How to Build a Productive Learning Culture in 5 Steps

September 11, 2018
How to Build a Productive Learning Culture in 5 Steps

If you’re wondering how to build a productive learning culture, well—you’ve come to the right place!

See, we’re talking about how to build a productive learning culture all month on the CFS blog. We’ve learned just how powerful a culture that values learning can be. (Yes, we’ve been very fortunate to have experienced this power both internally and externally when working with clients!).

And now, we’re bringing this incredible topic to your doorstep.


Because companies that promote continued learning are better.

In fact, Oracle cites that, “High-impact learning organizations (HILOs) are better at things like skills development and talent development. According to a study by Bersin & Associates, titled ‘High-Impact Learning Culture: The Best 40 Best Practices for Creating an Empowered Enterprise’ (June 10, 2010), HILOs that have a strong learning foundation in place tend to significantly outperform their peers in several areas:

  • They are 32 percent more likely to be first to market.
  • They have 37 percent greater employee productivity.
  • And, they have a 34 percent better response to customer needs.
  • They have a 26 percent greater ability to deliver quality products.
  • They are 58 percent more likely to have skills to meet future demand.”

As you can see from these statistics, learning cultures have great power and potential!

How to Build a Productive Learning Culture

Ready to learn how to build a productive learning culture in your own organization? Let’s build it!

Step #1: Download the Learning Culture eBook

Yes, step one is easy! Start by downloading this eBook – Learning Culture: Why a Learning Culture is Important & How to Create One in Your Sales Organization.

It was just launched and was written by Arianna Miskel, Sales & Marketing Coordinator here at Criteria for Success.

In the eBook, she details the benefits of having a learning culture. Then, she dives into some very practical tips on how you can get started. It will certainly give you a head start!

Complimentary Sales eBook - Learning Culture: Why a Learning Culture is Important & How to Create One in Your Sales Organization

Step #2: Develop a Process

Once you’ve read the eBook, you’ll be all set to start building your own learning culture process.

Why is process important?

Well, have you ever tried to do anything without a plan? It just doesn’t work! Set your company and your team up for success by developing best practices and processes in the area of learning and development.

Wondering where to begin?

The first place to start is to outline your why. Why is a learning culture important to you and to the organization specifically? Outline your own personal “why” and any associated goals.

Next, outline the how, or the mechanics. How will you help your team develop? What training and programs will you put in place? How will training function, and how frequently will training take place? What tools and resources will you use? Who will be involved?

Outline the steps you’ll take and what learning will look like for each employee.

Need some training topic ideas? Here’s a free Sales Training Topics Checklist with dozens of ideas to get you started!

Sales Training Topics Checklist

Step #3: Get Buy-In

Have you ever tried to get a 2-year-old to do something that they don’t want to do?

Well, the same thing happens when we try to force adults to do things too.

Get ahead of any possible resistance by being prepared and having a buy-in conversation with your team. Let them know your why first, and focus on how you’re going to lead by example. Speak to the new process you’ve put in place and how it’s going to benefit them.

Then, ask for their participation. Don’t tell your employees that they’re being rolled into this great program and that they’re going to like it. Instead, ask. Ask them for feedback and for their thoughts. Talk to your team about how they like to learn and what they want to learn. Ask your employees what they need.

Then, listen. Just listen. Absorb the feedback and work it into the process. And as time goes on, keep the lines of communication open. Let your team know that you’re always open to listen and adjust.

Step #4: Encourage Collaboration for Continuous Employee Development

Once you’ve built your process and have buy-in from your team, it’s time to drive your new learning process. And nothing will drive this better, or more effectively, than your own team.

An easy place to start is within your digital Sales PlayBook. The beauty of a digital Sales PlayBook is that it’s a living, breathing tool. (Okay so maybe not breathing! But it certainly should always be changing, growing, and moving).

And because your PlayBook lives in the cloud, your sales, marketing, operations, HR, and management teams (to name a few) will have access to knowledge (and each other!) any time they need.

Encourage your sales team to collaborate by making it easy for them to work together. You might consider adding a forum discussion topics in your Sales PlayBook related to personal and professional development. For example, a “Book Club” forum might drive employees to read a new business book each month and discuss the impact. Or, you might have a page in your PlayBook dedicated to continued learning efforts with new topics each week or month.

What’s important to remember here is that it’s about creating an environment where your team can work together, talk together, and grow together. Continuous employee development is so much easier when your employees are helping to drive the initiative!

Step #5: Watch for Pitfalls

Habits take time to form. You’ll want to remember this if you’re new to the learning culture concept.

Be patient with the process and with your team, and be open to feedback. In fact, ask for feedback!

Schedule recurring reminders to seek out feedback—from leadership, from your sales team, and from any vendors that you might be working with.

For your sales team, ask them when and how they want to learn. Get to know the learning styles that exist on your team and find ways to help make an impact. For example, you might have some visual learners on your team and some that are auditory or kinesthetic. When you provide additional training, learning styles should be considered. During in-person sales training events, make sure to include these aspects. In addition to a presentation with visual slides or handouts, also include engaging conversations, roll-play, and other exercises will allow your team more opportunities to develop.

And remember, don’t quit! Survey your team frequently to make sure you’re providing the best experience possible.

Keep Growing, Keep Learning!

Now you know how to build a productive learning culture! Are you ready to tackle the challenge?

I’d love to hear from you! Throw me a comment below! And don't forget to keep learning and growing!

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