Do you remember the job description of your current position? How many new things have been added to your daily tasks since your first day at this job? A lot, probably. And that's normal. The business environment changes faster than ever, thus the focus is currently on learnability and adaptability to change.
What you know is less relevant than what you may learn, and knowing the answer to questions is less critical than having the ability to ask the right questions in the first place, says this article.
In this context, implementing a learning culture is vital. What does it mean? That you create a working environment in which learning is rewarded, the mutual sharing of knowledge is encouraged and training is no longer an activity than happens from time to time, but rather a constant activity oriented towards the goals of the organization and the knowledge gap that exists among employees.
“Learning Culture” is what enables BP, Toyota, Microsoft, or IBM to identify the problems in their products and fix them quickly. It is what enables Cisco and Google and Apple to “out-innovate” their competitors. It is what enables Wal-Mart, UPS, and Dell to drive down costs and maintain service quality. It is what enables ING Direct, Zappos, and Starbucks to grow at rates 10-100X their competitors, says Josh Bersin.
We're talking about successful companies that have established their place in the market by investing in learning and making the most of it.
There are multiple steps to be done in the direction of implementing a learning culture. First of all, you should implement a formal reward system for your employees' learning process. eLearning platforms, for example, are equipped with learning paths, which you could use to set and track the learning progress of a certain person.
Based on that, you can create leaderboards or you can use any other form of gamification and reward, to keep people motivated.
Rewarding curiosity is not just about praising and promoting those who display an effort to learn and develop; it’s also about creating a climate that nurtures critical thinking, where challenging authority and speaking up are encouraged, even if it means creating discord, according to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Josh Bersin.
Also, you should lead by example, because what leaders do have an impact at the level of the entire organization. If you want your employees to keep learning, you should to the same. If you want your employees to invest in staying up to date with new trends, technologies and skills, you should do the same.
Social learning is also an amazing method to share valuable knowledge and you should take part in communities of practice along with your employees, where you share your own experience, key concepts that you use to overcome professional challenges and even questions. People feel the need of belonging and they learn faster when they gain knowledge along with their co-workers.
Nurturing a learning culture is up to every professional in your company, but it starts with the leaders and their attitude towards learning, with the reward system they implement when it comes to training and development and with their actual involvement in the process of filling knowledge gaps.
Some (final) thoughts
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