HR Insights


Creating a Culture of Continuous Learning

Posted by Gretchen Knurr on December 5, 2017

Do you want your company culture to transition from one of competition to one of collaboration? You can accomplish this when you create a culture of continuous learning at your company. While employee growth and learning opportunities may seem like an extracurricular offering, in this day and age, they are essential for your company. Developing a learning culture is no longer just another fanciful idea. It is becoming more imperative for companies to cultivate learning if they wish to stay in business. A learning culture keeps your organization competitive. But how do you create this culture of continuous learning at your company? I’ve created a basic framework of key elements you need to have in place in order to have a culture of learning at your company.

 1. Make formal training and development plans.

By formal, I mean that your training and development plans need to be both organized and strategic. Training and development plans that are not formalized run the risk of not being taken seriously and as a result, not implemented. Organize the process by which employees can receive training and provide opportunities for strategic development in areas that will benefit both employee and employer. Employees can and should be responsible for their own development, but employers have to provide them with the necessary tools for that growth and advancement.

 2. Enable learning to be self-directed.

Require employees to participate in professional development opportunities in some capacity, but allow them some flexibility as to how. Let your employees grow in the directions that interest them. In general, the idea of learning on the job has to turn from forced and mandatory to encouraging and self-directed. This improves workers’ ability to move up in the company and help make the entire organization successful as they, themselves, become more successful. As their professional development flourishes, they will be able to use their newly acquired knowledge on the job. On that note, make sure that what employees learn is applied on the job.

 3. Recognize employees for their learning accomplishments. 

 Rather than peer pressure, create a sense of peer motivation by recognizing employees for their learning accomplishments.


This is the culture you need to cultivate. Celebrate employee accomplishments—not in order to make less high-achieving employees feel guilty, but rather in hopes that it will incentivize them to have the desire and willpower to achieve new heights in their own career.

 4. Create a formal process for information sharing. 

Just like the process by which employees gain knowledge needs to be organized, so does the process for sharing that knowledge. People will be more encouraged to share knowledge and information if they are required to do so. Employees need to be able to put their newly gained skills and knowledge into practice and management needs to be equipped with the necessary tools to support employee’s access to learning as well as information sharing. The goal is to make sure that the people who need to hear the new information do so.

I hope you have noticed through these points that having a culture of employee learning is equally as much for employee growth as it is for employer benefit. As employees learn and grow, the organization will flourish as well. This is why it’s so important to be strategic with the learning opportunities that you offer to your employees. The content needs to be multi-purpose—useable for individual learning, or as a conversation catalyst in team meetings to drive innovation and leadership. This mutually beneficial culture will bring motivation and growth to your employees and your organization.





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Gretchen Knurr

About The Author

Gretchen Knurr

After 5 years of working in higher education, Gretchen brings a fresh perspective to research-based content through freelance writing and editing. You can usually find her working in a coffee shop filled with natural light and easy access to a hot cappuccino. When she's not finding new insights into modern HR topics, she is probably hiking in the mountains of Colorado or re-watching The Office. 

Post Topics Company Culture, Employee Engagement