Simon Greany – Elucidat https://www.elucidat.com Fri, 26 Aug 2022 13:38:02 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0.2 The hidden costs of authoring tools (and how to spend more wisely) https://www.elucidat.com/blog/hidden-costs-of-authoring-tools/ Fri, 26 Aug 2022 10:00:44 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=8941 Faced with an impending economic downturn, businesses are under pressure. While L&D has always had to justify itself, there’s now an increased focus on proving its value. But with fast-changing business needs, this isn’t easy. How can you prove your work offers a good Return on Investment (ROI)? The first step is to take a […]

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Faced with an impending economic downturn, businesses are under pressure. While L&D has always had to justify itself, there’s now an increased focus on proving its value. But with fast-changing business needs, this isn’t easy. How can you prove your work offers a good Return on Investment (ROI)? The first step is to take a closer look at your tools and the hidden costs you might not have budgeted for.

hidden costs of authoring tools

Navigating the economic downturn 

With economic pressure and uncertainty growing, businesses need to adapt quickly. Tough decisions will need to be made. Budgets will be cut and headcount reduced. 

During recessions, L&D is often one of the first departments that are hit. But even though the workforce might be reduced, your organizations’ learning needs won’t be decreasing any time soon. In fact, the potential loss of expertise from the business means L&D is more important than ever.

You and your team need to demonstrate your value by supporting your organization through this period of disruption. That means meeting the business’ needs by doing more with less. Where you spend your limited budget and the ROI it offers will be critical.

The hidden costs of authoring tools (and how to spend more wisely)

Authoring technology can take up a big part of your budget. The Brandon Hall Group found that on average in a large organization 44% of the L&D budget goes on people, 27% on technology and 29% on content. If you’ve invested wisely, your technology will not only help you produce more effective learning, but save on your other costs. However, although many authoring tools look cost effective on paper, they can have hidden expenses that quickly mount up when working at scale.

If you’re going to understand the true cost of your authoring tool, there are five key considerations:

LMS administration

Keeping training relevant and up to date in a world of accelerated change can be a real headache. From staying on top of updates through to rolling out localized modules, speed and agility is key. Time consuming upload and reupload processes take up more of your team’s attention, which ultimately uses your people budget. 

How to avoid it? Choose a tool that allows you to quickly launch and update content without needing to re-upload files and change existing links to courses.

LMSAdmin

Project management and collaboration

Developing learning in large organizations can involve a lot of people – all with different priorities, experience and skills. If your tools don’t support effective collaboration, you’ll spend a lot more time supporting people and making sure your projects are progressing with the appropriate input and sign off.

How to avoid it? Ensure your authoring tool has collaborative workflows that will empower everyone involved to contribute effectively.

Maintaining variations and updates

In global businesses, localizing content is critical to staying effective and compliant in every region. However, many authoring tools aren’t set up for this process. Localization often requires duplication and manually making changes many times. This can be a huge undertaking for your team. 

How to avoid it? Look for authoring tools which are set up for course variations and allow you to cascade changes.

Content translations 

Translation can be a long and costly process. Some authoring tools require translated text to be manually re-engineered. The more complicated the work, the more likely you’ll want to outsource this task completely to a translation partner. And, of course, this comes with additional costs. 

How to avoid it? Explore authoring tools that enables one-click download of course content and error free upload of translated versions to a cloned course. 

Outsourcing to agencies or off the shelf content

When your team doesn’t have the capacity to take a request on, you may consider outsourcing it to an elearning agency or searching for related off-the-shelf content. Agency-created content can be high quality, but it can often be a long process to create and maintain. Not to mention, it can be very expensive. Off-the-shelf content can be quick to deploy, but will likely lack relevance and can offer very little ROI.

How to avoid it? Find a user-friendly authoring tool so you can scale up production using novice learning creators from across your organization and reduce expensive outsourcing costs!

Want to explore your options further? Check out our blog on the best elearning authoring tools available.

How you can be more efficient and cut costs with Elucidat

As an L&D professional, you may deal with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of courses each year. Working with people across your organization, while handling variations in branding, content and language, can become difficult and costly to manage at this size. 

If you don’t want unexpected learning technology costs to start mounting up, you need an authoring tool that is designed to work at scale and helps you keep costs under control. 

hidden costs

With Elucidat you get:

  • Efficient project releases: Elucidat removes lots of LMS admin headaches with project releases at super speed and live content updates at the click of a button. No need to re-upload the SCORM package to your LMS!
  • Guided Authoring: Unlock production with Collaborative Content Creation powered by Elucidat’s Guided Authoring. This workflow empowers any employee to share their expertise and create impactful elearning – that meets standards with ease.
  • Integrated review feature: With Elucidat you can invite reviewers at any time, as you work on a project. Keeping everything in one place makes it much easier to manage the review and feedback process. Stay on track with your projects as you can see who needs to complete their reviews at a glance.
  • Translations and Variations Manager: Elucidat makes managing localizations and translations much easier. Cloning your course makes reuse, rebranding and translation simple. Keeping a parent course avoids version control issues and makes updates simple.
  • Project management: Elucidat keeps you in control with Advanced User Management. Permissions can be customized to a granular level, so even the broadest group of authors and reviewers stay focused with the functionality they need. Usage logs give you visibility of how accounts are being used and project locking reduces the risk of errors being introduced.

These features combine to free up your capacity. By managing more digital learning production in-house, you reduce your reliance on agencies and off-the-shelf content. By empowering any employee to produce effective learning, you’re able to focus on strategic oversight and delivering impact. 

