4 Ways to Create a Learning Culture on Your Team (2023)


Research from LinkedIn has shown that half of today’s most in-demand skills weren’t even on the list three years ago. As a result, there is now a premium on intellectual curiosity and the desire and ability to quickly grow and adapt one’s skill set. How can you create a learning culture onyour own team or in your organization? First, reward continuous learning. Note that rewarding curiosity is not just about praising and promoting those who display an effort to learn and develop; it’s also about creating a climate that nurtures critical thinking, where challenging authority and speaking up are encouraged, even if it means creating discord. Be sure to give people meaningful and constructive feedback— it’s hard to improve on anything if you are unaware of your limitations. As a manager, practice what you preach. And finally, hire curious people. It’s easier to augment potential than to go against someone’s nature.

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(Video) How to Create a Learning Culture

Technology is disrupting every industry and area of life, and work is no exception. One of the main career implications of the digital revolution is a shift in demand for human expertise. For instance, LinkedIn’s talent research shows that half of today’s most in-demand skills weren’t even on the list three years ago.

As a result, there is now a premium on intellectual curiosity and learnability, the desire and ability to quickly grow and adapt one’s skill set to remain employable. What you know is less relevant than what you may learn, and knowing the answer to questions is less critical than having the ability to ask the right questions in the first place. Unsurprisingly, employers such as Google, American Express, and Bridgewater Associates make learning an integral part of their talent management systems. As a Bersin report pointed out: “The single biggest driver of business impact is the strength of an organization’s learning culture.”

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However, true learning cultures, defined by CEBas “a culture that supports an open mindset, an independent quest for knowledge, and shared learning directed toward the mission and goals of the organization,” are still the exception rather than the norm. Recent researchfound that only 10% of organizations have managed to create them, with just 20% of employees demonstrating effective learning behaviors at work. Research by Bersin examined the issue of learning culture in great detail and found that companies who effectively nurture their workforce’s desire to learn are at least 30% more likely to be market leaders in their industries over an extended period of time.

(Video) How organizations build a learning culture

Here are four science-based recommendations to help youcreate a learning cultureon your team or in your organization:

Reward continuous learning.It is impossible to trigger deliberate changes in your team’s or organization’s culture unless you actually put in place formal reward systems to entice them— and even then there is no guarantee you will achieve change unless the rewards are effective. Sadly, even when managers understand the importance of learning — at least in theory — they are often more interested in boosting short-term results and performance, which can be an enemy of learning. By definition, performance is highest when we are not learning. Equally, it is hard for employees to find the necessary time and space to learn when they are asked to maximize results, efficiency, and productivity.A report by Bersin found that among the more than 700 organizations studied, the average employee had only 24 minutes a week for formal learning. Note that rewarding curiosity is not just about praising and promoting those who display an effort to learn and develop; it’s also about creating a climate that nurtures critical thinking, where challenging authority and speaking up are encouraged, even if it means creating discord. This is particularly important if you want your team to produce something innovative.

Give meaningful and constructive feedback.In an age where many organizations focus their developmental interventions on “strengths,” and feel-good approaches to management have substituted “flaws” and “weaknesses” with the popular euphemism of “opportunities,” it is easy to forget the value of negative feedback. However, it is hard to improve on anything when you are unaware of your limitations, fully satisfied with your potential, or unjustifiably pleased with yourself. Although one of the best ways to improve employees’ performance is to tell them what they are doing wrong, managers often avoid difficult conversations, so they end up providing more positive than negative feedback. This is particularly problematic when it comes to curiosity and learning, since the best way to trigger curiosity is to highlight a knowledge gap — that is, making people aware of what they don’t know, especially if that makes them feel uncomfortable. Note that people are generally unaware of their ignorance and limitations, especially when they are not very competent, so guidance and feedback from others is critical to helping them improve. However, negative feedback must be provided in a constructive and delicate way — it is a true art — as people are generally less receptive of it than of praise and appreciation, especially in individualistic (aka narcissistic) cultures.

Lead by example.Another critical driver of employee learning is what you, as a manager or leader, actually do. As illustrated by the leadership value chain model, leaders’ behaviors — particularly what they routinely do —have a strong influence on the behavior and performance of their teams. And the more seniorthat leaders are, the more impactful their behaviors will be on the rest of the organization. Accordingly, if you want to nurture your team’s curiosity or unlock learning in your organization, you should practice what you preach. Start by displaying some learning and unlocking your own curiosity. It is a sort of Kantian imperative: Don’t ask your employees to do what you don’t do yourself. If you want people to read more, then read— and make others aware of your voracious reading habits (share your favorite books or most recent learnings with them). If you want them to take on novel and challenging tasks, then take on novel and challenging tasks yourself. For example, learn a new skill, volunteer to work on something unrelated to your main job, or take on tasks outside your comfort zone even if you are not good at it — you will be able to show that with a bit of curiosity and discipline you can get better, and this should inspire others. And if you want them to question the status quo and be critical and nonconformist, then don’t be a sucker for order and rules!

