Why most companies will remain in mediocracy (when it comes to learning)

Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Technology has become a trillion times more productive since the advent of the first IBM computer in 1956 — but human productivity has only doubled. In the fourth wave of the industrial revolution, we’re faced with the most significant need for behaviour change we’ve ever seen.

Technology is paving the way for improving growth and productivity. So let’s embrace it — not fight it — to create actionable, long-lasting behaviour change. If you don’t, you’ll be left behind.

The biggest shift our workforce has seen

According to research, we unlock our smartphones nine times per hour, spend four hours engaging with social media per day and spend 41% of our time at work completing tasks that aren’t productive.

Why is that? Well, we’re human. Computers can run continuously with pure focus and no lapses in productivity (malfunctions aside). That’s a scary thought given that between 2000 and 2010, 5.6 million manufacturing jobs disappeared with 85 percent of those job losses, stemmed from “productivity growth.

But there is hope. According to Gartner, AI will create more jobs than it eliminates by 2020. Because there are a number of areas where the human mind is irreplaceable.

Unlike a computer, your teams can:

  • Build deep connections with customers and coworkers through empathy
  • Create lasting relationships
  • Use intuition to make tactical decisions
  • Develop culture and community

Each of these things are critical to business success.

So to create the workforce of the future, we should upskill our teams — rather than replace them — so they’re equipped to work with, not against, the enhanced internet, artificial intelligence, sophisticated social and mobile experiences, augmented reality, and quantum computing.

So how do we do it? We need to create a change in behaviour to encourage our teams to embrace continuous learning.

How to execute behaviour change

Behaviour change combines learning new things with forming new habits

Tech is changing our behaviours everywhere — except at work

By Saulo Mohana on Unsplash

Outside the world of work, technology is making strides in behaviour change. Socially engaging apps are:

  • Increasing the speed at which we complete tasks
  • Helping us form new habits
  • Offer engaging experiences as and when you want them
  • Providing stimulating, value-added social interactions
  • Rewarding positive behaviours to keep us coming back for more
  • Following our attention to inspire daily action

Prime examples of consumer-tech helping us form positive habits are apps like Strava which tracks health and wellness, Headspace which improves focus and mental wellbeing, and DuoLingo which helps us learn languages faster. Their combination of immediate access, intuitive design, personalised experience, data tracking and social engagement create a clear formula for making change happen.

The success of these apps suggests that there are four decisive factors in creating behaviour-changing habits:

  • They contain stimulating content that’s inspiring and engaging
  • They help us form deep connections through socially-connected collaborative experiences
  • They inspire daily action to help us form new habits
  • They are with you wherever you are

So how does this translate into the workplace?

The current corporate change agenda

It’s fair to say that when we compare what’s effective in the consumer world, with the activities we’re using to effect change in the corporate world, there’s a big disconnect. Our go to-change strategies no longer work:

  • The training course: teaching can be engaging, but it’s single-use
  • The three line whip: telling employees which behaviours they should be exhibiting
  • The fancy materials: worksheets, videos and motivational posters that are consumed once then left alone
  • The massive off-site: one-off, single-purpose training sessions or lectures
  • The communications plan: regularly sending materials to teams to try and influence who learns what when

The problem with these processes is that independently, they fail to create change because they each contain just one — rather than four — of the key ingredients required for behaviour change. We forget 60% what we’ve learned within 48 hours if it isn’t reinforced. And none of these tactics are reinforcing learning knowledge.

On average, organisations spend three billion dollars annually on behaviour change but only eight percent of CEOs report seeing the impact of those efforts.

The solution to this dismal picture is the technology that has created the need for change itself. The key to changing the behaviour of employees lies in changing how companies solicit it.

Utilising technology to create behaviour change

by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

Employees need highly engaging, socially integrated, on demand experiences to generate tangible change. Workplace learning should follow the example of the apps that are already creating change in our personal lives.

Innovative learning platforms are already pushing the boundaries in this arena. Hive Learning uses the team model to work with organisations to create personal, collaborative, and engaging learning experiences through AI-technology and research-based methods. Their process is a roadmap for integrating technology to create behaviour change.

The model for change

A successful model for change has to be integrated, mindful of the four integral factors that have historically yielded tangible results, and personal to each individual. This bold list is more easily managed with technology at its centre.

The four unique factors that create behaviour change combine:

  1. Mobile learning that goes where employee attention is and can be accessed in every moment.
  2. An intelligent system of learning content that stays relevant by adapting to learners’ ever changing needs.
  3. A group centered social experience that’s collaborative to encourage practice and keep motivation levels up.
  4. Learning that requires continual action, to embed real behaviour change with daily nudges and actions.

Although technology integration is at the heart of the actual learning experience, the process for developing such highly effective, personal programs requires a strong human element.

To create a process that results in lasting behaviour change, a varied mix of knowledgeable stakeholders need to be involved in the process. The organisation should have a clear vision and measurable goal; the learning professionals then take care of the programming, guidance and content, using people analytics to iterate and measure results. This collaboration results in a well-rounded learning experience.

The results speak for themselves. Clients using Hive Learning have experienced:

  • 1.5 X greater retention in learners
  • 65% usage on mobile by employees
  • 50% of interactions occurred outside of office hours
  • Growing adoption to 30,000 employees alone
  • The creation of more than two million pieces of learner content

It’s clear that following the lead of technology’s exponential growth is already leading to significant progress in human productivity.

Don’t get left behind. Prepare your business and its employees for the future of the work world by leveraging the technology that will mould it.


If you enjoyed reading this article, please recommend and share it to help others find it!

Call To Action

#1 If you want to become an inspiring marketing leader and access some valuable tactics/ curated, thought-provoking content and tools, then subscribe to my private mailing list here.

#2 If you are looking for an inspiring B2B marketing role within the Blenheim Chalcot portfolio. Click here to check out the latest vacancies here.

#3 I’m currently CMO at Modulr who provide a new type of payment account. Built for businesses that need a faster, easier and more reliable way to move money. Learn more about Modulr — The new digital payment 
account for business
.