Understanding the Value of a Learning Workplace Culture

As many employers today are finding ways to combat attraction and retention challenges, learning and development (L&D)
efforts are one way for organizations to find and keep employees. Workplace trends and protocols change fast, so today’s
workforce wants to broaden their skill sets to keep up with industry and role evolution. To meet this desire, a culture that
promotes continuous learning can facilitate an environment where employees are equipped to maintain a competitive skillset.
In turn, this can help an organization keep up in today’s marketplace.

This article explores the benefits of organizational learning cultures and how employers can build or reinforce that culture.


Understanding a Culture of Learning

An authentic learning culture supports a growth mindset, an independent pursuit for knowledge and collective understanding
related to organizational missions and goals. Not only do employees want to learn and apply new skills in their job and
company, but they’re also open to sharing that knowledge with others. Employers can cultivate a workplace culture that offers
opportunities to help support employees on their learning journeys. When employees don’t have development and career
advancement opportunities, they may feel unchallenged or unmotivated in their roles.

In addition to being a powerful recruitment and retention tool for organizations, a learning company culture has the potential
to impact workplaces by:

  • Closing worker skill gaps

  • Keeping up with workplace demands

  • Increasing employee innovation and creativity

  • Boosting employee productivity

As with any workplace initiative, L&D efforts are an investment. However, employers should consider L&D an investment in
both employees and the organization. Consider the following statistics from ClearCompany that reinforce the importance of
workplace L&D opportunities:

  • Most employees (94%) said they would stay at a company longer if it invests in their careers.

  • Employees who have access to professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged.

  • Companies that spend $1,500 or more on employee development per year report 24% higher annual profits than
    organizations that spend less.

More employers are using L&D initiatives to effectively retain employees and recruit. These findings show the impact that
continuous learning can have on an organization—and its employees.

Creating a Culture of Learning

Developing a learning company culture takes time and dedication, but the payoff is typically worth it in the long run. Consider
the following ways to build or reinforce a workplace culture of learning:

  • Personalize learning. Employers can offer personalized learning plans to help guide employees on their journeys to make
    learning efforts relevant. Instead of focusing on course completion, employers can support employees’ long-term learning
    to reach their career goals

  • Support risk-taking. Employers can tolerate and perhaps even encourage mistakes—as long as they support learning and
    growth and are managed appropriately. When employees feel safe taking risks, significant growth can occur at the
    individual and team levels. The feasibility of this strategy will vary based on industry and organization.

  • Reward and recognize learning. Employers need to show their appreciation and value of learning regularly. Focus on
    how employees apply their newfound knowledge versus simply what was accomplished.

  • Leverage technology. Employers incorporate e-learning, online coaching and learning management systems (LMSs) to
    train and develop their workforce. The right technology learning environment can facilitate and support continuous
    learning, ultimately making it accessible for all employees.

  • Hire lifelong learners. Recruiting and hiring managers could leverage assessments and behavioral interviews to gauge if
    candidates are a good fit or add to company culture. For example, such an assessment could help reveal if a prospective
    employee is driven, curious or has a learner mindset.

An authentic learning culture requires ongoing attention and effort from organizational leaders and managers. Employees
want to feel like they’re part of something bigger than just their role, and career development and advancement opportunities
can be part of that.


A motivated and engaged workplace is a powerful one. An approach to workplace learning that focuses on the culture can
help ensure that employees continuously learn and develop. Not only can a learning culture motivate and develop current
employees, but it can give organizations a necessary competitive edge in today’s tight labor market by attracting workers who
want to broaden their skill sets.

The right L&D opportunities and initiatives vary by organization and industry, but, regardless, they are a critical investment in
individual employees and the organization as a whole.

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