Want to find out more? Read our blog on how your investment will pay off with Elucidat.

In summary

The impending economic downturn means L&D are going to need to prove their value to the business. This means doing more with less. Moving to an authoring that looks cost effective on paper may seem the obvious choice. But remember that many tools have hidden costs which mount up when you’re working at scale. Any additional complexity and challenge to LMS admin, project management and collaboration, elearning updates, variations and translations can slow you down and increase costs. If you don’t have capacity for this work, it can also drive you to expensive agencies or less impactful off the shelf content. 

Choosing a tool, like Elucidat, which is designed to meet your need for speed at an enterprise scale, keeps costs under control when you increase elearning production. By harnessing the expertise within your organization to produce effective learning you can create real long-term value for your business. 

Want to try it for yourself? Book a demo of Elucidat and find out how we can help you be more efficient and cut costs.

Test Drive Elucidat Today!

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5 ways to create a learning culture in your organization https://www.elucidat.com/blog/5-ways-to-create-a-learning-culture-in-your-organization/ Tue, 27 Jul 2021 14:45:38 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=8247 We live in an age of accelerated change. Technology is disrupting every area of life. Consumer expectations are shifting. In a constantly adapting landscape, hiring new people with the latest skills is not a sustainable solution. So, how can you meet your organization’s changing needs in the long-term? It’s time to start building a learning […]

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We live in an age of accelerated change. Technology is disrupting every area of life. Consumer expectations are shifting. In a constantly adapting landscape, hiring new people with the latest skills is not a sustainable solution. So, how can you meet your organization’s changing needs in the long-term? It’s time to start building a learning culture that will see every employee thrive and your business succeed.

What is a learning culture?

If your people are going to have the skills required for success, learning needs to be a strategic imperative. A learning culture puts continuous development of knowledge and competence at the heart of everything your organization does. Enabling every employee to continuously seek, share, and apply new knowledge and skills.

Of course, learning environments come in all shapes and sizes. There isn’t one right way to achieve a learning culture, but there are some common characteristics:

  • Supporting independent learning and development
  • Encouraging team members to reflect on their work and share their learning
  • Fostering a growth mindset and desire to learn throughout the organization
  • Enabling learning to shape strategy and process change

Different levels of an effective learning culture

Different levels of an effective learning culture

Organizational

In successful organizations, everyone works together to achieve a shared mission. An organization-wide learning culture enables people to connect with this mission.

Structures and systems are in place to support learning that’s linked to organizational objectives. Open dialogue, challenge and reflection are embedded in values and processes.

Team

From sharing experiences to providing feedback, lots of learning happens in teams. Managers play a key part in setting the tone, providing support and leading by example. In an effective team learning culture, time and resources are prioritized for formal and informal learning. So, whether it’s a project evaluation or regular team meeting, everyone can reflect on their work and share their learning.

Individual

Effective learning can only take place in an environment where individuals feel supported. In a successful learning culture, people know that their development is valued and time is allocated to it. Learning opportunities are clearly communicated. Employees have a growth mindset and take responsibility for their own development. They have access to a variety of training programs, resources and methods. This means they can personalize the approach they take to learning.

The benefits of a learning culture

When a learning culture is cultivated at every level of an organization, the benefits are wide ranging.

  • Quickly adapting to changing needs: Encouraging a desire and ability to learn leads to an enhanced capacity to adapt and acquire new skills.
  • Solving problems effectively: If your people are comfortable sharing new learning, skills and ideas, they’ll identify and solve problems more effectively.
  • Reducing the L&D bottleneck: Empowering people to take control of their day-to-day development means you can focus on the bigger L&D picture.
  • Decreasing staff turnover: Developing a sense of ownership and accountability increases employee satisfaction so they’ll stay with your organization longer.
  • Increased efficiency, productivity and profit: All the benefits of a learning culture add up to one big gain: the success of your business!

5 ways to create a learning culture in your organization

CIPD found that “98% of learning and development practitioners wish to develop a positive culture for learning but only 36% feel like they’ve developed one.” If you’re one of the 36%, what can you do to change this?

Here are some top tips from L&D professionals who are cultivating a learning culture in their organization.

1. Encourage active learning

Putting people in control leads to long-lasting, meaningful learning. Make sure your formal learning is readily available. Provide a range of learning programs and different routes through them. Empower employees to personalize their own learning pathways and apply their learning at work. Embracing an active approach to learning will have many benefits: for the individual and your organization.

“As learning teams, we’re not mass hiring trainers to deliver this information… We really have to think of how to scale your learning teams to a larger number of learners. And technology plays into that. But I also think it’s self-paced and curated. A world that lets people drive their own learning on many topics is so important for us to be able to scale and do our jobs.”

Patrick Bowl, Learning and Development Director at Worldpay

2. Promote continuous learning

In a fast-paced business with competing priorities, sometimes learning can take a back seat. Don’t let training become a standalone process. Actively promote and reward continuous learning. That doesn’t mean simply praising or promoting people who find the time to learn. It’s about enabling people to be curious – even if it doesn’t directly relate to the work at hand.

“You never know, that piece of learning might inspire someone to do something great. What if the person learning about Beethoven comes up with the next jingle? …What if that person who studied feudal Chinese culture went out and made a $500 million deal in some province in China?”

