Today, Towards Maturity released their 2016-17 Learning Benchmark Report: Unlocking Potential: Releasing the potential of the business and its people through learning. I was honoured to be asked to write the Foreword to this year’s, and I am reproducing it here in order to provide a taster of what you will find in the full report and encourage you to get hold of a copy for yourself and unlock your own potential!
“In 2016 the world of work is changing rapidly and the learning professionals that support today’s organisations are slowly waking up to the fact that we can’t just train colleagues once and then retain them for life. Their work needs to move away from ‘pushing’ programmes and ‘organising’ initiatives for people to thinking about how people are really learning in the modern world and how to support them on a continuous basis.
Helping organisations to do just that has been the focus of my work for 25 years and for the last 10 of those, I have been an active supporter of the Towards Maturity Benchmark as it has tracked the extent to which organisations have been successful in achieving this goal. It is encouraging that people professionals have become painfully aware that learning is no longer about the course, but about cultivating a continuous learning mindset. However, it is also alarming that, for many, this awareness is not leading to action, let alone results.
That is why I welcome this year’s Towards Maturity 2016 Learning Benchmark – Unlocking Potential – and its use of detailed analytics to identify the step by step actions that L&D professionals need to take to support the agile workforce needed in the future. Their new analysis this year has identified a number of actions that, in my experience, all L&D leaders need to be aware of in order to support modern workplace learning.
It pinpoints the critical role of managers and the extent to which successful organisations are working with the wider enterprise to support learning at work. It also highlights the importance of understanding how staff actually learn in the workplace with Top Deck learning teams three times more likely than the rest of their peers to be proactive in this area.
What’s more, Unlocking Potential is peppered with real insights from 5,000 workers challenging the perceptions of the readers to think differently about workplace learning.
The fact that almost two-thirds of learning leaders report that staff lack skills to manage their own learning and line managers are reluctant to encourage new ways of learning confirms that change is needed to tackle these important issues.
Unlocking Potential shows whilst L&D teams are using more technology than ever before, it is not enough. Most are just using the tools to tweak and modify their original approaches. Cutting courses into tiny pieces does not equal performance support. Social learning is much more than adding a discussion forum into a course.
It is clear that the high performing learning organisations are challenging the status quo head on.
They are prepared to go the extra mile, they are constantly listening to and trusting their workers. It is encouraging to see that they are predominantly led by true learning leaders who also have a passion for learning, for experimenting and taking risks to support business and individual performance.
Unlocking Potential highlights that those leaders who are taking action are also making the biggest impact on what matters most to their business leaders – improved agility, customer loyalty and retention.
Learning professionals today are hungry for change but many are overwhelmed. This report helps break down the vision for truly integrating learning and work into practical steps. However, there are no cookie cutter solutions! The data presented provides readers with a confidence and security to identify what needs to happen next. Whilst the Top Deck may use evidence to guide their thinking, they show us that their results come because they trust their gut and trial out new ideas. This report will help you unlock your potential as a learning leader but your success will result from not rigidly replicating what others have done but by being bold and courageous and doing things differently for yourself!”