Developing a Learning Culture in the Workplace

By Jes­si­ca Mitsch ● June 23, 2021

Momentum attended the 2021 Learning Ideas Conference on June 16th, where our CEO Jessica Mitsch led a panel on developing a learning culture in the workplace. Here were the key takeaways.

The Learning Ideas Conference brings together researchers and professionals from across the world to discuss new technologies and ideas to reimagine workplace learning. The 2021 conference was virtual, featuring keynote speakers, panels, and a variety of specialized sessions.

The session “Centralizing the CLO: Technology and the Confluence of Work and Learning,” was led by Momentum CEO Jessica Mitsch and featured three guests: Erica Depiero representing the work she did at Citigroup, Michael Cannon from Red Hat, and Regina Dowd from TSR Consulting. The discussion centered around skills development and continued learning in-house up to the C-Suite level as a way to retain high performing talent in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Why Is Instilling a Culture of Continuous Learning Important?

Developing a learning culture in the workplace is essential to a company’s success. The importance of doing so was a main point of discussion throughout the conference. Michael Cannon opened the conversation by noting the fast-paced nature of the corporate world that encourages a single step approach to learning. He argued that in reality, learning is a continuous process that requires both trial and error. Attending a class or training is a great start, but one training will not make your employee an expert in the skill. They must have a learning mindset and be ready to take continual steps towards improvement.

Momentum for example, provides much of the early-on training required to learn code. However, it is just the launchpad. Additional learning and practice beyond graduation is what makes the most successful web developers. Both Erica and Michael identified the importance of making learning part of the enterprise organization.

In order to instill a culture of continuous learning within a company, there must be sustained behavioral changes. Executives should form relationships and create trust among employees over time. They should understand the problem a team is hoping to solve through training, and focus on actions and goals that will encourage learning and productive outcomes.

Why is Upskilling Important to Overall Acquisition Strategies?

Upskilling and learning are not only important for company culture, but are also necessary to retain and acquire strong employees. Regina provided insights from an outside-the-company perspective as to how learning at all levels affects the talent marketplace. With such a competitive landscape, companies need to know how to support their teams. They must be able to retain current employees and bring on new talent. Career growth is an important consideration new candidates take into account when deciding between companies.

Developing a learning culture will not only aid in recruiting efforts, but will also lead to increased retention rates. Investments in learning makes for happier and more productive employees. Furthermore, in-house learning provides employees with invaluable skill sets and mindsets that match that of the organization.

As Traditional Learning Structures Are Changing, How Should Companies Evaluate Talent?

The ways in which talent used to be evaluated are becoming less salient. Non-traditional avenues for learning are emerging all around us, while college degrees are not always requirements in today’s tech industry. So the question that emerges is how can companies ensure new hires are coming in with the right skills? The shift towards hiring for potential was noted by all of the speakers as this question was posed to the group. While experience should remain a consideration, the ability to learn and develop skills is becoming an increasingly important credential when looking at the long-term value a candidate will bring to the company.

Cultures of continuous learning are becoming more commonplace, so companies will need to be agile and support both traditional and non-traditional methods to finding and learning new skills. Momentum can help you do this by providing upskill training for whatever technology needs your team may be facing.