TalentLearning & DevelopmentMoving from a training culture to a learning culture: Belinda Liu, Schneider Electric

Moving from a training culture to a learning culture: Belinda Liu, Schneider Electric

Belinda Liu, SVP, Learning Solutions, Schneider Electric, gives her top tips for creating a learning culture in your organisation.

Businesses are slowly beginning to realise the potential of moving away from a training-based approach and instead embedding learning into their culture. But the process is not simple and can be wrought with challenges.

From the new generation making their way into the workforce with their own preferences and ideas about learning, to rapidly advancing technologies, it may not be easy for a company to suddenly change direction in this way.

Drawing on her own experiences as SVP Learning Solutions, Schneider Electric. Belinda Liu spoke to HRD Connect about how to approach some of these challenges and help drive a learning-based culture.

How are you going about integrating learning into the day-to-day?

We are still probably grappling with the whole training culture versus learning culture. But we have an aspiration to encourage everyone to learn every day. It’s one of our core values.

But one of the things I’m encouraged by is that one of our priorities in 2020 for learning is how to bring learning in the flow of life and work. I think part of that is breaking the mindset, or the dominant logic, that learning equals training, or training equals learning, and actually encouraging folks to talk about learning every day. Learning could be, for example, us talking and then maybe reflecting on it or me reading an article and then sharing it with my colleagues and saying, “Hey, what did you learn today?”.

I think for us, it’s very much about how you break the existing mindset about learning. It doesn’t have to be just e-learning, it doesn’t have to be in a classroom, it doesn’t have to be something that you might usually count to be learning. No, it can be actually learning every day, learning from each other, learning at the end of the meeting or learning from a customer. That’s what we’re trying to encourage.

So, there’s a big cultural element to it. But then there’s also I think, a technological element as well.

Have you had any difficulty in convincing other parts of the business that this is something worth investing in?

‘Learn every day’ is one of our core values and we just we brought that to the organization 12 months ago. I think that the reason we did that is because of a realization that we don’t learn every day. We don’t have that culture of learning from each other and then sharing it, recognising that there are learning moments every day. We don’t do that right now. So, we thought, let’s elevate ‘learn every day’ into one of our corporate values.

So, it’s kind of top of mind for everyone. For individuals, for teams and also for managers. So, I think that helps, just getting it into our language, getting it into what we expect from each other as far as our values are concerned.

We’re still in that journey of helping people to understand that you can learn in your daily work, and it doesn’t just need to be compartmentalized. But there’s still a really good place for that type of learning as well, that formal learning. If there’s a certification or if there’s an onboarding experience, it’s still good to preserve that time for learning.

It’s a little bit of all these pieces together. It’s the cultural piece, it’s the conversations, it’s making sure that it’s so much embedded into our expectations of everyone. It’s really powerful when ‘learn every day’ is one of the values.

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How do you determine the most effective way to help people to learn?

I think everyone has a different preference with how they prefer to learn. Some folks prefer to learn through video. Some folks prefer to learn through reading. Other folks prefer to learn when they’re sharing with each other.

We talk about ‘learn, apply, share’. So, first we learn something. it might be a new piece of knowledge or a new skill. Then we have to try it, have a go. And then we share it, which is our hashtag, ‘What did you learn today?’. We believe that through just asking that simple question of yourself or when you ask others, you are going deeper with your learning. It forces you to have a think about it.

So, I think it’s about all these different types of learning. It’s really depending on the individual. But for us, it’s about that reflection on the learning. Regardless if you learnt it through e-learning or reading or a five-minute micro learning, it doesn’t matter – it’s the reflection on what you actually learned from it that counts.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to kickstart a new learning program?

Being clear around the purpose and the vision for learning to address is really, really important.

Is the learning for the topic of compliance and because we need to protect? Okay, so then that is the objective and we’re clear. Is it to build culture and encourage dialogue? Okay, so then what’s the learning experience that we need to bring here? Those two learning experiences are very different.

People may be thinking: ‘I just need to do more e-learning, or I need to get more digital learning out there, or I need to do VR, because it’s a buzzy thing out there right now’. Well, why are you trying to do this? What problem are we trying to solve? What is the intention? And then come back to it and ask, ‘is this the best approach?’.

For me, when I was thinking about it, it was important to be very clear on purpose and be very clear on vision. Otherwise we can fall into the trap of the shiny new toy or the stakeholders only asking to do it like this, then you lose sight of what was your intention.

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