How a Culture of Learning Impacts Business Performance

If a business finds itself struggling, there are numerous steps and measures it can take. From reducing the cost of certain products and providing purchase incentives to prioritising customer services and improving after sales care, these tactics and techniques have been proven to be fairly successful.

Unfortunately, these are short-term fixes to long-term problems. An organisation that truly wants to improve bottom line performance must take a long hard look at internal operations, daily procedures and perhaps above all else, the company culture.

If every employee is singing from the same hymn sheet, things are bound to improve. Not only will productivity and efficiency increase, workforce motivation and happiness is bound to be high as well. But how can a business implement and maintain such an effective and successful environment? The answer is by introducing a culture of learning.

The relationship between learning and performance

At its very basic level, the relationship between learning and performance is quite simple to understand. If a business prioritises the training of employees and believes in teaching them new skills, then members of staff will be a strong position to carry out their job roles and responsibilities in a competent way, thus improving performance.

Investigation and studies into the subject performed by research and advisory firm Gartner backs up this statement. It found that in regards to information technology training:

  • It takes untrained employees twice as long to perform a task by themselves through experimentation, compared to receiving tuition.
  • Every hour of training reduces help desk support time by a quarter of an hour.
  • Every hour of training reduces review and fixing errors by one hour.
  • Training increases an employee’s performance by 5.75 hours

Therefore, it is clear to see that having some sort of training program or teaching schedule is highly beneficial for employees and company performance. However, simply coaching members of staff in topics and themes relevant to the business is not enough, as performance drivers must be understood, managed, maintained and analysed.

Understanding and managing performance

In order to effectively measure performance, certain indicators must be established, which can provide invaluable feedback about daily operations. However, key drivers should also be identified and recognised, as these are the things that deliver results.

It is easy to fall into the trap of focusing too much on measurement metrics and ignoring the importance of the drivers that actually bring about performance. The things that can truly improve and enhance performance include business strategy and structure, daily processes, employees, and of course, the company culture.

Implementing a learning culture

As research from Gartner has already found, a culture of learning brought about by regular and relevant training can improve performance significantly. However, it can also attract and retain talent, integrate new and effective forms of technology as well as streamline and modernise internal operations.

Shifting a business’ way of thinking is not an easy exercise and could be met by resistance from employees, stakeholders and customers. However, more so than ever before, organisations need to be flexible and adaptable given current economies, market conditions and employee attitudes. A culture of learning allows for sudden changes and constant adjustments, which is more difficult to achieve with traditional corporate customs.

When is comes to analysing your own company culture to see whether ongoing training and tuition is a possibility, ask the following questions:

  • Do the company’s managers and leaders recognise the benefits a culture of learning can afford? Do they themselves invest in personal development or strive to acquire more knowledge and skills?
  • Do employees have a say in their career development or personal progress? If not, could this become a formal process or regular procedure?
  • Do you reward or acknowledge employees that come up with innovative concepts, valuable feedback, cost-cutting ideas or constructive criticism?
  • Do internal discussions take place after training has taken place to measure its effectiveness or success? While return on investment is important, does the workforce’s development take precedence?
  • Do you give employees the opportunity to apply for higher positions in the company? Are internal job postings encouraged or advised against?
  • Do employees have access to training materials, such as eLearning courses? Can members of staff monitor their own progress and development?
  • Do employees understand why training is taking place? Do they believe the teaching and tuition they receive is beneficial?

The aforementioned questions cover some of the fundamental basics of ongoing training and employee empowerment, which must be adhered to if you want to implement a culture of learning.

Establishing a culture of learning with Wranx

Recognising the fact that more and more organisations want to introduce and establish a culture of learning, Wranx has established a non-invasive training solution, which works alongside existing tuition but also gives employees access to regular coaching. What’s more, we make this cloud hosted solution available on a range of devices, deliver innovative types of teaching to increase engagement, provide in-depth reporting and intelligence together with dedicated customer support.

[sc:callbox content=”Wranx has found that several employees prefer to take part in training outside of normal working hours, so we made our training solution available on desktop, smartphones and tablets. There is no need to download client software either, meaning that training content can be updated remotely too.” ]

But one feature in particular, which can really help out businesses interested in developing a culture of learning, concerns a scientific brain hack known as spaced repetition. Essentially, this is a form of accelerated learning that moves knowledge from the employee’s short-term memory to their long-term memory in an effective and efficient way. In essence, we ask the individual 10 questions a day, see how well they knew an answer, and schedule future training accordingly.

Finally, in order to know whether your culture of learning is effective, deep-dive reporting from Wranx reveals information about activity, retention rates, predicted completion dates, cost savings and employee rankings.

So, even if a business wants to introduce more training and better tuition, then a culture of learning must be considered the rule, not an exception.

A version of this article originally appeared on . Make sure to check them out, it’s a great resource for L&D professionals ( although it’s so good you probably already known that! ).

Written by: Persia Shahkarami

Published: 14 Nov, 2014