Building a learning organization starts with the team you choose.
At the heart of any learning organization is a workforce that’s motivated to learn. To get there, you need to build the culture from the ground up. The keys include:
- Recruiting natural learners. Make a practice of screening for that quality during the recruitment process. Using interview questions such as, “Tell me about a good example of you learning from your experience.” This will help you to identify candidates who seek growth and development opportunities in addition to a paycheck.
- Rewarding high-performing learners. Those rewards can include a mix of salary increases, performance bonuses, and formal recognition programs at the departmental and company-wide levels. It’s a strategy that can be productive when you want to encourage professional development but can’t offer promotions to every learner.
- Making paths to opportunities clear. All employees should understand your approach to learning and the way your professional development system works. Individual development plans and systems enable conversations about the various opportunities that are available to employees to support their career development.
While you can put the culture in place, it’s your job to actively encourage all employees to strengthen and share their knowledge and to seek opportunities to learn, coach, and mentor. Best learning practices for your company will depend on how employees interact, which educational approaches are most productive for them, and how their learning goals align with your business mission, priorities, and objectives, but the direction has to come from the top.
Read the third in our series of Connections to Growth: Leadership guides, Leveraging the Learning Organization, to discover how learning can spur your business’s growth.