Learning To Be Great

Even Spiderman had to learn to be great!

For a marketing and communications agency to be great takes work and while there are many facets to this, having a strong learning culture has to be one of them.

“A learning culture is a work environment that supports and encourages the continuous and collective discovery, sharing and application of knowledge and skills at the individual, team and whole organisation levels to achieve the goals of the organisation. It is a culture of enquiry; an environment in which employees feel safe challenging the status quo and taking risks to enhance the quality of what they do for customers, themselves, shareholders and other stakeholders. It is an environment in which learning how to learn is valued and accepted. In a learning culture, the pursuit of learning is woven into the fabric of organisational life.” (Stephen Gill, of Learning to be Great, LLC, a resource for creating and sustaining a learning culture in organisations.)

This quote is a hugely compelling argument for building your organisation on a bedrock of a learning culture. Add to that:

  • 81% of managers say talent is the number one priority for their company and
  • 90% say L&D is a necessary benefit to the employees of their company…

…then what is holding companies back?

The most significant obstacles unsurprisingly are cash and time, and before committing these managers want to see proof that it brings improvement to the bottom line and ROI. So, as one proof point, here are just two quite compelling statistics:

  • 94% of employees (“our greatest asset”) would stay longer with a company that invested in their career development. (Put another way employees who don’t see a route to achieving their career goals are 12 times more likely to consider leaving.)
  • The replacement cost of a senior level employee is 150% of salary, (entry level personnel cost is between 30 and 50% of salary – Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM))

The glaring irony, of course, is to be able to calculate the actual cost-benefit of having a robust people development program means you have to have one – then have empirical ways of measuring its effectiveness, and that too comes with a cost.

Other factors which deter companies from creating a learning culture are myriad. At BBN, we regularly survey our partners on a range of topics. In our 2017 survey on L&D, the biggest single obstacle to implementation, and this is mirrored in mass surveys (Linkedin Learning 2108 workplace learning report) on the subject, is making time for learning, (which in a fee-based industry equals money). Interestingly, managers will tell you that the problem is getting employees to commit the time and employees say they don’t have [are allowed] the time.

Based on ‘What we have learned so far’, it isn’t easy, and it’s getting more complex by the day.

If you want to know more about other ways BBN can help your agency, then please contact us.

Thanks for the Photo Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

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