs that your staff needs to learn. Keep your staff’s technical skills up to date through a process of ongoing technical training.

Continuous learning may sound time consuming, but in reality it’s not. It easier to tackle learning in small chunks than it is to set aside several days for catch-up training because things kept being put on the back burner.

Keeping with the theme of continuous learning, lunch-and-learns should be made part of the company’s timetable on a regular basis. Microlearning and social learning opportunities should be encouraged as well.

Expand lunch-and-learns beyond the scope of the workplace, ask staff members what they want to learn outside of their regular duties. Have them vote on learning options that can be undertaken just for fun.

Ensure that learning is accessible to all staff and make sure they have the time they need to take mandatory courses. There’s not much worse from an employee/trainee standpoint than being forced to take a course and not given the time to do it. Reassure employees that they will get the support they need to take time away from their tasks to undertake learning.

Communication, throughout the workplace, creates a culture that is used to exchanging ideas and concepts and it’s a very short step from there to a culture of learning.