Last updated: Learning transformation: A people-centric approach to workplace change

Learning transformation: A people-centric approach to workplace change


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As people and technology evolve, our outdated views of the relationship between the two require an update. Enter learning transformation, an approach that puts people at the center of advancement.

Imagine the power of change that does not happen against the grain, but instead invites participation in a way that changes the entire workforce, one person at a time. Learning transformation is the concept of shifting from incremental training to a sustained culture of learning that brings people ahead together.

The human side of transformation is fuel for change

When you think about changes happening across an organization, do you envision a light switch? Or do you see something that might be a bit closer to turning a battleship?

The truth is probably somewhere in between. People in charge of human resources discover that change happens in more effective and enduring ways by strategically connecting people with purpose and allowing room for experimentation and discovery.

Natal Dank, an HR pioneer, author, and co-founder of PXO Culture, describes what she does as “disrupting HR for the benefit of humans.” Dank focuses on helping HR and culture teams co-create change and build human-centric solutions with their people.

“In the end, people have to be able to experiment and get comfortable with that change. A community can help because experimentation is when the change curve can change,” says Dank about the role of people management in any scenario involving change.

What is the curve change of learning transformation?

The curve change is the range of emotions people have when presented with change.

Vali Maria Bluma, Transformation Office Lead Operations Excellence for Evonik, says, “The range and arrival of emotions on the curve change aren’t necessarily sequential. These are people’s feelings.”

Here are reactions that you can expect:
  • Rumors and initial interest—“I heard something is going on in systems.”
  • Shock—“I cannot believe they are tearing down everything we know!”
  • Denial—“It’ll never stick. I’m going status quo.”
  • Anger—“They don’t understand what this will do to us. It’s unreal!”
  • Bargaining—“Ok, I understand the value, but if we could stagger implementation….”
  • Adaption—“I mean, the current approach has been clunky. But, on the other hand, maybe there’s merit.”
  • Experiment—“I’m going to apply some of these processes to my plan and gauge things.”
  • Acceptance—“I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and familiarizing myself with it.”
  • Commitment—“Wrapping this into strategies for the second quarter will allow me to plot out third-quarter tactics.”

Bluma advises that learning transformation takes dedication: “It is a long process that takes time to build and sustain.”

She encourages people to plan for up to two years before making a conversion. During that time, establish feedback channels and tap change agents from within the organization to help communicate with employees and influence them.

What does the future of employee development look like?

Find out how HR leaders are preparing for the human side of transformation.

Register for the webcast.

Understanding people’s emotions to address them

A human-centric approach acknowledges and honors people’s ways of processing change.

To be clear, that doesn’t mean bending to the will of every voice; what it means is hearing them, giving them space, and providing responses. It’s essential to understand what sparks each emotion.

  1. Job security– Does this change mean my position is at risk?
  2. Financial implications– Is my paycheck going to take a hit?
  3. Environment-Are these changes going to kill our culture?
  4. Responsibility– Will I have less I have to do?
  5. Learning curve-Am I going to be able to do this? Will I get proper training?

People management allows employees to come along and participate in upskilling that prepares them for the future. Throughout the process, the participants in the network of change build trust and mutual understanding.

Who needs learning transformation?

The reality is that anyone operating a business needs to, at the very least, be aware of the existence of learning transformation.

The ability to adapt and forecast why it is crucial offers security against the unexpected. A workforce that has been educated and feels heard has a greater capacity to pivot and stretch in the future.

HR, better.
Employees, happier.
Businesses, healthier.
It’s time to modernize the employee experience.


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