Building a Learning Culture in Organizations

Beijing in October is a lovely place in so far as the weather is concerned.Not the traffic.Not the pollution.
CPT* grad Kevin from Singapore dropped by at the hotel and took me and our Country manager Joelynne out for dinner. We had hotpot ….the thing to do in the nice cold weather. The joke is Kevin could not find time to buy me dinner in Singapore or in Malaysia and we both have to be out of our respective countries in order to make it happen.
I was sharing with him about our program with a French Company which a big operation in China. We were running a ROI on Training program here with 20 training managers and execs. from this company. One of the topics that was discussed at the session was on how to build a learning culture in a typical Multi-national Company with Asian employees.
My observation which is confirmed by a recent survey done by a wellknown HR consulting company; is that employees in China more than any other countries value learning opportunities as a priority in choosing their place of employment.
However I hasten to point out that does not mean that it is easier to inculcate a learning culture in China. I believe this desire for learning is more self serving rather than directed towards organizational improvements.
I made five suggestions to the training faculty of this company on what they need to do to get a learning culture going;

1) Teach managers how to get business results from training
2) Get HR and training people to understand the business more and speak their language,thereby directing training to be more results oriented rather than activity oriented.
3) Align individual learning to organizational learning
4) Set systems to transfer learning in the classroom to actual practice in the work place.
5) Get every manager and supervisors to be coaches or mentors.

If any organization can get this done ; the journey towards organizational excellence would be a lot smoother.

And as I have always qouted Aries De Geus, Former Planning Co-ordinator, Royal Dutch Shell;
“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage”

* CPT- Certified Professional Trainer

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