20 October 2023

4 min.

Does your work environment (really) foster professional development?

You’ve found a dynamic and innovative training program. You’re already looking forward to presenting it to your teams! But you also have a very down-to-earth concern on your mind: “We’re running out of time! After all, everyone wants to develop. However, if you have to block off several hours in your agenda, the list of no-shows is getting longer!

Is lack of time really the real factor holding back the development of your teams’ skills, or is it hiding a bigger issue?

To find out, let’s ask ourselves one question: do you have an enabling environment?

An enabling learning environment is defined as an environment where conditions are conducive to skills development. What does this look like in practice? We suggest you look at it from 2 angles:

  • resources
  • organizational culture

What resources are available to your learners?

Internal resources

When we talk about resources, we first think of internal resources (employees, for example). Workplace Learning, on the other hand, is concerned with how we learn in our everyday working lives, particularly with our peers. It emphasizes, among other things, the social resources of the work environment, i.e. the possibility of being helped or accompanied by colleagues, mentors and learning partners.


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External resources

External resources refer to available equipment, technological support, documentation, etc. Do your teams have access to the right resources to develop the skills identified? Are these resources easily accessible? If the documentation is well hidden on your intranet, if the documents don’t open easily on your workstation, or if you don’t work in front of a computer and everything is… online, then it’s possible that these resources remain unused.

To facilitate learning, you need to simplify access to your resources, make them available, attractive and, of course, relevant!

The practice fields

Have you ensured that the target audience will have the necessary opportunities to try, test and experiment?
Indeed, if we don’t manage to quickly put our discoveries into practice, it’s possible that the training program won’t fulfill its promise. Indeed, the implementation of a new skill or behavior is the visible part of a new neural connection! Unfortunately, this process doesn’t happen in a flash, and for our brain to be willing to expend energy to create and maintain this solid bridge between several neurons, we need to use it as often as possible. It’s like a new path in a forest. The more you use it, the more practicable it becomes. If, on the other hand, you stop using it, the path disappears and the vegetation grows back!

Make sure that discoveries can be quickly tested in your work environment.

Identify safe practice areas and give learners room to maneuver so they can implement new ways of doing things. You could, for example, propose a team challenge or select a mandate that allows for experimentation. Finally, be open to new ideas, even if they may temporarily upset the status quo.

Does your organizational culture (really) support professional development?

You offer quiet, attractive premises for quick access to training content. Mentors are available to help participants test their discoveries in a pilot project. Great! But if, in return, your organization doesn’t make time available for training, or doesn’t value risk-taking, the initial enthusiasm can quickly fizzle out!

To find out whether your organization is putting all the chances on the side of learners, here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • What do we usually reward? Effort or results?
  • How are times of collaboration, sharing and exchange perceived?
  • On what basis are employees evaluated and promoted?
  • Is knowledge transfer, such as mentoring, recognized and valued?
  • Are we prepared to free up time for learning?
  • Do we tend to encourage and value people who devote time and energy to their professional development?

With the right resources and an environment conducive to learning, as well as an organizational culture that truly values professional development, your training program certainly has a better chance of success! So make sure you lay the groundwork to maximize not only your return on investment, but above all, the pleasure of developing professionally as a team!