How a Culture of Learning Can Support Your Project Management Goals

Paul Naybour

In their 2019 L&D Report, professional search engine found that companies that tie internal promotion to Learning & Development (L&D) are more likely to have a higher staff retention rate and highly satisfied employees.

In any field but especially in the field of project management, career progression is closely related to professional training. Professional training can teach project managers critical skills, such as resource and time allocation, how to manage change in a project, and how to establish the goals, objectives, and benefits of a particular project. Besides strengthening a project manager’s skill set and building their confidence, professional training provides them with an official qualification to increase hireability and trust.

Despite the importance of training to an employee’s career progression and satisfaction, some companies may be hesitant to invest in training courses if a strong culture of learning does not already exist. What is a culture of learning, exactly?

A learning culture can be defined as a work environment that supports and encourages the continuous and collective discovery, sharing and application of knowledge and skills at all levels in order to achieve the goals of the organization in an organic and sustainable way.

The implementation of a culture of learning in the workplace has become more necessary than ever as training, technology and learning needs evolve in the field of project management. Here are a few ways to implement and promote a culture of learning within your own organization and make sure you’re getting the project management training you want.

1. Keep Leaders Listening

In their survey of over 180 L&D departments, found that meaningful support from senior leaders was the number one way companies are driving a culture of innovation. Leadership and management were the top priority in corporate training in 2019, especially in companies that grew in the last financial year. As project managers, it’s important to communicate the importance of remaining at the forefront of recent developments in the field.

Establishing a culture of learning is important for any company and essential to have senior management on board and leading by way of example, in addition to dedicating financial resources. Leaders are not only important within organizations as forerunners of innovation, but also hold the power to drive change.

2. Make the Connection Between Learning and Innovation

Creating a safe space where employees feel free to take risks and challenge the status quo is the first step towards a healthy professional learning culture, according to L&D practitioners who participated in the latest US L&D Report. The quality of work is enhanced overall when the pursuit of learning for learning’s sake is actively encouraged and supported.

Project managers must make the connection between their personal development and the positive impact it has on their project’s success. Incentives to encourage learning on all levels is a persuasive aid in the mission to establish a learning culture. Aligning these incentives so that they help make this personal and business success connection evident is even more useful.

When professional development turns into a performance factor and is seen and measured as such by senior management, it becomes a powerful driver for employees to seek out relevant training to proactively further their careers.

The most advanced organizations have found ways to incorporate employees’ personal goals into the company’s own strategy, so that it organically aligns success. This alignment defines a learning culture: One’s success becomes the success of all.

3. Remember Everyone Learns Differently

Years of standardized and impersonal training programs have diminished the potential impact of L&D training. Learning is mainly a subjective experience and it’s important to take this into account when developing your L&D strategy. Do this by incorporating flexible and personalized learning opportunities for employees at all levels – both project managers and project team members’ needs must be considered.

Personalization can be as simple as allowing your employees to access the required content at a time that is best suited to them, or by tailoring it depending on the relevancy it has to their specific role.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to learning. Devising new and innovative ways to cultivate the habit of learning in your company is what a learning culture is all about. Hopefully, the end result will be a project team with the know-how and experience to tackle any challenge that comes its way.

About The Author:

Keely Witherow is a writer and content editor at professional training search engine and higher education portal A native-Texan based in Stockholm, Keely has utilized her interest in cross-cultural relations to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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