BREWING A LEARNING CULTURE IN THE ORGANIZATION

Many executives are finding that a LEARNING CULTURE is critical for attracting and retaining top talent, thus becoming a top priority for many organizations. But what, exactly, is a true learning culture? Stacey Klein asks.

Sarah Danzl & Kelly Palmer of Degreed (get.degreed.com) wrote and explained what and how a LEARNING CULTURE looks like.

Many learning leaders agree—a learning culture is critical for success of both employees and organizations. So what, exactly, is a true learning culture? And how can leaders work to build it within companies that are unique in their challenges and needs?

Our learning cultures will thrive only when we understand the reality that people are learning all the time, in many different ways, and we need to value more than just the formal activities we traditionally support.

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It’s a different way of looking at learning—and it may not come easily, but the more we can empower individuals to take control of their learning, the more skills they are able to gain, and the more the company as a whole benefits. And as an added bonus, people who have ongoing learning opportunities and are gaining new skills at work report being much happier in their careers.

Everyone says they want a productive learning culture, but few actually have one. The best L&D leaders get there by focusing on these three things:

1. excite

2. engage

3. embed.

…people who have ongoing
learning opportunities and
are gaining new skills at work
report being much happier in
their careers.

1. EXCITE

WHAT IT IS

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Employees should be excited about learning and development. As a manager, that means giving learners autonomy, purpose and ownership (A.P.O.). Required, formal training is only part of the solution. Make sure your learners understand the value, possibility and rewards of taking advantage of learning opportunities.

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE

That’s what Purch, a fast-growing, 400-person ecommerce and publishing company, does. Each week the empflexaccount-400x30020contactless1loyee that spends the most time learning gets a financial reward via their FlexEd account, a flexible spending account that workers and their managers can use to purchase additional learning experiences on any kind of learning; job related or otherwise. This strategy has helped to create an active, vibrant learning culture where freedom combined with reward and choice creates excitement around learning.

2. ENGAGE

WHAT IT IS

Everyone across the organization needs to be involved in the learning process. This means learning and development should be a shared responsibility between the learner, their manager, and the L&D team; and that learning initiatives should be tied to both personal and organizational goals.

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WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE

Most learning is happening outside a formal classroom setting. Degreed research reports that on a weekly basis, almost 85% of workers learn things for their jobs by searching online, and nearly 70% learn from peers or by reading articles and blogs. Keep learners engaged by curating the right resources, and support social learning with recommendations, collaboration, and sharing insights. Make sure learners can take advantage of all the learning they discover through many different mediums; whether it be your programs, social recommendations, or their online habits.

Engagement has been key to the success of the learning culture at Mastercard, where they chose to involve over 20 stakeholders from across the organization when they began to modernize their learning and development infrastructure. Everyone from interns to business group leaders to vendors were included throughout the process to make sure the new solutions met the comprehensive needs of the entire organization. The reaction was inclusion and empowerment; people appreciated the opportunity to take ownership of their learning culture, which has led to a more engaged organization-wide implementation.

Workers learn weekly by:

SEARCHING ONLINE: 85%

FROM PEERS, ARTICLES AND BLOGS: 75%

3. EMBED

WHAT IT IS

Learning is best received when it is delivered the way people really live and work. Speed, simplicity, and easy access matter most. This means providing a diverse portfolio of relevant tools, technology, and resources, and connecting learners to peers and mentors. The goal is to embed learning in a way that it becomes ingrained in our daily habits and actions.

 

WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE

Leaders of the learning organization at one of the U.S.’s largest financial institutions wanted to support their employees as members of their workforce but also as individuals, so they added a variety of content to their library; focusing on subjects such as better financial practices, working on diverse teams, improving collaboration, and retirement advice. Additionally, they began providing new channels (like YouTube) for engagement and created pathways for knowledge-sharing and collaboration. Each pathway was linked to specific skill sets and job roles within the bank’s career framework. In an effort to continuously improve, they shared data and insights with internal business leaders to make sure they were able to identify gaps and successes.

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LEARNING MORE… Non-traditional learning resources accounted for nearly 60% of employees’ learning activity.

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