Fostering a Learning Culture in Hard Times

The PathGather blog invokes a proverb of the aviation industry: “It takes three mistakes to kill you.” Meaning that just one failure doesn’t usually cause a catastrophic incident.” By analogy, one error rarely causes the intricate machinery of a company to nosedive.

You can propel your company forward during trying times by keeping or creating a culture of learning. Different from training, this means of creative learning can steer companies away from looming losses stemming from disengaged employees.

Lean into the challenge

When layoffs occur on a large scale, they affect employees at almost every level of an organization. Most significantly, they affect morale. PathGather points out the following destructive effects:,

  • “87% of surviving workers say they are less likely to recommend their organization as a good place to work.”
  • “77% of surviving workers unsurprisingly report that more errors and mistakes are made.”

Telling workers to keep their “heads down” during this time is counterproductive, especially when the hard costs of a lost employee can be nearly two times their annual salary.

To combat this instinct to close off from other employees, PathGather listed ways that companies can help boost the culture during hard times. Most importantly, “Fostering an authentic learning culture remains critical to an organization’s recovery and growth plans.”

Invest in growing talent

While you should be most committed to your company’s future after a round of layoffs, your remaining employees really need to hear that from you. During a time when communication might be stifled among employees, PathGather suggests actively reaching out to young and aspiring employees:“[Provide] an avenue for personal and professional growth. When employees recognize that staying at the organization remains the best way to develop skills valued by the marketplace, fewer people will think about heading for the door.”

Realize the value of learning

During a difficult time at a company, you need to undertake the challenge of lifting the toxic cloud of uncertainty and cynicism that can hang over your employees. True learning can lead them to more positive places. This is different from training, and I think PathGather nailed it in describing the difference:

“We should be clear about one very important thing here – we are talking about learning, not training. Training will help one handle the present situation if performed properly. Learning, on the other hand, will equip one not only for the present, but also better prepare for and mitigate future trials. The act of learning and the engagement it creates unlocks the power to change underlying motivators.”

When done correctly, real invested learning like this can prove invaluable for moving a company forward after a particularly rough patch. Stimulating thoughts of the future in driven individuals can empower employees to make changes that could end up turning everything around.

Dare to be great

PathGather provides one last open-ended, but motivational suggestion. Crisis “calls on individuals to rise to the occasion and make bold decisions.” When the chips are down, entrepreneurs might not feel like doubling down on bold investments in their employees. But like PathGather sums up, “It’s a bold move to invest in your talent when everyone is retreating. However, it’s this foresight perseverance that truly makes the difference in the business surviving or crashing.”

Lessonly is perfect for building a culture of learning at your company whether in good or challenging times. Take a tour. Sign up today.

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