Casper Moerck, Siemens’ Head of Learning Technology – Americas

3. Fill your skill gaps

Having employees ready to adapt and grow to meet your changing needs is your first step. If you’re going to create a sustainable culture, your employees’ learning needs to be supported. As the organization identifies emerging skills gaps, you need to be ready to react with the learning resources your people need.

“It’s about identifying the knowledge gap and identifying a small sort of shift in behavior, and being able to meaningfully put some assets together and an experience together—that will shift that.”

Lars Hyland, Chief Learning Officer at Totara Learning

4. Make it fun and social

When learning feel like a chore, information is less likely to be retained. Make sure your learning culture doesn’t take itself too seriously. Don’t fall into the trap of check box learning. Creating a sense of fun in training and development is great for employee engagement. From manager support to social chats, on-the-job interactions can keep the learning alive.

“That partnership with your manager, or whoever’s going to be coaching that person afterwards is so important. … A lot of what these learners are going to develop from a learning perspective is going to come from on-the-job or interactions with their peers. ‘I stumbled across something, and I shared my problem with somebody else on how I solved it’. That’s so important. … Social platforms, whether it was Yammer or Slack, or even some of the chats within Microsoft Teams or the other tools, it’s such a great place to put people together.”

Patrick Bowl, Learning and Development Director at Worldpay

5. Experiment, measure and adapt

Every organization is different. Try out new approaches and see how they work with your people. Don’t just focus on elearning completion and virtual classroom attendance rates as a measure of your learning culture’s success. Measure early on and throughout all kinds of learning experiences. If something isn’t having the intended impact, adapt your approach.

“Don’t try and solve the problem 100 percent. Try and understand enough of the problem to make one step forward, and then measure where you are, and then re-evaluate, and then take the next step.”

Paul Goundry, Head of Learning at Utility Warehouse

Summary

An effective learning culture is the key to business success in this age of accelerated change. Creating a learning culture involves a shift at all levels of your organization. This won’t happen over night. There are five key ways you can start to encourage the right culture in your business. Empower everyone to take an active role in their own development. Promote and reward continuous learning. Make sure the time, tools and resources are available for all employees to fill their skill gaps. Embrace social learning to make sure your culture is sustainable. And don’t forget to try things out, measure your success and adapt your approach to ensure your culture is truly effective.

Learn more about how World Pay developed a learning culture on the Learning at Large Podcast.

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Embracing future technologies to innovate L&D https://www.elucidat.com/blog/embracing-future-technologies-to-innovate-ld/ Tue, 25 May 2021 11:32:39 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=8160 There’s no shortage of great technology ready to meet all your business needs. But rather than looking to one source of truth, it’s essential to look to multiple platforms – the data they provide is invaluable. In this episode, hear how Dave Barone, Consultant at Josh Bersin Academy, embraced technology to build an experiential onboarding […]

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There’s no shortage of great technology ready to meet all your business needs. But rather than looking to one source of truth, it’s essential to look to multiple platforms – the data they provide is invaluable. In this episode, hear how Dave Barone, Consultant at Josh Bersin Academy, embraced technology to build an experiential onboarding platform for 25,000 employees a year. Find out why it’s so important to get to grips with your L&D data. Explore what meaningful measurement looks like. Finally, discover how engaged managers will drive real business impact.

David Barone - Embracing future technologies to innovate L&D - Podcast

Play this episode

Top tips for maximizing the impact of future technologies

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Dave:

  1. Plug and play the best tech: No one platform will solve everything. Embrace the latest tech. Use the platforms that will best meet your current needs.
  2. Own your L&D data: Don’t leave L&D data management to IT. Use a Learning Record Store (LRS) so it’s at your fingertips. Tap into this data to make learning that’s truly people-centered.
  3. Get meaningful with your measurement: Move from measuring completion to learning experience. Use your data to demonstrate employee skills.
  4. Drive manager engagement: Engaged managers lead to engaged employees. Use technology to drive manager engagement and you’ll see real business impact.

1. Plug and play the best tech

The world of L&D technology is increasingly fragmented. Over the last two years, we’ve seen a 48% increase in learning technology solutions. There’s no perfect platform that will solve everything for you and the LMS isn’t your one source of truth. You need multiple platforms that you can adapt and swap out over time.

For Dave, it’s all about plugging and playing tech to best meet your current business needs. At Comcast, this meant building a portal to improve the new hire experience for the sales team. Onboarding 25,000 employees a year, this platform contains around 100 learning journeys – from product launch to leadership. It brings together classroom and online activities, as well as offline and on-the-job development – integrating systems to create engaging, seamless learning experiences.

 Plug and play the best tech quote

2. Own your L&D data

All your systems will be capturing vast amounts of data. If you’re going to innovate L&D at your organization, you need to harness the power of this information. This isn’t something to leave to your IT department. Unless you own your L&D data, it will get lost amongst everyone else’s.

Dave sees an LRS as the key tool for collecting and analyzing your learning data. Pulling together information from multiple systems into one place. Allowing you to get hands-on and mine your data. It’s only with these valuable insights that you can transform your learning activities – moving from transactional to truly people-centered learning.

Own your L&D data quote

3. Get meaningful with your measurement

With so much data at your fingertips, it’s time to decide what to measure. Previously, you were limited to recording completion and scoring. But with 80% of learning happening on the job, that meant you were only capturing 20% of the data.

Comcast’s experiential onboarding portal captures what people have learnt, formally and self-directed. But it also creates an ecosystem where they share what they’re doing with their managers and peers. Allowing them to get feedback along the way. Dave is clear that you won’t be effective unless you can measure these kinds of activities. And, with an LRS, capturing meaningful learning experience data is easy.

