Beyond the Wheel

Creating a compelling employee learning experience has risen to the number two topic on the minds of CEOs andwater-plant-green-fine-layers.jpg HR leaders, and this means that companies are actively looking for ways to improve learning within their organizations. But what kind of learning culture should organizations adopt, and how are they different? A recent CLO magazine article reviews four categories of learning cultures:

1. A culture of compliance training - where companies only focus learning around that which covers regulations and requirements mandated by law.
2. A culture of necessary training - where employees learn about job or company-specific tools and processes, usually during onboarding or when a new tool or process is introduced.
3. A culture of learning - where a company “focuses on building employees’ skills through targeted programs and initiatives.” However, the culture still tends to focus more on company success rather than individual, and is generally more event-driven, which means taking employees away from their daily work to learn new skills.
4. A culture of continuous learning - where learning is a daily habit, integrated into everyday work and encouraged by managers.

Like most CLOs, we highly value a culture of continuous learning. To learn about fostering one in your organization, read our recent piece in our series on creating a practice-driven culture.

Shape of Things to Come

The “future of work” has become a hard to miss buzz phrase these days, but what does it really mean? Quartz abstract-wooden-windows.jpegreports on how former VP and CFO of GE Power, Lynn Calpeter, is being tasked with parsing out a “cleaner definition” of what “the future of work” means specifically for GE. As an employer of 300,000 plus people, GE’s workforce needs are rapidly evolving, and they have spent $4 billion developing new digital products, “some of which make it possible to do more work with fewer people.” The company has addressed this digital evolution with new recruiting efforts and online training programs focused on updating skills for manufacturing workers. Now, Calpeter’s role involves ensuring that the future of work investments, specifically in “technology, re-skilling efforts, and culture”, are actually sound investments for the future of the company. “It would be wonderful to be able to push the ‘easy’ button and say, ‘this is what the future of work is.’” But, it’s not quite that easy. At least not yet.

Only These Words

How do leading organizations evaluate their employees? The Wall Street Journal recently published a peek into the unique methods used by Lyft, Lumeris Healthcare, Goldman Sachs, and PwC.

  1. tree-bubble.jpeg1. Lyft leverages peer evaluations, asking employees for feedback on fellow meeting attendees based on meeting  calendars.
  2. 2. Lumeris uses software to track quarterly goals with an actual image of a tree that grows or withers away, depending on employee progress. Employees then evaluate their work with their bosses.
  3. 3. Goldman Sachs uses a system that allows employees to request feedback, managers to solicit feedback from an employee’s peers, or for employees to provide unsolicited feedback.
  4. 4. PwC employees send quick feedback requests to their managers, who then use online surveys to rate employees on specific competencies.

 While these all vary in style, they all have one thing in common: each organization encourages frequent, specific feedback to help employees continuously grow and improve rather than having a once-a-year performance review.

'Til The Sun Comes Back Around

robot.jpg“Machines are eating humans’ jobs talents.” You’ve heard it before. Automation, robotics, algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) are doing more and better job related tasks, and will continue to grow in replacing massive amounts of jobs. Pew Research and Elon University recently surveyed multiple experts on this topic and published an detailed article on reflections around five major, “hopeful” themes related to “the future of jobs training in the tech age.” Including the promise of practical experiential learning to advance the “tough-to-teach intangible skills, capabilities and attributes such as emotional intelligence, curiosity, creativity, adaptability, resilience and critical thinking.” While there are many schools of thought on what the future of working alongside machines will be like, one aspect is clear: continuous learning and skill development is critical to prepare workers for what is to come.

Mind Riot

We know experiential learning, or learning by doing, works. The average retention rate for traditional learning is only 5 percent; in comparison, the retention rate for experiential learning is 70 percent. How does experientialchess.jpeg learning impact long-term performance? Since it empowers learners to feel a personal ownership of the impact of their decisions, they are also able to identify the actions that achieved desired results. Experiential learning also creates a safe environment without fear of failure, which often affects employees when going through traditional training. When learners are able to see the correlation between their behavior and increase in performance, they stay motivated and engaged to continue developing their skills. As a result, everyone benefits: learners perform better with a higher skillset, and the organization sees results.


Research shows that practicing new skills and ideas over time, with spacing and feedback in between, can combat memory decay and develop skills and knowledge for decades. Our new piece, “The Sales Leader’s Handbook to Building a Practice-Driven Sales Team,” explores how sales leaders are reevaluating the ROI on traditional sales training to help their teams to master the new, higher-level sales skills necessary to drive sustainable revenue by transforming their sales training with a practice-driven selling culture. Read it here.