The research reported here is an exploratory qualitative study aimed at identifying professionals' self‐regulatory strategies underpinning the planning and attainment of learning goals in the workplace and showing how a number of organizational factors affect these strategies. The rationale for the study is that existing research tells us little about how professionals regulate their learning, largely because much of the literature on the self‐regulation of learning has been conducted with pupils and students in schools and universities rather than with professionals. Data were obtained through 29 semi‐structured interviews with professional employees in a company in the energy sector – including engineers, scientists and managers of various kinds – in 12 countries. Findings suggest that self‐regulatory learning practices in, from and for work are iterative and fluid rather than delineated into discrete stages as suggested by phase models of self‐regulation. There was little deliberate, systematic self‐reflection on learning in the workplaces studied. Learning goals were driven by short‐term work tasks and individuals' longer term development needs. Professionals draw extensively upon supervisors, mentors and colleagues when planning and attaining their learning goals. Formation of learning goals was constrained by individuals' perceptions of their career development potential and of how their progression potential is viewed by the organization in which they work.