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Developing a learning culture

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Developing a learning culture is about a management style which encourages people to reflect, share knowledge and self-direct their learning. Below are some suggestions as to how you can encourage learning and plan for learning in your organisation.

A learning and development policy

It can be useful to produce a learning and development policy, for the following reasons:

  • It makes clear to your staff your stance on employee development.
  • The process of drafting the policy will help you to clarify what staff development you want to do and why.
  • You will be able to refer to it in the future as a reminder to keep you on track.

You can download an example policy statement (Word, 25KB), which you could use as a basis for drafting your own statement.

Developing an annual learning and development plan

While some learning and development activities will occur on an ad hoc basis, it can be helpful to plan ahead and develop an annual plan, for the following reasons:

  • It sets out how you are going to achieve your policy
  • It helps you to take a strategic approach to learning and development
  • You can budget for planned activities – it is more difficult to budget for unplanned ones
  • If you collate learning and development needs across the organisation, you can see which staff members have the same need, and plan a learning activity for all of them.

Below is a possible format for your annual learning and development plan:

Learning need identified from annual appraisal

Link with organisational strategy


Staff who need the learning and development

Suggested activity

Likely cost

Proposed date

Eg making bids for funds

We will need to raise £30,000 from external bids over the next financial year.

John, Reema

Frances is already experienced at this – she will work through a bid with them.

Staff time only

By April 2020 at the latest.







Evaluating learning and development

It is important to evaluate the effectiveness of learning and development activities, so that you can plan for future activities and follow up on any learning needs that have not been met.

Prior to any planned learning, such as a training course or computer-based learning, clarify with the employee the objectives of the learning.

After the planned learning, discuss with the employee the extent to which the objectives were met. You could also ask the employee to complete a brief evaluation form immediately after the event.

At the annual appraisal, you could look back at the planned learning and assess the extent to which the learning has been applied in the workplace.

Time off for training

Employees have the right to request time off work (unpaid) for training, subject to 26 weeks’ service and the organisation having 250 employees or more. See GOV.UK’s Training and study at work: Your rights. Even if you have fewer than 250 employees, you may wish to give time off for relevant learning. There is no obligation for the time off to be paid.

Investors in People

The Investors in People (IiP) Standard is a government quality award given to organisations that can demonstrate to an assessor that they invest in the development of all their employees.

IiP sets out best practice for the training and development of staff to achieve business goals. Employers who hold the IiP standard are able to send a positive message about their investment in employees to the outside world.

The aim of IiP is to help organisations to improve their performance by careful planning of the skills required to achieve their organisational objectives.

If you want to work towards the Investors in People standard, you can contact an accredited IiP assessor. They will visit your workplace, assess what processes you have in place already and help you to plan towards the standard.

To achieve the IiP Standard, you must:

  • show a thorough understanding of the standard and its principles
  • review your business practices against the standard
  • commit to meeting the standard and take any action this requires
  • provide evidence so that your business can be assessed against the standard.

You can find more information on the Investors in People website.

Regardless of whether your organisation has the IiP Standard, you can register on the website for free, to access resources to help you diagnose where your organisation is now, and where you want it to be.

Further resources

Page last edited Apr 05, 2022

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