Learning uncovered with Graeme Rainbird

This week (16-22 May) is Learning At Work Week, aimed at building and celebrating learning cultures at work.

At People Business we pride ourselves on our commitment to development, always exploring ways to strengthen our skillset both collectively and as individuals.

This year’s Learning At Work Week is called ‘Learning uncovered’ and is focused on encouraging people to deepen their understanding, knowledge and engagement in life- long learning.

In honour of LAW Week and to help inspire others we speak with People Business Consulting Director and experienced Coach, Graeme Rainbird. With over 25 years consulting experience in leadership and team development, culture change and organisational development Graeme knows all about the power of embracing learning and development at work.

Graeme in your experience do enough people prioritise learning at work? 

Overall, I would have to say no, I do think some people are great at owning and driving their own learning at work but most of us overlook the powerful impact prioritising learning can have. We just don’t see the long-term benefits it can bring; we’re too often focused on the here and now. I guess, as a species we’ve become quite impatient, and learning takes time- it’s an on-going process.

How can leaders help employees see the value in learning at work?

The most basic (and simple) thing leaders can do is to talk to their people about learning regularly, so not just in structured meetings but in everyday conversations. Discussions both around the individuals learning but also the benefits they themselves have received from valuing learning at work. If leaders communicate that learning is a strength and not an admission of shortcomings and they recognise individuals that prioritise development, people will feel more comfortable and will be more likely to prioritise their own learning.

How can employees help themselves when it comes to learning in the workplace? 

I would encourage people to focus on what they’re passionate about achieving and how a learning mindset can help get them there. I would first encourage people to reflect on questions, such as the following;

  • What do you love about learning?
  • How do you learn best?
  • What learning opportunities will help you achieve your goals?
  • What support will you need to prioritise this learning?

Once they have this knowledge, they can create a personalised learning plan aimed at being both enjoyable and valuable in helping them achieve their goals.

How has a learning mindset helped you in your career? 

I used to think that I was doing great work if I knew all the answers. I have come to understand that when I bring an open, curious mindset and am eager to learn from each person and each opportunity, I am better able to engage others and deliver innovative and impactful solutions, making me a more effective colleague and coach.

How does People Business prioritise learning?

We value learning by letting everyone know they are encouraged and supported to learn new things. At People Business we love feedback so we often use feedback as a tool to find out what others need to grow and develop in their role. We try and build questions such as the following into the everyday conversations.

  • What do you want to gain from this experience?
  • Are there specific areas you’d like to learn more about?
  • How can I best support you?

What one piece of advice would you give to inspire someone to explore learning opportunities? 

Approach learning with curiosity – none of us know it all (even though we give that impression sometimes) there is always something exciting or revelatory around the corner. What could be more life enhancing than approaching every task, every interaction, every day with a curiosity to learn something new?

If you’re interested in finding out more about LAW Week, head over to www.campaign-for-learning.org.uk. If you’ve been inspired by our post and want to find out how you can create a culture of learning within your organisation, please contact us.