Why Creating A Culture Of Learning Is Not Enough To Stop Employee Churn

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Is creating a culture of learning the answer to employee churn?

Employee turnover is a problem for businesses. It’s costly and time-consuming to recruit and train new employees.

Employee churn can cost as much as one-third of an employee’s annual salary.

But, there are hidden costs as well. For example, a recent Forbes article, “Five Hidden Costs of Employee Attrition,” provides costs not always factored into the calculation.

  • Reduced productivity during the time it takes to replace the employee.
  • Employee burnout – more stress on the remaining team to meet production schedule and goals.
  • Loss of “tribal knowledge.” This is propriety knowledge gained within the organization, expertise not known by other employees that even new training can’t replace.

A culture of learning fosters an ecosystem of experimentation and innovation, providing safe spaces for employees to try new ideas and approaches to problem-solving. This can lead to new services, products, and processes that improve a business’s competitive advantage.

Creating a culture of learning is an obvious answer to improve employee retention and innovation and save money. But more than its creation is needed to stop employee churn.

What Is A Culture Of Learning?

A culture of learning is an ecosystem where learning and development are valued, prioritized, and rewarded. A strong learning culture creates a mindset where everyone in the organization believes they can learn skills to help them perform their roles better. Furthermore, the organization has visible and tangible migration pathways to positions of greater responsibility.

A CIPD report, “Creating Learning Cultures,” says that organizations with the most effective learning cultures show increased productivity, growth, and profitability. In addition, employee loyalty increases, and employee churn decreases.

So, why is creating a culture of learning not enough to stop employee churn?

The Employee Is Not Vested In Your Company

Some employees take a job while continuing to look for their dream profession. Their passion may not be for this work. They lack a vested interest in the success of the organization. A culture of learning is not going to make any difference in their professional lives. The job is merely a placeholder.

Culture Of Learning Is Not A Priority

To reach the full potential of your learning culture, it must be a priority for your company. Many times, the effort stops with recruitment flyers and marketing assets. However, simply saying you have all types of training courses your employees can access is not creating a learning culture. Providing time to learn is also not enough. You must also have an organizational mission, vision, and values that align with your employees’ needs.

How To Make It Work

To succeed, a culture of learning needs to be aligned with your strategic business plan and have a dedicated budget. Developing a culture of learning is a long-term effort. It requires that you think beyond short-term goals. As your design your learning ecosystem, Identify the capabilities you need today and in the future.

Include the executive suite as nurturing leaders in the overall training and development. For example, having a CEO or senior leader who values learning and talks about it all the time creates a strong learning culture.

Create an ecosystem that includes qualified staff to administer learning and development programs.

Creating A Culture Of Learning That Is Passive Won’t Be Enough To Stop Employee Churn

In many organizations, a culture of learning means offering access to online courses or professional development seminars that provide credits. Unfortunately, this relatively passive approach and concept is insufficient to stop employee churn.

Everyone is not ready to jump into learning right away. Behavior change is gradual.

How To Make It Work

Meet your employees where they are in the learning curve. Encourage small accomplishments.

Ask employees what type of learning and development would be most valuable for them and how they prefer to learn.

Use metrics to identify what is resonating and having the most significant impact, then adapt as needed. Your learning culture should be alive, fluid, and ready to pivot.

Without proactive strategies embedded in an organization’s learning culture, it will remain more like a good idea sitting on the shelf that’s never carried out.

Employee Training Is Inadequate

Studies prove that most employees leave because of inadequate training. Employee training helps your teams reach their full potential. But it should be provided to everyone, regardless of their role or seniority.

Training not perfectly matched to the employee can cause discouragement rather than empowerment. The frustration can cause the employee to feel inadequate or incapable, and they’ll leave for a better environment.

How To Make It Work

Creating a culture of learning means providing team members with the time and space to engage in continuous learning to grow their knowledge base and develop new skills.

  • Make sure learning opportunities are inclusive and accessible to all employees.
  • Allow for flexibility. What works for one employee may not work for another. Make the programs flexible enough to meet each individual’s needs.
  • Provide role-based training. Create a learning culture where your employees can obtain the skills and expertise they need to excel in their roles. Additionally, Include a mentorship program where employees shadow an expert, higher-level employee, or manager who is already competent in the skillset.

Lack Of Career Growth Opportunities

If you don’t provide opportunities for career growth or advancement within your organization, then your culture of learning is not going to stop employee churn. Instead, your employees will see it as merely lip service. As a result, they will not be motivated to stay even if they are provided learning and development opportunities.

How To Make It Work

Develop a roadmap and timeline for advancement within the organization. Encourage your employees to share their vision for themselves in your company’s growth. Ensure that learning and development opportunities meet their needs.

The Culture Of Learning Doesn’t Foster Trust And Collaboration

If you’ve created a culture of learning that doesn’t feel emotionally secure, employees might go through the motions, but they might not stay. To be successful, create an emotionally safe ecosystem that fosters trust and collaboration.

Create opportunities for employees to discuss your learning and development, upskilling, and reskilling programs. Make sure everyone feels safe to ask questions and share setbacks.

Encourage employees to provide feedback, positive and critical. Ask for suggestions on improving the organization’s learning and development programs.

Include management in open discussions about the challenges of learning.


Employee churn is more than a headache for businesses. Not only is it time-consuming and costly to recruit and train new employees. There are trickle-down effects that impact innovation and employee satisfaction. Creating an ecosystem of sustainable learning has the power to stop employee churn but only if it’s assertive rather than passive.

  • To successfully stop employee churn, a culture of learning needs to be prioritized and rewarded.
  • CEO and senior management need to be fully invested in learning and development.
  • Learning opportunities should be flexible, inclusive, and accessible to all employees.
  • Employees should be provided with a clear roadmap to professional development and advancement within the organization.
  • The learning and development ecosystem should be emotionally safe and foster trust and collaboration.

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