The benefits of a learning culture in your organisation, and where to begin

4 mins read time

Learning is a fundamental human instinct. As human beings we, are drawn to learning about the world around us, pursuing new skills and behaviours. A lack of learning opportunities in our lives can lead to dissatisfaction, lack of motivation and can even have a negative impact on our mental health.

Developing a learning culture in your organisation can be hugely beneficial for individual employees, as well as the overall success of an organisation. When asked, a huge 83% of employees said that learning and development is a key factor and when asking people what their top five considerations were when looking for a new job, three of those five related to opportunities for career development and learning.

The importance of creating a culture of learning is clear, however not all businesses are successfully implementing effective learning opportunities. A report showed that there’s been little increase in training spend for employees across many years, with a 28% drop between 2005 and 2019.

In our guide, we’ll explore the benefits of establishing a learning culture in your business, and what you can do to get started.

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What is a learning culture?

A learning culture means fostering an environment where employees are encouraged to upskill, further their knowledge and utilise what they’ve learned in a way that impacts the business for the better.

Learning and development take place on both an individual and business-wide level, allowing teams to come together to share their knowledge and integrate it into business products or offerings. It means that your employees are always looking for ways to build upon their skills and enhance their current ways of working.

Benefits of creating a learning culture

The importance of a learning culture cannot be understated, with employees more engaged in your business and bringing new ideas to the table. We’ve broken down the impact of a learning culture at work below.

Higher employee satisfaction

With just 9% of UK employees feeling enthusiastic about their jobs, developing a learning culture at work gives employees more opportunities to develop and expand their current roles. With the right support, employees’ confidence will grow - a key element of learning new skills - and will feel eager to bring new ideas to the table, giving them more motivation and opportunity for growth.

Reduction in staff turnover

A lack of training has been linked to higher employee turnover. In fact, 21% of employees who left their jobs in 2022 cited no room for growth as a factor. However, offering exciting opportunities to grow and develop in your organisation can lead to a reduction in turnover, and, therefore, a reduction in recruitment costs. Employees want to feel valued in their roles, knowing that there are opportunities to leave their mark on a company as they learn new skills. We've delved into how apprenticeship programmes boost retention rates here

Higher profit margins from building a learning culture

Research has shown that companies offering comprehensive training have up to 24% higher profit margins. As employees become more efficient, the quality of their work is improved, saving time and money while becoming more of a valuable asset to your business.

This shows that investing in training makes a difference for individual employees as well as good for the overall success of a company.

Developing a culture of learning for a competitive edge

Making sure your employees are up to date with the latest skills required in their field can help give your business that competitive edge and become a key player in your industry. With skill gaps currently rife, looking internally and upskilling employees is a faster, more affordable way of equipping your workforce with the skills needed for the future.

By staying on top of the latest trends and new technology, teams are in the best position to handle industry developments. Skills have a short lifespan so businesses need to adopt a continuous learning culture to keep up with industry shifts and adapt to an ever-changing world. You’ll ensure to close employee skill gaps by building on the expertise that already lies within your team - rather than starting from scratch with a new hire - and ensuring all skills and knowledge are always relevant.

How to create a learning culture in your organisation

To ensure your business thrives in an ever-changing world, you need to adopt a culture of learning that nurtures employees as they advance in their careers. Many businesses are aware of this - the CIPD reported that 98% of learning and development practitioners want to establish a learning culture, but only 36% feel that they have.

To help you foster and promote a learning culture in your business, we’ve provided a few tips below.

Encourage curiosity

A good place to start with developing a learning culture in any organisation is encouraging curiosity in the workplace. Allowing employees to have an open and curious mind will allow them to have different ideas on how processes and tasks could be done differently and assess where there are skill gaps that could be worked on.

You can start by encouraging them to question, “Could this process be done differently?” or “Is there something we could be doing that we’re not?”. Getting employees engaged in these questions will naturally lead to more insightful answers and ways of working.

Provide employee feedback as part of a learning culture

Another way to encourage an environment for learning is by providing balanced and fair feedback. A manager’s reluctance to give negative feedback, so as not to cause an uncomfortable situation, can sometimes lead to a lack of employee growth. This is because the individual is unaware of the areas in which they need to improve.

Providing insightful and balanced employee feedback allows employees to reflect on what has been done well and what could be improved on in future. This then allows them to assess whether there is a skill gap and whether necessary training could be necessary.

Don’t punish people for trying

Unfortunately, not every new idea is going to always go to plan. In the learning process, there will be mistakes made along the way. An important way of encouraging learning is to not punish employees for trying something new, even if it isn’t successful. Praising employees for testing new ways of working will help develop a learning culture, where mistakes are allowed, and are there to be learnt from.

Reward and recognition

It’s no surprise that people are more likely to feel motivated and appreciated if they have been recognised or rewarded for their work. However, a significant 53% of employees claimed that recognition was not an integrated part of their work culture.

Being recognised in the workplace is more likely to make an employee feel like a valued member of their team and encourages further hard work, with 79% of Gen-Z and Millennial employees stating that they’d be more loyal to their employers if they received recognition rewards.

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Building a learning culture in your organisation - how Learning and Development apprenticeships can help

Apprenticeships are an excellent way of developing your Learning and Development employees and creating impactful learning processes in your organisation.

Lifetime’s Level 3 and Level 5 programmes have been created to upskill your employees and drive engagement, innovation and reward in your organisation in turn, encouraging your people to grow. Find out more about our learning and development apprenticeships, or speak to our team for more information. 

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