Blog Post

Fostering a Culture of Continuous Learning in the Workplace

Dr. Laetitia Tia Samuel
November 16, 2023
July 17, 2024
Illustration of lego blocks on gold background

Even the best employees can become stagnant. Without the resources to learn and grow, these individuals slowly lose motivation and interest in their roles. Left unchecked, that disengagement can limit productivity—and jeopardize the business at large.

Conversely, businesses thrive when employees of all levels are constantly learning, developing, and applying new skill sets.

Want your organization to look like the latter? Start by fostering a culture of continuous learning.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of continuous learning in the workplace. We’ll also equip you with tips for bringing ongoing education to life in your organization. 

What Is Continuous Learning in the Workplace?

Continuous learning is the act of consistently educating and upskilling yourself in the workplace. Where some organizations invest in employee onboarding but little else, a culture of continuous learning advocates for long-term employee development—from day one to day 1,000.

Don’t be mistaken: Continuous learning doesn’t mean continuous training. Employee education comes in many forms—from courses, workshops, and other formal learning to book clubs, podcasts, lunch and learns, and even social learning. No two employees learn the same, and a culture of continuous learning reflects the diversity of those learning needs.

The Benefits of Continuous Learning

Your workplace is stronger when ongoing education is part of its foundation. According to LinkedIn, seven in 10 employees say learning helps them feel connected to their organization. Eight in 10 employees say it gives their work purpose.

When employees feel energized in their roles, it signals increasing job satisfaction and stronger engagement. These individuals go the extra mile for their organization. They care more about the mission and want to stay longer to see it through. 

Now imagine applying that mindset to all employees at the cultural level. What would it mean for your business? Simple: It’d help you achieve your goals and become a top competitor in your industry. 

Let’s dig deeper into the benefits of continuous learning in the workplace.

Improve employee engagement and productivity 

Many companies fail to adopt learning and development because they don’t see a long-term benefit beyond onboarding. Those organizations are leaving money on the table.

According to Deloitte, businesses that provide continuous learning opportunities are 92% more likely to innovate and 37% more productive. It’s easy to see why. When employees repeat the same tasks for too long, they become stagnant. Nothing is new. Any challenge in the role subsides, and boredom quickly sets in.

Now imagine the opposite. When employees are learning new skills daily, they’re always challenged. They engage their brain and are encouraged to come up with creative solutions. Suddenly, their work carries a renewed sense of meaning. Naturally, they feel more engaged!

That engagement goes hand in hand with productivity. Any skills your employees hone will help them develop novel ideas, create innovative products, and unearth competitive advantages. The more diverse learning opportunities you provide, the more diverse thinking you cultivate. It all results in better business outcomes.

Retain top talent

Talented employees have options. They won’t stay at a company they don’t feel valued at for long. They may stay at a company that values them—until somewhere else values them more. However, they will stay at an organization that not only values them, but regularly invests in them

Continuous learning helps the most talented people in your organization avoid feeling like they’ve plateaued. Organizations that invest in reskilling programs see a 50% increase in employee retention and a 73% increase in satisfaction. Moreover, LinkedIn found that a strong learning culture improves internal mobility and creates more promotions into management roles.

By implementing continuous learning in the workplace, you communicate to your people that you are committed to their long-term growth, happiness, and success. Invest in employee enablement, provide ample opportunities to learn, and create clear professional development plans that align with your company’s future. In short, give employees a reason to stay.

Do right by your people, and your people will do right by you. 

Achieve better business goals, faster

What happens when all your employees operate at the height of their talent? Work becomes easier and more efficient. You turn great talent into great teams, and achieve goals that were never achievable before. 

But that talent isn’t guaranteed. You cultivate it over time, by investing in ongoing learning.

Employees can do more and be more when they have access to the latest and greatest education. From on-the-job training to extra-curricular courses and certifications that build in-demand skills, employee education helps level the playing field for everyone at your organization, regardless of background, title, or experience.

By making ongoing learning a part of your culture, you give everyone the tools to be a top performer. In other organizations, you’d have to hire externally to find that kind of talent. But with L&D, you can develop them consistently, from within—all while decreasing churn, knowledge loss, and business inefficiencies. 