Get meaningful with your measurement quote

4. Drive manager engagement

Manager engagement can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your work. From coaching sessions to supporting social learning, managers play a huge part in the development of your employees. You need to make it easy for them to play their part.

Very early on, Dave learned that they had to get managers engaged in Comcast’s onboarding. They decided to use the portal to drive this engagement. Keeping it simple with a dashboard that easily tracks progress. Instead of managing completion, managers support people’s demonstration of skill. And the results speak for themselves.

Drive manager engagement quote

A quick recap

Dave has always embraced technology to create unique genuinely people-centered learning experiences. He has four strategies for maximizing the impact of future technologies. Plug and play the best technologies that will meet your business needs. Get hands on with your L&D data using an LRS. Make your measurements meaningful by recording learning experiences. Drive engagement with your managers to see real business results.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.

About Dave

Dave started his career as an engineer at a nuclear power plant before moving into L&D. He spent 13 years as a learning leader at Comcast supporting the learning and development needs of over 100,000 staff. More recently, Dave has been speaking to hundreds of people to develop new perspectives on the future of learning technologies.

You can find out more and get connected with Dave on LinkedIn.

On Dave’s reading list

Find out which book is Dave’s current must-read for L&D innovators.

Disconnected: How to use People Data to Deliver Realness, Meaning, and Belonging at Work, Colleen McFarland

If you want to build effective training, you need to connect with the next generation. This book explores how to create data-driven learning experiences that align with and engage your new and future employees.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog.

Join the conversation!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @Elucidat with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

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Worldpay’s rapid shift to blended digital learning https://www.elucidat.com/blog/worldpay-blended-digital-learning/ Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:26:46 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=8123 Faced with a travel ban and changing customer needs, Worldpay adapted its sales approach in response to COVID-19. Hear how Patrick Bowl, Learning and Development Director, pivoted to a blended digital learning approach to support the sales team. Find out why developing a learning culture is the key to scaling L&D in a large organization. […]

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Faced with a travel ban and changing customer needs, Worldpay adapted its sales approach in response to COVID-19. Hear how Patrick Bowl, Learning and Development Director, pivoted to a blended digital learning approach to support the sales team. Find out why developing a learning culture is the key to scaling L&D in a large organization. Discover how new approaches to learning need different ways to measure success.

Play this episode

Top tips for rapidly shifting to blended digital learning

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some quick top tips from Patrick:

  1. Iterate to adapt at speed: Don’t just focus on the event or module. Be ready for change by anticipating future needs and iterating your approach.
  2. Keep learning alive with a blend: Development isn’t a one-off event. From on-the-job coaching to social forums, put it into practice with a blend of learning.
  3. Build a learning culture at scale: Encourage a growth mindset. Empower people to own their day-to-day development. You’ll free up your time to focus on the bigger L&D picture.
  4. New approaches need new measurements: Adapt your measures to support your approach. Assess success early. Utilize the latest technology, as well as manager feedback.

Iterate to adapt at speed

In 2020, Worldpay announced that employees would not be traveling due to COVID-19. Salespeople were used to making connections in person. Now they needed to quickly adapt to meeting online. Faced with uncertainty, their buyers were looking for more than just a sale. They needed empathy, as well as business support.

These suddenly changing needs meant the pressure was on. Patrick needed to deliver learning in a different way. Of course, classroom programs would need to become virtual. But rather than focus on the next learning event or module, he looked further ahead. Anticipating the learning needs over the next six months wasn’t straightforward. Taking an iterative approach enabled him to react to changes as people learned on the job.

Keep learning alive with a blend

Faced with rapid change, you need to deliver something quickly. But just producing elearning so you can show you’ve trained your employees wastes everyone’s time. Responding at pace doesn’t mean you can’t be deliberate.

Patrick knew that Worldpay had to avoid this check box training pitfall at all costs. He took a blended learning approach. Virtual classrooms and digital modules were only part of the story. From manager support to social chats, on-the-job interactions kept the learning alive.

Build a learning culture at scale

Moving from L&D as a one-off intervention to a continuous experience takes more than an effective learning blend. Developing a learning culture is essential. If you’re going to successfully respond to rapid changes, everyone needs to play their part. Whether it’s managers or employees, people need a growth mindset and to take responsibility for their own development.

At Worldpay, all the salespeople needed to adapt to the new world of online meetings and customer uncertainty. But how each of them achieved it could be different. By providing self-paced, curated digital content, Patrick enabled people to drive their own learning. Freeing up his team to focus on the bigger L&D picture.

New approaches need new measurements

Rapidly adopting new approaches and learning technologies require a shift in how you measure your success. It may be a while before you start to see any business outcomes. So, how can you be sure you’re on the right path?

Worldpay had previously focused on speed to productivity for new hires. There were lots of different ways to measure this, but it wasn’t easy. Rather than waiting until the induction was complete, Patrick measured early on and throughout the learning experience. His focus was engagement. Is the person asking questions? Are they collaborating effectively? This is largely trainer or manager-led measure. But, as learning technologies develop, new opportunities for measurement emerge.

A quick recap

In response to changing learner and customer needs, Patrick rapidly adopted a new approach to L&D. He has four strategies for pivoting to blended digital learning. Iterate so you’re able to react quickly and improve. Keep learning alive with a blended approach that gets people applying it on the job. Build a learning culture that works at scale. Explore new ways to measure your success that complements your new approaches. Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.

