In a blog post titled, "Building a Productive Learning Culture", Thomas Handcock and Jean Martin say that businesses, because of need and demand, are increasing employee participation in training but failing to increase productivity. Even with all of these additional opportunities for learning, most workers are not acquiring the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. The authors believe that a culture change is required. They say that businesses should shift from a culture based on participation in learning activities to a culture based on results from learning activities. They write: To make this shift from a culture of learning participation to a productive learning culture, L&D functions must manage three key components.
- Learning opportunity: provide access to high-quality, curated learning opportunities, not a large number of choices
- Learning capability: make sure employees know how to learn, not just what to learn
- Learning environment: ensure that employees focus not only on their own development but also on building a supportive learning environment throughout the organization.
I agree with the need for these components but I think change to a productive learning culture requires much more. As I have written previously, transformation to a learning culture needs:
- Executives who set an example for risk-taking and learning from failure
- Managers who help employees set learning goals, apply learning, and hold themselves and others accountable for results
- Project leaders who use action learning to help their teams learn and improve team performance
- An environment and systems that facilitate sharing information and social learning
This is the kind of culture in which employees will be constantly learning, continuously improving performance, and consistently achieving positive outcomes for the business.