A Culture of Learning? Seriously?
WARNING: Grumpy old trainer venting ahead.
I recently received an email asking me to complete a survey about a “Culture of Learning.” Essentially, it asked me to rate how my company is doing relative to having a culture of learning, and what a culture of learning meant to me.
So, twenty minutes later and only 40% done, I exited out of the survey. I did this not so much because the survey was tedious, but rather because I began to consider what this meant.
A culture of learning? Seriously? Is it really a good thing for a company to be known for its culture of learning? How full of ourselves do we as trainers have to be to want to create a company culture that revolves around learning?
Last I checked, learning does not increase market share, revenue or profits, nor does it shorten production times (at least, not right away or directly - yes, I know, ROI blahblahblah). By most accounts, training is a cost center and always will be. I can think of several things I would want the culture of my company to be known for besides learning, such as getting stuff done, efficiency, production, morale, inclusiveness or teamwork.
Don’t get me wrong. I think everyone likes to work at a place where they get a chance to learn something new from time to time and be challenged. But I’ve never heard people at the local coffee shop talking about how they love their job because they’re always learning; nor have I heard people who are looking for work say they are looking for a company with a reputation for always learning. I think people are looking for more than just that.
For example, consider Disney. Disney is known for having an extensive training group via the Disney Institute, and they even offer training services to outside customers. Cool. But what Disney is known for as a company, and what drives its value, is its reputation for cutting edge entertainment and great guest service.
I want a company that is getting stuff done. A company where we’re making money and having fun at the same time. You’ll learn stuff too, but if you want a “Culture of Learning”, go back to school.