(Video) 4 Tips to Encourage a Learning Culture in Your Organization | What the Pros Know | ITProTV

Hire curious people.Too often with big management problems, we focus on training and development while undermining the importance of proper selection. But the reality is that it’s easier to prevent and predict than to fix and change. When selection works, there’s far less need for training and development, and good selection makes training and development much more effective because it is easier to augment potential than to go against someone’s nature. Learning and curiosity are no exception: If you hire people who are naturally curious, and maximize the fit between their interests and the role they are in, you will not have to worry so much about their willingness to learn or be on their case to unlock their curiosity. Fortunately, meta-analytic studies provide a detailed catalogue of traits — and their corresponding measures — that increase an individual’s propensity to learn and develop intellectually, even after adulthood. And there is a well-established science to predicting people’s probability of displaying such traits (for example, personality assessments measuring openness to new experience, tolerance for ambiguity, critical thinking, and inquisitiveness). Likewise, decades of research into vocational interests show that aligning people’s drive and interests to the characteristics of the job and culture of the organization tends to increase not just their motivation to learn but also their performance.

In sum, if you want to nurture curiosity and learning in your employees, there’s no need to rely on your organization’s formal learning and development programs. Reinforcing positive learning behaviors, giving constructive and critical feedback to align employees’ efforts with the right learning goals, showcasing your own curiosity, and hiring people with high learnability and a hungry mindare all likely to create a stronger learning culture within your team and your organization.


What are the four 4 type of culture in an organization? ›

They identified 4 types of culture – clan culture, adhocracy culture, market culture, and hierarchy culture. You can take the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) to assess your organization's culture in just 15 minutes and make strategic changes to foster an environment that helps your team flourish.

How do we build a learning culture? ›

The best way to do this is to make learning a habit. And the easiest way to do that is to make learning easy, accessible and meaningful. Gently remind employees about learning opportunities through daily feeds, allow people to see what their peers are learning and recommend and set goals and deadlines for training.

What are the six strategies for building a learning culture? ›

6 ways to build a learning culture
  • Lead by example. Make sure employees understand that learning is important to your entire organization. ...
  • Develop personalized learning plans. ...
  • Use the right platform. ...
  • Promote learning collaboration. ...
  • Use a variety of learning methods. ...
  • Measure for success.

How do leaders create a learning culture? ›

There are 4 key components to building a learning culture, including attracting and developing agile leaders, creating a psychologically safe environment, encouraging better conversations and candid feedback, and prioritizing learning throughout the organization.

What is an example of learned culture? ›

Whenever we brush our teeth, cross our legs, send our parents' a birthday card, kiss someone, listen to music, or go out for recreation we are practicing learned behaviors which are a part of our culture.

What are the 4 C's of culture? ›

These four values or cultural elements are termed as 4Cs of culture, namely Competence, Commitment, Contribution, and Character.

What are the 4 essential elements of culture? ›

The major elements of culture are symbols, language, norms, values, and artifacts. Language makes effective social interaction possible and influences how people conceive of concepts and objects.

What are 4 examples of culture? ›

Customs, laws, dress, architectural style, social standards and traditions are all examples of cultural elements.

How do you create a positive learning culture in the workplace? ›

1 Create continuous, on-the-job learning opportunities, for all members. 2 Promote inquiry and dialogue: creating a culture in which feedback and experimentation are encouraged. 3 Encourage and reward collaboration and team learning.

What is a good learning culture? ›

Employees who work in a company with a good learning culture know the latest trends in their fields. They not only receive the most up-to-date and accurate information, but they also broaden their knowledge not just in their fields but in other areas of expertise as well.

How employees learn culture with examples? ›

Rituals and ceremonies refer to repetitive patterns, which can be used to emphasize an organization's values and core practices, or what a company stands for. For example, if you have an outcome-based culture, one way to help your employees learn this culture is by regularly rewarding them for good work.

What are the 4 learning strategies? ›

There are 4 predominant learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, and Kinaesthetic. While most of us may have some general idea about how we learn best, often it comes as a surprise when we discover what our predominant learning style is.

What are 3 ways culture is learned? ›

Example: Culture can be learned in many ways, such as through schooling, peer interactions, and even subconsciously.

