Wood Words

Want to Beat Out Your Competitors? Build a culture of continual learning

Regardless of your industry, company size or market position, instilling a passion for learning in your team is essential to sustaining competitive advantage. Continual learning helps your organization improve everything from cost efficiency to innovation – and offers a host of workforce benefits:

  • Attracting better talent. In our increasingly mobile and transient workplace, employees want and need to learn continuously. Meet this need and you’ll improve your candidate quality.
  • Improving motivation and retention. Providing learning opportunities shows how much you value your employees and want to nurture their potential. It’s a great way to build enthusiasm and keep your best people working for you.
  • Preventing skills gaps. According to a study by Bersin & Associates, “high-impact learning organizations” have 37% greater employee productivity and are 58% more likely to have the skills to meet future demand.

Sound like an attractive proposition? Today, Wood Personnel shares the following tips to help foster a passion for learning within your company:

  • Commit to building the culture. Providing job training is not enough to create a learning organization – you have to make learning a part of your “organizational DNA.” Develop the conventions, processes and practices needed to support the culture day-to-day. Obtain buy-in at every level. Incorporate incentives and opportunities for sharing knowledge into every aspect of your learning and performance management processes. In other words, don’t make learning an “event” – make it a daily habit!
  • Improve your onboarding process. Explain to each new hire that you are a learning organization – and that they are responsible for educating themselves. Review the tools, resources and opportunities available, and then have managers help new employees establish short- and long-term learning goals.
  • Include everyone. Make learning opportunities available to all – not just senior-level or high-performing employees. Increasing the knowledge and skills of your entire team is the key to creating sustainable competitive advantage.
  • Provide a variety of opportunities. Offer both structured learning experiences and informal ones. Provide supervisor-led instruction, as well as peer-to-peer learning experiences. Help your team acquire new knowledge, experiences and skills in ways that suit their individual learning styles.
  • Make learning fun. Employees resistant to learning? Reduce the anxiety and monotony by taking creative approaches to teaching and training. Ideas include: presenting multiple ways for acquiring knowledge (e.g., webinars, ebooks, classroom, on-the-job, peer-led, written materials); gamification; group learning activities.

By implementing just a few of these ideas, you’ll set your organization on a course of lifelong learning that drives continuous improvement, attracts better talent and makes your business more competitive.