As the employment marketplace becomes more competitive and the average cost of every new hire sits at over £5,000, we explore the importance of a learning culture within an organisation and how this can support more effective retention and engagement amongst employees.

At FSV we support with challenges and opportunities related to building an effective talent pipeline across a diverse range of customers. Our insights suggest the one key factor influencing an individual’s decision when choosing an employer is whether or not they will be valued, and secondary to this, if they will be able to make a positive impact or not.

When we hear these statements it is clear that we all want to feel valued in our roles and what we are really saying is “Will I just be a number or will my employer actually care about me and my development?”  There are various employee rewards schemes and engagement strategies that can be used but by far the stand out method of ensuring your employees feel valued is in creating a learning culture across your organisation.  In any organisation its learning culture is crucial and can directly impact the performance of an organisation.

Active learning

The above statement will mean many things to many people – so it’s important to clarify what we mean when we talk about ‘learning’ within a business or role, and how you build this into your organisation, to form an active learning culture.

Learning is an active process, a way of thinking and doing. It includes various styles from problem-solving and questioning, to idea sharing and proactively developing employee skill sets. Our work tells us that by creating effective career and progression routes, having access to a variety of learning opportunities – regardless of role or level, and actively promoting learning (including encouraging and learning from small failures), results in your employees feeling more valued within their role and subsequently being more productive. 

”In supporting organisations to introduce learning initiatives and embark on or revamp the learning journey of their employees, we help our customers to improve their recruitment, training and engagement processes, often reducing their costs by 50%”

As human beings we are knowledge hungry, it makes sense that we look for learning opportunities and progression in our roles – and ultimately, we are seeking to be better at what we do and better ourselves along the way.  We learn by doing, making small failures is a natural part of this process. – we must embrace this, recognise what our employees need and support them to learn. The reality is, this will drive growth, open discussion and promote innovation organisation-wide.

To address the second statement made by many employees “Will I make an impact?” – Of course, this matters to us all.  No one wants to feel like their role is a pointless pursuit for zero results.  We want to add value to the organisations we work with and take pride in achieving something. Below we share our tips on how you can create the right culture in your business. 

Developing a learning culture – our top tips;

·         From day one, promote progression opportunities with each employee. This should form a key part of their induction process and subsequent one-to-one sessions.

·         Ensure everyone in your organisation recognises the career paths available to them within your business.

·         Get creative in how you communicate this – infographics, social media, team meetings etc., are all great ways to showcase career opportunities and progression case studies.

·         Consider each and every possible talent pool you can employ from; work placements, apprenticeships, graduate schemes and experienced hire opportunities all add value and add to the feeling of learning across the board.

·         Encourage dissenting opinions; a team made up of ‘yes-people’ will restrict innovation and limit self-learning, as individuals will be focused on satisfying and agreeing with a manager. To create a real learning culture, actively encouraging some constructive challenge, debate and open discussion is a must – helping to give a broader perspective on a topic.

·         Ensure adequate opportunities are available for employees to access ongoing training, to support them in their roles and to learn new things – and where you can, encourage learning other topics that are of interest to them as people.

·         Reward those who contribute and embrace your learning culture. It’s important to recognise those who actively learn, contribute, make suggestions, fail and try new things, regardless of the results. This will drive creativity and encourage your team to think about their work and the processes they use.

·         To ensure you find and recruit the right people to work in your team or organisation, by far the most important factor is to shout about how you live and breathe an active learning culture! Everyone inside and outside your organisation should be aware – it should become part of your internal and external branding.

At FSV we practice what we preach and use our experiences, learnings, and expertise when it comes to helping other companies create and implement a great learning culture.  Follow the above tops tips and let us know how you foster this environment in your company – we’d love to hear from you.  

Some final thoughts from the team at FSV below on why a learning culture is important to them:

Jake Solomon, Digital Marketing Apprentice “A business learning culture to me is the processes and practices that help us as employees to be able to learn more at work, and helps us improve our performance. By having the opportunity to be hands-on and learn on the job, making mistakes is part of that.”

Claire Swift, Project Manager “A learning culture is important to a business to ensure that staff are always up to date with key skill sets and new technology.  Investing in staff training is key to any organisation to help them to grow within your business, this is critical to me as a manager to identify any skills gaps and organise the right training for staff.” 

Aimee Palin, Junior Business Consultant “I think learning culture is vital in a business as it shows that managers want the best for their employees. Business who support their employees shows they are forward thinking and want to stay up to date with changes both in the industry and in education.”

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