It shouldn’t come as a surprise that all great employees are innately driven by a desire for professional development. To provide them with an environment that cultivates continuous learning is by no means a simple task, but the benefits of increased engagement, retention, and innovation make it well worth the effort.
It’s often assumed that such an initiative is the sole responsibility of HR but, in reality, it takes the entire team to influence company-wide change in attitude including HR, employees, and senior leaders. Here are a few steps to help get you started:
- Drive change from the top.
Initiating change must start with your senior leaders, so it is important to include them in the process of developing a learning culture. The more involved they are from the start, the more invested they will be in carrying through with its mission. You can start by having your CEO lead open discussions during team meetings to help ingrain a mentality of lifelong learning in all your employees.
- Establish SMART goals.
A common mistake is trying to go about culture change without defined goals. Since every employee will look to pursue different growth and learning opportunities, everyone should establish individual goals alongside one that is made for the initiative as a whole. Be SMART with your goal – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
- Encourage ownership.
Promote the act of taking accountability for their own career growth. As much as you can encourage and support their development, the responsibility ultimately lies within their hands.
- Promote collaboration.
Often times you’ll find that the best opportunities for learning are right within your team of experts. Knowledge sharing through collaborative work is a great way to bring employees together from different departments where they can learn and build off of the wisdom of their fellow colleagues.
- Facilitate external learning.
Having a culture of continuous learning shouldn’t be limited to the walls of your organization. Provide opportunities for employees to attend relevant conferences, seminars, and workshops where they can bring back new perspectives to share with the rest of the team. There’s a whole world of knowledge to explore and the only limitation on growth is their own belief in how much they can learn.