A Culture of Learning Starts at the Top

January 19, 2015 | Ann Lambert
A Culture of Learning Starts at the Top

An organization’s culture can’t be fabricated. The individuals within it, and the values that they choose to embrace, usually help define and mold a culture into what it is. But for true cultural change to occur, the support of top management is critical. And the development of a culture of learning is no exception.

In a recent Forrester Research report, Create a Learning Culture to Jumpstart Employee Development, Claire Schooley writes that many learning efforts today are “fundamentally flawed,” as formal learning is too disconnected from employees’ day-to-day reality and informal learning is not sufficiently embedded in company processes.  She maintains that “learning and work must be inextricably connected through the power of technology” and goes on to discuss the requirements for such a cultural transformation. A dominant theme among the elements is management support and involvement:

  • A leader takes charge of learning culture transformation.

  • Business leaders become learning sponsors, contributors, and marketers.

  • Managers become coaches accountable for employee learning.

  • Tech management helps determine learning technology and business integrations.

While technology (SaaS, social media, online communities, mobile-readiness) and ultimate employee adoption and participation are key to integrating learning into the work environment, the infrastructure must be built by leaders who are committed to driving the effort.

For examples of companies that have successfully integrated learning into the workplace culture, and steps for following suit, download the full Forrester report.

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