About Patrick

With 15 years’ experience in learning and technology, Patrick joined Worldpay five years ago. As Learning and Development Director, Patrick supports sales teams through new hire induction to skills development, and beyond.

You can find out more and get connected with Patrick on LinkedIn.

On Patrick’s reading list

Find out which books are Patrick’s learning and development must-reads.

Design Thinking for Training and Development: Creating Learning Journeys That Get Results, Sharon Boller, Laura Fletcher

When learning is seen as a one-time event, the employee and the business suffer. This book gave Patrick some great points about how to design learning so it sticks and drives improved performance.

Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones, James Clear

Real change comes from the effect of hundreds of small decisions. Diving into the mechanics of habit development provided Patrick with insights into the building block of successful learning.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our top L&D books blog.

Join the conversation!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @Elucidat with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

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Why less is more when it comes to learning content https://www.elucidat.com/blog/why-less-is-more-learning-content/ Wed, 31 Mar 2021 11:19:34 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=8042 When feedback highlighted that learners were becoming overwhelmed, GSK changed their approach. Hear how Martin Peart, GSK’s People Effectiveness Director, responded to this feedback with a learning experience platform (LXP). Find out why he believes less is more when it comes to learning content. Explore how to harness the power of AI so you can […]

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When feedback highlighted that learners were becoming overwhelmed, GSK changed their approach. Hear how Martin Peart, GSK’s People Effectiveness Director, responded to this feedback with a learning experience platform (LXP). Find out why he believes less is more when it comes to learning content. Explore how to harness the power of AI so you can streamline your L&D offer. Discover why it’s important to make space for engaging content and why you should use data to assess your impact.

Play this episode

Top tips to offer more with your learning content

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are four top tips from Martin:

  1. Less is more with learning content: Don’t overload your people with learning. Scale it back. Ask yourself: How much does this asset add to their development?
  2. Harness the power of AI to get streamlined: Focus on your people and organization’s needs. Tag the content that will meet each need. Use AI to learn which content is really needed.
  3. Make space for learner engagement: Embrace all kinds of engaging material. Even if it’s unrelated to your skills gaps, it gets people involved in learning.
  4. Use data to adapt and improve: Recognize your skills gaps and the cultural changes you need. Identify the available data points. Measure your impact on these big challenges.

1. Less is more with learning content

Learning and development assets grow with an organization. As processes change and skills gaps are identified, you develop new learning initiatives. Over the years, this content can start to stack up.

For Martin, effective learning and development isn’t about producing more content. In fact, adding more into the mix only makes it harder for people to find what they need. If you’re learning is going to be effective, you need to get streamlined.

2. Harness the power of AI to get streamlined

If people are overwhelmed, you need to scale back. But just reducing your content isn’t the answer. You need to move to managed learning pathways. Focus on your people and organization’s needs. Identify the content that will meet these needs. Then create an easy and engaging route through this content.

Content was hosted all over GSK’s internal network. Martin knew he had to rationalize their learning offer. So, he introduced a learning experience platform (LXP). While moving content over, Martin began the process of streamlining. By tagging this content against GSK’s skills taxonomy, he’ll use AI to see what’s having the biggest impact.

3. Make space for learner engagement

From day-to-day work to urgent deadlines, lots of things vying for your people’s attention. To be effective, L&D needs to grab their interest. If your people aren’t engaged, it doesn’t matter how focused you keep your learning pathways.

As well as streamlining his content, Martin leaves space for engagement. Whether that’s digital marketing or interesting learning content. Embracing all kinds of material, even if it’s unrelated to your skills gaps, gets people engaged in learning.

4. Use data to adapt and improve

Understanding your organization’s needs is the key to creating an effective managed learning pathway. But, in a dynamic business environment, where do you begin? And how do you assess your impact?

Martin started by identifying skills gaps and cultural shifts through needs analysis. His executive team provided direction on the business’ priorities. He then looked to the available data to discover the biggest challenges to these areas. It’s this data that enables him to measure the impact of his work. And, where it’s not effective, he makes changes and iterates.

A quick recap

When feedback highlighted that people were overwhelmed by the amount of learning material, GSK moved across to an LXP. Martin has four strategies to rationalize your L&D offer. Less is more when it comes to learning content. Harness the power of AI to take streamlining content to the next level. Make space for content that really engages your learners. Use data to measure your success, iterate and improve.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.

About Martin

With over 15 years’ L&D experience, Martin became People Effectiveness Director at GSK in 2019. Focusing on performance and employee experience, he is head of mentoring, coaching, leadership, careers, skills and learning content strategy.

You can find out more and get connected with Martin on LinkedIn.

On Martin’s reading list

Find out which book informs Martin’s approach to L&D.

Everyday Chaos: Technology, Complexity, and How We’re Thriving in a New World of Possibility, David Weinberger

In a complex and unpredictable world, things are constantly changing. This book explores how to embrace the possibilities that disruption presents. From new digital platforms to AI, this inspires Martin in his approach to L&D.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog.

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Moving from transactional to meaningful learning https://www.elucidat.com/blog/moving-from-transactional-to-meaningful-learning/ Tue, 02 Mar 2021 16:56:30 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=7931 The global pandemic has disrupted some of our well-established approaches to learning. How can you take this opportunity to change how people think about L&D? Hear how Travis Thompson, Learning and Development Operations Leader at Wells Fargo, has moved from transactional to meaningful learning. Find out why an agile approach to deployment and measurement maximizes […]

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The global pandemic has disrupted some of our well-established approaches to learning. How can you take this opportunity to change how people think about L&D? Hear how Travis Thompson, Learning and Development Operations Leader at Wells Fargo, has moved from transactional to meaningful learning. Find out why an agile approach to deployment and measurement maximizes your impact. Explore how being people-centered helps you build emotional intelligence across your organization.

