Creating a Learning Culture: Using Learning Teams to Improve Engagement and Organisational Problem Solving

Creating a Learning Culture: Using Learning Teams to Improve Engagement and Organisational Problem Solving

How do we improve the way we learn as an organisation? This was the starting question that drove the implementation of a Learning Teams strategy within Downer.

When we started on this journey we reflected and realised that the predominant tool and process we had for learning about safety was post- incident investigations. When we looked at the effectiveness of this approach to learning we identified that this process frequently did not encourage people to describe what happened and why, and as such this process was not delivering the organisational learning’s and improvements it was designed to deliver.

We looked at the reasons behind this and identified we needed to shift our culture of learning by introducing new tools that would:

1. Foster enhanced psychological safety to encourage people to contribute lessons learnt openly and honestly.

2. Produce better insights and understanding about the nature of work and the factors that need to be addressed to make improvements; and

3. Enable better engagement and collaboration around shared problem solving to identify more effective improvements and countermeasures to safety issues and challenges.

The approach that was implemented to meet these needs was a ‘Learning Teams’ approach. Learning Teams harness the collective knowledge, experience and wisdom of people (doing the work) to gain insights about work; and foster collaboration among people doing the work to implement sustainable improvements. In this session we will explore the approach we have taken to running learning teams, lessons learnt from implementing this approach, and share some examples of results from this newly adopted approach in the business.