What are the 7 strategies that promote learning? ›

Winona State University
  • Good Practice Encourages Student – Instructor Contact. ...
  • Good Practice Encourages Cooperation Among Students. ...
  • Good Practice Encourages Active Learning. ...
  • Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback. ...
  • Good Practice Emphasizes Time on Task. ...
  • Good Practice Communicates High Expectations.
Feb 18, 2023

How do you encourage team learning? ›

Strategies for Improving Team Learning
  1. Identify areas where new learning is a priority. ...
  2. Recognize that your employees learn differently. ...
  3. Problem solve around resistance. ...
  4. Celebrate achievements in learning.

How do you create a high impact learning culture? ›

Integrate learning with talent management in support of capability development. 2. Make a belief in learning a part of the organization's culture of leadership. Use leadership-development programs to encourage leaders and management to take ownership of the learning culture.

What are the elements of a learning culture? ›

A learning culture is one in which learning is valued at all levels of the organization and employees in every department are encouraged and empowered to continuously seek and share knowledge and skills by: fostering a growth mindset throughout the organization. supporting independent learning.

What are the 2 ways that culture is learned? ›

It is important to remember that culture is learned through language and modeling others; it is not genetically transmitted.

What are 10 examples of culture? ›

The following are illustrative examples of traditional culture.
  • Norms. Norms are informal, unwritten rules that govern social behaviors. ...
  • Languages. ...
  • Festivals. ...
  • Rituals & Ceremony. ...
  • Holidays. ...
  • Pastimes. ...
  • Food. ...
  • Architecture.
May 10, 2018

What are 8 examples of culture? ›

8 Examples of Strong Culture
  • Shared Experiences. A history of shared experiences such as difficult problems that were overcome as a team.
  • Habits. Shared habits such as the norm that people keep common areas in an office clean.
  • Expectations. Pervasive expectations. ...
  • Language. ...
  • Ethical Climate. ...
  • Tone. ...
  • Comradery. ...
  • Traditions.
Nov 25, 2017

What are the 4 factors that influence culture? ›

Many cultural characteristics, and the health states related to them, are associated with education, occupation, income, and social status. These factors influence one's awareness of the world, and whether one will seek improvement or accept things as they are.

What are the 4 C's of team? ›

If you want to establish a team identity, you have to give your team an opportunity to openly discuss the 4 C's of a Team Identity: clarity, commitment, contribution, and concerns.

What are the 4 ways to identify and understand culture? ›

The 6 ways we identify culture
  • Rituals. Similar to Independence Day rituals, we have rituals throughout our society that can be daily, weekly, monthly, or annually or even longer. ...
  • Norms. ...
  • Values. ...
  • Symbols. ...
  • Language. ...
  • Artifacts.
May 22, 2020

What are the 7 elements that make up culture? ›

  • Social Organization.
  • Language.
  • Customs and Traditions.
  • Religion.
  • Arts and Literature.
  • Forms of Government.
  • Economic Systems.

What are the four 4 major characteristics of safety cultures? ›

“Basically, they [employees] get their safety habits from work.” The four types of safety cultures are forced culture, protective culture, involved culture and integral culture.

What are the 7 types of culture? ›

There are various different types of culture which sociologists refer to. These are consumer culture, folk culture, high culture, low culture, popular culture and mass culture to describe different aspects of culture in society.

What are 5 examples of cultural practices? ›

  • Religious and spiritual practices.
  • Medical treatment practices.
  • Forms of artistic expression.
  • Dietary preferences and culinary practices.
  • Cultural institutions (see also Cultural Institutions Studies)
  • Natural resource management.
  • Housing and construction.
  • Childcare practices.

What are 5 things all cultures have in common? ›

All cultures have characteristics such as initiations, traditions, history, values and principles, purpose, symbols, and boundaries.

What are 3 examples of different cultures? ›

Examples of different cultures around the world that have captivated many include:
  • The Italian Culture. Italy, the land of pizza and Gelato held peoples' interest in captivity for centuries. ...
  • The French. ...
  • The Spaniards. ...
  • The Chinese. ...
  • The Land of the Free. ...
  • The Second Most Populated Country. ...
  • The United Kingdom. ...
  • Greece.
May 25, 2021

How do you get a positive team culture? ›

Create a Positive Team Culture
  1. Notice, welcome and include people. ...
  2. Make connections with people and help them connect with others in the organization. ...
  3. Use high expectations to encourage success. ...
  4. Create positive relationships with your team members.

