Learning culture – the biggest driver of business impact

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It is no doubt I’ve learnt a lot in every job I have undertaken in my professional life so far. The sad part is, all the learning I have gotten was collateral instead of intentional. I’ve learnt in spite of the hostile work environment, in spite of the lack of established learning processes at the organizations I have worked for.

Here’s the point of leverage: If the organization is able to create a learning culture, putting together a set of practices, processes and make them part of any employee experience, all this learning will become more conscious, and so will the employee’s career ambitions and what to do to achieve them.

To keep talking about this, it is important to understand that culture is continuous – it isn’t a culture if it’s only mentioned twice or thrice a year, if it’s not an integral part of the organization’s identity.

Adapting your working culture to become more learning-friendly won’t be simple, but according to a research ran by Gallup, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work – if this is your reality too, changing the way your workforce learns can be a key to increase your stats.

Why do I say so? Because especially from a young person’s point of view, the most important thing in a job is to formally learn and acquire skills that can help our professional and personal future. A satisfying work environment for us is one where we continuously learn:

  1. From executing the job, the day-to-day work and established routine (and then reflecting upon the journey);
  2. From interacting with smart people with more experience (perhaps even being mentored or coached by them);
  3. From understanding the root causes of achievement and failure (getting feedback to improve our work);

Grounding my personal perspective with knowledge and data, in 2010, Bersin by Deloitte published a research report in which they found that the single biggest driver of business impact is the strength of an organization’s learning culture.

Mind the research was ran 7 years ago, much before any lifelong learning trends, MOOCs and other learning technologies were established and fundamentally changed everyone’s access to education. Now, with so much knowledge available and so many companies taking up the learning path, for us Millennials a learning culture is even more important and even required at our workplace.

The report has taken the broader concept of learning culture and nailed down to very specific practices that can be established by any organization, and they affirm you can diagnose your learning culture, and you can change it. It is effectively the most important change on the path of improving the employee’s ability of moving up at the workplace, and helping the company be more successful as they, themselves, become more successful.


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