How to Encourage Learning in the WorkplacePublié le 26 March 2021
There are multiple effective options for businesses wondering how to encourage learning in the workplace, and putting them into practice will benefit both employees and employers.
In the world of business, there is no worse enemy than stagnation. One of the best ways for companies to avoid becoming stuck in repetitive ways of thinking is to encourage learning in the workplace. By fostering a company culture dedicated to gaining new knowledge and expanding skill sets, it ensures that employees will be able to bring new ideas and techniques that will keep a company relevant.
Continuing education and career development is also vitally important to workers. When surveyed, an astonishing 95% of employees stated they believed that learning new skills was essential to remaining relevant in the workplace. They recognized that the future of their career depends on their ability to bring innovative thinking into the office.
There are several ways that companies can encourage a culture of learning for the benefit of employees and employers alike. These include preparing for different learning styles, setting aside work time for courses, making learning part of a career path, adopting a growth mindset and being a mentor to employees on all levels.
Prepare for Different Learning Styles
Just as every employee has a unique personality and point of view, they also have different learning styles. To encourage a company culture of continuing education, leaders need to be aware of these different learning styles and be prepared to accommodate them.
Common Learning Styles
The most common learning styles are visual, aural, reading and kinetic. Each responds to different stimuli during the learning process:
- Visual: Learn best through charts and diagrams
- Aural: Learn best by listening to lectures and speeches
- Reading: Learn best by studying prepared written materials
- Kinetic: Learn best by physically completing tasks
Being prepared to accommodate different learning styles should be part of an internal organizational growth plan. By using visual, audible, written and tangible learning materials, it will give every employee the best chance to expand their knowledge, resulting in a more satisfied workforce and increased benefits for the company.
Schedule Time for Learning
It is not enough for company leaders just to say that they value employees continuing their education, but rather they have to provide workers with the time to do so. In a company with a strong learning culture, there should be designated time set aside for employees to take courses, perform research and complete projects that will teach them new skills.
This is similar to the 20% theory, famously espoused by Google, where employees are permitted to use 20% of their time on non-company work and projects. By actively setting aside time for self-education and intellectual pursuits, employees will learn to think outside of traditional workplace norms. This will result in an influx of new and innovative ideas that can be applied to grow the company.
Offer Classes and Courses
With the abundance of online resources available, it has never been easier for employees to continue their education and learn new skills. There are numerous websites, such as lynda.com and its parent company LinkedIn, which provide access to a plethora of courses related to business, marketing, programming and more. Companies looking to encourage learning in the workplace can arrange for partnerships with these sites and similar organizations to provide discounted or even free access to this content.
Additionally, there are many customizable software programs that actually give businesses the ability to design their own training courses. By tailoring a program to meet the specific needs of their company and industry, it ensures that employees learn the necessary skills to advance in their own career while moving the company forward.
Make Learning Part of a Career Path
Upward mobility is an important element of agile and successful businesses. A company that continues to grow and expand should always look to its own employees for promotion, reward and advancement. It benefits workers and employers alike to ensure that continuing learning is an important part of a successful career path.
Company leaders must make it perfectly clear that learning in the workplace and continuing education and learning in the workplace are important steps to career advancement. This can take the form of designated courses and classes for aspiring managers, for example. Employees will then see that learning is an important component of their future career and prioritize gaining new knowledge and expanding their skill set.
Establish a Growth Mindset
There are numerous ways in which a growth mindset can be a benefit to businesses of all shapes and sizes. This type of thinking will encourage employees to view learning as a continual part of their career evolution. When one has a growth mindset, it means that they are always looking for new opportunities for development and will avoid getting caught in repetitive structures that can hinder learning.
A company with a growth mindset will view any roadblocks as a process to be overcome, gaining new knowledge at the same time and emerging as a stronger organization. For example, creating a new marketing campaign to target a desired demographic is obviously a challenge, but at the conclusion of the project employees and the company will have learned an enormous amount of valuable information about their audience, regardless of the outcome.
Be a Mentor
A good leader is one who does everything they can to share their knowledge and experience. Being open about their successes and failures gives employees invaluable information about how to grow within the company. Employees who have received training and mentorship from qualified leaders not only produce better work, they are far more likely to stay with a company for the long term.
In a survey of millennial workers, 68% of those who planned on staying with their company for over five years stated that they had a strong mentor. A generational shift is taking place and millennials will make up a majority of the workforce within the next decade. The numbers clearly indicate that they value one-on-one training and teaching as methods of learning in the workplace. By acting as a workplace mentor, company leaders are ensuring the future success of their business as it transitions into the hands of the next generation of millennial workers.
A company that is committed to growth and success must be willing to place strong emphasis on continuing education and learning. Just as a business does not stop seeking to meet the needs of their customers, employees must continue to gain valuable new knowledge and expand their skill set. By encouraging education in the workplace, a company ensures that their employees will have the knowledge and skills needed to overcome any challenge.