Do you sometimes wish your employees were replaced by robots? Perhaps you think that’s how you will have fewer frustrations and get them to do your bidding.
Newsflash: That’s not what you want.
What your business really needs is a capable workforce that can adjust to circumstances when necessary and think WITH you. But the world, business, and technology are changing so quickly; how do you make sure you and your team’s skills will be relevant in terms of what you know and how you do your work?
That’s simply one of the reasons you need a learning culture: An environment where people WANT to learn and there are resources for them to learn new skills.
You won’t invest in this unless you realize its transformational power. So, here’s why this is the best article you’ll read all day.
Why Do You Need a Tireless Learning Culture?
Benefits to You and the Business
When you have employees that are open to learning you benefit from what automatically flows from their minds:
- When people are open to learning they stay creative. You’ll benefit when they brainstorm with you about your business.
- Technology automates many boring tasks. Soon your employees will have more time on their hands and you want them to still be able to learn new tasks to increase your productivity.
- Your business will keep on changing and your employees must have the ability to learn & adjust if you want to make an impact in your niche for years to come.
Benefits to Your Employees
A common misconception is that employees don’t want to improve or achieve. Perhaps you think they’re not motivated. But do you create an environment that naturally stimulates the innate human need to have purpose and reach goals?
You’ll have happier, more satisfied employees if there’s a learning culture and that benefits all parties concerned, as productivity will inevitably rise.
Do you see how vital this is to your business success? Just remember, this is not a once off occasion. This culture must be sustainable and to get that right you’ll need the following features.
How to Ensure Your Learning Culture Keeps on Going
Start from the Top
No culture gets created by a few passionate individuals alone. No matter your role you need the buy-in of top-level management if you want to see long-lasting culture changes.
An owner, VP or CEO has the power to stop your training projects at a moment’s notice. This will break momentum but also have employees lose faith in the system since they’ve invested their time but have nothing to show for it.
Make sure the people with voting power understand the importance of learning and will keep on supporting any project you launch.
Engage All Relevant Role Players
Once the top level management agrees, you also need to get other managers on board. They need to communicate to your employees regarding courses, self-development seminars, and skills training. More importantly, they need to motivate employees to attend events and work hard to improve themselves. These managers may also need to allow workers some time off to focus on these learning projects.
Middle management is key to creating culture, so make sure they understand the benefits and value the outcome.
Make it Practical and Use Multiple Mediums
You won’t impress your employees with outdated tutorials in printed format. You’re living in the 21st century and people are used to accessing almost anything via their mobile devices & computers. Your methods shouldn’t be any different.
If you want them to spend time on the material you provide, you need to make it relevant and easy to get to. And remember, people have different preferences. If you use more than one channel you’ll see more engagement.
Promote a Sharing Culture
A learning culture is not only about obtaining new information from a few experts. You want your employees to share their knowledge with each other. They can learn from one another and inspire each other to prioritize learning activities.
They won’t share if you don’t provide tools that facilitate easy participation:
- Initiate formal occasions of sharing information and resources
- Create forums among people learning about similar aspects
- Provide sharing tools such as online chat rooms or discussion times
You need to generate momentum for a new activity to become part of your culture.
Monitor Your and Their Progress
You need to monitor training impact on each employee and how it affects your business. Gather employee feedback, test results and how trained individuals perform in new roles.
Feedback from employees can be managed via advanced HR tools such as workforce management software packages from Index Time Clock. If you don’t have records and proof that something is working, people won’t keep on supporting or funding it.
Give Credit Where Credit’s Due
Do you give your employees enough reason to pursue learning opportunities? Those who get involved, give their best and apply their newfound skills should be publicly applauded. It’s not only about making them feel proud, but employees respond well to appreciation for the time and effort they put in.
Keep on Motivating
Remember, not all people are self-motivated. Giving recognition can serve to inspire others to learn new skills, but you should also discuss the matter with each person:
- Talk about what types of learning they have a need for
- Mention possible promotions based on skills, experience, and effort
Why are you doing this? And why do you expect this from your employees?
If your workers see new faces filling positions they know they could do just as efficiently, they’ll see no reason to keep on bettering themselves. Even worse, you may lose them to competitors who do value their newly acquired skills.
As a bonus to you, if you take a chance on giving a current employee more responsibilities you’re saving time, money and effort on recruiting & onboarding. The better alternative is already in your office—offering promotions serve as excellent incentives to keep on learning.
The future awaits—technology will take over menial, boring tasks employees waste time on today. That doesn’t mean the workforce of the future won’t have anything left to do; on the contrary, people will be more stimulated. Their work will require critical thinking that AI, technology, and robots won’t be able to do. Will your employees be ready to face these new challenges thanks to a learning culture? Your mission starts today.
Author Bio – Pierce Ivory is Marketing Director at Advance Systems. Originally from a graphic arts background, Pierce transitioned into the online marketing space in 2010.
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