Learning” to literal training programmes, but thinking about how learning can come from the work employees do every day and making that an integral part of the organisation’s mindset. “Organisations can create that culture in terms of how they approach their roles, and how they approach the work,” she said. “By giving that test and trial approach, by trying new things, that in-the-moment learning, as opposed to signing up for a workshop or a course, or whatever it might be – that all goes towards creating that culture.
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“It’s very much a combination, because it is going to be some more tangible, skills-orientated development that some people will want to do, and that we need to do – but we should be learning every day in our roles: trying different things, and doing new things, and going out and finding out what’s happening in other organisations and bringing those ideas into your organisation.”
Robinson followed this up with a question about another barrier: making time for learning. Even in organisations that are committed to a culture of learning, it can be a challenge to balance everyday tasks with the time investment required for training and upskilling, and it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work and not get around to setting time aside for learning, no matter how much you want to. What can be done to avoid that?
“It can be tough, because when you’re in the midst of the day job, and you’ve got the pressures and the deadlines, we can all be at risk of not putting our development at the forefront,” said Wright. Specsavers tackles this by creating an event to block off time in people’s diaries, “Power-Down Friday”. “It’s about … making sure you ringfence that two hours – listen to a podcast, read an article, do a virtual workshop on project management or soft skills development. We want it [at the] forefront of people’s diaries, so that when they are putting in their meetings, there’s that visual reminder, just to help embed that – make sure that you are taking time out.
Robinson recalled an example of this in practice that he’d seen “in the wild”: a CMO that he had emailed had set an Out of Office message to say that he was working on the Mini MBA programme from Marketing Week. “He was actually signposting it to his team that he was learning – so it was a double positive: he was learning himself, but his team was seeing, ‘It’s okay to learn’, and by diarising the time, no-one else could drive into his diary and try to take that slot. It’s a really terrific way that he went about it.”