“Every enterprise is a learning and teaching institution. Training and development must be built into it on all levels—training and development that never stops.” — Peter Drucker, management consultant and author.


In the fast-paced landscape of today’s corporate world, where change is constant and innovation is key, one of the most valuable assets a company can possess is a culture of continuous learning. Surely in 2024 we have all come to accept that we are living in a VUCAD (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous and Digital) age. The way we did things before is no longer good enough and we must continue to learn and grow.

As the head of R2S’ Education division, I’m happy to offer some advice on how to cultivate and embed a learning culture within your organisation, where professional development thrives, and employees are empowered to reach their full potential.


Why a Learning Culture Matters

Before we dive into the how-tos, let’s first understand why fostering a learning culture is imperative for any modern organisation. A learning culture not only keeps employees engaged and motivated but also ensures that your workforce stays relevant and adaptable in an ever-evolving market. It fosters innovation, drives productivity, and ultimately, boosts your bottom line. An unlearning organisation is a stagnant culture, and in this era, you cannot be stagnant for long before you are irrelevant.


Different Needs for Different Seasons: Tailoring Training to Suit Every Stage

Recognising that individuals have varying learning needs and preferences is fundamental to establishing an effective learning culture. From fresh recruits to seasoned veterans, each employee requires a tailored approach to training and development. Here’s how you can cater to the diverse learning needs within your organisation:

  1. Onboarding and Early Career Development: For new hires and those early in their careers, providing comprehensive onboarding programs and access to foundational skills training is essential. Short, digestible eLearning micro-courses can be particularly effective in introducing them to company policies, procedures, and basic job skills. By investing in their development from the get-go, you set them up for success and instil a sense of belonging from day one.
  2. Continual Growth and Upskilling: As employees progress in their roles, offering opportunities for ongoing learning and upskilling becomes paramount. This may involve providing access to industry-specific certifications, workshops, and seminars to deepen their expertise. For instance, individuals in roles requiring risk management skills could benefit from specialised risk management training programs tailored to their level of expertise. I highly recommend having an annual professional development budget for every staff member in your organisation. This shouldn’t be reserved for management only.
  3. Leadership Development: For those eyeing leadership positions, investing in leadership development programs and executive education can be a game-changer. Post-graduate courses, leadership conferences, and mentoring opportunities can equip aspiring leaders with the skills and insights needed to navigate complex challenges and drive organisational success. Don’t wait until they’re six months into a leadership role before you begin teaching them how to lead!
  4. Performance Enhancement: Even top performers can benefit from continuous learning to stay ahead of the curve. Offering advanced training programs and specialised workshops focused on cutting-edge industry trends can help high-performing employees further hone their skills and maintain peak performance levels. For those that are already at the top of their game, consider offering them the opportunity to learn a whole new skill set or a different part of your organisation. You never know where their drive and aptitude may take them.
  5. Keeping Fresh: Got a star performer who appears to have stagnated? This is common with people who excel in a discipline, but then get stuck just doing the same thing day-in-day-out because they’re good at it. Why not offer them a training budget to go learn something new? Perhaps your CFO would really like to do a short course on marketing. Maybe your HSES guru has a secret penchant for coding? Even if they don’t immediately use the skills in your organisation, getting them moving and learning again can only be a positive.


Building Blocks for a Learning Culture

Now that we’ve outlined the importance of tailored training let’s explore some practical steps for embedding a learning culture within your organisation:

  1. Lead by Example: Foster a culture where leaders actively participate in and advocate for continuous learning. When employees see their managers prioritising professional development, they’re more likely to follow suit. On a personal note, watching our CEO Dr Gav Schneider (who already has a PhD and works longer hours than anyone in our company) sign up and complete a Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security while recovering from spinal surgery was a truly inspiring moment. I couldn’t find too many excuses not to complete my own education after that.
  2. Provide Accessible Learning Resources: Make learning opportunities readily accessible to all employees through shared resources. Ensure that these resources cover a wide range of topics, from technical skills to soft skills development. One seriously underrated strategy that can work for organisations of all sizes is to have a library of relevant literature on hand for employees to borrow. In small teams I’ve seen this work with each person bringing in some of their favourite texts for others to benefit from and a simple sign in/sign out sheet takes care of the logistics. For larger organisations you may need more structure behind this, but you can start small! A dozen great books that are always visible as people walk past is a great way to trigger thoughts of learning for your staff. Other ideas include an internal eLearning platform, no-cost lunch and learn sessions with outside faces, a digital library and so on. You are only limited by your imagination.
  3. Encourage Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: Create forums and channels for employees to share insights, best practices, and lessons learned. Peer-to-peer learning can be incredibly valuable and fosters a sense of community within the organisation. Just finished a big project? Get the team to debrief and build a 3-4 page slide deck on lessons they learned then share it with everyone in the department.
  4. Recognise and Reward Learning: Acknowledge and celebrate employees who invest in their development. Whether it’s through
    awards, promotions, or simply words of appreciation, recognising their efforts sends a powerful message about the value placed on learning. Can you gamify your in-house eLearning academy so that people move up a leader board the more courses they complete? Public praise goes a long way, especially with younger employees.
  5. Seek Feedback and Adapt: Regularly solicit feedback from employees regarding their learning experiences and preferences. Use this feedback to refine and adapt your training programs to better meet their needs and preferences. Remember, what people want to learn can sometimes be more valuable than what you want to teach them.



In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, fostering a learning culture isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a strategic imperative. By embracing a culture of continuous learning, organisations can empower their employees to adapt, innovate, and thrive in an ever-changing world. So, invest in your most valuable asset – your people – and watch as they propel your organisation to new heights of success.

Remember, embedding a learning culture is a never-ending journey that must be watered like a garden. Stay committed, stay curious, and above all, keep learning!


Looking for some learning opportunities immediate?

Check out our short-courses at R2S Academy, or our post-grad qualifications at Institute of Presilience (RTO 478).



About the Author

Joe Saunders is the Group General Manager of Education and Consulting Services at Risk 2 Solution Group. He has been involved in adult education since 2005 and is passionate about “protecting what counts” within his divisions. He holds vocational, graduate and post-graduate qualifications across risk management, education, security and safety.