The world is changing all the time. Think about how we communicate compared to 20 years ago: instead of mailed letters and land line phones, we have portable phones capable of video chats, emails, text messages and social media interactions in addition to that most erstwhile of pastimes: talking on the phone. Although that’s been an easy cultural adjustment in western society, it underscores how fast change occurs and how important it is to keep up with these shifts.
It’s easy to embrace new innovations in personal technology–those advancements are fun and exciting. In the professional world, though, change isn’t quite as welcome. It can breed insecurity among professionals and encourage a climate that is slow to accept change because of the instability that comes with it. But there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that lifelong learning in the workplace can have a demonstrable benefit to the productivity of the workplace and to the morale of its workers.
The challenge is cultivating that learning culture within the workplace. Here are a few tips to guide those efforts.
Instill workers with a comprehensive understanding of the company’s moving parts and how they fit together
When workers feel like they’re just another cog in a system, it can easily foster feelings of diminished value. As a result, workers are more likely to gravitate toward fulfilling their minimum obligations. At the macro level, these employees may fail to provide the business with the greatest productivity and quality of service possible in their position.
But this isn’t necessarily– or entirely –the fault of the individual employees themselves. Employers can empower workers by helping them understand their larger role in a business and how their specific tasks contribute to company goals. By doing this, workers will be more inclined to be active participants in the company’s efforts, and it will open up their minds to brainstorm solutions that can further help the company.
Illustrate the relationship between personal and organizational success
Obviously, employees are hired to fill a need for the employer. But companies can turn this into a reciprocal relationship by showing employees they’re committed to fostering personal growth and fusing employee goals with business-wide objectives. If employees can see the personal opportunities that are available through helping the business, it will motivate them in all of their efforts and could inspire them to embrace a learning mentality. No longer working for a paycheck, they are accomplishing personal goals–which could, in turn, lead to a more rewarding career.
Improve personnel outlook and morale through mental modeling
The practice of mental modeling breaks down thought processes and systems to demonstrate their value and how other actions can be affected by those processes. In doing so, mental modeling can help shape personal behavior and morale among employees. Mental modeling can come in various forms, but common visual representations are flow diagrams that demonstrate the cause and effect of various actions and behaviors.
By implementing mental modeling, businesses can practically present a road map illustrating how a learning culture and positively charged workplace attitudes can lead to personal and company-wide success. Mental modeling is a common workplace strategy that can prove effective even given a lack of quantifiable evidence and statistics supporting your claims.
Develop platforms for collaboration and team learning
The last phase in implementing a learning culture is to turn the acquisition of knowledge into a team sport. Learning is best achieved–at least in the workplace–by joining employees together to help one another develop solutions to problems and accomplish other educational achievements along the way. Team training sessions, workshops and other collaborative venues are excellent methods of encouraging this learning, and these can be implemented in the work place or at a company retreat where new skills and motivations are acquired.
The term “learning culture” is the best way to define the shift toward continuing education that’s vital to these processes. But really, adopting a learning culture requires little more than providing workers with extra motivations and avenues for staying at the forefront of their specialties. At its best, an effective employee learning culture will be self-perpetuating and will inspire workers to reach far beyond the minimum, understanding now that their efforts are much more than an act of charity toward their employer.
Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts covering social media and education on behalf of American InterContinental University. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.
Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education on behalf ofAmerican InterContinental University. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.