They say that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, but in business, it can feel like what’s good for the goose… is selfishly just good for the goose. That’s because many organizations have the same overarching theme: whatever is done for employees is expressly for the benefit that it offers the company. While it’s true that this sensibility can give employees some amazing benefits, the idea that any work perk is only in place to help the organization’s bottom line doesn’t always reinforce a positive company culture. Instead, it sends the message that the company comes first and any benefit to the employee should circle back to the organization.
Learning is a way to challenge the status quo of a company first and employees as a distant second. By opening up different channels of learning and education to all employees, your company can prove that it’s not just concerned about the bottom line, but the individual, too. The way you approach and disseminate learning could be what keeps your employees fulfilled and appreciated.
A Culture of Learning
In many organizations, learning is seen as a one-time event. An industry conference; a training meeting. But allowing learners access to all learning means that your entire culture is shadowed by the idea that learning is an ongoing, omnipresent idea–not an event. The result is some significant benefits to the learner:
- Learning makes employees feel respected. By offering them ways to improve their skills and boost their knowledge, you show that you’re interested in their personal development on an individual basis–not just because it can mean profits for the organization.
- An open learning culture offers clarity. Why shouldn’t a person in sales be able to take the same training offered to graphic designers? Even if an employee isn’t planning a career change, clarity helps departments have greater respect for others as well as helping employees understand each other better.
- Learning offers growth opportunities for employees. If learners take the initiative to experience training on their own time, they should be rewarded for their proactive attitude. After all, isn’t that exactly the kind of person you’d want on your team?
All-Hands Meetings Support Continuous Learning and Morale
The brands you know best like Google and Facebook use what is called an “All-Hands” Meeting where all employees are encouraged to participate in asking questions and engage with other employees and executives. It’s basically an unfiltered chat in an effort to get everyone on the same page, but it’s a powerful tool when used correctly to support your learning initiatives. We created a detailed slide share on how to create effective All-Hands meetings here.
By focusing on promoting a higher level of learning, (or informal learning) in your company’s culture, your organization will definitely enjoy the benefits. The trick is to remember that learning should never be approached selfishly. Instead, the relationship between company and learner should be highly symbiotic and respected as such. Still, don’t be surprised if employees who have access to learning materials are more loyal and more likely to remain with a company that offers growth and not just lateral movement.
If you want a positive, growth-centric, communicative company, you might think about employee perks like time off, team-building exercises, and open leadership, but don’t discount learning as a way to reinforce culture. By showing that you’re willing to invest in employees for their benefit, your company is bound to reap some as well.
Our team at ELM has experts in finding the best learning strategy to cultivate and enhance a company culture that reduces turnover, amps up engagement, and develops employees to help your business overcome the ever-growing skills gap every business faces today. Connect with us here to tell us about the challenges you are facing.