How to Create a Culture of Continuous Learning in Your Agency

A culture of continuous learning will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your agency
A culture of continuous learning will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your agency

How do you get the best out of your employees?

By creating a culture of continuous learning.

Your employees are the most valuable asset in your organization, and by giving them the tools and opportunity to sharpen their skills and knowledge, you’ll help your agency perform at its peak potential.

The private sector is already using this strategy to empower their companies.

Corporate spending on learning rose to 10% in 2015 according to Global Human Capital Trends 2016. These companies realized that they could maximize the efficiency of their businesses by giving their employees the ability to learn what they needed when they needed.

The same can happen in your agency.

We’ll show you what a culture of continuous learning is and how to cultivate one in your organization for smarter, better, and more dedicated employees.

What is a Continuous Learning Culture?

For individuals, continuous learning is the process of keeping up with ever-changing trends, insights, and tools for better performance and higher achievements in your job.

For organizations or agencies, continuous learning is the process of empowering and encouraging your employees to upgrade their skills and knowledge at their own pace while helping their fellow employees do the same.

A culture of continuous learning means that all of your team members are teaching themselves and helping each other be better, achieve more, and advance their careers.

The benefits of a continuous learning culture are that your employees may offer ideas that you never considered before, or implement strategies and tactics that you didn’t know existed.

Your agency will gain a considerable advantage over other departments because your employees will become more mature, confident, and intelligent as a result of continuous learning.

Also, continuous learning is key for well-executed Government succession planning by making it easier for leadership and institutional knowledge to be passed on and absorbed by the employees filling the vacant positions within your agency.

So, how do you create a continuous learning culture?

5 Ways to Create a Culture of Continuous Learning

There are plenty of things you can do to make learning a large part of your agency. We’ll give you 5 ways to create a continuous learning environment in your organization today.

Define Your Goals

Before you implement a training program for your employees, you need to know why you’re implementing a program in the first place.

  • What’s your goal for your agency?
  • What do you hope to achieve?
  • How do you hope to improve?
  • How much money are you willing to spend?

Create a broad vision for your organization that keeps you and your employees on track, while at the same time allowing your employees to follow their own path to personal and professional development.

Provide training for new tools, software, and work methods, along with training that matches your employees’ individual goals.

Which brings us to the next tip for creating a culture of continuous learning…

Define Your Employees’ Individual Goals

Individual development plan goals are especially important for continuous learning.

Without them, it’s difficult for individuals to stay on track, and it’s hard for you to hold your employees accountable.

When your employees know what they’re learning and why they’re learning it, they’re more likely to finish their education and apply what they’ve learned.

But beyond the “why” of their learning plan, you should help them create an action list so that they implement the things they’re learning effectively.

Get Your Employees Onboard

A shift in your agency culture is only possible if everyone is onboard. The first thing you have to do to implement a culture of continuous learning is to tell your employees what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

You need to get all your employees to adopt similar values and principles, the same as you would when trying to increase employee engagement, for example.

Make learning a top priority, and consider revising your mission statement or internal agency slogan or “Values” to include continuous learning as a core tenet of how you run your organization.

You and the rest of your managers should lead by example and demonstrate your own commitment to continuous learning while helping your employees improve their continuous learning plans.

But you should be much more than just a manager…

Turn Your Managers into Coaches

A culture of continuous learning is dependent on managers and employees being open and honest with one another about learning goals, challenges, and achievements.

You should discuss those 3 things with your employees on a regular basis.

Like a coach, you need to be in their corner, ready and willing to help them solve problems and overcome obstacles when necessary.

Regular check-ins can provide the “push” that employees need to succeed. It also lets them know that you genuinely care about them and what they’re doing to better themselves.

Plus, by regularly checking in, you can course correct employees who may be studying or focusing on the wrong things, or help employees shift their priorities to be more productive.

The most important thing you can do as a manager/coach is to give them ample resources for continuous learning.

Give Your Employees Learning Resources

A continuous learning culture relies on constant access to learning resources.

Some of your employees will prefer long-form, formal training, while others will prefer microlearning that’s self-directed.

Sometimes, instructor-led training (ILT) is unavoidable and necessary.

But most of the time, all your employees need is access to relevant information for their specific job roles and goals.

The ease of access and cost of ELearning makes online education the most budget-friendly and employee-friendly option for all types of learners.

