How is your Learning Culture?

The Learning Culture in your organisation is a central player in enabling training and development to be successful, but before we explore Learning Culture we need to understand what training success really means.

In the end organisations invest time and money in training and development to support achieving organisation strategies and the business results expected to flow from that. Training and development that doesn’t support strategy and results is simply waste. Training and development that does support strategy and better results is a success. And you need to know whether or not that is happening. How?

Design your programmes for results and evaluate them as they roll out to make sure you are getting what you want. If you are not getting the results, something needs to be changed. We use Kirkpatrick® tools and methods to make sure that design and delivery give you the results you want.

And so to Learning Culture: it is the aggregate behaviours, attitudes and processes in your organisation that condition how training and development are perceived and supported. A poor Learning Culture will make sure that training and development fails to achieve the desired results. Even the very best programme will fail if it returns participants to an organisation that is not ready or willing to embrace what they bring back.

Your answers to the following questions about your organisation will give you an idea of the state of your Learning Culture:

  • Do people at all levels ask questions and share stories about their successes, failures, and what they have learned?
  • Are your CEO and senior managers part of the line-up that endorse and deliver your training events?
  • Do people take time regularly to reflect on what has happened and what may happen?
  • Are people are treated as complex individuals?
  • Do performance reviews cover off what people have learned?
  • Are leadership behaviours part of your training calendar (or is all training about task management and technical skills)?
  • Is reflective practice encouraged and supported?
  • Are training participants supported to apply new behaviours and skills when they go back to work?
  • Is it easy for your participants to get budget to attend on-strategy training events?

If your answers are more ‘No’ than ‘Yes’, then your Learning Culture likely needs some attention. 

According to a recent Bersin by Deloitte research study, Learning Culture has seven elements that work together to impact an organisation’s ability and motivation to learn. These are:

  • building trust
  • encouraging reflection
  • demonstrating the value of learning
  • enabling knowledge sharing
  • empowering employees
  • formalising learning.

Deficiencies in the Learning Culture trickle down to the local workplace where learners return to work. And if, as a result, the climate there is a bit cold for application of learning, then the desired results won’t be achieved. Training and development has just become waste.

It’s mostly the CEO and senior team who need to do the hard yards to improve the Learning Culture, and they will usually need specialist help to identify the problems and work on the best solutions. Our OD consultants are well placed to provide that help.

So, before investing in training and development solutions, do a quick check on your Learning Culture to make sure your organisation is ready for its learners to return to work and for the results flow.

At ODI we can provide the learning solutions and OD services that get the results you want. Talk to us on 03 943 2373.