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Tending a ‘Learning Garden’ Yields a Bushel of Results

An organization's learning culture is similar to a garden in that its design and characteristics reflect the owner’s values. Whether it focuses on empowering your workforce or driving your business forward, the ‘learning garden’ grows it all. A high-impact learning culture – a thriving and beautiful garden – sounds enticing, doesn’t it?  


What is a learning culture?

Learning culture is a set of values, processes, and practices that embed learning into the entire organization. It encourages the continuous learning of new skills, knowledge, and competencies. In a learning-centered culture, everyone seeks, shares, and applies what they learn to improve performance and remain competitive.


The traits of a high-impact ‘learning garden’ 

While learning is often self-motivated, it won’t happen spontaneously without the right culture. If left unattended, your ‘learning garden’ can end up in a situation far from your expectations. How do you know if your ‘learning garden’ is flourishing? Since it mirrors the diversity of the company’s values, the characteristics that define it also vary. Here are some essential traits that strong learning cultures share:  

  • Learning and business are closely aligned.  
    When an organization includes learning in its mission, strategy, and overall talent management process, it can influence the behaviors and outcomes of the workforce. Integrating learning into your work practices is similar to providing soil, water, and sunlight for your ‘learning garden’. 
  • Leaders play a vital role in developing and implementing a learning culture. 
    Growing a ‘learning garden’ is more than just providing opportunities. Leaders at all levels need to promote and demonstrate the value of learning. They also need to inspire employees to make learning a priority in their development. Only then are individuals empowered to take ownership of their development and growth.  
  • Learning is structured, funded, designed, measured, and managed.  
    The connection between learning and business can’t stop at the strategy and leadership level, it needs to be translated into action. Organizations with a high-impact learning culture create the right conditions to nurture their ‘learning garden’ and put in place measurements to keep track of their learning efforts.  
  • The organization is open to new ideas, embraces vulnerability, and learns from mistakes. 
    A lot of the happiness and satisfaction in life comes from learning. It isn’t always about total mastery but progress and growth. By encouraging continuous and lifelong learning, you challenge your workforce to think from different perspectives and learn from their mistakes. “Failure is an incredibly powerful tool for learning” and innovation. When you stay open to new ideas, you also understand that not all of them are going to work. As an organization seeks to solve complex problems, it needs to keep experimenting and learning from its failures.


Why growing a ‘learning garden’ is worth it  

Besides being the hallmark of success for an organization, having a high-impact learning culture provides many other benefits.  

  • It instills a growth mindset. 
    As the highest level of progression needed for an organizational transformation, the growth mindset plays a key role in growing your ‘learning garden’. A workforce with a continuous development mindset not only wants to learn and apply what they have learned to help their organization, but is also compelled to share their knowledge with others.  
  • It empowers your employees.  
    When nearly half of the workforce is unsatisfied with the learning and development initiatives at their workplace, it’s a concerning trend. The role of a learning culture is to unlock the potential of your organization for higher performance and engagement. As the learning needs are met, employee satisfaction grows, and loyalty and commitment strengthen.  
  • It builds internal capabilities.  
    Learning culture is more than just meeting the employee needs. It’s meant to build the future of leadership for your organization by promoting from within. When a learning culture helps you build the internal capabilities, you are a step ahead in the succession plan. 
  • It prepares the organization for change. 
    Having a learning culture helps your organization develop new skill sets, build up confidence, and strengthen the competitive edge so you can embrace change and stay atop any challenges coming your way.


Learning culture is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each organization has its preferred ways to grow its ‘learning garden’. Just as there are different styles in which these gardens can grow, there is variation in the processes and practices that organizations take towards learning. When you understand your own ‘learning garden’ and what it needs, you can grow it in the way that benefits your organization the most.  


Need some help in growing your own ‘learning garden’? Reach out to us!


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