Becoming a Learning Organisation

You know what doesn’t work in a conference session where you want to learn about stuff? Getting a plug about how excellent the company giving the case study is. I don’t really care, because I want to hear what you’re doing. I don’t want to see frameworks, or models that you’ve created internally, not without knowing I can replicate them, which I most likely can’t.

Cue Andy Holmes from Ernst and Young. There could have been so much shared about how they are a learning organisation. Instead it was about a progression plan and a career framework. Nothing about the actual things they do to make it a learning organisation. Just broad descriptions of how a robust Learning Management System is in place for staff to take on their own learning, and there is coaching in the organisation.

They have counsellors to help staff talk through learning and career goals.

Sorry, not a lot to share from this.

Then with a sudden burst of energy, Andy Doyle from ITV, took control of the room and started us on his story of what is happening in his organisation. As the Group HR Director, it was very interesting to hear him talk as you might expect a Producer or Creative Director to talk. he described how, for ITV, he doesn’t talk in HR Speak. He talks about things in everyday business language to his team and to his peers. A nice example of this was if he said “Let’s become a learning organisation!”, the response would come back “Not with you!”. They stopped focusing on frameworks, and instead focused on performance management being an important part of the way people are managed. L&D initiatives are done with large groups of about 90, to create a sense of occasion and using brilliant facilitators to make them useful events.

The senior leadership involvement is quite impressive too. They are involved in co-delivering training where they can which brings with it a great sense of engagement. The Exec team held a series of monthly open lunch sessions where staff could come along and talk with one Exec person at a dedicated lunch. This really needs to be one of the key activities for a learning organisation to happen. If the Executive teams and Senior Leadership Teams are not making the efforts to help it be successful, then it won’t be.