Learning & Development

#ICYMI: Why Organizations Don’t Learn and How They’re Wasting Money in the Process

Learning and development isn’t a lofty goal organizations are hoping to achieve; it’s a vital component of business. It didn’t take a lot of digging this week to back up that argument. In case you missed it (ICYMI), here’s why organizations struggle with learning and how they’re wasting money in the process.

Why organizations don’t learn

It’s no secret that continuous learning is essential to career growth and organizational success. Learning opportunities, in theory, are abundant and accessible. Yet, despite the demand and desire for ongoing development, learning often fails. Using a decade of research, Harvard Business Review contributors, Francesca Gino and Bradley Staats, boiled the issue down to four main reasons why organizations (and their employees) can’t learn.

  1. We focus too heavily on success
  2. We are too quick to act
  3. We try too hard to fit in, and
  4. We rely too much on experts

Each bias, backed by research, has its own set of challenges and solutions. For example, those hung up on success often develop an unreasonable fear of failure. The result? They’re less likely to take risks and focus on past performance, rather than potential. What do managers need to do? Recognize accomplishments and treat mistakes as learning opportunities.

That’s just a sliver of insight from the HBR report. Check out the full article for some fantastic advice on how to battle the biases that hinder learning opportunities and growth.

Are you wasting money on learning and development?

Millions of dollars are spent each year on learning and development, yet business leadership is struggling with realizing tangible results. A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group examines the disconnect between leadership training intentions and results. Here are the four major areas of concerns cited in the article.

  1. Learning doesn’t match business opportunities. Business leaders identify areas where they want their talent developed, toss it over to HR to deal with, and then never look back. In order for training programs to work, they need to stay involved.
  2. Learning events are perceived as one and done. Learning activities end up being a one-night-stand. Rather than rolling out learning events to continuously build on each other, they become a one off intervention or check-the-box workshop. Little follow up is done to ensure the competency is ingrained in the learner.
  3. Look at the impact of learning. There’s too much focus in injecting sex appeal into learning programs and too little focus on examining the success of the course. Leaders need to keep the question of “How did the training program change _________?” at the forefront of their minds.
  4. Identify the right programs and capabilities from the start. The difference between engaging learning programs and neglected programs is the approach to how the people, processes and systems reinforce the new capabilities. If learning isn’t connected to rewards and recognition, no one will be interested in learning.

Changing your perspective on learning and development

Great learning and development programs aren’t created overnight. You have to roll up your sleeves and put in the hard work. Depending on where you’re at with your training efforts, we have a lot of great resources to help you turn learners into leaders.

And, if you really want to transform your learning strategy, drop us a line or give us a call!


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