Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly common for organizations of all sizes to build learning into the very fabric of their work. Learning and development (L&D) is an essential part of modern business. Not only does it make your team more cohesive, it can actually strengthen your business too. Because a cohesive team is a more productive team.
According to the 2019 L&D Report compiled by findcourses.co.uk, 63% of companies that rated leadership and management development as their top L&D priority saw an increase in turnover. Meanwhile, 31% of companies who brought in external trainers for their senior management saw growth. This figure might not sound high, but that is double the average; no mean feat given the current financial situation in which we find ourselves.
But how do you even put in place the necessary foundations of a strong learning culture in the first place?
Getting a Great L&D Strategy in Place
At the core of every great L&D strategy is meaningful learning. Learning programs must not be simply seen as a necessity, but as an opportunity for growth.
A great L&D strategy may start by brushing up on the basics. A little communication or diversity training never goes amiss. Showing your team how to develop better and more efficient communication skills can benefit everyone.
Great L&D strategies are created by those who do their homework. You need to look at your team closely. Look at their strengths and weaknesses and dynamics. Why pour resources into training in areas in which your team already excels? For example, your team might be fantastic at programming but not so much in finances, so involving in online financial literacy programs is always a good idea, not only for the business owners but for their employees too. Invest your L&D resources in other courses too, particularly at this time where online learning has become front and center.
Emphasize Peer-to-Peer Learning
A great learning culture is also rooted in a great learning experience. This can be enhanced through peer-to-peer learning.
Perhaps you are looking to upskill your team in a new software program? Maybe you already have someone on your team who is skilled in said program? Approach them and ask them to deliver a training session. This also works with more fun training sessions. For example, one of your team might have an additional language. You could ask them to deliver a 101 session for that language.
Getting your team to learn together as one will do wonders for your business. That is why almost a fifth of companies base their L&D strategy around this method. Online workshops with a professional also make it much easier and more productive to encourage everyone to share and get feedback on their work to hone their skills further. The Business of Story offers half- and full-day storytelling workshops along with deliberate practice programs to get hands-on training that provides your people with the talent and tools to implement storytelling immediately in their work.
Promoting Open Dialogue
It takes time to cultivate a strong learning culture. Along the way, there will be mistakes. You have to make it clear that you welcome all feedback – positive, negative and neutral – from your team. Building that culture is a tough endeavor. People are driven by stories in all areas of our lives. The same happens at the workplace. Having a narrative that is continuously supported and co-created by employees and other stakeholders is key to having happy and motivated coworkers.
Direct and indirect communication is the main source of meaning-creation among employees. A company culture of open dialogue has positive effects elsewhere too. Your team will feel more open and communication will become easier. This in turn will make your company a happier place to work at.
Improving Company Culture
A strong learning culture stems from a great L&D strategy. At the heart of every great L&D strategy is the knowledge of where your team is strongest and where there is room for improvement. Any strategy should also promote and encourage peer-to-peer learning, both in professional development and in more casual areas of learning. Open, honest dialogue should also not only be promoted, but actively encouraged.
Adapting company culture to be one of employee development can time to put in place, but the numbers on the benefits of a strong learning culture in companies speak for themselves. Just look at the case studies showing how a strong brand story and storytelling communication training can get your employees all pulling in the same direction to grow your business exponentially. And if you’re not sure where to get started, contact Park Howell to see which training workshop is best for your organization.
Luke Sandford is a writer and content producer at Educations Media Group. Currently based in Lund, he is originally from the UK and graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2018 with a BA in Education. He has since written for several outlets and has worked as an English teacher, both at home and abroad. Luke’s passion for traveling and experiencing new cultures directly impacts his work as he seeks to create engaging, informative and useful content for a wide audience.