Your company’s culture is incredibly important. It dictates the workplace experience. It affects the caliber of new hires you’re able to attract. It determines how long employees want to stay with you, as well. Few investments return as powerful a result as creating a continuous learning culture. When your team members know that you are invested in them, their career development and their personal development, you build loyalty that can make a huge in today’s ultra-competitiveness landscape.
A culture of continuous learning is one that encourages everyone to become their best self and to continually push toward positive change and development. It attracts new hires who want to evolve over time and grow in their careers. It helps encourage your key talent to remain with you and pursue new aspirations, rather than defecting to the competition.
How do you develop a culture of continuous learning, though? What can you do to help ensure that you’re providing your team members with the opportunities they need to learn and develop over time? We’ll walk you through six rituals that can help you create the right culture.
Learning Focused Check-In
Check-ins have become the norm in performance management, but you can use them to help create a culture of continuous learning, too. During your check-ins, make learning a focus. What did each team member learn and how did they apply it? What do they need to learn to better handle their current responsibilities? What do they need to learn to reach their professional and personal goals?
Learning doesn’t need to be the sole focus of each check-in, but it does need to be present. Doing so shows team members that L&D is valued, and that they’re supported in their growth. It also helps keep their learning and development at the forefront of their minds.
Focus on Gratitude for Learning
During your larger meetings, focus on gratitude as it relates to learning. You can do this in several different ways, including:
- Have one person from each team list something they’re grateful for and how learning played a role in achieving it. This could be a project deliverable, or something else, but it should relate to the workplace.
- Go around and have employees list key learning objectives and what those have enabled them to achieve, and why they’re grateful for those opportunities.
Building a sense of gratitude towards learning will help strengthen your company culture, but will also put learning in a more positive light. Too often, training and development are seen as an impediment, rather than a positive force.
Team-wide meditation sessions might sound a little strange, but they can be enormously beneficial. That’s particularly true when you practice focused meditation and tie it into learning and development. The first way to do that is with meditation itself. Most of your team members probably know little about meditation, so learning how can help to increase acceptance of learning and strengthen your culture, too.
Once your team has become acquainted with meditation, they can use it to quiet their minds, focus on the coming day, prioritize learning and development, and more. With deep meditation, you can even step through the benefits offered by learning and how it benefits the organization, but also the individual employee.
Question and Answer Sessions
Learning is ultimately about asking and answering questions. Why is the sky blue? Why does the moon wax and wane? Why do our customers check out of the sales funnel at this point?
Question and answer sessions show your team several things, including:
- Asking questions is encouraged.
- Seeking knowledge is valued.
- Learning is something applicable to everyone in the organization.
- Learning can lead to innovation and growth.
How often should you have these sessions? There’s no rule set in stone, but many teams opt for a weekly session. The more frequent your question and answer sessions, the stronger the culture of learning will become, and the more you’ll encourage your team members to seek knowledge and develop themselves.
Growth requires knowledge of where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. It requires understanding yourself. Self-reflection provides your team members with the ability to get to know themselves in new ways. Working in a self-reflection period each week allows them to identify areas where they’ve grown and developed, as well as where further growth needs to occur.
In a self-reflection situation, you just need to have employees reflect on what they’ve learned during the week. How were they able to put that knowledge to work? What will those lessons enable in the future? How will it inform their actions, decisions, and relationships moving forward?
With this type of focus on learning and on implementing real-life lessons into their day-to-day responsibilities, you help to strengthen your culture of learning. Over time, self-reflection will become second nature. As will implementing new knowledge to see key improvements.
Celebrate and Appreciate
While celebrating and appreciating achievements and successes don’t necessarily reflect directly on learning, they’re tied to it. During your appreciation, take time to focus on how the outcome was achieved, particularly the lessons learned that enabled it in the first place. What should you celebrate? You can go with almost anything.
Take time to highlight both major and minor accomplishments. No triumph is too big and no advancement is too small that it can’t be appreciated. Nothing is off-limits to studying the role that learning and development played in it, either.
Creating a Culture That Supports Success
Remember that people perform differently depending on the environment in which they work. Someone outgoing, energetic, and positive may become negative and pessimistic in the wrong culture. When you successfully create a culture of learning and development, one where personal and professional growth are not just valued, but actively pursued and encouraged, you help ensure that your company’s culture is positive and uplifting.
There are some pretty important ramifications to this, beyond just ensuring that your teams are engaged and productive. The most successful organizations tend to be those where learning, development, and innovation are encouraged. Those same organizations can attract top talent and retain employees for the long-term.