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6 Steps to Build a Workplace Culture Conducive to Learning
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6 Steps to Build a Workplace Culture Conducive to Learning

Do you still sport the home office… or maybe you’re an avid sofa-desk advocate? Well, whether your workplace is entirely remote, hybrid, or totally in-office, a workplace learning culture is vital to organisational success. And this isn’t just about continuing to update the skills and knowledge of your employees (although it is definitely about that), it’s also about creating a positive environment in which employees feel valued and will give their best.

Ultimately, you need a learning strategy that promotes employee engagement and can meet the requirements of your business. If you get this right, you can actually make a big impact on how people feel about the workplace, and the results you can expect to see.

At Video Arts, with our 50+ years of workplace learning experience, we feel confident that the following steps, if followed accurately, will ensure your business can build a workplace culture that is conducive to learning — I promise we’re not that cocky, we’re just realistic and have seen this work before. So let’s take a look at the 6 steps to learning success!

Step 1: Understand what a learning culture is and why you need one

The culture of learning we’re talking about is an organisation-wide mindset that places perpetual development at the heart of company values. In this learning environment, staff at every level are empowered to make upskilling a central theme in their workday — and beyond. They are supported in their development and given the space to experiment and make mistakes. Knowledge is passed around freely.

If for some strange reason that doesn’t sound desirable, here are some wise words from the CIPD that should change your mind:

“Recent research identifies that organisations in which learning has a deep impact on key behaviours and is supported by learning interventions and programmes experience better growth, transformation, productivity and profitability”.1

Case closed. Nothing like quoting an initialism to make a point.

Step 2: Assess your current learning culture and the barriers in your way

The next item on your to-do list is establishing what needs to change to create a culture conducive to learning. This means understanding everything from how staff perceive the role of learning to identifying who is enabling it — senior leadership buy-in, at this stage, is paramount to effectively delivering a learning culture.

Don’t just follow your intuition on this because the perceptions of your team might differ radically from your own. Instead, follow these four steps for assessing effectively —

  1. Start with 360 feedback or company surveys
  2. Collate and sort through existing organisational data such as engagement metrics and the uptake of learning opportunities on self-directed learning platforms
  3. Compile the data and organise in a way that will provide valuable insights into the efficacy of your current learning culture
  4. Foster a growth mindset culture from the top down; managers can be enablers or blockers to creating an effective learning culture, so it’s crucial to get them onside early. That way, employees will be equipped to develop a growth mindset at work, which, in turn, cultivates a better learning culture.

The specific barriers standing between your organisation and the culture you seek will begin to present themselves from this research but expect a few trends. For example, everyone struggles to find the time for learning, but more on how to address that later.

Step 3: Build hybrid learning into the heart of your programme

We have tried to avoid the C-word but we can’t ignore it any longer — COVID-19 has pulled the bottom out of how the world works. You’ll know this already, but a remote and hybrid set up has never been more important. Face-to-face and classroom learning isn’t gone, and should remain as an important part of in depth sessions. However, to match the demands of modern working, you need to embrace digital learning and provide remote access to your resources.

Pro tip: Consider incorporating an LMS or LXP into your hybrid learning strategy — these are platforms and processes that help you deliver your learning content in engaging and accessible ways. For more information on the differences between the two, check out our blog — How To Create a Learning and Development Strategy Ready for 2022 (P.S. skip to step 2 if you don’t have the time to read it all).

Video content is made for this kind of learning environment. And since 95% of L&D professionals believe many of these enforced workplace changes are here to stay, it seems sensible to make video the foundation of your new culture.2

However, we should add that the benefits of video were established long before the pandemic as it gives learners control over how, when and where they approach the task — and that equates to increased uptake. What’s more, studies show that employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than read.3

Video also impacts upon engagement: learners process visual information 60,000 times faster than written material;4 40% of learners respond better to visual information than text.5 So you can’t afford for your learning culture to not include video.

Suggested reading: For more on the efficacy of video learning, visit our blog — 3 reasons video is so effective at changing behaviours

Step 4: Make learning engaging!

Nobody was ever propelled from the comfort of their bed by the prospect of a run-of-the-mill workplace learning seminar. If you’re serious about creating a culture that has development at its core, then you need to make learning enjoyable.

How? At Video Arts, we believe (and have evidence to prove) that humour is the secret to learner engagement. And we’re not talking about dad jokes… We’re talking BAFTA-winning comedians, writers and actors. And, well, it works. Things go better when they’re fun. Learning doesn’t need to be dull to be effective. In fact, the opposite is true.

The brain guys agree. Humour, we are reliably informed, opens the dopamine tap which stimulates long-term memory and goal-oriented motivation. Neurology is not our forte but we feel comfortable saying that humour will aid information absorption as well as learning adoption and retention.

Pro tip: Format also influences engagement. Microlearning (3-4 mins of standalone content with a clearly defined goal), for example, is proven to be highly effective. But, why adopt microlearning? Well, studies show bitesize learning can be as much as 17% more efficient than its long-form equivalent. In other words, microlearning combats short attention spans by providing digestible learning content that affords the learner autonomy over their learning pathway.

Step 5: Adopt team learning and reward learning

As mentioned in step 2, an effective learning culture requires buy-in from the top to the bottom and leaders set the tone. The organisation must support managers to prioritise time and resources for formal and informal learning. They must become role models, demonstrating best practice to their teams.

A culture of learning necessitates working together. Managers must foster unity through practical steps like sharing their own learning goals and encouraging team members to do the same. By assessing these objectives openly, the structure feels more inclusive, the individuals within it have greater accountability and the sense of shared responsibility is heightened.

Achievements must be recognised and rewarded because acknowledging effort motivates learners. The type of incentive you offer will depend on your organisation but a half-day for ‘learner of the month’ is likely to encourage learners to dig a little deeper, for example.

Step 6: Welcome feedback and give feedback!

The provision and receipt of feedback is the lifeblood of the learning culture loop. Feedback should become, like development itself, part of your day-to-day activities. To succeed, you must promote inquiry, champion dialogue and encourage experimentation.

Leaders must also act on comments from their teams. This is, after all, the only way that the gap between goals and reality can be bridged — it is the only way that a learning culture can influence the direction of the organisation.

Attention should be paid to how feedback is delivered and heard. In a learning culture, information on how to do both will be readily available. Identify and select different metrics that you can track and report on to determine what content is being engaged with or not, these metrics could include —

  • Number of times a piece of content is opened
  • Average length of engagement with content
  • Number of knowledge checks undertaken following learning content
  • Average scores in learning adoption reviews

You’ve got your building blocks… Go and build!

So, there you have it: six easy steps for establishing a culture conducive to learning. Now all you need to do is make it happen.

Creating a culture is not going to happen overnight but it is possible. Thankfully, L&D professionals will be able to implement many of these changes without external help.

However, we also suspect that many of said professionals are not as engaging as actual humorous people. If you can see the value in introducing high-quality, humorous content into your culture of learning — and the numbers suggest you should — you might want to consider seeking out some experts who can provide oodles of engaging video content staff will want to watch across remote and in-office environments.

Hmm… Whoever could that be? Get in touch today if you’re struggling to work it out.

 

1Creating learning cultures: assessing the evidence, p.4
2The Power of Virtual Classrooms in a Post-Pandemic World
35 Video Based Learning Facts That Make The Case For A Video Platform
4Video vs Text: The Brain Perspective – WONDERMOUSE INC.
5Studies Confirm the Power of Visuals to Engage Your Audience in eLearning

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