The Dire Need to Foster a Culture of Continuous Learning

We no longer live in a world where stagnancy is an option. Today, the business landscape goes through a sea change every day, every hour, and every minute.

The breakthrough innovations, emerging start-ups, cutthroat competition, the advent of globalization, aggressive business strategies, and mass access to technology have definitely made the business space a tough ride that has left it with no choice but to adapt to this agile and dynamic operating space.

Continuous Learning is Important, if you want to grow

To stay steady and keep growing in the market space, the organisations will have to out beat their competitors, offer innovative solutions to the stakeholders, and often, find ways to out beat their own products and services.

How will this happen? One can grow only when one learns, and organisations absolutely are no exception to this.

And probably that is exactly why the renowned physicist Albert Einstein once said,

“Once you stop learning, you start dying”.

In short, the key lies in building an organisational culture that thrives on a learning culture.

What does it mean to have a Learning Culture?

When we talk about learning culture, it is a process. A continuous process where there is constant up-gradation of skills, redefining individual and team behaviour, being able to adapt and evolve in any situation – all aligned with the overall organisational strategy.

A culture of learning where one isn’t scared of committing mistakes, but rather is confident of making things right and better is what the organisation are looking at.

The ability of individual employees, the teams and the organization as a whole to learn, unlearn and relearn as swiftly as many times as it requires, is the heart and soul of a learning culture.

Continuous Learning, a Key of Sustainability

We all know that continuous learning is the key to sustainability in today’s business world. Don’t the organisations themselves know it? They do, right? It isn’t really rocket science to understand that the organization engine needs the fuel of continuous learning to run faster towards the future.

Yet a few studies reveal some shocking statistics that made it hard to understand why one would not invest in something that has definite returns! Have a look at it yourself:

An article in Forbes indicated that a massive 55% of the employees place career growth over and above compensation and simultaneously 47% of them opine that their organisations do not have satisfactory Learning and Development (L&D) initiatives.

And sometimes we spend years understanding why our employees are leaving us (the organization), isn’t it?

In 2018, a survey conducted by a global industry analyst and an L&D Leader revealed that the number one reason why employees start searching for new jobs is the inability to learn and grow in the current organization.

Organisations that invest rigorously in L&D enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than the companies that do not! And sadly, less than half the organisations have a fully-fledged Learning and Development initiative.

A Gallup study also reveals that a whopping 87% of millennials claim that professional development and career growth are the most important aspects they look up to.

These statistics are nothing but a wake-up call to the Human Resource teams and the top management teams across organisations that still do not consider the necessity of fostering a culture of continuous learning in their organization.

Why wouldn’t anyone want to tap on the opportunity waiting at the door? Fearing the Vitamin M (Money) and the return on investment? Well, here are a few things that could happen if learning culture isn’t given the attention that it deserves right now.

These things can happen if Continuous Learning isn’t given the attention

Lack of L&D initiatives does not foster innovation

The product and service offerings may become obsolete and lead to a loss of competitive advantage

High employee turnover due to lack of learning and development initiatives

The employees will not be able to think on their toes when an unforeseen uncertainty emerges.

A well channelized knowledge among the employees and the teams will help them detect any defects and errors much faster, and also avoid these errors in the first place

Learning and Development exposes the organization and its employees to the latest market trends. This way it will help the organization stay relevant in the current context. And not doing so will do the exact opposite. Ask what? Make the existence of the organization irrelevant in the near future.

How to foster a culture of Continuous Learning?

Understand the types of learners at your organization…

Well, though this is not a ‘tool’ for fostering continuous learning, it sets precedent for the selection of the tool. All employees at the organization do not learn in the same way. We know that there are visual learners, kinesthetic learners, learners who learn by experience.

Also, Carol Dweck – a psychologist at Stanford mentions two types of people when it comes to learning in her study – Those with a Fixed Mindset and those with a Growth Mindset.

For those with a fixed mindset, formal learning may work the best, and for the ones with a growth mindset, self-paced learning may suit them best.

Understanding the type of learners helps the L&D strategists to design them keeping in mind the best interests of employees.

The time-efficient approach of Micro-Learning!

We all know that we operate in jam-packed schedules. In such scenarios following an old-school approach of week-long training sessions is not possible.

Markets move quickly, time is limited, resources are scarce! This calls for learning that can be accommodated as a part of their daily work, devising content that conveys ‘More in less’.

And Micro-Learning presently is one of the most happening approaches to ensure quality content and quality delivery of content..

Make learning fun!

Today, learning is just not limited to hour-long classroom sessions. The application of technology such as Virtual Reality, and Gamification has made the whole process of learning so much more fun and engaging than before. And trust me, it is not just fun but delivers knowledge in the best way possible.

The very famous retail chain that we all know about has adopted the principle of Micro-Learning to address the issue of employee accidents within the store. So how did they deliver it?

They collaborated with a Micro learning service provider who designed a short game which was around 3-5 minutes, that required all the employees in the store to join. The game is based on the theme of employee safety and how do they escape or avoid such injuries from happening.

This immensely benefited Walmart by reducing employee accidents by 54% and saved millions of dollars for Walmart.

Leading by example…

If the organization expects its managers to devise strategies to engage their subordinates better in Learning and Development, it is also the responsibility of the managers in higher hierarchies to ensure the same culture of continuous learning to the middle-level managers as well.

The essence of Learning will spread across various levels of organization only if the top management reciprocates the same and leads by example!

Provide the resources necessary!

If Learning and Development is a continuous process, the supply of resources facilitating must also be continuous!

Access to a personalized learning plan of individual employees

Subscriptions and access to various learning material including blogs, self-paced courses, etc.

The liberty to get in contact with various key people in the organization, to discuss various strategies, their experiences, and suggestions. This unsolicited learning among the employees internally is a key source of encouraging a continuous learning culture.

Mutual Benefits of fostering a Continuous Learning Culture

We are well aware of the fact that Learning and Development initiatives are something that provides mutual benefits for both the employer as well as the employees. Something that puts both the parties in a win-win situation – quite rare isn’t it?

The need to build a continuous learning culture is not just another fad that is here not to stay. It is without a doubt, a winning mantra for many organisations…because the more you know, the more you start knowing that you do not know much.

This whole culture of encouraging employees to learn and grow better, aiding them to grasp on the new trends before it becomes old and providing them a sense of self-development is what is needed the most to boost their self-morale and their trust towards the organization.

Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.

William Pollard, Chairman, Fairwyn Investment Company

Conclusion:

Learning and Development are undoubtedly some of the most significant domains of the Human Resources function. The relevance of it in the present corporate environment is immense given the fact that innovation, novelty, and Learning organisational culture have taken a centre stage in leading the organisations.

Today the L&D arena of Human Resources is going through a tectonic shift in terms of adopting newer ways of delivering training, ensuring accessibility to the employees from anywhere and any device, the time available to complete the courses, and devising innovative content – all these indicate towards the ‘need’ of fostering a continuous learning culture, and at no cost shall the organisations miss this opportunity to make things better.

We as an organization also believe in learning from our stakeholders! And our readers are one of our key stakeholders. Let us know your views on the need to foster a continuous learning culture at connect@dutypar.com.

Find out what we do at https://dutypar.com/. We will be back with another interesting blog! Until then, stay tuned!

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