That is among the findings of a study from Bersin & Associates (www.bersin.com). The study, entitled, High-Impact Learning Culture: The 40 Best Practices for an Empowered Enterprise, found that the majority of organizations that have built strong learning cultures are market leaders with highly productive employees and satisfied customers.
“This is the first research to show the correlation between a strong learning culture and positive business benefits. In fact, we found that a company’s learning culture has more positive business impact than any other factor—including budget size,” said Josh Bersin, president of Bersin & Associates, which says it is the only research and advisory firm focused solely on research in enterprise learning, talent management, and talent acquisition.
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What does a company’s “learning culture” encompass? The firm says it includes all programs, processes, and related investments that support ongoing skills development and learning—both formally and informally—across an organization.
The study revealed that 96% of companies with strong learning cultures reported high employee productivity. However, that was not the only advantage identified by the study: 94% of participants surveyed indicated that they have high customer satisfaction; 74% said that they have a “strong” ability to keep costs competitive; and 89% reported market leadership for at least one product or service.
Employees at these companies also demonstrate an ability to quickly acquire new skills and bring innovation to their jobs, according to Bersin & Associates. Participating companies also conclude that they are better able to maintain competitive costs and respond to customer needs than organizations without a strong learning culture.
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Tips to Consider
Cultivating a strong learning culture takes time, but this will be much easier to achieve if upper management embraces the concept. It is one thing for managers to support workplace learning through the allocation of funds, but it is another thing for them to take (or teach) professional development courses themselves, to praise employees for acquiring new skills, and to allow employees time to attend training without repercussions without C-level support.
Employees also need to see the value of learning. Make sure they understand how new skills and knowledge will benefit them individually, such as keeping them on top of the latest industry trends and making them eligible for a promotion or raise. Learning also helps their role in making the company more successful and competitive.