Outpace your competitors

When you’re retaining more employees—and, by extension, more institutional knowledge—it gives you a competitive advantage compared to companies that struggle to cultivate the same level of talent. The power of that skills gap cannot be overstated.

There’s no magic bullet in business. Whether you’re a market leader or you’re looking to disrupt established players, success hinges not on shortcuts, but on consistency. The same applies to education. Commit to constant learning, and you’ll see your talent outpace even your fiercest competitors.

A great way to facilitate this growth is to offer an education stipend. At Intellum, we offer a $3,500 professional development stipend (aka the “Boost Budget”) to all employees as a way to supercharge their learning experience. Check out the hashtag #BoostedByIntellum on LinkedIn to see some of the ways our great people choose to use the benefit.

How To Foster a Culture of Continuous Learning in the Workplace

The benefits of continuous learning at work are clear—but how do you create a learning culture in your organization? Here are three tips to help you get started:

1. Define your vision for ongoing education.

Continuous learning looks different in every workplace. So, it’s important to determine how you’d facilitate it in your business. 

Define your vision by asking the following questions:

  • What are our team’s current skill gaps? How might education help bridge those gaps?
  • What are our business goals? How can education further those goals?
  • What learning are we pursuing? An in-person training program? Online eLearning?
  • Who are our instructors? How will they facilitate the learning?
  • How will learners engage with the training? Gamification? Incentives?
  • Have we achieved the right balance of formal vs. informal employee education?
  • What feedback will we gather? How will we gather and act on that feedback?

Once you understand what you want ongoing education to look like in your workplace, you can create a plan to achieve your vision. Be as detailed as possible so there are no discrepancies about when, where, and how you’ll build a continuous learning culture. 

2. Invest in diverse learning opportunities.

For a continuous learning environment to succeed, you need to offer employees a breadth and depth of content. Otherwise, they’ll stop engaging the moment they think they’ve explored everything there is to see.

Continuous learning is lifelong learning. The knowledge and skills your employees take away from your program will help them not just at your organization, but in future job opportunities and personal endeavors. To keep them invested in your vision, you need to appeal to those needs and aspirations.

Consider designing content that:

  • Challenges employees to think beyond their current role
  • Is accessible to learners of all backgrounds and experience levels
  • Incorporates a mix of media (text, videos, job aids, etc.)
  • Builds transferable skills (communication, project management, leadership, etc.)
  • Offers a call to action (a supplemental podcast, a future lesson, etc.) 

3. Foster an environment where everyone can learn.

Continuous learning in the workplace is a collective effort—one that’s only possible if everyone can take part. When work conditions are poor or employees are constantly playing catch-up on projects, they won’t be able to dedicate the time or effort necessary to get value from your program.

Much of this is out of your control, but that’s not to say you can’t do your part. The more accessible your eLearning, the easier it becomes for others to consume your content and learn new things. These individuals may experience friction or frustration in their “day job,” but they don’t have to feel that way when navigating a course or enjoying a workshop.

Also consider the various learner personas you’re trying to reach, and personalize your content to fit the unique needs of these learners. If certain employees are crunched for time, you could offer bite-sized lessons they can take in five minutes or less. If others have more time to give to L&D, consider offering longer-form courses and certifications.

Power Your Continuous Learning Program With Intellum

Designing engaging content for your entire organization requires time, effort, and scale. Making content that is personalized to your audience is even more challenging.

Intellum is the world’s leading education platform. Designed for continuous learning, Intellum empowers L&D teams to create learning content that works for everyone. Build courses, certifications, and other education with our powerful authoring tools, then host them in one convenient place. Track performance data from our in-app dashboard, and make continual improvements to ensure your education is best in class.

About the Author

Dr. Laetitia Tia Samuel Speaker Headshot
Dr. Laetitia Tia Samuel
Sr. Program Manager, Education
Tia is a program manager and learning experience designer who brings creativity, passion, innovation, and expertise to organizations looking to lead the way toward learning proficiency (including Intellum!). Tia has her Doctorate in Administration and Curriculum Development. She's also a social entrepreneur, engaging global social needs through community development, education, training, and strategic partnerships.