organisational changemakers
Employee Development
Learning & Development
Company Culture
User Adoption
August 23, 2022

Organisational changemakers & how they enable change through learning

Change is a word we hear a lot these days. We’re told we’re living through a period of unprecedented change — and this isn’t just a platitude.

Recent events have forced us to rapidly change our ways of thinking and working. Just take a look at L&D!

Learning and development has gone through a huge digital transformation over the past few years, with even more change on the horizon.

There’s now a critical need for industry-wide upskilling, a renewed focus on organisational culture and purpose, and a demand for widespread shifts in organisational behaviours.

Sounds like we need an L&D superhero, right?

Well… you may already have one working for your company.

Find your organisational changemakers and, whatever the future throws at us, you’ll have someone who can help you navigate the change needed.


  • What is an organisational changemaker?

  • Who are your organisational changemakers?

  • How can you help a changemaker help you?

    • Equip them with the right soft skills

    • Be their cheerleader

    • Empower them to deliver a bottom-up learning approach

    • Be open to organisation-wide cultural change

    • Provide changemakers with the tools they need

  • Creating change together

What is an organisational changemaker?

An organisational changemaker is someone who desires change — and then has the drive and determination to see it through.  

Within a company, an organisational changemaker is capable of looking at the big picture. They are able to identify problems and opportunities — and the changes that will help a company respond to both.  

You can find changemakers in any role and in any organisation. But in terms of L&D, changemakers look for ways to revolutionise current learning systems to make them more effective, efficient and fit for the future.  

Who are your organisational changemakers?

So who are the organisational changemakers within your company?

Perhaps you already have a few people in mind. But if you need help finding the people capable of pushing through meaningful L&D change for your business, look out for these qualities and characteristics.

An organisational changemaker has the ability to:

  • Tackle organisational challenges, big and small

  • Solve problems

  • Think long-term

  • Manage a project from beginning to end

  • Talk so that people listen, and listen so that people talk

  • Look empathetically and analytically at current systems

  • Challenge the status quo and argue their case

  • Look beyond silos to spot fresh ways of addressing challenges

  • Ask the right questions

  • Connect the dots

  • Make informed decisions

  • Create solutions in collaboration with the wider team.

Ultimately, organisational changemakers are the type of people who get stuff done. And they want to make a difference. With their eye on the greater organisational good, they strive to make things better.

An L&D changemaker will be looking to do all of the above with a focus on updating and revitalising the learning and development provision for your firm.

How can you help a changemaker help you?

Once you’ve located the L&D changemakers in your midst, what next? What can you do to help them realise their potential on behalf of the company and its learning objectives?

Equip them with the right soft skills

As we saw above, organisational changemakers need a rich mix of skills and abilities. Some of these may come very naturally to your L&D changemakers, but that doesn’t mean that those skills can’t be honed.

Support your changemakers to develop relevant soft skills. Specifically:

  • Collaborative leadership

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Critical thinking

  • Empathy

Project management skills are also very useful. Did you know that only 51% of UK workers have taken any kind of project management training? That’s despite the fact that 81% are expected to manage projects at work.

Be their cheerleader

L&D changemakers need stakeholder buy-in. Not just in terms of senior leadership but also the employees expected to get on board with new L&D systems.

Getting buy-in is difficult to achieve if they’re arguing the case for change alone. Changemakers need support from key players across your organisation — can you be there to help them make their case?

By ensuring your L&D changemaker’s voice is heard, by helping them to hone their message, and by backing their ideas, you help them to drive change through.

Empower them to deliver a bottom-up learning approach

Want to really turn things on their head? Switching a top-down learning strategy for a bottom-up strategy can improve the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of your L&D programme.

And it can improve employee engagement and buy-in across the board, which is a big priority for many businesses faced with low motivation levels.  

Let’s take a quick look at what both of those strategies look like.

  • Top-down: L&D leaders are responsible for developing or curating learning content. Learning pathways and objectives are decided by L&D teams and then imposed on learners. This is the traditional model.

  • Bottom-up: Employees take responsibility for identifying and stating their learning needs, then sharing knowledge between themselves. L&D leaders help to create content networks so all team members can develop, upload, share and access learning content.

By giving more autonomy to learners, a bottom-up approach helps to improve engagement as well as offer the flexibility you need as an organisation. It also helps to affect change at an organisational level.

Your L&D changemakers can implement a bottom-up learning strategy, but only if you empower them to do so.

Be open to organisation-wide cultural change

Tinkering at the edges never makes much of a difference. Your organisational changemakers are responsible for coming up with big ideas and creating significant, sustainable change.

Implementing this change may require a cultural shift across the whole of the organisation; it probably isn’t something that can exist solely within an L&D silo.

So what can you do to promote organisation-wide culture change?

  • Communicate clear company values and vision – so everyone understands how new L&D ideas align with the bigger picture

  • Cultivate an upskilling environment – promote and argue the case for continuous learning opportunities so everyone within your organisation is on the same page

  • Refocusing on employee engagement – base all efforts around the aim of motivating and engaging employees.

Provide changemakers with the tools they need

As well as your support, L&D changemakers need a budget and the right tools. Change may require new resources, personnel or software.

To support your changemakers in making a real impact, give them the practical and logistical tools they need to realise their ideas.

Creating change together

L&D changemakers are an incredible asset for your organisation, but they can’t thrive without support.

Be their cheerleader, offer development opportunities, be open to cultural change and consider a bottom-up approach to learning. Also, give them the tools they need to succeed. With your help, your organisational changemakers can prepare your company for whatever lies ahead.

Give your L&D changemakers the software they need to make change happen. Book a free demo of My Learning Hub, an LMS that can help you to deliver agile, engaging L&D.

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