Deloitte Global’s 2019 survey of Human Capital Trends was pretty stark – 86% of respondents believe that in the face of rapid change in the workplace, they must reinvent their ability to learn.
However only 50% of those respondents reported that their L&D department was evolving rapidly and 14% said it was too slow. Just 1 in 9 of respondents rated their learning culture as excellent and 43% said it was “good”. Almost half were of the view that their workplace training culture was inadequate. Add to this the finding in an earlier edition that almost half of millenials were planning to resign due to inadequate training and there is a clear concern for employers emerging.
Deloitte’s view is that organisations must create a learning culture that is broad in scope:
In a competitive external talent market, learning is vital to an organisation’s ability to obtain needed skills. But to achieve the goal of lifelong learning, it must be embedded into not only the flow of work but the flow of life.
That certainly sounds like an ambitious goal, but in fact, as I’ve written previously it’s often surprising just how much impact you can get with relatively minor alterations or merely by elevating practices you undertake already.
Beyond that there are emerging technological solutions such as LXPs that are designed to create learning cultures (rather than merely deliver training). Meanwhile xAPI is helping organisations coordinate multiple forms of training experience throughout their workplaces – another key to creating a learning culture (and it is often free to do so).
Deloitte coined a term “DevWork” to highlight this trend of combining learning with work. The term is derived from DevOps which refers to the way IT teams are now extending their work beyond development and into operations.
Another clue comes from Deloitte’s finding that there is a rapidly growing consensus that people want to be trained not only by L&D but also by the business itself, suggesting a desire for a more holistic approach to learning.
So, what might an organisation do to achieve this DevWork?
It’s actually not that hard – a learning culture is something that grows naturally if you nurture it. The answer I’ll offer is not very different from what I suggested when I was discussing 70:20:10 (which, after all is a closely a related concept).
Train in context:
- Use technology such as LXPs to encourage peer sharing,
- look at options for social learning
- Encourage knowledge sharing and ensure that ideas are captured, shared and above all recognised
- Build mentoring relationships through a formalised mentoring program
- Empower (with resources) and encourage supervisors to take a more proactive training role
- Create a repository of microlearning (perhaps crowdsourced from your workplace SMEs) and use xAPI to connect it to the points of need in the workplace
- Augmented and virtual reality is actually not an expensive option these days – you can achieve more than you think with the tool you have to hand and a few tips (a topic for another edition).
- If you have an xAPI system in place, connect it to the tools around your workplace to check for understanding on the job and trigger microlearning interventions when people use those tools
- Develop a plan to ensure that training becomes ubiquetous – people receive trainig in small doses throughout the day until it becomes “the norm” to be learning.
- Look at ways to better use smartphones for instantaneous training.
But there had to be a catch, right?
If you really want to nurture a learning culture, show you mean it. As an employer I always make training a core part of performance appraisals. Training and learning goals are regarded as KPIs. We measure their attainment and we regard them as no more or less important than any other set of agreed objectives. An employer with a genuine learning culture should be prepared to link performance incentives to training, for example.
As with many things, money is the real test of your level of resolve. If your organisation is genuine in its commitment it surely sees this as a core business driver that flows to its bottom line. It will incentivise people for their contributions and it will see well directed training expenditure as an investment rather than a cost.
I’ve dealt with organisations that use the language of “learning culture” on one hand and “training cost” on the other. Sorry, but these are incompatible and unfortunately your staff know it. If they find that their preparedness to devote their time to attending a worthwhile training event and all they hear is “budget approval process”, all your good work is lost.
Perhaps, then a prudent next step is to seek an accountant’s assessment of these strong recommendations Deloitte makes…