The value of learning is especially meaningful in the industries that rely on frontline and deskless employees. Traditionally, this talent has been overlooked while professional services and tech companies continue investing in employee learning and engagement.
However, the continuous disruption facing industries from hospitality and retail to hospitals and real estate should be the motivation to build a more resilient, agile, multi-faceted staff. The key to empowering staff with the ability to shift focus and respond to market and customer demands is to develop a culture of learning at your business.
What is a Culture of Learning?
A culture of learning is a workplace culture that emphasizes the importance of and rewards ongoing learning, upskilling, and curiosity of its employees. Most importantly, a culture of learning empowers workers to have a “growth mindset.” Employees not only seek out opportunities to learn, but also want to share their expertise and knowledge with their peers.
But, how can deskless industries develop a culture like this? Below are five strategies to develop a culture of learning for your frontline employees.
Centralize and Democratize Resources
One way to develop a culture of learning is to create a space for knowledge collection and sharing at the organization. Consider, for example, creating an open source digital library where leadership and employees can add helpful resources, articles, and ideas.
By creating a channel that is open for everyone to access, an organization is signaling to its employees that they are invested in sharing ideas and encourage skill building. It also empowers employees to share information they deem valuable, which can improve engagement and team performance.
Create Formal Learning Opportunities
As part of a digital library or an extension of it, seek out ways to offer formal learning opportunities. This can include video training, lunch and learns, certificate programs, after-hours events, etc. Consider partnering with local organizations to guest speak on topics relevant to your business. By developing a consistent cadence of learning opportunities, employees can more easily integrate lessons into their schedules and build skills consistently over time.
Activate a Feedback Loop
Another strategy to instill a culture of learning is to create regular opportunities to give and receive feedback. Both formal and informal feedback help employees identify opportunities to improve. Teams become more comfortable helping one another at all levels and individuals worry less about bruising egos.
For feedback loops to successfully encourage learning, leadership must also be willing to receive feedback from employees. By asking its staff how the business can be better, an organization is signaling how much leadership values staff perspective.
Emphasize Transparency and Share an Action Plan
When collecting feedback, share results or key insights with the organization and outline an action plan to implement change based off this feedback. Employees will feel heard and encouraged to make change based on feedback they have received.
Set Clear Goals and Deliver Metrics
How can an organization motivate its employees to seek new learning opportunities? Set clear goals for the business and share data like quarterly sales numbers, revenue goals, turnover, etc. This data creates context for employees and ties ambiguous skills (like cross-selling, customer success, leadership, etc.) to concrete goals. If employees know what they are working towards, they are more likely to build the skills necessary to succeed.