Learning culture is a part of a successful working culture. There is a lot of research and publications proving that organizations supporting and encouraging continuous learning are thriving and improving their performance. In this post, I will take it for granted.
I want to add here that some of these jobs don’t exist yet, they will be created. If they don’t exist yet, there is no training or formal education that will provide competent employees for these new jobs. So what can we do about that?
The answer or part of it is:
We can develop and nourish a learning culture in our organizations and on a personal level, switch to a growth mindset.
1. Having a strong HR and Learning Team in place which contributes to company strategy and puts high on the agenda People Strategy.
2. The learning should be happening at every level of the organization including the leadership team. Encourage and help your employees to take time in their busy days to develop new competencies and learn about new trends and technology. This will result in a more agile workforce.
3. Ability to provide and receive feedback is key to learning. If we don’t have the awareness, we can’t correct our behaviour. Critical thinking, listening skills, and empathy are required to deliver feedback that will have an impact on individuals and teams. This will translate also into better communication with your clients and better sales.
4. Using a coaching approach to manage your employees and teams. The I KNOW ALL MANAGER is an artefact of the past. You shouldn’t hire talented and smart people to micromanage them. Leave your staff space to organize their work, support them when necessary, and empower them by offering your trust.
5. Provide an employee-centric learning experience. Provide relevant learning in different formats. Blended learning and social learning can be very transformational. My favourite one is hands-on training when participants can test their knowledge in practical activities in a safe environment and can receive and provide feedback. It requires approx. 20% theory and 80% practice and a follow-up in a month to allow the group to share their learnings and success stories.
Consider transferable skills. Something extremally obvious but not for all and not all the time. Realising that what you learn in your current employment will serve you all your life. You might use skills from managing a project for organizing your holidays or your wedding. You might use the ability to provide feedback that you learnt at work to talk to your children. You might use your listening skills to win a big contract with a new demanding client in your next dream job.
Take ownership of your learning. What if the organization you work for isn’t providing the learning experience you need? Be proactive, train yourself. You don’t have to break the bank to do it. You can read a book, join an expert network, listen to podcasts, watch a YouTube instructional video, start a journal to reflect on your career and life, or find a mentor. Stay curious and accept that your jobs will evolve and it’s up to you to welcome the change or resent it. That’s your choice to make.
Adopt a growth mindset yourself and share with your team your growth stories. Also, answer: What was the last thing you consciously learnt and what skills did you recently develop? How much time and money do you spend yearly on your personal and professional development?
Give space and time for your team to learn. Acknowledge and reward curiosity and creativity. Allow for mistakes and don’t dwell on them, but rather have honest conversations about lessons learnt with your team. Talk to your executive team about your learning needs on regular basis and not only during a yearly appraisal. Ask for coaching and/or mentoring to help you grow and plan the next 5 -10 years of your career to identify your development path.
Check with your learning team how they see the future of organization, become their ambassador. Help HR in identifying the skills needed in the future and connect with external or internal experts who can develop these among your workforce.
Allow yourself time to learn new skills. Being a learner is refreshing. The learning improves your memory and can give you a new perspective and understanding of your market and its opportunities. Talk about your learning ups and downs with your teams, tell them how you got to this level in your career – this can serve as an inspiration for junior staff.
Another amazing opportunity to learn is mentoring other staff and being mentored by junior tech-savvy colleagues (inverse mentoring). This all requires high self-awareness and self-regulation emotional intelligence from you.
Reach out to our team to see how we can help you in creating a learning culture. We offer bespoke learning programs to grow your International Talent and have extensive experience in delivering workshops such as Emotional intelligence, Manager Coach, The Power of Feedback, and many more. Our team can also provide you and your team with coaching and advice.
Written by Ewa Duraj, International Talent Development Consultant
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Notes: If you would like to explore this topic further I can refer you to relevant reports and articles I found inspiring. Here is the list: