No matter your industry, there are always ways to continue learning. Even as a leader, you should embrace professional development opportunities that allow you to keep growing and improve yourself. Ideally, this mindset would not be limited to just leaders and management; the company culture would encourage active and engaged learning at all levels. There a few things to keep in mind as you begin to foster a culture of learning at work:
Seek input in the planning stages
In order to keep your team members engaged, it’s a good idea to pick topics that are relevant in their lives. To do this, you should seek input from your employees on the topics they’d like to see addressed in professional development trainings. This will help you to see in which areas your team feels that they need the most ongoing support and encourages greater participation once these trainings happen. Try to survey your team regularly on an ongoing basis to learn what topics spark their interest. This will keep training sessions feeling relevant and interesting rather than rote.
Incorporate real-world experience
When conducting training, you want to make these sessions feel applicable and valuable, especially when there are so many external forces vying for your employees’ attention. Your team is busy, and there is the risk that investing time into training could take away from time spent working on projects with concrete deadlines. To help your participants see the immediate relevancy of the discussion, try incorporating real-world experiences by discussing actual case studies. If applicable, you can even have your team bring their current projects so that they can learn from one another and immediately apply the lessons to their respective assignments.
Ask for feedback and incorporate it
At the end of the training, send out a survey to solicit participant feedback. It is beneficial to ensure that those who attended found the sessions to be helpful and that those holding the training have enough input to be able to iterate and improve in the future. Keep the surveys anonymous and invite your participants to share what was the most engaging and what the presenters could do better next time. Rather than just distributing these results to just the person who led the training, share them with other team members across departments who can benefit from the feedback when planning their sessions. Doing so allows your staff to learn from each other and, again, fosters a workplace culture of learning.
Incorporating professional development into your office culture doesn’t need to be difficult, and it shouldn’t be seen as an obligation. By keeping these tips in mind, you may be able to create a workplace environment that encourages continuous training and make learning seem like a perk.