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4 ways to create a continuous learning culture

Employees want to grow in their roles and may leave if they feel like they are not. Learn how to create a continuous learning culture and discover how it can help boost retention.

Creating a culture of continuous learning just might be the secret weapon for retaining employees.

Hiring, onboarding and  training new employees is expensive. However, when companies offer their workers a culture of continuous learning, it may help employees feel more driven and motivated in their roles, which can lead to higher retention rates.

A continuous learning culture is a set of practices that offer employees ongoing opportunities for cultivating knowledge, improving performance and adding competencies through the use of training and feedback.

Here are four continuous learning strategies HR leaders can implement in their organization.  

1. Use performance management to find training opportunities

While relying on an annual review as a means of performance management doesn't evoke learning, continuous performance management is different. Managers and HR teams can take the continuous performance management approach to help uncover opportunities for growth closer to when they're needed.

Continuous performance management lends itself to coaching. HR can help guide managers on how to conduct more frequent meetings with their reports. These meetings -- whether one-on-one or in small groups -- can be a great place to sharpen skills in an open, interactive space. These meetings also give managers a chance to touch base and ask their employees how they can help them improve in their role. Managers can use this feedback to adjust their training methods and can give employees a sense of independence and control over their role.

 2. Offer employees new opportunities

Managers and HR leaders can turn to upskilling and reskilling to keep their employees on a steady, upward track. In simple terms, upskilling is the process of providing employees with opportunities to learn new skills so they can do their job more efficiently and reskilling is the process of teaching employees new skills so that they can perform a different job.

Whether employees have a new task that they need to master or are given an opportunity to grow into a new role, they'll need more than quick, simple instructions. Instead, companies should provide them with the training and software required to handle the new responsibility.

Introducing these new skills can benefit both workers and the organization. Upskilling and reskilling also can come at lower cost than hiring a new candidate for the job.

3. Use online platforms

Social media tends to be associated with frivolous pursuits -- for example, gaining followers and gathering likes -- not with educational opportunities. However, HR leaders and managers can use social media and its closely associated learning services to offer a continuous learning culture.

The internet offers multiple ways to develop skills, and managers can share the best options with their teams. They can also encourage their employees to share ideas with each other. Employees can find interesting videos on YouTube, as well as scan Twitter's trending hashtags to keep updated on any industry trends, developments and opportunities.

Companies can also choose from among many online training vendors, such as LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com) or HubSpot Academy.

4. Consider experienced workers' needs

A good strategy for creating a continuous learning culture includes the needs of higher-level employees.

HR teams can set aside a budget specifically for trainings to encourage them to take courses and continuously build their skill sets. Refresher courses, management classes and one-on-one trainings can help them feel up to date in their roles.

Offering this opportunity for growth to both new and experienced employees gives organizations a chance to build employee trust and improve retention rates.

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