L&D strategy: whose responsibility is learning anyway?

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Historically, the responsibility of workplace learning fell solely on the shoulders of the L&D department, but this is no longer the case. We now know that creating a culture of learning across a whole organisation is a key part to any successful learning strategy.

A learning culture is just that, a culture, which will take more than just one part of a company to establish and maintain.

Every employee needs to take at least some responsibility for his or her own learning, and in some cases, the learning of their team(s). So how do we get them on board?

It’s all about the benefits. The benefits of having a healthy ‘pull’ learning culture within an organisation will reach leaders, learners and everyone in between.

The learner

Your learners have a lot to gain from taking responsibility for their own learning.

With workplace disruptions such as the introduction of new technologies and a change in skills demand, it’s more important than ever for professionals to continuously learn and develop their skill set in order to remain successful.

It’s even more important when you consider how we approach our careers in 2018. Things are very different now compared to five or ten years ago – careers are a lot more fluid and there is no longer the expectation of ‘a job for life’.

This means that many professionals have to focus more on professional and personal development in order to stay relevant in a competitive job market – and this is where L&D comes in.

If you start to introduce career ownership or personal branding to your learners, they are likely to want to get to onboard and start taking responsibility for their own learning.  

Encourage your learners to think about personal branding – what I call ‘me PLC’. Get them to think about how they can brand themselves and sell their skills, experiences and personalities to future employers.

If your learners start to think about their own personal brand, they are more likely to take responsibility for their own career development and therefore their own learning.

The manager

It’s important to remember that managers are learners too and would equally benefit from taking responsibility for their own learning, but they also have another vital role to play.

Line managers really are the secret ingredient to a successful learning strategy. They have a drastic impact on learner engagement, and even the transfer of learning in the workplace. It’s no wonder that many see getting line managers onboard with L&D as a make or break situation.

Convincing your line managers to get involved should be relatively easy, as line managers have a lot to gain from supporting the learning of their team(s).

Recent studies show that having a culture of learning is a hallmark of high performance organisations.

In fact, it’s shown that top performing companies are almost five times more likely to have fully fledged learning cultures compared with lower performing organisations.

So, if your line managers are really invested in creating a high performance team who are trusting, efficient, productive and engaged, then they need to take some responsibility for the learning of their people and become the allies L&D need to create a vibrant learning culture.

The business

In most cases, the business has the most to lose from not taking responsibility for their people’s learning.

They will fall short by not having a fully implemented learning culture, and recent studies suggest that there is also a risk that their workforce won’t have developed the skills they need to remain afloat in a changing business landscape.

Despite this, it seems it can be a little too easy for the business to think that the learning in their organisation can be left at the door of the L&D department, which, as we know, is far from being the case.

The business has a vital role to play when implementing a culture of learning, and it starts with strategy. To be successful, it’s vital that the learning strategy is aligned with the goals and objectives of the business.

In order for this to happen, the board needs to be communicating with L&D and include learning representatives in board level discussions. It is the business’s responsibility to support L&D by acknowledging the value learning adds to the business.

The latest annual benchmark report from Towards Maturity, The Transformation Curve, demonstrates exactly why the business should get behind creating a learning culture for their people. Organisations with successful learning strategies and learning cultures (the top deck) are, on average, enjoying three times the growth, productivity and profitability.

It really is in everyone’s interest to take some responsibility for learning, whether it’s for personal and professional development, to help your team reach their full potential, or to drive the growth and success of the business.

Interested in implementing an L&D strategy in your business? Read Effective learning can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach

About Stephanie Morgan

Stephanie Morgan Bray Leino Learning

Stephanie Morgan FLPI is the Director of Learning Solutions at Bray Leino Learning. Stephanie a skilled public speaker has extensive experience in Learning and Development and is passionate about helping people thrive in an ever changing world!

 One particular passion is helping people progress their careers to board level. Stephanie believes that learning is at the core of becoming a great leader.

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