Building and Maintaining a Learning Culture

Businessman StudyingMany companies today are looking to copy the culture of organizations like Facebook, Google, Zappos, etc. by providing free lunches, ping pong tables, and other perks.

While everyone enjoys a game of ping pong while eating a free sandwich, there are other ways to influence your culture with more staying power and long-term impact than a free sandwich.

Recently we looked at ways to motivate employees, and today we’re going to dig deeper into the area of mastery. Here’s the reprise to get us on the same page:

Mastery is all about employees feeling as if they understand a topic on a deep level. If we peel back the psychology, researchers have found that each and every one of us wants to believe that we are special—that we know something that others do not. Mastery is a great example of harnessing that psychological desire and tying it to the workplace.

Now that we know what mastery is all about, let’s look at some practical uses for it.

Creating a Learning Culture

When you’re hiring employees, which of these two candidates would be more appealing?

Candidate A “I’m always open to learning new things. I enjoy stretching and growing in my roles, and those opportunities to learn new things are a motivator for me.”

Candidate B “I feel like I have a good grasp on what I need to know to do this job. I don’t feel like I need any training or education to help me get better.”

Okay, so it’s a no-brainer. Candidate A is clearly the right choice due to their openness to training and development opportunities. That’s the first key step toward developing a learning culture—hiring employees who are trainable.

Maintaining a Learning Culture

So you’ve hired employees who enjoy the learning process and are open to training opportunities, what’s next?

Offer ways to train them.

Yes, again, it sounds like an easy step from point A to point B, but many companies don’t do a great job of offering growth and development opportunities, even if they’ve done the work to bring on employees who fit the right training mindset.

If people are hired with the expectation that they will have new and exciting opportunities to learn and grow, but then those opportunities never materialize, that’s actually a demotivator!

Playing the Long Game

Offering skills advancement, educational reimbursement, or language-training opportunities helps captivate the interest of your workforce and drives the performance of your organization for years to come.

Does your organization have a learning-friendly culture? Why or why not?

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