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How Learning and Development enhances corporate culture

Brokers / 16th November 2021

Adrian Lopion, Learning & Development Business Partner, Premium Credit, outlines the importance of building corporate culture to help businesses succeed in a post pandemic era.

Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator and author said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" meaning that although strategy is important, having a clearly defined purpose and culture is a surer path to organisational success.

An intangible asset

Culture aligns to the values and beliefs of the organisation. These values and beliefs should transcend all areas of the business, and ultimately make an organisation unique. It’s important to note that culture isn’t a theoretical concept drawn up in the boardroom and left there as it doesn’t really apply ‘in real life’, far from it. COVID-19 can be thanked for shining a spotlight on organisational culture and the importance it plays in a company’s survival or demise. A recent study showed that companies that possessed a strong corporate culture not only outperformed their rivals but were more likely to support their community, embrace digital transformation and develop new products. *

Affecting positive change

Corporate culture isn’t static and should be seen as a ‘living thing’, subject to change. It is normally influenced by the company’s founder, repeating the behaviour that resulted in past successes and through the collective learning of employees, Bain call it the ‘Founder’s Mentality’. It stands to reason that eventually the founder will leave the company and repetition of past behaviour will become ineffectual without support. This leaves employee learning as a crucial way of positively enforcing an organisation’s ideal culture. An experienced Learning and Development (L&D) team, such as the one at Premium Credit, play a pivotal role in recognising warning signs of any culture deviation and in our case, has the capability of bringing it back in line with our purpose of supporting our customers and partners in creating opportunities through convenient payments.

For learning and development to be effective it needs to be aligned to the company purpose, particularly in terms of strategic goals and values. L&D teams must be able to show that “golden thread” running all the way through, from the learning objectives of a programme to the strategic objective it is supporting and ultimately the purpose of the company.

Adrian Lopion, MCMI, Assoc CIPD - Learning & Development Business Partner, Premium Credit

A well-executed learning and development strategy benefits both employees and the company. These include:

  • Positive employee retention - Providing career development opportunities, establishes employees sense of value within the company, fosters loyalty and ultimately staff retention.
  • Training future leaders - Establishing leadership programmes ensures that future organisational goals are constantly considered by preparing promotable talent.
  • Employee empowerment - Recent research shows that leaders who inspire, ignite people’s imaginations, and mobilize them with a compelling vision, are more impactful than managers who simply focus on the bottom line.
  • Increased workplace engagement - Regular development initiatives help to keep employees motivated and help to identify any skills gaps that need to be closed.

A rare opportunity

As many business leaders are in the throes of discussing what their respective workplaces will look like post pandemic, it’s worthwhile to recognise we’ve been presented with a rare opportunity to consider and evaluate culture. Perhaps a few tweaks need to be made to an already strong culture or, perhaps the existing culture is unsustainable and needs to be reworked entirely. Either way, your L&D team is crucial in realising your goal, especially true in a post-pandemic hybrid environment.

References:
The Role of Corporate Culture in Bad Times: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic
Employee Training and Development: The benefits of Upskilling or Reskilling Your Team
Culture in the hybrid workplace
Organizational Climate and Culture - Mark G. Ehrhart and Benjamin Schneider
Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Schein, E. H. (1983). The role of the founder in creating organizational culture. Organizational Dynamics, 12(1), 13–28.

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