When you tell employees you are holding a training session, are you met with a groan? If the answer is yes, it could be time for you to make some changes to the way you promote and manage staff development activities at your organisation.
At a lot of companies, employees have a tendency to dread mandatory training because there has been not been enough emphasis made on making the training enjoyable. Fortunately, there are a lot of things that managers and business owners can do to enhance the appeal of training sessions for staff members.
Firstly, what does the term 'Learning and Development culture' refer to?
A learning and development culture in the workplace refers to an environment where continuous learning and professional development are encouraged, supported, and integrated into the daily work routine. It is an organisational mindset that values and promotes the growth of its employees' knowledge, skills, and capabilities.
The impact of having a positive learning and development culture is hugely beneficial to your business and this starts by creating a learning environment that is valued by employees. This can be achieved in a number of ways, by looking first at your current model and breaking it down into smaller modules. Training is a necessary part of work, but it doesn’t have to be dull. Make yours an event that your team can look forward to. Think of your internal training process as a journey that your employees will experience - how you can enhance it and make it memorable?
Like any journey there is a starting point, an objective and an end. You need to think about each component of your training in order to fully transform your current training programmes into something new and exciting.
Some key characteristics and elements of a learning culture in the workplace are as follows:
Continuous Learning: In a learning culture, learning is not seen as a one-time event or occasional training sessions but an ongoing process. Employees are encouraged to seek out opportunities to learn and develop new skills regularly.
Leadership Support: For a learning culture to thrive, leaders and managers must actively support and participate in learning initiatives. They should lead by example and demonstrate their commitment to continuous learning.
Learning Opportunities: Organisations in a learning culture provide various learning opportunities, such as workshops, seminars, webinars, online courses, mentoring programs, and access to educational resources.
Learning and Development Programs: A structured approach to learning and development is essential. This may include personalised learning plans, skill assessments, and career development programs.
Learning from Failure: In a learning culture, mistakes are seen as opportunities for growth and learning. Employees are encouraged to take risks, experiment, and learn from their experiences, even if they encounter failures.
Knowledge Sharing: Employees are encouraged to share their knowledge and expertise with others in the organisation. This could be through internal workshops, presentations, or knowledge-sharing platforms.
Open Communication: An open and transparent communication culture allows employees to express their learning needs, ask questions, and seek guidance from peers and mentors.
Recognition and Rewards: Recognising and rewarding employees who actively engage in learning reinforces the importance of continuous learning in the organisation.
Innovation and Creativity: A learning culture often fosters innovation and creativity. Employees are encouraged to think critically, explore new ideas, and apply learning to solve problems.
Learning from Diverse Perspectives: Emphasising diversity and inclusion can enhance the learning experience by exposing employees to different perspectives and ideas.
Technology and Learning Tools: Utilising technology and digital learning tools can facilitate continuous learning, allowing employees to access resources and training materials conveniently.
Let's look at creating a more exciting journey for your training programme:
Build the momentum
If you want employees to look forward to your training sessions rather than dread them, think about how you are communicating and the kind of language you use when inviting them along. A Teams meeting request in their diary is certainly practical, but is it the best resource to drum up enthusiasm? Maybe it’s the time to try something new! Be creative in the way you approach your team to confirm their attendance. Ask your marketing team to create something more visually stimulating, think about language and sell the benefits of the training and what they'll achieve at completion.
Create anticipation with incentives
A little incentivising can go a long way and a little competition never hurt anyone. Incentivising your team can add an extra bit of excitement to your training – whether it be a prize for the most contributions or an extra hour off work or early finish for those who arrive on time. We find a little ‘round up’ quiz at the end of a session can be a fantastic way to summarise, and a cheeky prize for the winning team goes down a treat!
Shake things up
If your sessions always stick to a certain structure, it could be time to think about how you can shake things up and move away from a ‘samey’ experience for your team. Doing things differently will do more to engage your team and make them sit up and take more notice. Different people learn differently too so take this into consideration when planning your training by accommodating all 4 learning types: Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, and Kinaesthetic.
