Learning culture is a trending topic for many learning and development professionals – and there’s a good reason why, says Stephanie Morgan, Director of Learning Solutions at Bray Leino Learning.
Creating a learning culture within your organisation has a host of companywide benefits. But for now I am going to highlight three pertinent reasons why learning culture is so important:
It keeps talented and ambitious people onside – when it comes to attracting and retaining talent, culture is one of the main drivers. Learning opportunities, a shared mission and ethos, and career development are some of the key motivations (now outweighing pay) for ambitious individuals and the younger generations, according to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey.
It promotes mindset of high performance – an effective learning culture can amplify and motivate your high-performance teams. Our most driven team members want to deliver outstanding results and know how to locate opportunities, set goals and develop their skills accordingly.
It aligns learning with business objectives – a positive culture, one where our people are pulling learning with the desire to be high-performing team members, will result in an increase in learning uptake and application.
So how do you go about creating a culture of hungry learners in your organisation? Adopting a marketing mindset might be the answer…
Taking a marketing approach to your L&D department can help to increase learner engagement and create a ‘pull’ learning culture, where your learners are actively seeking out the learning solutions you have to offer.
It can also have a substantial impact on embedding learning within your company culture, uniting a companywide dialogue and interest in your learning solutions.
Together with skilled marketers, we have put together a simple 6-step process designed to help you think more like a marketer, and create a culture of hungry learners:
1. What is your brand?
The first step is all about understanding and developing your identity as an L&D department. It’s important to think about how your brand as a department fits in with the overall organisational brand, what its personality is and what it stands for.
Developing a brand within your L&D department may seem like smoke and mirrors, but it can have a drastic impact on how your learners engage with you. Think about it like this, by developing a brand that is appealing to your learners, you are more likely to get your learners involved with the solutions you have to offer.
2. Know your audience
We in L&D are brilliant at understanding the needs of our learners. But knowing your audience is about more than understanding the learner’s workload, learning styles and learning preferences.
It’s about knowing what really makes them tick and why they are working for your organisation. By understanding the mindset of your learners, you will be able to present your learning solutions in a way that hooks them into your learning solutions.
3. What is your message?
Why should learners engage with your solutions? The more work you can do on knowing your brand and understanding your audience, the easier it will be to craft your message.
A good starting point for creating a great message is to consider what your learner’s motivations and challenges are, and how your learning could help achieve/overcome them.
By pushing a message that answers, ‘what’s in it for the learner?’ you will grab their attention and motivate them to engage.
4. Marketing mix
Marketing tools can help you to amplify your message and engage with your audience at appropriate times and in different ways.
You should have more than a landing page on your intranet and think ‘job done’. What else could you do? Posters might seem old fashioned but a strategically placed poster with a great message can work wonders.
There is a range of tools you can use to attract your learners to your learning solutions, including storytelling, social media, managers, PR and Roadshows.
5. Plan the campaign
Marketing is never a one hit activity. Start to think about the next quarter at least , but preferably further ahead. What key skill, topic or challenge do you want to address in the next quarter?
Perhaps it’s improving meetings – how could you offer a range of solutions and have a marketing mix that promotes them over a longer period of time? Remember hardly anyone buys first time, you need to whet their appetites until they sign up.
Many of us in L&D are quick to accept that measurement and evaluation is tricky to do, but they are essential tools in a marketing tool kit.
If you test and retest what aspects of your campaign do and don’t work, you will gain a better understanding of what resonates and works with your audience. That way you will constantly evolve and improve how you engage with your learners.
Just investing in one small thing in each of these areas will help you on the way to creating a culture of hungry learners for your organisation.
For more on this topic, watch Stephanie’s webinar: ‘Create Your Ultimate Learning Culture’.