Why training is no longer enough

You probably know Purple Cubed as a boutique HR consultancy, or perhaps for our award-winning technology. However, when we started out (in 2001) we also used to deliver rather good learning and development and, for a number of years, e-learning. However, as the world changed, we switched our attention to bigger picture stuff that would deliver sustainable employee engagement and enable businesses to deal with change.

At the same time, the development aspects of our delivery work changed to facilitation, group coaching and enabling people to deliver their own great stuff. Which is how it should be, because the majority of today’s workforce want:

  • Bite sized, just-in-time learning
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Easy, direct access to knowledge as and when they need it, using technology as a first port of call
  • Frequent feedback on how they can ‘do it better’
  • Simple, clear information
  • To learn from their colleagues and other experts
  • To be stretched; opportunities for discretionary contribution
  • Visuals – engaging multi-media approaches

Your people are individuals with different experiences, knowledge and expertise. So learning can’t be cookie cutter, preachy, standard stuff – people feel patronised – especially when they’ve ‘heard it all before’. Learning needs to be immersive – it’s about teaching them to think and problem solve rather than telling them how. Participants should drive their own voyage of discovery, learning from one another and supported by access to expertise. Keep the skills-based stuff for on-job and other means; be organised and creative about harnessing opportunities for people to learn through projects, making business improvements, job-swaps and so on. Keep the classroom for interaction between people to help them solve business challenges and innovate.

There are varying statistics, which put the percentage of people who learn by seeing and reading at 45-65% (they ask a colleague, they YouTube it), 15–25% doing (they learn on-job), 25-35% hearing (podcasts, tutorials). This is why traditional ‘chalk and talk’ methods are no longer effective. Whatever the delivery method, learning should be:

  • Appropriate to the individual, role and circumstances
  • Relevant, needed, and never patronising
  • Well executed, engaging and challenging
  • Reviewed – outcomes checked before and after the learning (and again) to track business benefits
  • Easily accessible via a central portal as and when people need to, without ‘permission’
  • Spontaneous and opportunistic, depending on the events that arise


  • Planned with pre-agreed goals and outcomes

If you only do three things:

  1. Get creative and contemporise your learning
  2. Make the right content easy to access so people can drive their own development
  3. Digitise what you can, facilitate what you can’t
2018-08-17T12:16:50+01:00 August 22nd, 2018|