Looking to nurture a learning culture among your employees? Rajeeb Dey, CEO of Learnerbly, offers a few key strategies to steer your business in the right direction.
This is not the first nor the last time you’ll hear me talking about continuous learning. We should all know by now that the key to preparing ourselves for our digital future will be to reskill and upskill consistently over the coming months, years and decades.
Of course, this is already happening and we’re seeing the behaviour shift coming from the employees themselves, with almost three quarters (74%) of people willing to take on the responsibility of learning a new skill or retraining to keep themselves employable.
But businesses also have to shoulder some of the responsibility for enabling this to happen, and it is in their interests to take the lead.
It isn’t always easy. We know that without the right structures in place, learning and development can be pushed down the priority list. Deadlines creep up, big projects need to be delivered and purse strings tighten.
That’s why developing a culture where learning is baked into everything your business does — where it is a shared mindset rather than an administrative task — is not only valuable but vital.
Consider that 68% of employees have changed jobs because of a lack of learning and development opportunities. What risks are you facing by letting learning become a nice-to-have rather than part of your company’s DNA?
Here I’ve tried to offer a few simple tactics that might help you develop a learning culture.
Lead from the front
Never underestimate the power and influence of a leader in setting the tone for the rest of the company. If you want to see a transformation in how your company learns, then leaders at all levels must start exhibiting those mindsets and behaviours.
Giving people the formal go ahead to take themselves away from projects to invest time in their development is vital.
In this regard, you have to make sure that commitment and belief in the value of continuous learning comes from the top. If your CEO or senior management team are not supportive of developing a culture of learning — which might sometimes mean taking time away from the ‘desk job’ — then you are never going to succeed in developing that environment across the business as a whole.
Inspire and share
Give your team something to feel motivated by and create a space for people to share insights and learn together.
Why not introduce a regular get together, for example ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, where inspiring speakers are invited in to share their experiences? Or introduce morning stand-up meetings within teams where people get away from their desks and share what they’ve learned or found motivating recently.
Make sure this isn’t only work related, let people bring inspiration from all corners of their lives and see how it gets the creative juices flowing.
Put a structure in place
The number one reason employees say they are not engaging in workplace learning is because they don't have the time. So give them time.
Giving people the formal go ahead to take themselves away from projects to invest time in their development is vital. Also having the right platforms and processes in place will help people feel that their learning is ‘validated’.
Managers account for at least 70% of employee engagement scores — and LinkedIn data shows that employees are more likely to engage with learning when managers are involved.
Changing a business culture is never easy, but developing a new attitude to learning doesn’t have to mean replacing the old with the new.
Regular check-ins to discuss learning and training in meetings will transform learning from something people do in their spare time, to something that is focused on career development goals.
Employees will start to see the value it is adding to their career, and will be able to adapt that learning as they grow.
Let your people take the lead
Whilst it is vital that a learning culture is led from the front and managed by leadership at all levels, the choices of how and when people learn should be driven from the bottom up. 58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace and 49% want to learn at the point of need, so a flexible, always-on approach to learning is crucial.
Listen to your employees when they tell you how they want to learn and give them the tools and autonomy to do that.
Changing a business culture is never easy, but developing a new attitude to learning doesn’t have to mean replacing the old with the new. In fact, understanding your current culture will be vital in understanding how best your people would like to learn.
Set some achievable goals and take it step by step. Introduce some simple structures, establish processes that work for you and listen to your workers about how they would like to learn and develop. You might be surprised at how quickly your culture can change.
About Rajeeb Dey
Rajeeb is passionate about helping people connect to opportunities and flourish in their careers. Most recently he launched Learnerbly – a workplace learning platform powered by experts. Learnerbly is working with forward thinking clients such as IDEO, ustwo, Carwow, GoCardless and others to helps their employees find the best classes, conferences, coaches and content tailored to them.
Prior to this he founded Enternships, a portal which has connected students and graduates to internships and graduate jobs in over 7000 startups and fast growing businesses for which he was named the “02 X Young Entrepreneur of the Year” and the youngest recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2013.
Rajeeb is also the Co-Founder of StartUp Britain, a national entrepreneurship campaign launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2011 and is a vocal supporter of social enterprise, serving as a Trustee of UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs for over 9 years.
Rajeeb graduated with 1st Class Honours in Economics and Management from the University of Oxford and was appointed the world’s youngest Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2012 aged just 26. He was named as one of the 1,000 Most Influential People in London by The Evening Standard as well as being recognised in prestigious publications “Who’s Who” and “Debrett’s People of Today”. He was appointed Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours List in June 2016 for services to Entrepreneurship.