Play this episode

Top tips for moving from transactional to meaningful learning

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Travis:

  1. Move from transactional to meaningful learning: Align your learning to meaningful goals. Create journeys that bridge your people’s skill gaps. Change how they think about L&D.
  2. Iterate your learning journey: Don’t spend months building a huge program. Prioritize what’s most important to your people. Start with the core skills and build from there.
  3. Measure at milestones so you can pivot: Break the learning journey into phases. Assess success at key milestones. If it’s not working for your people, pivot.
  4. Get people-centered to build emotional intelligence: Drive change by better understanding people’s differences. Adapt to help them build emotional intelligence.

1. Move from transactional to meaningful learning

Many organizations have well-established tools and methodologies for learning. They get the job done. People are doing okay. But is there an opportunity to perform better?

For Travis, the only way to maximize business impact is to change how you think about learning. Move from a purely transactional approach to one that’s aligned to meaningful goals. Start with the outcomes the business wants to achieve. Identify the key actions that will enable these outcomes. Recognize the knowledge, skills and behaviors people need to complete these actions. Then bring this together in a learning journey that works for your people and business.

2. Iterate your learning journey

Taking a new approach involves more than just thinking differently. From the initial needs analysis to deployment, you need to embrace new ways of working.

Demand for learning that bridges your organization’s skill gaps is only increasing. To meet this demand, you need to be agile. There’s no point spending months developing your program only to find the world’s changed. Instead, iterate. Work out what’s most important to your people and business. Start with these skills and build from there.

3. Measure at milestones so you can pivot

The starting point of your learning initiative is your business outcomes. But your people’s learning isn’t the only thing that will drive your business performance. So how can you measure your success in a meaningful way?

It may be months before you start to see the business outcomes. Rather than waiting until the learning journey is complete, Travis measures success incrementally. Breaking up the learning journey into phases. Assessing success at key milestones. If people aren’t able to demonstrate the skills and behaviors he was expecting, he can pivot.

4. Get people-centered to build emotional intelligence

The global pandemic has seen organizations adopting new technologies to keep people learning. Although the tech’s important, it isn’t what makes or breaks a training experience. Your approach needs to be people-centered.

Travis started in software development before pivoting his career. Recognizing that his role involved people processing systems, he started a psychology Ph.D. By better understanding people, he can drive change in his organization. Whether it’s culture or experience, we’re all different. Understanding how these differences impact emotional intelligence is key to successful L&D.

A quick recap

From software to psychology, Travis has embraced a people-centered approach. He has four strategies for maximizing the impact of learning. Move from transactional to meaningful learning that aligns with what people need. Iterate your learning journey, starting with the core skills. Measure your success at milestones so you can pivot if it’s not working. Drive change by better understanding people and how they can build emotional intelligence.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.

About Travis

After over 10 years’ experience in technology, Travis moved into L&D. His latest role is Learning and Development Operations Leader at Wells Fargo. He supports the deployment of a variety of programs across the organization.

You can find out more and get connected with Travis on LinkedIn.

On Travis’ reading list

Find out which book has inspired Travis’ approach to his development.

Improving Performance Through Learning: A Practical Guide for Designing High Performance Learning Journeys, Steven Robert O. Brinkerhoff, Anne M. Apking, Edward W. Boon

Whether it’s business or personal, learning is a necessity. This book has been life changing for Travis. It’s provided insight into his career and academic journey, as well as his approach to parenting.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our top book suggestions blog.

Join the conversation!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @Elucidat with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

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10 reasons retail needs an authoring tool https://www.elucidat.com/blog/10-reasons-retail-authoring-tool/ https://www.elucidat.com/blog/10-reasons-retail-authoring-tool/#respond Wed, 24 Feb 2021 15:45:22 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=6147 The retail industry has always been changeable but never has it had to adapt as quickly as during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the dust settles, pressures to stay competitive and keep employees and customers safe will continue to put a strain on retail organizations and the L&D teams responsible for employees’ performance. Could an authoring […]

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The retail industry has always been changeable but never has it had to adapt as quickly as during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the dust settles, pressures to stay competitive and keep employees and customers safe will continue to put a strain on retail organizations and the L&D teams responsible for employees’ performance. Could an authoring tool be a simple solution to a really painful problem?
authoring tool for retail
As we dare to imagine a post-COVID world, we can’t pretend that the retail industry – or any industry for that matter! – will go back to ‘normal’. The challenges of the last couple of years have reinforced how crucial it is for retail to be able to onboard, upskill and reskill staff quickly, cheaply and at scale. This need isn’t going anywhere, which is why it’s time to challenge the use of third-party suppliers to produce elearning. It simply isn’t an efficient solution. 

More and more retail businesses are choosing to purchase authoring tools to enable them to bring their elearning in-house.

Here are ten reasons why they have the potential to be the next wave of L&D strategy in retail.

10 benefits of authoring tools for retail organizations

1. Ongoing learning is now expected

young person in a shopping trolley in an IKEA aisleFirst things first. Effective, relevant online learning is sought after and frankly, expected by modern employees. ‘In the same way that consumers expect online shopping as standard, modern employees expect online learning content as standard.

