In a rapidly changing business environment, your current knowledge is less important than the ability to adapt your skills to new challenges and demands. We have previously discussed the importance of employee engagement and lifelong learning promote employee productivity, but these actions must be set in a culture of learning in order to be effective.

A true learning culture as explained in a recent Harvard Business Review article is:

“A culture that supports an open mindset, an independent quest for knowledge, and shared learning directed toward the mission and goals of the organization.”

In a learning culture, employees are encouraged to develop critical thinking skills and question current processes or ideas without fear of reprisal. People share their knowledge to work together for the good of the business.

Author Robert Grossman outlines some actions to help companies achieve a learning culture in his Society of Human Resource Management blog:

  • Secure CEO buy-in
  • Cultivate a “growth mindset”
  • Hire smart
  • Teach “how” not “what”
  • Encourage candor and dissent
  • Support risk-taking and “failing forward”
  • Practice humility
  • Build teams, not stars. (Small teams are better for learning)
  • Create routines to stay on track
  • Reward what you say you value
  • Model the behavior you’re seeking to achieve

What steps are you willing to take to encourage learning and improve productivity in your organization?