How do you create a challenging ‘learning culture'?
I am convinced that successful people lead to successful organizations. An important characteristic that many successful people have in common is that they continuously develop themselves. More and more organizations want to facilitate their employees in this area (especially now that the labor market for IT professionals is once again approaching boiling point).
A learning culture within your organization attracts and retains ambitious people. And that in turn provides organizations with better business results, according to Skillsoft's Global Leader Forum, among others. Members of this forum achieved the following results:
- 55% improvement in employee productivity
- 55% improvement in knowledge and skills
- 45% improvement in customer satisfaction
- 34% improvement in learning agility
- 37% improvement in innovation
Why continuous learning?
But why would you want to offer continuous learning to your employees? I think these are the main benefits:
- Employees remain employable and productive for a long time, even after their initial training.
- Employees are more satisfied with their work.
- IT professionals with skills that are scarce remain captivated by their work.
- Organizations with a learning corporate culture are demonstrably more flexible in dealing with changing market conditions.
- Innovative capacity through a learning corporate culture and up-to-date knowledge.
- Business continuity: IT is a utility for many companies and well-trained IT professionals guarantee the continuity of a company.
At HR Consultant UK we investigate which aspects determine whether continuous learning within an organization gets off the ground. To determine the extent to which continuous learning contributes to the success of an organization, we have customers complete a Quickscan.
This focuses on five sub-areas: learning culture, willingness to participate, ownership of personal development, knowledge management and budget. If we look at the results of the Quickscan to date, the following things stand out:
- Willingness to participate (to what extent employees are willing to work with continuous learning) scores the highest, on average 47 percent. This means that those who have completed the Quickscan have employees who follow training courses independently without supervision from a manager.
- Learning culture scores the lowest (on average 35 percent). This is mainly because (in the perception of the managers, our respondents) in only 28 percent of organizations, employees are currently open to digital learning methods.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast
In the field of learning culture, therefore, it seems that there is still room for improvement. However, changing the culture within your organization is one of the most complex things there is. As management guru Peter Drucker said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, which means “no matter how good your strategy is, without paying attention to your own corporate culture, the change is doomed to fail.”
What can you do to promote the learning culture within your organization and thereby achieve lasting change? I think two things are very important for this.
Three stages of learning
First, it is important to be aware of the development phase you are in. HR Consultancy is a commitment and a journey, not a final destination. In the growth model that we use, we have therefore defined three stages of learning:
- The first stage is ad hoc: employees learn when it is convenient and when they feel like it.
- In the second phase they learn regularly and it is a recurring part of their work.
- In the third phase, employees learn continuously and they and the entire organization have truly embraced learning and incorporated learning into the way of working.
Depending on your score on the 5 success indicators, you determine what your ambition level is and where you can achieve the most profit in the short term. With very divergent scores on the five indicators, it is wise to first pay attention to those indicators that are lagging behind.
Get a coach
Second, it is important to realize that you do not have to map out the path to continuous learning alone. Just as more and more people in the gym are no longer haphazardly pulling and pushing the machines, but hiring a personal trainer (I speak from experience), a coach can also show you what you can and do in the field of continuous learning. better not do.
An (internal or external) coach or supervisor can support and take employees by the hand and contribute to achieving as many successes as possible.
John de Beijer, HR Consultant UK.com
This article is the first in a series of 5. The following four will discuss the other research areas of the Quickscan: willingness to participate, ownership of personal development, knowledge management and budget.
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