In today’s digital society, a business can work more effectively than ever. Where we once had to spend valuable time finding files or data, we can now locate information at the touch of a button. With technology such as the predictive dialler, we can communicate with customers more efficiently than at any point in the past.
To grow, it’s important that businesses can adapt to these advancements in technology. For a business to adapt to these changes, its employees must be ready to learn, too. This means introducing a culture of learning within the workplace. But what is a culture of learning, and how can it be developed successfully?
What Is a Culture of Learning?
We’re all familiar with traditional training courses. These can be a great way to introduce or hone a new skill. Great, but this isn’t the same as having a culture of learning. A culture of learning is about establishing a new attitude and work ethic within the digital workplace.
A culture of learning is one that encourages learning from every part of your organization, from top to bottom. It’s something that leadership should not only actively promote; they should be seen putting it into action. Learning does not exclude those at the top.
The expansion of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) frees up employee time. There has never been a better time to place your efforts into developing a thriving learning culture. If your RPA journey isn’t yet developed, now would be a good time to explore the potential.
There are numerous ways to introduce a learning ethic to the workplace. Here are some practices that can help establish a culture of learning within your digital work environment.
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Make Sure That Everyone Has a Learning Plan
Within a digital workplace, an employee has access to all kinds of data and methods of communicating. This can be a great way of saving time. Instead of having to constantly switch between applications, a user can find all they need within a single interface.
Many of today’s organizations use top-of-the-range, powerful software. Often though, their employees use only a fraction of its potential because of a lack of product understanding.
New tech can also be a learning curve for untrained employees. For example, if a customer service agent has always used email to respond to customers, the switch to a chat-based system might be difficult to get used to.
Research shows that two out of three workers have changed jobs because of a lack of training and development. A learning plan is a great way to understand the areas that employees are struggling with.
You can set a series of goals for them to work toward, not only improving productivity but also employee morale. They will receive a sense of satisfaction in overcoming an obstacle whilst boosting their expertise.
As part of a learning plan, you could also think about incorporating training sessions. If you’re worried about the cost or time, online training is becoming an increasingly effective alternative, saving time and money. You could even create your own online course to educate employees.
A learning plan can be tailored to suit every employee. This helps introduce a healthy attitude toward learning within the workplace.
Make Learning Easy (and Fun)
If you are to foster the right attitude within the workplace, you need to make sure that learning doesn’t become a chore.
This means that it must be accessible and, where possible, simple. Instructions should be step-by-step and not overly wordy. Be sure to point employees to where they can locate additional instructional materials if they need them.
With the introduction of cloud services such as Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS definition) and Software as a Service (SAAS definition), opportunities to easily integrate learning into the workplace have increased.
If you’re planning group learning programs, try to introduce an element of fun within your exercises. This could be as simple as passing around tea and cakes at the end of each session. You could also set up informal competitions amongst employees, to quiz them on what they have learned from a session.
Mobile learning can also be a fun and effective way for your employees to learn when they are on the move.
Introduce new and interesting forms of long-distance learning such as augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR). When employees are motivated to learn, they will be more receptive and open to the idea of educating themselves around new topics.
Make Learning a Part of Day-to-Day Life
For a workplace to truly have a culture of learning, it must become a natural part of day-to-day life. It’s important that you ensure that training materials are easy to access and available to employees whenever they need them. By migrating to the cloud, files can be accessed from any device at any time, giving trainees accessibility, even on the move.
Again, learning should be as natural as possible. You can allocate time for people to focus on learning. Team leaders should organize informal chats with members of their team and find out if there are any areas that employees are having difficulty with.
Encouraging mindfulness can be a great step to get employees in the right frame of mind to learn. By practicing mindfulness, workers can adopt an inquiring mind. They will be more likely to ask questions in meetings and educate themselves. Similarly, if they are struggling (or just a bit slow) using certain software, employees are more likely to seek help.
The idea of asking for help should be ingrained in the culture of your workplace. Teams should be encouraged to support each other and share their knowledge. Your employees should never be afraid to ask for help.
Trust in Experts
There may be times, such as when upgrading software, that expert help is needed. Don’t fret! It’s natural for even those at the top to need to educate themselves. Bringing in expert help, either through webinars or face-to-face sessions, can be a great way to learn about tricky subjects.
You can build learning into the daily schedules of your employees. A weekly newsletter with advice from experts can be a useful way to accomplish this. Think about investing in a newsletter builder to create effective and informative bulletins.
Sometimes, when introducing new products or ways of working, it can help to develop champions. These are people who gain expertise and then support others in the team.
You can also consider how video conferencing software can play a part in your team discussions. These group activities can allow for the exchanging of tips and to identify areas where people are falling behind.
By giving team leaders or champions the easiest access to knowledge, they will be in a better position to educate members of their team. This improves overall productivity in the workplace.
Think About Your Office Environment
The office environment should be an area of focus when learning is a priority. Put up posters encouraging learning, listing a range of activities people can take part in. You can structure your office layout around learning, providing spaces designated especially for learning.
Also, think about the ways in which the workplace environment is impacting the mood of workers. A colorful, brightly lit office space is more likely to positively impact morale and a happy employee will be more receptive to learning.
Research shows that a staggering 87% of employees would like a healthier workplace environment. If your office is dark and dingy, it might be time to consider a renovation.
Your employees are much more likely to educate themselves if there is an incentive at the end of the process. This doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary, although the idea of a pay raise for the highest performing employees is rarely seen as a negative.
You could offer prizes to workers that have put the most effort into learning, or operate an “employee of the month” system as recognition.
An organization that rewards its employees for learning will help transform the overall culture within the workplace. A little appreciation goes a long way.
Be Sure to Give Feedback
For some, the idea of feedback has negative connotations, associated with nitpicking. This shouldn’t be the case within your workplace. People need to associate feedback with positivity, so they take your comments on board.
Make sure your feedback is confidential. With private cloud computing, you can make documents available to select users, so you can ensure complete privacy while offering employees feedback.
Feedback, when possible, should be positive. Focus on areas that employees are getting right to boost self-esteem.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you should avoid talking about improvement. Too often, team leaders avoid potentially difficult discussions. This can actually have a negative impact on learning, as employees are not encouraged to educate themselves and improve.
When talking about areas for improvement, do so in a noncritical way. You could build these into a learning plan.
When done correctly, feedback is a useful resource. Encouraging employees in areas that they are performing well in and helping them identify areas they need to improve is incredibly valuable. A positive experience of feedback can give a real boost to learning in the workplace.
Don’t Waste Time—Begin Making Changes Today
Every day spent with an unmotivated workforce is a day where productivity has been wasted. Start to introduce a culture of learning today in your digital workplace to change the ethic of your workers and increase workflow.
There’s a world of changes that you can introduce to your workplace. We have explored just some of the options available. Online learning, webinars, development plans, and improvements to the office environment all bring huge benefits.
This will improve employee outlook, increase willingness to learn, and create a more effective and efficient workplace.