They’re doing it on the go, on their phones, and are becoming much more proactive in finding what they need.

As employees ensure they’re up to date with the latest products, processes and health and safety regulations, the demands for more accessible, ‘available-when-I-need-it’ elearning, is only going to rise further. Businesses will continue to need digital learning solutions to meet the diverse needs of their teams; having an in-house solution is more scalable, cost-effective and quicker.

Extra benefits include an ability to embed your brand and cultural expectations – when done well you have truly authentic, relevant learning experiences.

2. They help you manage learning at scale

With digital learning, a piece of content is produced once and can then be rolled out to a huge audience; super important when thousands of stores have to make changes at once. But a question that remains is how quickly does that elearningit become out of date?

If you’re already heavily using elearning as a learning tool in your organization, but are outsourcing the production of it, you’re probably finding the content you receive from a vendor has a very short shelf life (yes, pun intended).

Often, you don’t get the source files for the content either, meaning you are stuck with a swiftly outdated piece of content that took ages to create and wasn’t kind to your budget. Hmmm.

By evolving from this model to a more self-sufficient, in-house production model, your team will be much more responsive to swift business changes. You can also onboard employees faster, meet mandatory regulations more quickly and increase performance and productivity at scale.

3. You can produce what you need

Whether you need some swift customer safety training to align with new regulations or want to roll out some specific Christmas training for your seasonal staff, an authoring tool for retail extends your L&D team’s capacity to meet emerging business challenges quickly.

You will be able to meet demand for new learning content much more easily. You can also ensure that it’s on-brand and will resonate with your people. An added bonus is that by producing content in-house, you can tailor and personalize it so it targets individual needs and roles, at high scale, without paying more.

4. Authoring tools support multiple languages easily

We know many retail businesses have complex learning landscapes, many of which have to deliver learning content in multiple languages across the globe.

With the right tool, you can create one piece of content, adapt it and translate it to meet the needs of global and varied audiences. This extra step makes a huge difference to how personal and relevant – and therefore how effective – your elearning is. How much might you have to pay a vendor to do this?

To take control and reduce costs seek out tools which enable you to easily swap out elements, support multiple languages and provide personalized learning pathways at a minimum.
10 reasons why every retailer needs an authoring tool - translations

5. Extend skills for now, and the future

Futureproofing. Business-critical skills gaps. Workforce planning. Buzzwords aside, these are real problems for changeable industries such as retail; just look at how much you’ve had to adapt to survive already. Businesses need to evolve alongside the complex needs of the consumer, and the pace of change is something many struggle with.

The need for agility, responsiveness and quality customer experiences means retail teams must develop new skills to bolster sales and secure their business’ future. It can’t be a given that soft skills such as communication, interpersonal skills and sales techniques are readily available in the young, transient workforce which can be common in retail environments.

So what’s the solution? Modern elearning, produced by your in-house team. An authoring tool for retail will enable you to produce personalized or adaptive solutions which target an individual user’s role, needs and skills gaps.

Modern digital learning can respond to how an individual interacts with content and/or how they score in questions. This means you can serve up what that individual needs – be it some specific learning, a fitting exercise to help them practice, or signposting them to some useful steps to take to expand their experience.

6. It meets people’s growing demands

People learn on the fly, in the moment, on their lunch break – basically when they can or when they want to. Digital learning is always on. More to the point, it can be delivered in bite-size pieces that allow it to be used flexibly, and with the right technologies, on any device. With the average employee having just 20 mins a week for workplace learning, digital solutions let you think outside the box on how you can best help busy people develop their skills.

Those needs can be met by outsourcing your requirements to vendors, sure. But you know your employees best, and by keeping production within your L&D team you are able to produce a higher volume of relevant content, helping you to stay connected and there when your people need to learn.
10 reasons why retail needs an authoring tool - how people learn

7. Development is much, much quicker

It goes without saying, but we’re going to anyway. Owning the production of elearning within your own business means that you can deliver high-quality content much more swiftly. Some of our retail customers have seen production speed increase by as much as four times, which is a staggering impact when you consider how many hours that actually frees up.

With an authoring tool in retail, you are able to rapidly produce learning when there is a real and legitimate need for it; this ability to pivot and move quickly ensures skills gaps are met without delay and employees are able to get up to speed with new information immediately.

Already using an authoring tool for retail elearning, but curious whether it’s offering you the best value for your business? Check out our free Authoring Tool Comparison Template.

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8. You’ll get good data

With learning analytics available within most modern learning tools, digital learning solutions enable you to easily see how your learning projects are performing. Digital learning initiatives enable you to track engagement, devices used, drop-off points, user comments and lots more.

Not only does this give you handy stats to share with stakeholders, but your team can also take action to tweak, fix and really hone the learning solution to meet its targets.

10 reasons why every retailer needs an authoring tool - data and analytics

9. Saves your budget for other things

Compared to outsourcing costs of bespoke modules, in-house production will always win, especially in changeable, global industries such as retail. That’s because you’ll often need:

  • More than one version of the same content: Be it a translated version or perhaps an adapted version for different store locations. The average retailer has around 30,000 employees; meeting their complex needs undoubtedly requires a variety of unique content.
  • A huge amount of content: Keeping up with compliance, product changes and onboarding transitory staff needs a seemingly neverending supply of elearning.

For many businesses, outsourcing the production of this volume of content is just not a cost-effective solution, so they turn to authoring tools.

