If you’re looking for examples of companies that are striving to create and sustain a learning culture, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP) of Canada should be on your list. I recently had the pleasure of speaking about the importance of a learning culture to the Edmonton meeting of The Conference Board of Canada’s Council for Learning and Leadership Development. Another speaker at the event, Karin Muchall, Development Leader for PwC Canada, impressed me with her description of how PwC is implementing the principles of a learning culture through a program they call Enhanced Working PracticesTM.
PwC Canada is a 100 year old company of 6,500 partners and staff in offices across Canada and part of a PwC network of 208,000 people in 157 countries. Using the benchmark of Johns Hopkins Hospital, PwC has created a vision for a learning culture: Achieving desired business outcomes and higher performance through continuous learning at work: individually, in teams and as an organization; everywhere, all the time, over a career lifetime.
Enhanced Working Practices is the company's way of reaching for this vision. The PwC Canada Web site describes the program this way:
Promoting Enhanced Working Practices (EWP) and experiential learning
Our EWP program empowers our people to learn within the context of their day-to-day work. Incorporating structured learning routines into our working practices (e.g. job shadowing), provides us with opportunities to accelerate employee development on the job in a supportive environment. Also, EWP leads to increased accountability and a feeling of project ownership among team members while deepening trust and confidence across the team. In FY13 we worked to expand EWP across our firm, while in FY14 we accomplished our goal of establishing EWP across all of our lines of service. EWP practices are now embedded into our formal learning programs, expanding learning into our everyday activities and work.
During FY14, we actively branded EWP as our approach to on-the-job coaching. We’ve also embedded EWP into other key people processes, such as recruitment, on-boarding and performance management. In FY15, we’ll continue to focus on EWP as a way to accelerate the development of our people so that they are able to deliver distinctive client and people experiences.
With “teach don’t tell” as the central motto, they are using a variety of learning interventions to facilitate learning “everywhere, all the time.” These methods include shadowing, observation and feedback, team workshops, lessons learned meetings, and rounds (a medical learning model). And they are aligning learning with business objectives, piloting methods before full implementation, starting with leadership buy-in, celebrating success, and evaluating impact. All good practices of a learning culture.