Dedicating time for learning is very important for organizations, for several reasons.
On one hand, it helps employees develop their skills, and feel empowered in their roles. When employees feel confident in their abilities, they are more likely to take on new challenges, which, in turn, leads to increased productivity and job satisfaction. As a matter of fact, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development.
On the other hand, investing in employee learning can help keep the organization competitive. In today's fast-paced business environment, staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies is vital. By providing opportunities for employees to learn, organizations ensure that they have the skills and knowledge needed to adapt to changing conditions, and meet the needs of their customers. The data supports this: 60% of employees agree that learning makes them more adaptable to change.
Carving time for learning also contributes to a positive work culture: according to Josh Bersin, employees who dedicate more time to learning are 14% more likely to be happy at work. When employees feel that their growth and development are valued by the organization, they are more likely to feel invested in the success of the company. This increases morale, retention, and overall happiness at work.
Here are a few ways you can intentionally promote learning in your organization.
Create individualized learning and development plans Personal learning & development plans allow employees to set targets and goals around what they want to learn, and to track their progress. While the initial focus of those plans is on the skills needed for the employee’s current roles, they can also include topics or themes for the career direction they want to pursue.
Leaders can develop those plans with employees in a one-on-one meeting after discussing what is needed for the organization’s growth, as well as their development. You can use a spreadsheet to document those goals, and track the progress made to reach them.
Make learning resources accessible There are many online platforms for learning, such as Coursera and Udemy for taking courses, and Scribd which provides digitized versions of books and audiobooks. One way you can encourage employees to learn is by providing them access to these resources.
Launch a quarterly Grow Day
At Cosmic Centaurs, one of the ways we prioritize learning is with Grow Day.
It is a day without meetings, e-mails, or work, designed for us to focus on learning and growth. Since there is not just one way to learn, we have the freedom to choose which way we want to go with: an online course, a book, spending time working on creative tasks…all that matters is that this contributes to our development at work.
After Grow Day, we have a session where we retrospect and share what we learned on a Miro board with the team.
Retrospectives promote a culture of continuous improvement and learning. They can be about the work itself (for example, debriefing after a project), or about the ways of working (how the team collaborated). They evaluate what is working for your team, what you can do better, and how you can maintain tempo or progress. During retrospectives, you collectively learn from your shared experience of working and collaborating together, and familiarize yourselves with both giving and receiving feedback. We developed a worksheet to help you with retrospectives, which you can access here. Since there are different ways of retrospecting, we also wrote down creative retrospective formats in this article.
Give stretch assignments
Stretch assignments are tasks or projects that are outside an employee's comfort zone or current skill set. They provide employees with the opportunity to learn new skills, and take on new challenges. Share stretch assignments with your employees about topics they want or need to learn more about, and provide assistance or coaching if they feel stuck or overwhelmed by them. Dedicate a Slack channel for learning Using Slack or any other internal communications platform your team uses, create a channel or space dedicated for learning. It can be all about sharing valuable resources with one another, or asking for help or feedback. Not only this would encourage employees to learn, but it would also help them build connections with their peers through supporting one another.
There are so many benefits to valuing and actively encouraging learning in your organization, as well as many different ways to get there. If you need a hand in creating a culture of learning, book a one-on-one with us today.