As business owners, we are learning all the time. There are always new skills, updated technologies, and different trends, opportunities and challenges to keep on top of. Founders and CEOs must adapt and grow in order to develop their companies, so it’s vital that a growth mindset is cultivated. Not only from the leader’s perspective themselves, but also in terms of the overarching company culture.
Why create a learning culture?
Creating a strong learning culture within your organisation offers a multitude of benefits. Not least when it comes to improving performance, engagement, resilience, efficiency, and innovation, which all lead to competitive advantage, and, ultimately, the bottom line.
As ever, growing a business is a delicate balancing act. Expand too quickly and you risk cash flow problems but develop too slowly and you could miss out on vital sales. Making the jump from a small team to a larger one has financial implications and can leave business owners facing a payroll bill that they can’t afford. Yet, injecting fresh skills into the team doesn’t have to need to equate to hiring new team members. Silos and job roles are much more fluid and flexible than ever before and there are easier ways of acquiring skills than recruiting for a new role.
Online training and edtech platforms have seen a massive uptake in recent times, thanks to social distancing regulations and the resulting online pivot and hybrid working trends. Adult learning and corporate training, including online courses, webinars and masterclasses, have seen huge increases in popularity. For individual employees as well as self-employed, and on a company-wide scale, it is now easier than ever to reskill and upskill, resulting in a new dynamic.
A learning culture not only benefits the individual but also generates highly engaged, top performing teams with the skills to work across various departments, from marketing and customer experience to finance and HR. This not only enables your business to be better equipped to deal with challenges and achieve maximum growth, but it also allows your employees to enjoy rewarding, varied roles. Then you will see the welcome knock-on effects of encouraging individual growth, which improves staff wellbeing and retention.
Keeping up the pace
With the continual evolution of AI and as more and more routine and manual tasks diminish, over the next 5 -10 years it is likely that everyone will need to spend more time learning on the job and many job roles will be focused more on solving problems. As technology touches every aspect of our lives, we are now moving beyond the information society age and businesses must recognise and reflect these changes by equipping team members with skills that will enable them to meet these new opportunities with ease.
We all should be encouraging a mindset of lifelong learning. As technology advances, it makes sense that students and workers alike will need to keep up with this evolution and as this trend gathers pace, so will the need for reskilling and upskilling.
Life-long learners will not only support the individual but will also improve recruitment prospects for companies struggling to find employees with adequate leadership and technical skills. Business can also temp new employees with company-sponsored programmes creating a global stream of employable students and leaders updated to the needs of the times.
How to encourage a growth mindset and learning culture
Whilst sourcing suitable courses to diversify the skill set of your existing team members, first list the areas of the business where skills are missing and look at which employee is the best match for each new skill. Whether that be increasing the company’s social media or online presence, better managing cashflow, improving HR processes, utilizing new technologies, there is a vast array of courses available to choose from.
The next step is to research thoroughly. Garner valuable input from your teams about what they want, what they think would be most beneficial and why. Create a short list of the courses that cover any relevant topics then compare what they are offering and how this will further your business. Read reviews or testimonials and gauge how much other attendees have gained from completing them.
Include your people in the decision-making process. Ask them how they like to study and learn. Keep in mind that the most effective learning is personalised, relevant and authentic so that people not only discover new skills but can transfer them to different situations. By identifying key talents, passions, and purpose, your teams are best positioned to succeed.
Prior to asking your team members to embark on a course or additional learning activity, it is important to make sure there is reasonable time set aside to complete their learning. Some businesses allow employees to study as part of their existing working hours, while others require employees to complete their learning as additional wraparound hours. Whichever route you decide on, it is vital to have clear communication on your expectations and staff commitment to learning and development.
Company culture flows from the leader, so set an example by taking on new studies yourself. You are sure to benefit from developing your knowledge on a part of the business that you are less skilled in, plus you are experiencing the learning process with your staff, which cements teamwork and offers fresh insight.
Upskilling and reskilling really can add huge value to any business and encouraging personal growth in employees will only go to help grow the business. Of course, there will come a point where the team will need to grow but by offering corporate training and learning the company will become more attractive to potential employees.
Through creating a learning culture in your company, you will also support the growth of your employees, your teams, and ultimately, your balance sheets as well. What’s more, the business grows to be more resilient and able to overcome challenges. We are currently experiencing a time of almost unparalleled change and uncertainly, which is why all businesses need to be able to change and adapt with agility.
About the Author
Roger James Hamilton is a New York Times bestselling author and Founder and CEO of Genius Group, a multi-million-dollar group of companies including GeniusU, Entrepreneurs Institute, Entrepreneur Resorts and Genius School. GeniusU is an edtech company and platform providing over 2 million students with personalised learning paths and is currently seeing over 1300 new students join each day to take the entrepreneur quiz and identify their path to wealth. Genius School provides education courses for young people from 0 to 25 years old. Entrepreneurs Institute provides training courses from 25 to 100 years old, and Entrepreneur Resorts is a market leading group of entrepreneur focused luxury resorts and lodges, beach clubs and city co-working hubs, offering business leaders professional educational retreats in exotic destinations around the world, including Singapore, Bali and South Africa. Entrepreneur Resorts will be expanding to 10 further locations this year. Roger is the creator of Wealth Dynamics, Talent Dynamics and Impact Dynamics, used by over 2 million entrepreneurs to follow their flow.