Daily Thoughts

The problem with KPI’s and learning cultures

I’ve spent most of my career being tasked with “building a learning culture” or “getting more of our people to be learners” – these have been continual threads throughout my whole career.

The funny thing is, there is no such thing as learners 😱, they’re only humans aka us. You don’t choose whether to be a “learner” or not. Much like you don’t choose to be a human.

Learning is a part of our programming. It’s how we know how to do all the stuff we do now. From the time we first started to walk to times where we’ve experienced pain, and figured out not to do that action again.

The fact is that a learning culture has always existed. Yet, the problem is that can’t be measured in a KPI, nor do many people recognise how they learn everyday through very little doing of their own.

So, much more of my work has been focused on helping people recognise that they learn everyday from many experiences. 

This has mostly happened because companies like to measure stuff so they can say ‘Yes we are doing this well or failing’. Even though cultures of learning exist within our communities, very few people recognise their daily interactions as learning moments, so hence they never answer employee surveys with a “Yes, I feel like I’m learning here”.

The problem stems not from the existence of a learning culture because it’s here and always has been. 

But rather, it comes from the understanding of those moments as learning and thus the person is actually learning something at company x because they’re receiving the info from people at this workplace. Hence, continuing to scale this culture of learning across the community.

This is the challenge for most workplace learning teams. The focus on building learning cultures is wrong. It is in the recognition of said learning and growth opportunities that people need help with.

Of course, all of this complexity around learning cultures and measurement comes from the requirement for companies to report on what they’re doing for their employees. 

Taking someone’s word from a biological point of view (like me) that the culture exists, does not satisfy C-suite teams when it comes to analysing employee engagement. Hence we have to play the game of the popular box ticking exercises with annual surveys.

To prove the value of a workplace learning function and to continue showcasing it’s prolonged need in the business. We must play the game and move those markers or what some may call vanity metrics.

By doing this, those yearly employee surveys where KPI’s are measured get a lot more love because people understand that yes, they have been learning at company x and thus this affirms the desired culture of learning which everyone seeks.

So, if you find yourself smashing your head off the wall, trying to decipher how one builds a culture of learning – stop. Instead, help your people recognise that learning is an everyday behaviour and one which they’re probably doing more of then they recognise.

I’m sure a lot of my fellow peers experience this too, and I’d love to know how you tackle it? ⬇️

Before you go… 👋

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Deep Thoughts

The Career Tsunami

What am I doing with my life?

This is the question most people are asking themselves right now.

Staring down the barrel of your own mortality for 12 months will rewire the way you think and what you value. And, for many of us, the way we work and what we do with our time is firmly under the microscope.

With vaccine programmes accelerating worldwide, more and more companies are starting to put out the office siren to call people back to the holy ground of “work”.

But, how many are actually going to come back?

According to data from Aviva’s latest “How We live” survey, 60% of us are planning on making a career change as we slowly emerge from this chaos in 21/22. Under 25’s in particular, are the most likely to re-think their careers plans as a result of the big old pandemic.

Plus, nearly 12% (approx 10.8million people) of UK residents plan to turn their side gig into a second source of income or even turn it into a new full time career.

A multi-generational effect

It’s important to note that the career tsunami is not exclusive to one generation. It affects everyone, and we are seeing movements in all age ranges.

Take those who are 45 and over as an example. According to research from Microsoft, the pandemic is causing 1 in 4 over 45’s to consider a career change. Here we can see the most popular sectors from which people are looking to make a change.

So, we can see that some of the industries hit most by the pandemic are here but also, interestingly, a number that were not.

We can start to see how the career tsunami will be fuelled from all different age groups.

When you like your home more than an office

The other big factor that cannot be ignored in the career tsunami, is the overwhelming want for many of us to spend more time at home.

We’ve all been able to partake in what was once the forbidden fruit of home working. And, for many of us, there’s no going back.

A key driver in talent attraction and retention is going to be the policies that companies create around the balance of the office and home. No one is going to get this right at the beginning but be warned – get this horribly wrong at the first hurdle and the tsunami may overcome your workforce.

The below set of data from McKinsey & Co gives us a view into what many workforces want ⬇️

The career tsunami is going to be fuelled by the rejection of hybrid working and not just people wanting to do something else with their lives.

The fallout from this has already begun.

In a recent survey from Wade McDonald, they found that roughly 1 in 5 employers have rejected any from of hybrid working. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what will be taking place in those workforces shortly.

If you plan to join the tsunami 🌊

This is going to be my send-off for you, with a little advice on navigating a career change.

Now I’ve never done it in a pandemic (show me someone who has!) but I can tell you that road is not straight. It takes time, effort and a clear sense of focus to make your aspirations a reality.

On top of this, the feeling of change can derail any of us if we let it plague our minds. This is why it’s essential to accept change for what it is – tough, sometimes uncomfortable but in the end, necessary for growth.

On the flip side, if you’re an employer and want to stop the tsunami of potential leavers hitting your shores, consider what you want your future of work to look like.

We’re in the midst of a great reset right now. One where we all have the opportunity to pursue the things we really want to do with our time and for companies to build the environment where people want to be.

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

You can subscribe to my newsletter here or below.

Success! You're on the list.
Deep Thoughts

Here’s a better way to craft any skill

I’ve always wondered why we as a society do this weird thing (imo) when it comes to helping people in our workplaces craft the skills they need to navigate their career and in many ways their life.

Deep Thoughts

What I learnt from the man who coached Eric Schmidt, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and more leaders of the tech world

Bill Campbell is often known as the coach of silicon valley. He was the business coach to many tech superstars including Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Sundar Pichai at Google, Susan Wojcicki at YouTube, Steve Jobs at Apple, Brad D. Smith at Intuit, Jeff Bezos at Amazon, John Donahoe at eBay, Marissa Mayer at Yahoo, Jack Dorsey and Dick Costolo at Twitter, and Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook.

Deep Thoughts

How adopting a beginner’s mindset enables lifelong growth

You may have heard the terminology of fixed vs growth mindset.

It’s insanely popular in the self-help and self-improvement culture. You’ll find the digital highway known as the online world, littered with everyone and their dog’s opinion on why it’s better to have a growth mindset rather than a fixed one.

I’m not here to give you another captain obvious statement. I mean, we all know that having a fixed mindset isn’t going to get us far in, well, anything really.

Instead, I want to focus on how one would achieve this approach of cultivating a growth mindset. And, it actually all starts with one simple thought – assume you know nothing.