How to create a learning culture

Agility is the key to success in today’s challenging business environment. We’ve all heard of companies that failed to respond to changing market conditions and lost out to more agile competitors.

Agility is all about people and culture. As research by McKinsey & Co. has found, agile organisations share certain features, including a people-centred culture that operates in rapid, technology-enabled learning cycles. “Agile organisations seek to make continuous learning an ongoing, constant part of their DNA,” says a report on this research.

Culture change

To become and remain agile, organisations need to make sure that learning is an integral part of their culture – not something that is pushed out whenever new challenges come up.

Getting this culture change right brings big rewards, with the latest L&D benchmark report from Towards Maturity revealing that organisations with a high performing learning culture are eight times more likely than others to achieve agility. What’s more, employees who work in this kind of culture and know that the company is willing to invest in their development are likely to feel valued. That, in turn, will have a positive impact on workforce engagement, productivity and retention.

So how can you create a culture of learning in your business? Start at the top, says one commentator. “When the top leadership embraces and promotes continual education, it’ll naturally flow through the organisation. It takes work to affect a culture, but it is so much easier when the leadership believes in learning.”

It’s also important to allow employees to choose what they learn, according to the head of L&D at the technology company Slack, where apart from compliance and security training, no learning programmes are compulsory. The company, he adds, thinks about “work as learning and learning as work”, holding managers accountable for driving learning by integrating it into employee performance reviews. 

Options for learners

In a culture where learning is part of day-to-day work, learning is not confined to the classroom. It is just as likely to happen when employees are at home or on their way to work and decide to listen to a podcast or watch a video on their mobile devices. 

Yes, there’s a place for formal, classroom-based training: there always will be. But if your goal is to create a culture where employees want to keep learning, you need to offer them a range of options when it comes to where, when and how they learn. Not every organisation has the resources and expertise to do this on its own – which is where Raytheon Professional Services can help. 

“Our approach is to provide a blend of portable media assets to enhance both formal and informal learning,” says Christian Floeter, Head of Learning Solutions EMEA, at Raytheon Professional Services. “Clients can, for example, use social learning platforms such as wikis, video portals and managed communities to help learners connect with each other so that learning doesn’t stop once a course has ended.

“We also support our clients in creating a learning culture by harnessing technology to collect data on the impact of learning activities, and use the resulting insights to improve the options available to learners.”

Collaborative learning for L&D professionals

You can discover how your peers are building learning cultures at the 7th annual Raytheon Symposium, hosted by Raytheon Professional Services, in partnership with CorporateLeaders. Bringing together 50 senior HR, Learning & Development and Training leaders, this year’s collaborative learning event will focus on the theme of “Leveraging L&D to overcome the skills shortages”.

To register or for more information about the Symposium, which will be held in London on 26th September and in Frankfurt on 10th October, visit