12 Steps to Building a Learning Culture that Helps you Grow

Learning Culture; you’ve heard the word floating around on the world’s most followed LinkedIn posts, but it’s not simply a matter of implementing learning in your business. It’s how to make it matter and have an impact.
A group of women building a learning culture by giving each other a high five.

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Learning Culture; you’ve heard the word floating around on the world’s most followed LinkedIn posts, but here’s potentially what you don’t know.

Research from Bersin by Deloitte demonstrated that learning organizations that build employee capabilities are:

  • 92% more likely to innovate
  • 46% more likely to be the first to market
  • 17% more likely to be the market share leader
  • 34% faster at responding to customer needs
  • 26% better at delivering quality products
  • 37% better employee productivity
  • 58% more prepared to meet the demands of the future

Let that sink in, in case you thought learning was a nice to have for your team members. Building a learning culture is more than a necessary, it’s key to unlocking growth.

But it’s not simply a matter of implementing learning in your business. It’s how to make it matter and have an impact.

What is a learning culture?

A learning culture refers to an organizational environment or mindset that promotes and values continuous learning and development among the team. In a learning culture, individuals are encouraged to seek out new knowledge, skills, and experiences, and the organization supports and facilitates these endeavors.

What’s the catch? They do this CONSTANTLY! Because they know that doing so increases their ability and likelihood to grow, adapt and succeed.

12 essential steps to building a game-changing learning culture

The question is HOW to build a learning culture? As with most things in business, it’s all about designing the right process.

When Kendra Grant’s team was charged with designing and delivering learning experiences for 90,000 Walmart Canada associates, she knew as a senior learning-and-design director that the landscape of corporate learning needs was constantly changing. “Over time,” says Grant, now the principal of her own L&D practice, “we acknowledged that many of the problems we saw, such as lack of engagement and lack of retention, were a result of the design process and not the fault of the learners.”

1. Align learning with company goals

Effective learning begins with clear alignment. When every training initiative is seamlessly intertwined with your company’s strategic objectives, it becomes a powerful tool to drive progress. For instance, if your goal is to expand into new markets, develop learning that equips your workforce with the skills needed to navigate those markets successfully.

Of course, such training needs to be considered and personalized in line with an individual’s skill set and growth needs, but learning is most impactful when individual learning is aligned with company objectives.

2. Identify gaps and ask for input

Where are the gaps in your business’s knowledge? 

Platforms like Whale give insights as to what information is lacking. For instance, what information are team members might be looking for that they don’t find? Or what questions are most asked by customers and team members?

Then consider things like the direction the organization needs to go in. What are the skills and or information needed to get there? 

Ask team members for input on what learning needs to be developed or refined. Asking team members for input is not only likely to yield greater results but is also likely to get team members more engaged in learning.

3. Empower subject matter experts

A platform fostering a learning culture with a water history screen.

Often scaling businesses don’t create learning cultures because they don’t believe they have the time or resources to do so. But there are more resources available than you might imagine; it’s just a matter of harnessing it.

Your employees possess a wealth of knowledge waiting to be tapped into. Identify and empower subject matter experts (SMEs) within your organization to document company knowledge and to keep their areas of expertise up to date. 

You’ll then be able to use such documentation to train your new and existing team members

4. Ensure content has The Netflix Effect

The Netflix Effect

Learning content shouldn’t induce yawns; it should inspire curiosity and engagement. Incorporate diverse formats like videos, interactive modules, and simulations to make learning engaging. When content resonates, retention and application of knowledge skyrocket.

Be sure to check out how to use The Netflix Effect to take learning content to the next level!

TIP – Use AI driven tools such as Whale allow you to create content in ZERO time while recording as you go through content on a website or simply create a process from scratch in seconds.

5. Start from Day 1

Cultivating a learning culture starts with onboarding, from the first day a new team member joins. Set the tone from the beginning by immersing new hires in your company’s values, expectations, and learning opportunities.

Set expectations that learning is an ongoing process as opposed to occasional so that new team members develop the habit of learning.

Play Video about Hubr Success Story with Whale

6. Incorporate Learning into Workflows

Learning should seamlessly integrate into daily work routines. Embed micro-learning modules or quick tutorials directly into workflows to ensure employees can access relevant information in real-time and in the apps in which they work.

TIP – Download the Whale Chrome Extension to surface knowledge when and where your team needs it.

7. Think drip - not a waterfall

In day’s long past, learning used to be viewed as an ‘event’, something that would happen at a specific time and place. But life or work doesn’t work like that, and neither should learning. To combat the forgetting curve, it’s important to reinforce learning constantly.

TIP – Did you know that Research proves that quizzes help learning and knowledge retention. Utlize software like Whale with features like quizzes to assess knowledge and focus on key areas of learning

8. Make knowledge-sharing a habit

Knowledge sharing is your company’s tool for growth. Adopt knowledge sharing as a habit by working in cross-functional teams and by hosting post-project feedback sessions. Additionally, utilize a company wiki that centralizes processes, SOPs, playbooks, and more — so you can quickly onboard, train, and set your team up for success.

TIP – Your company wiki should help employees access, create, edit, and share information about various aspects of the company, including its policies, procedures, projects, guidelines, best practices, and more.

9. Keep learning updated

These days learning and content changes faster than ever. It’s essential to keep learning updated. The first step to update your e-learning content and materials is to plan ahead and establish a clear and realistic schedule for reviewing and revising your content. Setting a review cadence will help keep information updated.

TIP – Use a tool like Whale to help you set automated content reviews.

10. Recorgnise and reward learning and impact

69% of employees would perform better if recognized for their contributions.

Did someone in your team make an impact as a result of creating or updating a process? Reward them. Nothing inspires learning like rewarding learning. At Whale, we use Karma to inspire our team’s progress.

Engage remote workers achievements with Karma

11. Build your company knowledge as an asset

It’s not company information that ultimately makes the difference but collective wisdom. The way your company does certain things is what makes you successful and capturing that knowledge can be an asset and competitive advantage.

12. Measure and adapt results for continuous improvement

“If you can’t measure it you can’t improve it.” (Peter Drucker)

Through measuring engagement, completion rates, quizz results etc, you can discover the impact that learning is having on your business. This will allow you to continue to align learning to the business goals and objectives.

Bottom Line

“93% of organizations are concerned about employee retention and the number 1 way organizations improve retention is through learning” – 2023 Workplace Learning Report

Research from this year’s report shows that people actually enjoy learning because it helps them grow, adapt to change and open themselves up to new opportunities.

The bottom line is that cultivating a transformative learning culture is no longer a luxury; it’s a strategic necessity in today’s dynamic business landscape.

By following these 12 essential steps, you can lay the foundation for a workforce that is not only prepared for change but is also driven to lead it. Remember, a learning culture isn’t built overnight, but with perseverance and a commitment to growth, your company can embark on a journey of continuous improvement that sets you apart as an industry leader.

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