9 Challenges of Developing a Learning Culture and How to Overcome Them

Challenges of Developing a Learning Culture and How to Overcome Them

Damian Hehire-learning, General, UAE

9 Challenges of Developing a Learning Culture and How to Overcome Them

The shelf life of skills is getting shorter and shorter, with the average now believed to be less than five years. As a result, it is essential for companies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia to ensure employees continuously improve existing skills and develop new ones. Developing a learning culture in your organisation can help with this strategy.

A learning culture is where there is strong cooperation between learners and the organisation. Employees need to buy into the process and be enthusiastic about constantly improving, developing new knowledge, and learning new skills. Employers need to invest in learning materials and provide support for learners.

While having a learning culture is highly beneficial, developing it is not easy, as you will have to overcome at least some of the following challenges.

Getting Senior Leaders Onboard

Does the senior leadership team believe a learning culture would be nice to have or essential to have? If it’s the former, you will have trouble making a learning culture a reality in your organisation. This is because senior leaders are an essential piece of the puzzle.

You need senior leaders onboard to ensure there is a suitable level of investment. However, it goes deeper than this, as senior leaders set an example to others, as well as setting the overall tone of the organisation. Getting them onboard is an important step in the process.

Getting Managers Onboard

Getting buy-in from managers is also important as they are the people who have day-to-day contact with employees. Managers will also be directly involved in the process by, for example, completing training courses themselves.

One of the key components to getting managers onboard with your learning culture strategy is to make it as easy as possible for them. So, communicate with managers regularly, provide information, get feedback, and provide them with support to help them promote training opportunities to the people they are responsible for.

Engaging Employees

Engaging employees is a consideration at all stages, from communicating the intention of creating a learning culture to creating the content to getting feedback after an employee has completed a course.

At the outset, for example, you might be faced with employees saying they are happy with where they are and what they are doing.

Again, communication is an important part of overcoming this challenge. You should explain to employees why continuous learning and development is necessary for the modern workplace, as well as outlining your organisation’s approach.

Steps then need to be taken to ensure learners engage with your training materials and courses. After all, you don’t want to lose learners after doing the hard work to get the initial buy-in.

Engaging employees involves things like making sure the content is relevant to learners and the training course is interesting and enjoyable. With an e-learning training course, for example, you can include gamification features, multiple forms of media, and interactive content that requires the learner to get involved.

Employees Are Unsure of What to Do

A problem that can hamper the development of a learning culture is that employees simply don’t know what they should do next. They might like the idea of learning new skills and improving their capabilities. However, they might not know which direction to follow or how to take the next steps.

Providing information and regularly communicating with employees are both crucial to solving this challenge. For example, you could provide information to employees on the multiple learning pathways that are possible to help spark interest and demonstrate there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

It is also important to make sure employees know where to find in-house training materials, in-house e-learning courses, and training support.

Company Processes Are a Barrier to Learning

Company processes can be a barrier to learning. For example, employees might struggle to get time allocated for training and development because of their daily responsibilities. Another example is where employees are only permitted to complete training courses on company-owned devices.

Identifying and breaking down these barriers to learning is essential.

No Time

Part of investing in a learning culture (or any training strategy) is giving employees time to undertake the training. There might be some situations where training and development can take place outside of normal working hours, but you also need to support employees by providing them with time off from normal duties so they can complete training.

Not Understanding the Benefits

Your organisation needs to provide information to learners so they understand how the company benefits from a learning culture.

Don’t stop there, though, as you also have to explain to learners how they will also benefit. If you don’t, you will be faced with employees asking what’s in it for me? Providing a clear assessment of the skills landscape, both inside your company and outside, can help clarify the benefits to employees, as can making sure employees understand the career pathways that exist.

Demonstrating that a Learning Culture Supports Organisational Goals

A learning culture requires ongoing investment, so it is important to demonstrate it is supporting the wider goals of the organisation. Whether the learning culture is established or still evolving, it’s important to explain clearly (to senior leaders in particular) how it is contributing to and supporting the business strategy.

Some of the ways you can get this information include:

  • Post-course evaluations
  • Feedback
  • Assessments or measurements of job satisfaction
  • Assessment of performance metrics
  • Assessment of behaviour change

Ensuring Parity Between Employees in Different Locations

Making sure employees in different locations receive the same opportunities, support, and quality of content is essential to ensure the organisation-wide success of your learning culture.

Providing training courses to learners with e-learning as the delivery method can go a long way to resolving this challenge, as all learners can complete the same course.

a Proactive Approach

Developing and nurturing a learning culture requires a proactive approach. Learning cultures in organisations are most successful when there is learner buy-in and a learner-led approach, but the company also has to provide a lot of support in terms of leadership, communication, and the provision of learning materials. The payback is a workforce with the skills you need to remain competitive and achieve your organisational objectives.