Career & development

Why a learning culture is the key to success

February 20, 2024

learning organization

Learning as a culture has been an important part of Axis’ DNA since the company was founded. To find out more about how learning is the foundation for every employee’s current role and future development – and for the success of Axis itself – we caught up with Anders Lyddby, People Attraction and Development Manager in Sweden.

Let’s dive deeper into how a culture of learning works in practice at Axis around the world.

Creating an environment for learning

“There are organizational and individual responsibilities in creating a learning culture: The business carries the responsibility of creating the right environment for learning. As with any aspect of organizational culture, any difference between what the business says it is committed to, and what it does, can undermine the whole premise. This is why a culture of learning must be part of a company’s DNA and demonstrated by the highest levels of management and everyone beyond”, Anders explains.

Central to a positive learning culture is an environment where employees feel comfortable to try new ideas, embrace challenges, offer new perspectives and opinions, and learn from their experiences, whatever the outcome. After all, learning is often a process of trial and error.

Anders continues: “It’s not only that employees should feel comfortable to experiment, but that we actively encourage them to try new things. Even where they might feel that they lack specific skills to deliver on their idea, we’re keen that they push themselves, safe in the knowledge that we’ll be supportive whatever the outcome. It can often be in these unexpected outcomes where the most learning takes place.”

It’s not always the case that companies who say they are happy for people to try new ideas, even if the outcome isn’t successful, deliver on this is reality. When he first joined Axis, Anders was keen to test our commitment: “I asked several members of senior management to talk to me about some of their own experiments at work, particularly those that didn’t turn out as expected. I see this as an important indicator of a learning culture. Every one of them was able to come up with specific examples of were trying something new had resulted in an unexpected outcome, and what they learnt from that. It was a positive sign, for sure.”

Finding opportunities for learning and growth

Anders Lyddby, People Attraction and Development Manager.

A culture of learning recognizes that ‘learning’ can come from multiple sources – internal and external – and often from places which wouldn’t be regarded as ‘traditional’ learning and development resources. Again, the organizational responsibility is to create an environment where these sources can be accessed, but it is the employee’s responsibility – alongside their manager – to take advantage of the opportunity.

“There’s an established 70/20/10 ratio for learning within organizations committed to a culture of continual growth,” Anders says. “That means that around 70% of learning takes place on the job, 20% through networking, and 10% through formal learning & development programs. Whether in relation to the employee’s current role or their direction in the future, these three factors combine to offer the most effective route to individual growth.”

Through the ‘Live my Day’ initiative, everyone at Axis has the chance to contact any other employee to learn more about their own role and area of expertise, both people gaining fresh perspectives and expertise through the collaboration. Whether through curiosity or a clear desire to move in a new direction, these meetings can form the basis for the employee’s development plan moving forwards. Long-standing Axis employees can forge a number of separate ‘careers’ within the company.

Initiatives such as “Axis Axchange”, which enables collaboration across international markets and departments, the “Axis Leadership Program”, and the “Axis Mentorship Program”, are all examples of how the company opens opportunities for learning.

“The ‘growth mindset’ that we look to identify and encourage results in a belief that if you put the effort in, you can acquire knowledge and learn new skills. That’s hugely motivational for employees, creates a highly engaged workforce, and has a positive impact on staff retention,” says Anders.

Maintaining a culture of innovation

From the creation of the world’s first network video camera, we’ve had a history of fostering a culture of continual innovation. As you would expect, we have teams of people focused solely on developing new products and technologies, and within which a culture of innovation is essential.

But in line with our philosophy of being a learning organization, everyone in the business is encouraged to be an innovator. Anders says: “Not all new ideas need to relate to our products and technologies, of course. They can just as easily relate to how we run the business, undertake our marketing, work with our partners, or a hundred other areas where we can improve. There’s an open door to innovation across our business, and the growth mindset fostered by the learning culture is the foundation.”

We’re a fast-growing business, with more than 5,000 employees around the world, and a plan to grow in the coming years. Maintaining a learning culture in such a period of growth is challenging but essential. It’s critical to have a global recruitment process that identifies candidates with a growth mindset and drive.

“Because all Axis employees are advocates of the benefits that being part of a learning organization brings, attracting candidates with a similar growth mindset becomes self-fulfilling to an extent. Though it’s still essential to have diligently applied processes. But for the right people, working at Axis can open numerous opportunities for personal and professional development and progression. We know that this leads to the ongoing success of the business as a whole, which is why we’ll always be a learning organization.”

If Axis sounds like an organization in which you’d thrive, why not check out the current opportunities to join the team?

Click here to learn more about working at Axis

Fact box: What´s defining a learning organization?

The term ‘learning organization’ is largely regarded as having been coined by MIT senior lecturer Peter Senge in his 1990 book ‘The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization’.

A productive learning culture supports employees to identify relevant and appropriate learning opportunities, teaches them how to learn new business skills and knowledge, and creates a shared ownership of the learning environment. It’s a win-win.