Five Steps to Create a Learning Culture in an Agile Tech Workforce

Many tech leaders are struggling to transform their companies after the COVID-19 pandemic. This lesson in agility demonstrates the importance of a workforce that is constantly evolving, learning, and driving innovation. Many IT business leaders are struggling to transform their businesses after the COVID-19 pandemic caused seismic shifts in global economic conditions. This harsh lesson about the importance of agility demonstrates the need to have a workforce that is constantly evolving, learning, and driving innovation.
The panel “Preparing for Future of Work with Learning Culture” was held during CompTIA ChannelCon 2020. It was moderated by Peter Busam of Equilibrium Consulting. Busam and the panel of thought leaders outlined five key points for building an agile workforce.
Culture First, Learning Second
The panelists and Busam discussed the relationship between agility and learning culture. Kristine Stewart from Channel Impact stated that a learning culture promotes agility because it supports an open mindset and a quest to learn, and that learning is directed towards the organization’s missions and goals.
Leaders must “walk the talk” in order to foster a learning culture that thrives and develops. They should also communicate how their learning paths relate to their personal growth and the business’ goals. Stewart said that “culture is set by those at top of a company.”
Last but not least, a learning culture does not happen once. Culture is a continuous process, just like organizational change.
You should not only focus on professional growth, but personal growth.
Panelists agreed that it is important to focus on individual employees’ personal growth in a learning environment, and not only their professional growth. Stewart explained that the emphasis on “elevating people” is important because they are unlikely to have immediate business needs. He cited the Dell prediction that 85% (of 2030’s jobs) do not exist currently.
Rekha Venuthurupalli, of vCom solutions, Inc., stated that IT workers need to keep learning new skills. IT professionals, just like all employees, require professional skills and behavioral skills. As all industries continue to digitally transform themselves, IT professionals and other workers will need more technical training.
The panel also pointed out that, while the top can set a learning culture, it is up to the bottom to adopt it. Learning must be tailored to each employee. According to HeadSping’s Suchi Rana, leaders must listen to their employees and offer options beyond online courses. Stewart agreed and said that employees should have the opportunity to demonstrate their worth by creating a learning environment that is safe and inclusive.
Accept Failure
The panel discussed the importance and necessity of allowing for failure within a learning culture. A high tolerance for failure allows employees to create new ideas and fosters ownership within the organization.
Foxall stated that failure is not only a coaching opportunity but also a chance to “elevate the human being, and not just the worker.”
Learn Culture by Hiring (and Fireing)
Panel members agreed that rich employee development benefits gave their companies competitive advantage in the job market and in their industry sector. Panelists emphasized the importance of authenticity and transparency when assessing an employee’s ability to adapt to a learning environment. The ability of a potential new hire to embrace the company’s learning culture is just as important as their technical skills.
What to do if an employee is resistant to the growth mindset?
A learning culture is effective when it is based on the belief that actions taken now will lead to success in the future. A person who refuses to adopt a growth mindset, even if they are able to produce results, is not a good fit for the company. Foxall acknowledged that “letting go of a performer can be difficult” but said “you can’t force anyone to learn.” Foxall, Venuthurupalli and Venuthurupalli stressed the importance transparency and authenticity in helping employees who are resistant to change to a healthy exit.
Make learning a community activity
Rana demonstrated how learning must be personalized and integrated into the fabric business. She encouraged the audience members to think about the employee-led learner.