If you invest a healthy budget into your corporate training programs, but you still feel that your employees are not as successful as they could be, it’s worth examining whether or not your company fosters a community work environment. You can use the best training programs out there, but if your employees are in an environment devoid of collaboration, sharing, and mentoring, the training they receive will only go so far.

Creating and sustaining an environment that encourages community and collaboration is one of the most important steps you can take. Below we’ll outline five reasons why building a community-based environment and fostering a workplace of collaboration are so important to encourage continuous learning and growth.

#1: Informal interactions extend learning opportunities

According to research that has been done on environments that are rich in collaborative learning and have a strong sense of community, 70% of what an employee needs to know for success is captured outside of formal training. When you encourage mentorship, sharing of knowledge, and instill a sense of pride in those who help their colleagues, you are extending the classroom to the everyday work environment. Teach your supervisors and employees who have been on the job for a while to mentor new employees in the practical skills that aren’t captured in training books. Create an environment of “your success is my success” so that these skills are passed on.

#2: Collaborative work helps keep people engaged

If employees learn in a silo, they can easily lose attention and focus. Encourage collaborative learning environments so that employees remain engaged and take an active role in what they are learning and what is being shared.

#3: A community learning environment promotes values

Workplaces that have a strong sense of community also have a strong set of values. The types of values that accompany a collaborative learning environment include cooperation, responsibility, communication, and self-assessment. Sounds like positive values to instill in your work environment, right?

#4: Collaboration encourages various ways to solve problems

When workers share information collaboratively, brainstorm ideas, and are community-focused, they increase the level of knowledge for everyone. Think of how your perspective changes when you are in a room full of people offering their opinions and insight on a topic, versus how your perspective seems when it is just you, alone with your thoughts. Similarly, the more instances you can encourage your employees to collectively brainstorm and offer their insights, the more you’ll be encouraging increased learning and a broader range of opinions.

#5: Communities lead to teamwork and greater group i

ntegration

The fifth benefit of community-focused workplaces is the sense of teamwork that your employees will have. Rarely do workplaces cater to individuals only – teams and departments are the backbone of most organizations. By encouraging collaborative learning and a spirit of community and continuous improvement, you’ll also be enhancing the ability of your employees to work in teams and improve their group’s integration. When training becomes more than a solitary activity – when it becomes a facet of work that you encourage everyone to take on – teamwork naturally follows.

Is your work environment community based?

Do your employees feel a strong sense of cooperation, collaboration, and community in their work environment? If you’re not sure, survey your employees, talk to them, and get their input. Learn where you can make improvements – by talking to the very people who you want to collaborate – so that you can foster a workplace where sharing and mentoring become a constant theme, and training becomes an activity that extends outside of the classroom.