How do you create good employee culture? ›

Create opportunities for employees to get to know one another at work and outside of work to foster meaningful relationships.
  1. Set Clear Departmental Goals. ...
  2. Promote the Organization's Goals. ...
  3. Promote Diversity and Inclusivity. ...
  4. Allow for Lightheartedness. ...
  5. Prioritize Respect. ...
  6. Establish a Strict Zero Tolerance Policy.

How will you create a culture of teamwork and positive attitudes? ›

Here are 13 tips for building a culture your employees all love:
  1. Foster Connection Opportunities. ...
  2. Be Welcoming and Take Notice of Workers. ...
  3. Enjoy Team-Building Together. ...
  4. Create Stability. ...
  5. Uphold High Expectations. ...
  6. Keep Everyone Accountable. ...
  7. Respect Team Members' Personal Lives. ...
  8. Practice What You Preach.
Jul 18, 2022

What is a professional learning culture? ›

For a truly collaborative professional learning culture, everyone needs to feel they have something to learn and something to contribute. Teachers should be actively involved in interpreting and constructing knowledge rather than being expected to accept and enact ideas dictated to them by others.

What are three workplace culture examples? ›

8 Most Common Types of Workplace Cultures
  • Adhocracy Culture.
  • Clan Culture.
  • Customer-Focused Culture.
  • Hierarchy Culture.
  • Market-Driven Culture.
  • Purpose-Driven Culture.
  • Innovative Culture.
  • Creative Culture.

What are 3 examples of cultural differences in the workplace? ›

Types Of Cultural Differences In The Workplace
  • Religion. ...
  • Ethnicity. ...
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. ...
  • Education. ...
  • Generation. ...
  • Cultural Behavior. ...
  • Educational Clash. ...
  • Ensure Effective Communication.

What are the four 4 pillars of learning? ›

The four pillars of Education for the 21st century that Jacques Delors (2001) refers to UNESCO, in the form of a report, comprises: Learning to Know, Learning to do, Learning to Live and Learning to Be.

What are the 4 factors of learning? ›

In addition, the four school conditions for learning include physical and emotional health and safety; sense of belonging, connectedness, and support; academic challenge and engagement; and social and emotional competence for students and adults.

What are the 4 types of learning explain each? ›

One of the most prevalent understandings in the space is that learning styles for individuals can be different. Four broad categories for the preferred method of learning have been identified and include Visual, Auditory, Reading and Writing and Kinesthetic.

What are the 6 most important characteristics of culture? ›

Culture is learned, shared, symbolic, integrated, adaptive, and dynamic. Let's go through these characteristics of culture one by one.

What is the six 6 effective learning strategy? ›

Specifically, six key learning strategies from cognitive research can be applied to education: spaced practice, interleaving, elaborative interrogation, concrete examples, dual coding, and retrieval practice.

What are the 5 ways of learning? ›

There are seven main learning styles:
  • Visual (spatial) Learner. Visual learners are those who prefer learning by observing things. ...
  • Aural (auditory) Learner. ...
  • Verbal (linguistic) Learner. ...
  • Physical (kinesthetic) Learner. ...
  • Logical (mathematical) Learner. ...
  • Social (interpersonal) Learner. ...
  • Solitary (intrapersonal) Learner.

How do you foster a learning culture in organization? ›

Encourage Feedback

When it comes to successful L&D activities, feedback is one tool that can help employees develop as well as improve the overall culture. Meaningful and constructive feedback is known to foster a continuous culture of learning.

How do you create a culture of wellbeing at work? ›

Key elements to create your company culture of well-being.
  1. Consider your values. ...
  2. Listen to what employees want and need. ...
  3. Make employees' mental health a priority. ...
  4. Offer flexibility. ...
  5. Role-model healthy behaviors. ...
  6. Embrace employees' lives outside of work. ...
  7. Create a healthy work environment.
Sep 13, 2022

What is a positive learning culture? ›

In a positive learning culture, managers encourage people to learn in a wide range of ways, help them understand what to learn for current and future roles, and help them identify focus skills. Offer diverse and active development experiences.

What are the characteristics of a learning culture? ›

Learning culture, or culture of learning, describes an organizational environment characterized by values, processes, and practices that encourage and support continuous learning and development, growth mindsets, knowledge-sharing, and improved performance for individuals and the enterprise.


1. What is a Learning Culture? | Nigel Paine
(Kogan Page)
2. How To Build Continuous Learning Cultures And Habits In Your Teams
3. Leadership - Engage your Team - Create a Culture of Engagement
(Ken Wright)
4. Building a Learning Culture in Your Workplace
(Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick)
5. 5 Tips on Creating a Learning Culture
(Education Without Borders)
6. Learning Culture in the Workplace - Course Trailer - TalentLibrary™


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