Creating a Learning Culture in the Workplace
Have you noticed the displays of notebooks, pens, pencils and backpacks at your local stores? If you have, then you already know that it is back to school season and students all over the country are gearing up for another year of learning. As an employer, use this back to school season to get your employees excited about continuing their education and becoming lifelong learners. After all, there’s no reason that students should be the only ones focusing on their education this time of year. Employees who are encouraged to continue their education are more engaged, more likely to have job satisfaction (improving retention), increase office productivity, view themselves as valued members of the company, and become leaders.
Here are some ways to show your employees that you are dedicated to creating a positive learning culture in the workplace.
Reimbursement program: Continuing education is necessary as your company evolves and strives to surpass the competition. Trainings, seminars, online webinars, and other classes ensure that your employees stay at the top of their game, stay current in their field, and broaden their knowledge base. Unfortunately, the truth is that employees rarely have disposable income or time to spend on these outside sources of continuing education. This is where you can step in, demonstrate your support, and encourage lifelong learning and employee development by offering or creating a reimbursement program for your employees.
Employee presentations: Learning can feel much less intimidating if the information is delivered by peers, making your employees a great resource in your efforts to provide your team with educational opportunities. Take advantage of your employees’ strengths and have a different team member each month create a presentation about an area that they specialize in (make sure that you approve the topic in advance). Possible topics range from instructing how to use a new scheduling app to how to format professional emails. In addition to your team learning new, industry relevant, information, the presenter will have the opportunity to polish their presentation skills.
Lunch seminars: Time. That’s what often prevents employees from seeking learning opportunities that will help them to increase their productivity and reach their goals. Rather than expecting employees to find time in their busy schedules to attend a seminar, create that time at work by hosting a lunch time seminar every month. By hosting a training or a class during lunch, you are providing your employees with an opportunity to learn without encroaching on their personal time.
Resource library: Learning and libraries go hand in hand, so what better way to promote lifelong learning than to create a resource library for your office? While a physical area of the office dedicated to informational books, pamphlets, handbooks and other resources is beneficial, a more tech savvy team would benefit from an online service like Dropbox where resources can be easily posted, shared, saved, and utilized by the entire office. The key is to make the resources accessible for all employees; so if you choose a service like Dropbox, take the time to teach all employees how to get the most out of it.
As the school year starts, encourage your employees to take an interest in continuing their education by showing your interest in creating a culture of lifelong learning in the workplace.