A Culture of Learning Thrives on Innovation

Even though every business longs for highly motivated employees that possess a desire to learn, develop and grow, it is usually very difficult to achieve. But if you manage to introduce and administer a culture of learning, this dream scenario could become a reality. 

This kind of transition doesn’t just happen overnight though and will require plenty of hard work. However if you manage to recognise the importance of developing a culture of learning as well as overcome and put into practice the challenge and methods required for implementation, favourable results are a distinct possibility.[gap height=”20″]

The importance of innovation with a learning culture

An individual or organisation needs to learn a fair amount of knowledge to come up with new ideas that benefits the business or customer. And by its very nature, innovation is creating novel or unique concepts and theories that nobody else has conceived. Therefore the two go hand-in-hand and any business looking to develop learning culture based on innovation needs to recognise this. In order to keep your employees’ creative brains ticking, continuous teaching and tuition is required. 

If this doesn’t happen, there is a good chance members of staff will become disillusioned with their roles and may think about leaving. In many respects, job satisfaction and personal development are more important than ever before, as an individual’s career is no longer a simple means to make money. So if you fail to establish a culture of learning, employees won’t be challenged enough and are bound to move elsewhere.

Add into the bargain our rapidly changing world and innovation becomes even more crucial. Employees are being introduced to new concepts, systems and technologies all the time, which requires them to adapt or find new solutions. But a knowledgeable workforce that wants to learn and has been trained appropriately will ultimately succeed. [gap height=”20″]

The challenges with developing a culture of learning

Changing the ideas, customs and behaviour of every single employee is not easy, as it could go against everything they know or are used to. But the three biggest obstacles you are likely to encounter are:

Time – With every member of staff focused on the job in hand, there won’t be much time to explain, convey and implement a new way of thinking. What’s more, certain employees might be reluctant to learn new skills if it does not help them complete their existing workload. 

Money – When it comes to changing company culture, your most expensive outlay will undoubtedly be training. And unless a sizeable return can be guaranteed, the majority of businesses are reluctant to invest in lengthy training courses or programs. 

Attitude – Even if you are absolutely sure that a change will benefit the entire company, some employees’ might think differently. If there is a chance of it upsetting the status quo, your workforce may be reluctant to learn and any training you do implement could be a waste of time. [gap height=”20″]

Overcoming obstacles with the right training

Some of these challenges will seem like an uphill struggle while others may feel impossible to conquer. However, a lot of it will come down to how you teach and train your employees. Coaching can be integrated with current workloads at minimal cost, while gradually introducing new ideas to members of staff over a prolonged period of time is far more effective than telling them to change straight away. 

Deep dive training – Rather than sending your employees on a training course for a day, spread out the training over several weeks with scheduled ‘deep dives’. These sessions only need to last two hours a day once a week, but they will be far more effective than existing teaching methods, as members of staff will give their undivided attention for the whole duration. Furthermore, it won’t negatively impact on their existing workload either. Over the course of a few weeks, you’ll be able to go over some key points and principles associated with culture changes and encouraging innovation.

Spaced repetition – Similar to deep dive training, spaced repetition is a type of advanced learning that gradually teaches employees over time. If you were to adopt a solution like Wranx Drills, this kind of training won’t upset or intrude on daily operations either. Essentially, Wranx Drills will ask your employee 10 questions a day about certain topics or themes of your choosing. But by getting the individual to rate how well they knew the answer, we can schedule future questions accordingly.

Topics that are comprehensively understood won’t appear again for a while, but unfamiliar themes will be taught once more the next day. Over time, this knowledge will become imbedded in your employees’ long-term memory. And perhaps the best bit of all? It is available on smartphones, tablets and desktop, meaning your workforce never need leave their desks to complete spaced repetition training.

Brown bag lunch training – This kind of training has been used a fair bit in the past, but still remains very effective. Basically, everyone will bring their lunch to a conference room to attend an hour long teaching session. It is fairly informal and quite brief, but provides enough time to introduce a topic or teaching. Employees won’t be scarfing valuable working time, but will feel comfortable and at ease in this training environment. Ideas or thoughts can be openly expressed, which benefits both the company and individual. [gap height=”20″]

Results from a culture of learning

By giving employees the tools and expertise to think freely and innovate in their daily routine, they’ll feel much more competent and confident in their job roles. No longer will they feel trapped or scared about unfamiliar topics or themes. On top of that, employee turnover is likely to come down too. If you instil a culture that encourages personal development and growth, there will be little reason for intelligent or ambitious people to leave.

But above anything else, you’ll see more novel, unique and remarkable ideas or products that have come about by innovative thinking taught by a culture of learning.

Written by: Persia Shahkarami

Published: 14 Jul, 2014