A learning culture is a healthy environment that values and encourages new information and skills as a means of self-improvement. It helps employees continually seek, share, and apply the new knowledge and skills they need to perform at their best, better satisfy customers, and help the organization.
It’s where employees continually seek, share, and apply the new knowledge and skills they need to perform at their best, delight customers, and help the organization grow. Treehouse does this by encouraging their team to start a technical degree, hosting a variety of educational meetings, encouraging employees to get certified, trying new things, and having access to CRM training.
Benefits of a learning culture
Help employees adopt new skills and identify and resolve problems more effectively
Help employees stay up to date with the latest trends in their field
Encourage employees to learn outside their fields
A culture of learning promotes productivity and retention as well as a growth mindset
Promotes a sense of unity within the organization
The long-term organizational ROI is huge
How to create an effective customer learning culture
Analyze your current learning culture
Do you have a current culture of learning established at the moment? If you take a step back and wonder what works and what doesn’t. Make a list of the pros and cons of the current learning culture. What have your employees learned with this current learning culture and do they find it useful to them?
Analyze multiple areas within your organization at different stages. Is the onboarding going smoothly or can you improve it? Your employees should feel welcomed and encouraged to learn right from the start.
At Treehouse, we take onboarding slowly and make sure our employees have time to adjust. From the outset, we encourage them to learn not just about things within their role, but anything that might benefit their skillset.
Know your Organization
Ask for feedback! Don’t just assume what your employees want and need, talk to them. Discover the challenges and struggles faced by roles within your organization. Keep doing what works and write an action plan for what doesn’t work. Once you’ve established what your organization wants, figure out how to best deliver it in the most consistent and efficient way. One of the ways Treehouse receives feedback is through surveys throughout the year. These are anonymous and make employees feel safe and heard. Creating an inviting environment by letting your employees have their say and enough encouragement to try out their ideas works wonders.
Plan what you want your employees to learn
Now you need to make an action plan. After understanding what he wants and needs in your organization, he creates a plan to give it to him. This could include the resources you will need such as equipment, software, courses and more. Ask yourself what your best options are and do some research.
Calculate the budget you’ll need to spend on it that way there’s nothing promising you can’t deliver.
Map out what you expect your team to learn and by when. Give them guidance but don’t micromanage their learning process. Whether or not you use deadlines is up to you, bearing in mind that learning should be encouraged but not forced.
Consider the ways and methods your team works best when it comes to learning. This will require some experimentation through trial and error.
Lead by example
As clichéd as it sounds, great leaders don’t tell people what to do. They show them how to do it. Find something you want to hone your skills on or even start learning a whole new skill. Your schedule may be full, but so are theirs. Making time shows that you are putting your learning as a priority and practicing what you preach. It has been observed time and time again that organizations do better and have stronger teams with someone in charge using this leadership style.
Taking into account that you will also learn, it will help you choose the right tool for the job. While Treehouse mainly has coding-related content, we also have business, security, and quality assurance courses that may appeal more to executives.
Make their lives easier with affordable training
This part should be included in the action planning stage. Your team should feel confident immersing themselves in new learning materials. Make sure they have adequate training on the tools the organization plans to use or that the learning platform is easy to use. The learning itself can be daunting, don’t make it harder for them to get started by making it even more intimidating. After all, getting started is usually the hardest part.
Start learning with the right foot forward
Your learning culture should be clear from the outset. From the moment candidates walk through the interview doors, they should feel like they are in an organization that encourages growth. This should continue throughout the onboarding process. If you can make the onboarding process an essential part of your learning culture. You may want to add a part to onboarding that encourages learning outside of your job or role. Employees should have no doubt that they are not just here to work, but to learn.
Make sure your employees set aside time to learn on their calendars
Probably one of the most, if not the most important, to make sure your employees have time to spend on their calendars. All of the above is great, but if your employees don’t even remember to set aside time each day to learn, what’s the point? We live in a world where if it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist.
Even if it’s only 15 minutes, you should make sure all your employees add time somewhere during the day to stop and learn. Doing this not only reminds them but helps them form a habit of learning every day. Consistency is one of the hardest things to promote other than remembering in the first place.
Take the time to get feedback and experiment
Communication is key here. Talk to them about what they want and need, but don’t stop there. Ask them how it’s going! Ask them what they have learned and how it has helped their job performance.
Your managers should be 1-on-1 with your employees and report back to you on how they are feeling and what they are learning. Not only does this give you the feedback to know what works and what doesn’t, but it also gives your employees the extra boost of accountability that we all need sometimes.
Treehouse simplifies this feedback exchange by providing monitoring and reporting capabilities. As you can see below, you have an overview of the learning activities in real time. You can also set up automatic reports that are sent to your email on a weekly or monthly basis.
Make it social
Get creative and socialize your employees as they learn. No one likes to sit alone in a dark room and read stuff. Come up with some ideas and mix them up to keep them interested.
If you’re a completely remote organization, try hosting a zoom happy hour where everyone talks about the new things they’ve learned. Another thing you can do is have a « lunch and learn » once a week where you review what you learned during lunch. At Treehouse we do it on Thursdays. Not only is this a great way to promote team bonding and increase team building skills, but it’s also a less formal way to hold everyone accountable. Remember that learning shouldn’t feel like a chore, adding a social component helps keep everyone motivated.
Make it fun
Some employees will need additional motivation. So the best way is to make it fun. Learning is always fun, but not everyone sees it that way. Think outside the box and turn it into a game or get great incentives.
You could make it a competition and see who can learn the most within a week. A great example of this is Treehouse’s leaderboard feature that lets you set an organizational goal. The leaderboard tracks all the points, badges, challenges, videos and quizzes earned by everyone on your team. You can see a photo below. See who can get the most points!
You could also track the learning activities you can do with Treehouse’s automated activity reports, and incentivize the most consistent learner with some silly company merchandise, a small bonus, or a free lunch.
The most important thing is to go to your team and ask them what they think would make it fun. One of the things we do at Treehouse is use a spinning wheel, like the one in « Wheel of Fortune » with silly prizes and rewards added by employees when they hit a goal.
Keep it up and be consistent
One of the biggest problems in creating a learning culture is keeping it consistent. Organizations start with some courses or materials and then forget to update them. Before you know it, it’s been 6 months without any actual learning and it’s even hard to get back into the swing of things.
With Treehouse it’s easy because we have thousands of hours of content. So at this point, you just need to make sure your employees have reminders and know what they want to learn. We’re always adding new stuff, so even running out of learning material shouldn’t be a problem.
Creating a culture of learning within an organization is no easy task, but having a work environment where people feel encouraged to learn has more advantages than disadvantages. Remember that you reap what you sow. Show your employees that you care about their growth by investing in them with Tree house. Your team will get out of it by learning to code or tweaking existing skills. With a broad library which has thousands of hours of content, not only will your employees learn, but they will be able to build habits that last long term. Sign up for a free trial today!
To sum up, I’d like to leave you with this quote from Henry Ford « The only thing worse than training your employees and letting them go is not training them and letting them stay. »