Training Culture vs Learning Culture

In the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) business environment, organizations encounter many changes and employees continue to face challenges in adapting to such fast-paced transitions. Leadership teams are under threat to think that getting their employees to overcome this challenge is only a matter of articulating a clear vision, motivating employees with the right compensation and providing lots of training.

According to a survey done by McKinsey & Co in 2010, only 25% of the respondents found training improved employees’ performance. What went wrong? With tougher competition, technology advances, and shifting customer preferences, it’s more crucial than ever that organizations not only send their employees for training but to become learning organizations.
In a learning organization, employees continually create, acquire and transfer knowledge helping their organization adapt to the unpredictable and rapid change business environment. This prompt respond to external pressures will help organizations to improve innovation and remain competitive.

How to Differentiate Learning Culture from Training Culture?

1. Training

 Purpose

  • To develop specific knowledge and skills in carrying out a certain task with the aim to
    prepare employees for day-to-day operation

 Leadership

  • Leaders identify the training needs and objectives by aligning to organization vision
  • Analyze training needs from past experience/performance

 Condition

  • Trainer conduct a specific subject matter
  • Predetermined location and length

 Benefits

  • Able to follow through a set clear objectives
  • Allow employees to acquire specific knowledge and skills

2. Learning

 Purpose

  • To ensure continuous acquiring of new knowledge and skills in and/or out of everyday work

 Leadership

  • Leaders are willing to entertain alternative viewpoints, engage in active questioning and listening
  • Adopt experimentation approach to allow employees to be creative

 Condition

  • Encourage differences in opinions, asking questions and owning mistakes
  • Can take place anywhere, anytime and with anyone

 Benefits

  • Promote continuous learning
  • Increase energy and motivation in employees to share different viewpoints
  • Encourage employees to think creatively

In order to overcome the VUCA business environment, leaders can no longer rely solely on training but should rather start developing learning mindset in employees.