While formal training and development programs are certainly important, learning doesn’t have to be so systematic. Learning can happen in many different ways, each day in the workplace. Instead of focusing on comprehensive training courses that require a significant investment of time and budget, create a framework for easy, daily learning.
Use these five simple strategies to encourage a culture of learning in your organization.
1. Identify mentoring opportunities
Establish a mentoring system, allowing senior staff coach and guide lower level employees every day. A mentor also guarantees that an employee has someone to go to with questions that might deem too insignificant for managers or bosses, making the learning process more comfortable for new employees.
A mentoring program provides significant value for your organization as a whole. According to a recent report from the Association for Talent Development, the top benefits for companies with mentoring programs are:
- Higher employee engagement and retention
- Support the growth of high-potential employees
- Creation of intra-organizational relationships and collaboration
- Knowledge management and transfer
Read more: How many types of mentoring are there?
2. Start peer-to-peer shadowing
For companies with a wide range of departments, peer shadowing can be a great way to learn. Assign an employee to shadow someone in a separate department for a few hours during a typical afternoon or let them sign up so they can choose to learn more about what interests them most.
Shadowing will help employees learn about their coworkers’ talents, projects, demands, and challenges, which can even lead to business grow, suggests Victorio Millian, an HR consultant at ADP. Millian explains:
Peer-to-peer learning in the workplace can promote more autonomy, as well as increase collaboration and communication among team members, which may lead to innovative solutions.
With increased exposure to their colleagues’ job, employees will gain greater insight into the workflow of the company and develop an appreciation for what other departments do. With this understanding of how all the parts fit together, your staff can see how the company holistically works to accomplish goals and objectives.
3. Create a feedback-driven environment
Your team craves feedback. In fact, 83 percent of employees report that they appreciate receiving feedback, regardless of whether positive or negative, according to a The State of Employee Engagement. A successful organization continually evolves, and with that type of agility, each stakeholder must be comfortable giving feedback on what’s working and what’s not.
Moreover, as a manager, you need to constructively give input, not just in formal reviews or 1-on-1 meetings, but as events happen, on the fly. If you work to develop a feedback-friendly workplace where your team can communicate their opinions and ideas every day, everyone can learn from what’s working and what’s not.
What’s more, a learning culture means employees must experiment with new processes and concepts. If everyone feels comfortable, they’re more likely to supported taking risks, which every great company needs to do to grow.
4. Embrace failures
Some might argue that we learn more from our failures than we do success. In 6 Principles of Great Leadership at Work, Alice Calin, of Hubgets, explains:
Failure provides experience, makes you more resilient, and gives you important lessons that will eventually help you grow and improve.
Let your team knows it’s okay to fail by living that mentality every day. Be open and honest about your failing and challenges, and explain what you learned from them. Then encourage employees to follow your lead and do the same.
5. Hold employees accountable for learning
When learning in this way, you need to continually check-in, ensuring that employees are in fact taking these opportunities and applying the lessons to their work. This can happen daily and weekly, during meetings as well as casual conversations. For example, if you see someone who had taking constructive feedback early in the week, ask them about the changes they’ve made since when you run into one another in the lunchroom.
While this might seem simple, the CEO Benchmark Report found that CEOs say their biggest weakness is holding people accountable. Don’t let this slip if you want to make the most of the many daily learning opportunities.
Encourage learning each day
The modern workplace is constantly evolving. If you foster a culture of learning, you ensure that your organization evolves alongside it. Don’t get stuck on formal development or training program. Instead, start encouraging daily learning so your staff won’t be left behind.
Jessica Thiefels is an entrepreneur and small business owner. She’s been writing about business, management and HR for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes and FastCompany. She also writes for Business Insider, Virgin, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.