Globalization, technological advances, demographic shifts, and rapid business changes make creating a learning culture in organizations more critical than ever. These shifts are also requiring more transformative approaches to learning as leaders struggle with ambiguity, uncertainty, and demands for greater transparency and knowledge. Organizations and individuals must be continuously learning, adapting, and improving or they risk professional obsolescence.
A learning culture is a systematic approach to establishing a personal and organizational growth mindset. It is a culture of inquiry. Organizations with learning cultures encourage employees to constantly add knowledge and develop competence. They encourage employees to have open minds and an independent quest for knowledge and shared learning because these qualities help achieve organizational goals.
To create a learning culture consider taking the following steps:
1. Rethink the traditional learning and development approach.
It is time for leaders to realize that the way employees want to learn today—through mobile learning applications and other readily accessible online lectures, TEDTalks, webinars, and podcasts—has permanently changed the traditional learning and development process. Employees want more control of their own learning, making learning a continuous process, not one-time-only classroom style events. There is no substitute for the bonding and peer relationships that stimulate learning in formal classroom development, but organizations must integrate mobile learning applications and other learning-on-demand resources into their organizations.
2. Broaden your organization’s definition and understanding of intelligence.
A true learning culture must view intelligence as more than just cognitive skills. Leaders must expand their organizations’ intelligence perspective to include a deeper understanding of emotional and cultural intelligence. As organizations broaden their definition and understanding of intelligence, they must provide employees the necessary skills to manage and value differences in thinking, working, and problem-solving. Leaders must provide emotionally safe environments for people who are easily labeled as “different.” This is the most fundamental responsibility of an inclusive organization that wants to retain its talent.