With the right ELearning platform, you employees can watch videos, read books, and listen to audio recordings on-demand.

It allows them to learn at their own pace, on their own time, when they’re ready to learn – as opposed to being forced to learn alongside everyone else in a group training session.

But where will you find a central database of resources that cover everything from IT exam preparation to project management and conflict resolution?

Right here at Enterprise Training Solutions.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

Government Succession Planning: 5 Easy Steps for Great Results

Government succession planning is critical to maintaining a high-functioning organization.
Government succession planning is critical to maintaining a high-functioning organization.

Succession planning is critical to maintaining a high-functioning organization. Do you feel like your Government succession planning efforts are falling short of your expectations, and you’re failing to effectively backfill talent to take over for your retirement-aged staff?

You’re not alone.

Back in 2009, The International Public Management Association for Human Resources conducted a survey on workforce and succession planning and found that only 25% of respondents reported having a formal succession plan in place. Those that didn’t have a plan at all said they were too preoccupied with short-term activities and suffered from insufficient staff due to the great recession.

According to a more recent survey conducted by Cornerstone, Creating the Next Generation of Federal Human Capital: The 2014 State of Human Capital Management Report, 76% of federal agency human capital executives believe their management programs have fallen short of their goals, and 63% believe that their succession planning efforts are not successful.

Even with their programs failing, only 38% of survey respondents cited backfilling talent as a top 3 priority in 2014.

What’s The Big Problem With This Lack of Government Succession Planning?

According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, nearly 600,000 employees (31%) Government-wide will be eligible to retire by this year, 2017.

This massive turnover could cause a serious loss of leadership and institutional knowledge you’re going to need to operate effectively into the future.

Developing a pipeline of motivated individuals who could fulfill the gaps in your agency is a critical step for sustained and unimpeded service levels in Government.

To help you identify potential candidates with the critical skills needed to lead your agency effectively, here are the top 5 steps you can take to execute a successful Government succession planning strategy.

1. Identify the Key Positions Within Your Organization You Can’t Function Without

An appropriate first step would be to create an oversight committee that can develop a competent plan and resolve any issues related to Government succession planning. The people most qualified for this job would be senior and mid-level managers who already oversee the critical business operations in your agency.

The foremost goal of this committee would be to identify key leadership positions along with positions that are critical for accomplishing your major objectives within your organization.

2. Identify The Base Competencies That are Required for Each Position

After you identify your mission-critical positions, you should identify the base competencies your future staff needs to master in order to successfully perform in those positions.

An easy way to do this is to deliver a survey to managers to measure these competencies so you can devise a plan for developing them in your backfilled talent.

Also, you can measure your “benchmark strength” to see where your staff rank in terms of the competencies you are looking for.

3. Identify Your Backfilling Talent

Now that you know what positions will need to be filled the soonest, and you know what competencies those positions require, you can begin scouting for potential talent to groom for those positions.

Most skills can be easily developed, so you should focus on candidates that possess “raw talent”—self-determination, high motivation, and dedication to your organization. These are the individuals who will be the most eager to learn, and the easiest to teach.

Managers should work to instill a “talent-seeking culture” within your organization to continuously identify and develop an internal selection of promotable individuals.

4. Develop a Mentorship Program Between Your Backfilled Talent and Senior Managers

A strong mentoring program will allow senior managers and executives to impart their valuable knowledge about their job requirements, employee management styles, and professional development strategies.

This will help your chosen candidates realize their full potential through regular feedback, cross-training, and proactive coaching in order to mold them into high-performing employees who are ready to take over their mentor’s position.

5. Deploy Education and Training Programs to Backfilled Talent

In addition to mentorship and coaching, your selected talent will need ongoing education to fully prepare them for their potential new roles within your agency.

With constrained budgets and limited staff, It’s not always possible to deliver this training on-site.

Online learning tools for Government training can provide your employees with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively perform in their current position while preparing them for the challenges of their future roles.

Ready to Make Government Succession Planning Cost-Effective and Easy?

Sign up for our course “Initiating Succession Planning” to help you build your talent pool, motivate your employees, and fortify your agency against the loss of vital employees. Plus, you’ll gain access to thousands of other courses you can use to refine your succession planning and to help your employees reach their full potential and thrive within your organization.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation