The past two years have been nothing short of disruptive, ambiguous and exhausting for leaders and employees alike. The challenges we’ve faced throughout the pandemic are accumulating, with climbing turnover and rapid digital transformation causing a widening skills gap and pervasive talent shortages for skilled workers. We’ve seen a massive shift in demand for skills like empathy and self-awareness, but even these soft skills are constantly evolving. As a leader, how do you build a strong workplace culture to retain the talent you have while attracting top talent to new roles? One step you can take is to engage your employees in the work they do by encouraging and supporting a lifelong learning culture.
What Is a Learning Culture?
A learning culture exists when a workplace promotes and supports the quest for knowledge, shared learning, an open mindset and allows employees to engage in activities that they’re passionate about. It’s no longer about holding a single workshop or training session that employees are mandated to take. It’s about lifelong learning and creating a workplace culture that encourages and supports that idea. But workplace culture, something that’s often been deeply ingrained for years, isn’t always the easiest thing to change. Why is it so important to invest in this shift?
Here are five reasons why embedding a lifelong learning culture in your organization is vital for success:
1. Stay Relevant
Constant learning allows both employees and organizations to stay relevant in the rapidly changing world of work. Employees can better prepare for the future through skills development, cultivate stronger emotional intelligence, earn promotions and become stronger leaders. Organizations also gain a competitive advantage by closing their skill gaps, attracting talent and staying competitive in a digitally transformed world. It’s a win-win.
2. Become More Innovative
Organizations that embed a learning culture are 92% more likely to innovate, according to research from Deloitte. The world of work is changing faster than ever before. To stay on top, companies need to constantly adapt. The more innovative organizations are, the easier it will be for them to shift, and the more successful they’ll be in the long term.
3. Increase Employee Productivity and, in Turn, Profits
It’s no secret that engaged employees are more enthusiastic and committed to their work, perform better at their jobs, stay longer at their organization and contribute to increased morale in the workplace. While we know its importance, only 15% of employees globally feel fully engaged in their place of work. Embedding a learning culture within the organization offers employees an outlet to be creative and develop new skills, keeping them engaged with their current and future roles. Companies that have high rates of engagement are 21% more profitable than their counterparts, according to research performed on nearly 1.4 million employees.
4. Boost Customer Satisfaction
Organizations that embed a workforce learning culture not only benefit from increased employee engagement but also through an improved customer experience. There is a direct correlation between engaged employees and client satisfaction—a Demand Metrics survey concluded that organizations that have more than 50% of employees in a state of engagement retain more than 80% of their customers. Customer experiences are the result of employee activities, and the higher the level at which employees are engaged, the more valuable the client experience will be.
5. Attract Already Engaged Candidates
When talent is searching for a new role, organizations that offer a learning culture are more attractive to candidates, as people want to work for companies that will invest in their professional development, growth and success. Employees typically are not leaving their current position to make a lateral move. They want to work for an organization that will support their growth potential, and learning is a key component to growth. Having learning as a key pillar of your workplace culture involves constant communication and a focus on this as part of your employer value proposition.
Embedding learning into your workforce culture isn’t about requiring employees to take certain courses. It’s about infusing lifelong learning in everything you do so it becomes an organic, seamless part of your culture that supports each employee and is nurtured by their leaders. Developing a learning culture won’t happen overnight, but for companies to stay relevant, retain top talent and close the skills gap, the investment is vital.
Interested in simplifying how employees access professional development and building a strong learning culture in your organization? Check out D2L Wave! As a free-to-use upskilling education platform, employers pay only for the courses their employees take. D2L Wave streamlines how employees search, request, register, and pay for professional development activities.
Devon Yakabuski works on the D2L Wave Product Marketing team, specializing in content marketing and the customer journey. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a specialization in Marketing from the University of Windsor.
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