People & Transformation

Learning reimagined for a hybrid world of work

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What happens to 70:20:10 in the new world of work? A long-established and well-evidenced model states that around 70% of learning happens on the job, around 20% is self-directed and 10% happens in formal training. So, if 70% is on the job, how will learning happen in the hybrid working patterns that are emerging in which, for much of the time, many members of staff are working at home – and many are spending a limited amount of time in the office?

How can you create a coherent learning strategy that provides equal opportunities to every member of your team, wherever they are working?

In future articles we will explore how to make formal learning more effective and how to support self-directed learning. In this article, our focus is on that 70% of learning that happens on the job.

Let’s begin by looking at some key areas where remote and hybrid working creates real challenges for that 70% of learning. The first is learning by observation. As any graduate, apprentice or new starter will tell you, they learn a great deal by simply observing how a colleague handles a client call, deals with a question from a customer, approaches a task or responds to a team member. It’s very hard to replicate that in-the-moment, real-time learning in a virtual world.

The next is coaching. Not the coaching that happens in a formal coaching relationship but the live, task-based coaching that happens when a manager helps a more junior team member to find a way through a problem, supports them in developing a new skill or helps them explore different ways of addressing a task of challenge.

Then there is learning through shared experience. The brainstorm or problem-solving session. The team debrief on a customer or client meeting or the pulling together of a presentation or proposal.

The danger is that we allow a ‘sheep and goats’ workforce to develop in which one cohort- the people who predominately work at home – get limited opportunities to learn by observation, to receive live on-the-job coaching, or to get the satisfaction that comes from learning together in a cohesive team. A workforce in which the other cohort- the people who spend more time in the office – get more of all those things.

Those are the challenges – let’s look at some solutions …

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