Cultivating a Learning Culture in Your Company

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Technology Classroom Learning"School's out!" Most children long to hear those words by the time the end of the school year finally arrives. Many of us spent over 16 years sitting in classrooms learning and absorbing all kinds of information on a wide variety of topics. Then collage graduation, and all that learning is done, it's finally done! Or is it?

We enter the workforce ready to get on with real life and being a grown-up, however, most quickly realize that the learning has only just begun. In fact, learning now might be more important than ever. With technology innovation the workforce and jobs are changing quickly, and it's important to keep up, or you will be left behind with old, outdated skills. This is not only a problem for individuals, it's a problem for companies.

What's a company to do? How can a company not only keep up with the demands of clients and customers but also ensure that employees are up-to-date on the latest trends and skills in your industry? Not to mention the budget that it might require to allow your employees to further their educations.

Cultivating a learning culture in your workplace is essential in any successful organization.Click to Tweet

Companies with learning cultures, in which continuing education is valued, thrive. Offering the chance for employees to reach greater potential through learning opportunities is great for business.

Some important steps in creating a culture of learning include:

  • Offer opportunities for employees to participate in formal training and development.
  • Recognize employees who have learned new skills or completed a training course.
  • Get feedback following educational opportunities to see if employees find the opportunities beneficial.
  • As a leader, emphasize the benefits of learning and encourage employees to create a career development plan.
  • Encourage collaboration with other employees as well as question asking.
  • Lead by example.

Consider the following ways to encourage continuous learning in your company:

Encourage employee engagement with Lunch & Learns.
If an employee has recently learned or experimented with a new skill, have them teach their peers. This can be a low key event that takes place in the office during lunch time. Send out an email invite so anyone interested can come and learn from their co-worker.

Get employees involved in community education by attending conferences and workshops.
Conferences are usually packed full of learning opportunities with keynote session speakers and workshops tailored to more specific topics. Conferences locally and nationally offer a great opportunity to pack a lot of learning into just a day or two.
Free local workshops are not only good for learning but they are great networking opportunities. Many companies offer monthly or quarterly workshops and networking events which bring in speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds. Search for some in your area, and join their email list so you don't miss the best opportunities.

Sign up for online webinars.
Free online webinars are hosted by online experts covering all manner of industry topics including best practices, new trends, how-tos and more. Some webinars are available on-demand while others are events which require registration and are then viewed at a specific event time.

Learn from the comfort of home with online classes.
Online classes allow employees to pick specific topics to learn about right from the comfort of their own homes. There are a number of benefits to online learning including, convenience, flexibility, less pressure and cost. Distance learning is easy with online courses offered by colleges as well as online marketplaces.

Other than keeping up with trends and new skillsets, continuing education has other benefits as well. Learning new things helps to make brain function more efficiently and improves focus, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Putting employees in a position to continue learning will also give them a great opportunity to expand their professional network. The more people they know, the more business they can help drive your way.

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