Hit your objectives
Make sure you are clear about what you want your colleagues to take away from the training and what the learning objectives are. Focus on these and strip anything out of the programme that doesn’t align with these objectives. This will help to keep your narrative succinct, improve time keeping and stop you from meandering into other topics. If other topics do arise from your training, make a note of them to pick up at a later date.
Showcase the value
In order for your employees to value your training sessions, they need to see the benefit of them. Make sure to acknowledge and celebrate those members of your team who have used skills taught in the sessions that can attribute them to their success. Use these participants as case studies to prove to the wider team why the learnings are important and revisit these regularly by linking staff achievements with the objectives in your training.
End on a high
By asking for true feedback on whether employees have enjoyed the training can give a holistic view of training success and is a vital way of improving future sessions
Ways to freshen up your training:
Get a guest speaker involved
Prior to your training session, consider reaching out to a guest to help deliver the session. This could be a professional speaker, a knowledgeable ex-colleague or an authoritative voice in the industry. A guest speaker can look at a topic from a whole new perspective and bring a new level of experience, knowledge and unique ideas which will enhance the content of your training. Inviting an external voice into your training will also freshen up the experience for employees and give them a new learning perspective which will help to make them sit up and take notice.
Invite your colleagues to take part
Involving the attendees of your training can really help to get your team engaged and to feel more of an integral part in your training. Choose colleagues who can share insights into their own successes and can share their experiences of best practice. This makes the training relatable to the wider team and creates a valued sharing session that feels more engaging than in a formal setting.
Benefit from Blended Learning
Blended Learning uses various combinations of traditional face-to-face learning experiences with online and mobile technologies. The aim is that each element enhances the other. Empowering learners with more flexibility and variety in their training is a proven way of increasing engagement. More engagement results in faster knowledge acquisition and improved knowledge retention. This means that training does not have happen as frequently, saving both time and money. Ernst and Young saved 35% on all their training costs by investing in a blended learning method.
Take the training to another location
Even something as simple as moving your training to a different room, office or venue can freshen up your sessions. Taking your team away from their desks and into another setting can really enhance their learning and creates an environment where they are away from their usual work and distractions. This allows them to step away from routine, ready to focus on something new.
Learning through roleplaying or gamifying
Role playing exercises help to encourage your team to think more critically and to see situations from a different perspective. Playing out different scenarios can motivate participants in a fun and engaging way. It is also a great way for Kinaesthetic learners to benefit from training because they learn from physical and practical interaction.
Learning through gamification is built to encourage intrinsic motivation, which is the desire to do something because you have an interest in the task. This type of motivation will leave learners genuinely enjoying the topics they are studying.
Feed the mind
Snacks for the team can be a great incentive for your employees and can help build enthusiasm for your sessions. Who doesn’t love a free lunch? Feeding your team has some great learning benefits also. Healthy brain food for optimum learning includes:
- Protein helps your brain send messages to the rest of your body, and helps create brain chemicals that improve your mood. (Meat, fish, eggs, poultry, nuts and seeds)
- Antioxidants can help delay or even prevent certain effects of aging on the brain. (Fruit and vegetables)
- Monounsaturated fats can improve your memory and help your brain work harder, better, faster, stronger. (avocados, nuts and seeds)
- Caffeine in moderate amounts can help you feel refreshed and more focused.
- Water is vital to keeping your body (and brain) in tip-top shape.
In summary, investing in your learning culture creates an environment where employees are empowered to develop and grow, leading to a more agile and competitive organisation.
Benefits of a learning culture in the workplace include:
- Improved employee engagement and motivation
- Increased productivity and efficiency
- Enhanced employee retention and talent attraction
- Improved adaptability to industry changes and market demands
- Higher levels of innovation and problem-solving capabilities
- Positive impact on overall organisational performance and growth.
Ready to experience the impact of a Positive L&D Culture at your workplace?
At Carrot Recruitment, we are passionate about client and candidate experience, and this is the backbone of everything we do. We hope this article has been helpful and helps you to see the clear benefits creating an engaging learning environment for your team to enjoy. If you are looking to grow your team or need to speak to us about our staffing solutions, please get in touch. We offer a range of permanent and contract recruitment services and can adapt our approach easily to fit with your resourcing requirements.
If you’d like to find out more about anything we’ve discussed, more information can be found in our references below.