Now that the U.S. labor market has added more than 1.2 million jobs so far this year and the unemployment rate continues to decline, many of you may be taking the leap to look for your learning culturenext career move. Whether it’s with a new company or with your current employer, it always helps know how you can best position yourself for the job of your dreams.
What if you found a career site that actually gave you a tip sheet that describes what you should include on your résumé, what to say in a cover letter, and how to prepare for an interview? Wouldn’t it be great to have this inside information to shape and tell your personal story?
When you apply for a position at TELUS, a Canadian telecommunications company, that’s what you get. The “Career Tools” page on the company Web site offer job seekers with advice on how to define career goals, identify strengths and accomplishments, and find a position at the company that suits them best.
But even more impressive, this type of learning doesn’t end with the application process. Instead, learning is embedded into daily operations and includes collaboration tools and a leadership approach that promotes the open exchange of information. According to Dan Pontefract, the company’s chief envisioner, “The more open and collaborative you are with people, the healthier your culture becomes.” And the healthier the culture, the more engaged the workforce – and the better the business performs.
4 steps to creating a true culture of learning
With this full-cycle approach to corporate learning, TELUS is transforming the way businesses train and develop employees. Here are some quick and easy tips businesses of all sizes can use to create their own pervasive learning culture:
- Think beyond training. Integrate informal and social learning with traditional classroom or online training. Approach learning with the principle that the collective genius of the entire company provides the wisdom needed to increase competence, productivity, and business performance.
- Open up the culture. A collaborative culture that encourages learning creates a virtuous circle. At TELUS, the executive leadership team models its desired state of a culture of learning, which includes collaboration, learning, communicating, demonstrating integrity, delivering, and developing others. Better yet, employees that exhibit these same leadership traits indicate that they are almost three times more likely to be engaged with their work than those who don’t adopt these attributes.
- Create a structure that enables employees to share learning freely. It’s one thing to ask employees to take an active role in educating themselves and each other. But they can’t (or won’t) do it unless the work environment supports learning. Make it easy for employees to find information, acquire expertise, or participate in experiential training – whether an employee wants to learn how to perform a task, consult an expert, or develop a new skill.
- Tie learning to performance. Measure the impact of learning directly with metrics derived from a quarterly survey of employees and managers. The results of this exercise should give insight into what everyone is learning, how they learned it, and whether that new intelligence directly impacted overall business productivity and efficiency.
Life is a learning experience – 24x7x365
The great Yogi Berra once said, “Life is a learning experience, only if you learn.” Even though most of his quotes tend to make people smile, shake their heads, and laugh, there’s always some wisdom in simple quips like this one. From the time we are born until the day we die, we are always learning something. Whether it’s through books, classrooms, life observations, hands-on experiences, and advice from the people we love, we learn something new about ourselves, others, humanity, and the world around us.
So why should the world of work be any different? After all, research shows that employees are more engaged with their jobs when they believe that they are making progress in their careers and when they have managers who make use of their talents.
To learn more about TELUS’ corporate learning practices, download the case study “How TELUS Engages Employees Through Pervasive Learning.”