This month, we chatted with Jonathan Cooper, founder of the Unlearning Company, about the evolution of company culture, outcome-based working and how we need to tackle learning and development head-on.

How is business evolving?

The pace of change is accelerating and it’s those businesses that have adapted their ways of working to becoming more flexible and ‘human’ in their approach that are succeeding.  It’s so much more than flexibility around time and location.  Employees want a sense of belonging, investment in their future and recognition of their success.

Jonathan believes outcome-based working is the way forward, with time-based working no longer being the key to success.

To truly thrive, businesses need to be clearer on objectives and outcomes and create a workplace culture that stimulates innovation and engagement in the bigger picture. Unlocking human potential requires much more than a handsome pay packet.

A key factor in trends like quiet quitting is investment. As the skills required to succeed continue to change, it’s unrealistic to expect higher engagement and productivity without investment. But there’s more to it than this. Enabling employees to feel invested is equally important. Workplaces that enable people to do their best work are often more productive and responsive to customer needs.

How can we improve to meet new expectations?

Work is increasingly becoming project-based with customers expecting products designed specifically for their application.  Excellence in leadership and management have never been so critical.  Projects can be put at risk if there is a skills deficit so the transfer of knowledge into action must be rapid.

How can we better approach learning and development?

Learning and development is principally responding to feedback. I believe the single most important change any of us can make is to actively offer and seek feedback. The more we do it, the less it will feel like an event. Calm delivery and realistic feedback have enormous benefits for the recipient who is more likely to respond favourably.

How can this improve engagement?

Employers have a responsibility to provide more than a paycheck.

Acknowledging real-time issues and tackling them collaboratively brings people together – if work is transactional, people feel less valued and leave. Or worse, become quiet quitters.

The view that people just go to work to earn money isn’t often the case. It’s also about connecting, feeling part of something bigger and having a sense of achievement. Satisfaction matters.

The tasks don’t need to change for someone to feel like they belong and their work has value.