Developing a Learning Culture

5 Core Ingredients of the Best Learning and Development Teams

No one can really tell you the exact recipe for organizational success, but it usually has many of the same ingredients. A dash of momentum; a generous helping of insight; all the right key players. But if you want to make sure your organization is seen as not just successful, but also an innovative workplace that employees love, it needs to be a learning organization as well. Successful learning and development teams see past training by rote to actually educate employees and improve talent management.

Here is a list of 5 core ingredients that transcend every successful L&D department.

1. Strategic Alignment

It’s possible to have learning facets and programs, but without executive buy-in, efforts can fall flat. The best learning and development teams know that in order to be seen as such, training, talent management, and continuing education must be inextricably linked to the overall strategic goals of the company. Learning goes hand-in-hand with whatever vision the C-suite has for the company.

2. Boots on the Ground

At the same time you encourage executive buy-in, it’s also important that an L&D department can see and experience the same learning opportunities every employee enjoys (or doesn’t). Learning can’t simply be commissioned from the top down and then quickly forgotten: Whether learning initiates from HR, an L&D department, or a dedicated talent management team, those developing and delivering training solutions should experience and observe success and failure first hand.

3. Effective Sales Training

Call it the “canary in the coal mine”: sales training says the most about an organization’s training methods. That’s because sales training is usually the most sophisticated and useful of all learning opportunities, and if it’s a dud, chances are that the rest of your training suffers, too. Engaging and effective sales training is a promising sign for solid learning organizations.

4. Career Paths Within the Company

If you really want to tout your organization as one that values learning, you have to have somewhere for those educated and trained employees to go. By showing employees that they have a bright future and clear path within the company, your benefits are twofold: first, you keep them motivated to continue taking training–even elective training–to build a workforce of educated and well-trained workers, and second, you keep your talent in-house and happy to help you continue building your organization.

5. A Menu of Services

The best learning and development teams know that training isn’t a once-size-fits-all scenario. After all, sexual harassment training should be treated differently than say, team-building exercises. Because of this, any good learning organization will offer a menu of services, from online knowledge bases for quick access to simulations for behavior-based training, and even mobile learning apps for training on-the-go. Knowing how and when to deliver certain information is all part of becoming a true learning org.

It definitely takes time to overhaul what might be an organization’s culture to embrace, exhibit, and understand the habits of a learning organization, but it’s a change worth making. By adding these five ingredients into your learning and development strategy, you prove that you want to do more than just “go to work.” Instead, your organization values career paths, encourages education, and keeps employees aptly trained and culturally satisfied.