Our culture of continuous learning

People· 5min

May 20, 2022

Kevin Crawford, Senior Learning & Development Partner at Form3, provides insight into our culture of continuous learning.

At Form3 we like to think differently. Creativity and curiosity are values we celebrate, this helps to create an environment where norms can be challenged, and new ideas embraced.

The challenge is sustaining this as we continue to scale-up in an increasingly competitive digital marketplace. One solution is to embed and encourage a culture of continuous learning. Let’s take a look at why this is so important and what it means for life at Form3.

First things first, what exactly is a continuous learning culture? The CEB (Corporate Executive Board) offers the following definition which aligns closely with how we work at Form3:

  • Create an environment that supports an open mindset.
  • Encourage an independent search for knowledge.
  • Welcome shared learning that relates to organisational strategy.

So, whilst leadership example and links to strategy are of course important, we place more emphasis on the individual nature of learning. Each team member is embarking on their own career journey and will embed learning into their personal and working lives. It’s critical that each Form3 employee has the freedom to set their own development goals and has all the necessary tools & support to achieve them.

Deloitte paints a compelling business case for continuous learning, finding that firms that implement it:

  • Are 46% more likely to be first to market.
  • Experience 37% higher productivity.
  • Are 92% more likely to innovate.

Yet learning isn’t the norm in every organisation. Fewer than half of UK employees believe their job offers good opportunities to develop their skills, and only a third of L&D practitioners feel they’ve successfully developed a positive culture for learning, despite the vast majority wishing to do so from the outset.

So, what’s stopping other companies from adopting a continuous learning culture? For one thing, a culture is developed naturally and is employee led, and is not something that can be decided at a board room table.  Additionally, everyone is busy these days – busy with projects, deadlines, meetings, emails, not to mention their personal lives. Short-term pressing problems are taking precedence over long term goals, such as personal development.

 So, what do we do differently at Form3? We utilise OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) as a goal setting methodology, which allows each individual and each team to build their own personal development and performance goals. These are fully transparent across the business and are designed to be challenging yet achievable, with managers working alongside their team members to support their success. OKRs allow everyone at Form3 to share their own learning journey and ensure that development is encouraged, celebrated, and rewarded.

One of the barriers to learning at work is simply not having the capacity due to a busy workload. To overcome this, Form3 introduced Learning Days – these allow every team member to use 6 working days every year to engage in learning and development activities. We want to encourage our team members to be curious and innovative when exploring how they will use this time.

However, simply having the time to learn doesn’t negate the cost associated with achieving your personal, professional, or technical goals. So, to compliment Learning Days we offer a L&D Allowance – this is an annual budget that can be used to fund courses, qualifications, industry conferences, subscriptions, reading materials etc.

Additionally, we have invested in Udemy Business, this is a next-gen learning platform that gives all employees access to over 14000 courses, as well as our own Form3 learning pathways. It acts as a central location to discover and share new skills.

All these initiatives aim to create a supportive learning environment where employees are fully equipped to stay future-fit in a complex and competitive world of work. Overall, we are proud that our team have complete autonomy to grow their career in the direction they want it to go. This has proven to be a big step in making continuous learning culturally acceptable at Form3.

Happy Learning!

Written by

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Kevin Crawford Senior Learning & Development Partner

Kevin is a Senior Learning & Development Partner at Form3 and based in Edinburgh!