Every time I talk to business leads or HR managers about developing much-needed competencies, we hit the same topic: people are not learning. It seems to be the most challenging task in every company to get people interested in learning and self-driven development. Why is this so hard?
Companies rely on employees who continuously learn. Jobs are changing faster than ever, new roles emerge, and new technologies require people to develop skills that complement technology - instead of competing with technology.
Companies have invested significant amounts of money into the development of people and removed the main bottlenecks:
However, success is questionable. Many L&D managers report an initial spike in uptake of learning activity that then quickly reverts to normal.
It seems like companies have taken all the right steps when it comes to learning: new systems, investment in content, ease of access, and other aspects. What other factors are preventing people from learning?
A survey - conducted mid-2019 in Sydney and Melbourne amongst n=109 HR, OD and learning professionals - hints at the main reasons why employee engagement in self-directed learning lacks:
I think it is safe to say that in most cases, the lethargy we experience around self-paced learning in the corporate environment is not the result of a lack of content, technology or accessibility. It is the result of an organisational setting and practices that at best, do not encourage people to learn and in the worst case, prevent people from learning.
Business leaders and HR Department need to reconsider what changes they can make and what behaviours they want to encourage to enable an environment in which people continuously learn. There is no time to waste. We cannot solve the skills gap we are facing with an endless series of organised and prescribed learning interventions.
What will be your first step to enable an environment that promotes self-driven learners?