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Stephanie Morgan Whose responsibility is it to change a learning culture?

Lately, I have been talking to a number of heads of L&D who are desperate to move their learning culture from push to pull.

“If only our people would embrace self-directed learning!”

 Whose Responsibility Is It To Change A Culture


They go on to tell me they just know that, if they could make this happen, they would see a massive improvement.

However, it is still the case that L&D often fixate on the solution itself—as if it is the key to culture change.

I don’t think they really believe that it’s as easy as this; but they either don’t know what else they can do, or feel they don’t have the knowledge, expertise or even the time to do more.

Of course, we all know that everyone has a part to play in culture change, and we have talked about that recently on Training Journal. And although we may have provided the solutions and the environment, our job is not yet over!

Don’t just hand over to the learners and/or the business.

There’s much more to changing a culture than just delivering a solution.


#1. Analyse the problem

In L&D, we are great at analysing learning needs. Luckily, when it comes to culture change, we can use many of the same principles.

At the same time, remember what we’re really talking about when we talk about culture. A culture is made up of ‘the way we do things around here’—which is based on people’s attitudes and beliefs. When you are looking to change a culture, you are looking to shift those attitudes and beliefs so that the ‘way we do things’ shifts too.

This means—in terms of learning culture, at least—that perhaps we need to take more responsibility for impacting that change.

In our recent webinar, we explored the idea of gauging learning engagement along a distribution curve. One other useful, and perhaps more in-depth, method of collecting qualitative data on engagement could be to use ‘customer’ surveys.

Either way, you need to know where you are now, and what the attitude and belief gap is, if you want to bring about the change you need. Then you can decide where to start.


#2. Use a marketing mindset

Once you know what you need to do and where you’re starting from, adopting a marketing mindset to 'sell' changes can be a very effective way of changing attitudes and beliefs.

If, however, we assume that our responsibility stops with delivering a learning solution, this will greatly reduce our chances of success.

When you think about it, no marketing department would launch a product or service like this. You would ordinarily have a launch campaign, and think about the full CX—the customer experience. Why should L&D be any different?

By considering branding, audience, message, channels, timing and setting goals for your 'campaign' you can build a very effective way of planning for the results you want to see with your L&D strategy.


#3. And then sell, sell, sell

It’s important to remember that designing a solution is not the end of the journey. While you need a great product for people to buy into, that’s not all you need – your people need you to inform them, to sell them, and to give them access to it.

And if your current learning culture means your people aren’t used to taking the initiative, you’ll have extra work on your hands to convince them and empower them to do so.

While you might have had success in the past with push learning, if your people aren't sold on the benefits and feel they have to take part anyway, it will negatively impact engagement.

It takes time and effort to make people change their habits.

It’s L&D’s responsibility to sell learning solutions to the business as a whole – whether that’s to your learners or to the board.

The risk is that if we don't all buy in to culture change, L&D will always be fighting a losing battle to deliver learning.

Now is the time for L&D to not only identify but really sell the benefits, gaining buy-in and starting the change to a learning culture.


Struggling to address disparate learner needs, engage your people and create a learning culture?

How about bringing your current solutions together into a brilliant blended learning programme, or developing your own career aspirations to board level? 

We have the experience you need.


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Stephanie Morgan

Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning

Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.


Copyright © 2017 Bray Leino Learning

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