Does fear prevent learning in the flow of work?

Posted by Julie Hiipakka and Jeff Mike on May 15, 2019.

We recently attended Deloitte’s 2019 Chief Learning Officer Forum, where a number of learning leaders discussed the idea of feeling “safe” and its impact on workers. One participant made a great point: the very people we rely on to implement change in our organizations—middle managers—often experience heavy financial burdens due to aging parents, children’s college tuition, and/or debts carried over from past mortgages or higher education. A need for financial safety, he posited, might prevent the very experimentation and agility we want from our workers. Their need for job security could override any desire to take risks, innovate, or experiment in the flow of work.1 (A recent Deloitte survey found that financial topics like job security, retirement, and debt are among top employee stressors. Our colleague Pete DeBellis wrote on how to address this via a rewards strategy.)2

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