Businesses often talk about their ‘company culture’ and the ways that their own specific culture has improved their performance and provided staff with a positive working environment. Of course, these factors are attractive, but in order to cultivate a team which is built on greatness, a company culture should have a strong foundation which focuses on the learning and development of their staff.
‘Company culture’ is not a new concept and whether you are aware of it or not, a culture exists within your own business. Though a culture can sometimes be difficult to define, the future of your business' culture can be shaped for the better with workforce training.
Some business owners dismiss the idea of implementing a learning-focused culture, as they assume the associated costs will be high. In comparison to employee dissatisfaction, high turnover rates and ongoing recruitment costs (as well as a company which is stagnant in terms of thought-leadership, progression and innovation) costs for creating a learning structure are minimal.
Focusing on greatness
‘Great’ employees can have a significant impact on a company’s success and recruiting only great employees (link to recruitment article) is something that we have discussed in depth before. Great employees can be relied upon not only to excel in their day-to-day tasks, but also to take control of their own learning. A team of ‘great’ employees with an effective learning culture will become self-directed learners, using their own initiative to acquire new skills and the business will soon reap the rewards.
Your team is your greatest asset
Imagine you are the CEO of a successful retail outlet, which is accountable for thousands of staff worldwide. You think you offer your employees great benefits, including a competitive salary, a comfortable working environment and a stable job. However, a corporate trade event hosted by a rival company has given you a shocking insight into how the ‘other half live’, and it turns out you’re way off the mark. Their staff members all appear to be long-standing, loyal employees who have climbed their way up the career ladder and have a real passion and enthusiasm for what they do, regardless of their position or seniority within the company.
Immediately, you assume company perks and a healthy bonus scheme are accountable for this, but this doesn’t turn out to be the case. These employees are motivated by having a purpose within their day-to-day jobs. Aside from their daily tasks, they have access to a wealth of training materials which enable them to further their own personal development as well as their career progression. By improving skills, knowledge and abilities on a continual basis, their employer has a constant stream of skilled staff who are loyal to the company.
Aside from staff morale, the productivity of the team is higher than your own company could dream of in its current state, team communications are seamless and the quality of the services they provide are unrivalled. Further enquiries reveal that their recruitment costs are low, employee retention is high and they have a lengthy waiting list with the CV’s of hopeful future recruits. Your competitor not only looks great from the outside, but also from the inside due to the recruitment of great people who are provided with high-quality ongoing training.
For a business, the true value of a learning culture can be seen with this ‘behind the scenes’ snapshot of this company. These are just some of the benefits, as well as a strong and competitive team, businesses that employ a robust learning culture will experience increased innovation and idea generation from their staff, who have confidence in their own insight.
Don’t be left in the dust
Let’s look at a different point of view. You meet up with a friend from university, you both studied in the same field and after secured similar entry-level roles with different companies after graduation. Yet, his career seems to be far more established than yours. You work incredibly hard, so how can this be possible?
The work-related conversation begins and after a few minutes you feel a little out of your depth. It turns out that your former classmate landed a role where the company champions employees who are keen to learn new skills and develop their own careers. He underwent a recruitment process that did seem fairly rigorous, but the values of the company are aligned with his own and he believes his long-term career lies with his current employer.
As your friend was keen to progress up the company hierarchy, he dedicated his time towards advancing his career and was successful in receiving regular promotions. Essentially, through training, he has continually upskilled himself out of his own role, as did many other employees within the organisation. His employer knows he is a valuable asset to the team; he manages an impressive portfolio of work, and has plenty of opportunities to develop his own ideas.
He talks of headhunters who are keen to pluck him from this company and place him at a competitor’s office, but he squashes their job propositions. After all, why would he leave? The grass certainly isn’t greener on the other side. He continually learns new skills which keeps his work life fresh and interesting, as well as providing direction for his career. If he upholds his current rate of development within the company’s learning programme, he has a clear understanding of the future opportunities that will are available to him and an estimated timeframe for achieving these goals.
Your thoughts turned to your own career. It has involved a number of mediocre roles, with a variety of different employers, none of whom you felt any particular loyalty to. During your successive interviews, you didn’t think you were making a bad decision to join the company at the time. The work seemed interesting at first, but this interest petered out and your role became monotonous. Plus, there didn’t seem to be much opportunity for any new responsibilities. You hoped your friend wouldn’t ask you your plans for the future, as you really did have no idea…
The proof is in the video
If you’re still not convinced, then have a look at the video below. A considerable amount of in-depth research has gone into what truly motivates people and despite what your initial assumption may have been, it’s not money. Don’t believe us? Watch this…
Learning is the basis of growth and personal and professional development relies on the acquisition of new skills, which enable employees to find a purpose in their daily tasks. After all Albert Einstein famously said,
Once you stop learning, you start dying.’
An effective learning culture benefits all parties including employees, employers and customers. If you are interested in developing a rewarding learning culture within your own organisational structure, but don’t know where to start, then please get in touch.