10. It relieves pressure on L&D

Believe it or not, often times we see our customers release pressure on L&D teams with the introduction of an elearning production tool. We know this sounds like a head-scratcher, but it draws back to some of our earlier points.

In retail environments, the volume of elearning content needed is consistently high and the onus is entirely on the L&D team to build that content. The pressure is on and the bottleneck is real.

With an authoring tool in place, L&D teams actually extend their abilities and provide opportunities for SMEs across the business to contribute (and possibly even build it if it’s easy to use). This empowerment allows you to unlock the knowledge and expertise within the business easily and at scale.

The world is your oyster, especially if your authoring tool has no limits on users or authors.

What’s your retail learning strategy?

There’s no doubt that fast paces, changable learning ecosystems, such as those in the retail industry, could benefit greatly from the introduction of an authoring tool. With the constant and ongoing evolution of learner demands and expectations, L&D departments need solutions that help them keep pace with changes, whilst still being able to produce at scale.

Ready to start comparison authoring tools? Download the authoring tool comparison template for retailers to get off on the right foot!

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Pivoting your approach during a pandemic https://www.elucidat.com/blog/pivoting-your-approach-during-a-pandemic/ Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:15:43 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=7838 The pandemic has transformed the way we learn. Being able to quickly adapt through a well-thought-out pivot has never been more important. Hear how Mary Glowacka, former Vice President of Leadership Development & Engagement at Bank of America, transformed a blended wellness program for managers into an online program for everyone. Explore how building a […]

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The pandemic has transformed the way we learn. Being able to quickly adapt through a well-thought-out pivot has never been more important. Hear how Mary Glowacka, former Vice President of Leadership Development & Engagement at Bank of America, transformed a blended wellness program for managers into an online program for everyone. Explore how building a learning culture enables a rapid response to change. Find out why a human-centered approach is the key to effective learning.

Mary Glowacka pivoting during a pandemic

Play this episode

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Mary:

  1. Don’t be afraid to pivot your approach: The art of the possible is greater than you think. Respond to change. Pivot your approach and learn from the results.
  2. Build a learning culture ready to adapt: Recognize that learning isn’t a finite process. Make continuous learning a strategic imperative so you’re ready to respond to change.
  3. Take a human-centered approach: Check in with your people. Understand their behaviors, preferences and pain points. Build solutions that work for them.
  4. Be an advocate for putting people first: Build bridges between your learners and leadership. Lobby for effective needs analysis. Be an advocate for great learning in your organization.

Top tips for successfully adapting to change

1. Don’t be afraid to pivot your approach

The global pandemic has seen people rapidly adopting new approaches. Mary kicked off an emotional wellness program for managers in March 2020. The program’s entry point was a series of face-to-face sessions. But after five days, she had to cancel these and rethink the approach.

By pivoting from face-to-face to digital, the program gained a much larger audience. Rather than managers sharing their learning, the program was open to everyone. It reached thousands of people and got great feedback.

2. Build a learning culture ready to adapt

We live in an age of accelerated change. What was essential learning two years ago may not be relevant today. So, how can you keep up?

For Mary, it’s key that you recognize that learning is not a finite process. It’s a lifelong commitment. If your people are going to have the skills required for success, learning needs to be a strategic imperative. It’s not just about providing development. It’s about building a culture that supports continuous learning.

3. Take a human-centered approach

Learners’ behaviors, preferences and pain points are constantly evolving. If you’re going to focus your efforts in the right places, you need to get their perspective.

Mary takes regular pulse checks. She understands that learning is only effective if it’s grounded in what people really need. By finding out what they want, and seeing what obstacles they face, she can build solutions that work.

Mary Glowacka quote

4. Be an advocate for putting people first

It doesn’t end with understanding your learners. Your organization needs to support this human-centered approach. So how can you bridge the gap between people and leadership?

Mary sees her role as that of an internal lobbyist. She provides ongoing advocacy for what good learning looks like in her organizations. That doesn’t mean throwing out old methods or disregarding expertise. Instead, it’s about understanding people’s needs and translating that into an effective blend of learning approaches.

A quick recap

When the global pandemic paused her emotional wellness program, Mary decided to take it in a different direction. And the results were even better than expected. She has four strategies for responding to change. Don’t be afraid to pivot your approach. Build a learning culture ready to respond to change. Take a human-centered approach to build solutions that work for your people. Be an advocate for great learning and build bridges between leadership and your learners.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.

About Mary

With over 10 years’ experience in L&D, Mary has worked at Nespresso, Serco and Ernst & Young. She joined Bank of America in 2017. As Vice President of EMEA Leadership Development & Engagement, she’s responsible for transformation projects across the organization.

You can find out more and get connected with Mary on LinkedIn.

On Mary’s reading list

Find out which books are Mary’s learning and development must-reads.

Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business, Erin Meyer

Effective communication is vital in a global business. This book helps Mary navigate cultural differences and achieve mutual understanding.

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, General Stanley McChrystal

Want to create a learning environment based on trust? Mary recommends taking inspiration from the approaches used in the military.

Intelligent Disobedience: The Difference between Good and Great Leaders, Bob McGannon

Obeying all rules doesn’t generate new approaches. But breaking the rules randomly also doesn’t work. This book explores how intelligent disobedience is the difference between good and great leaders.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog.

Join the conversation!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @learningatlarge with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

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Cutting through the noise to make a real business impact https://www.elucidat.com/blog/real-business-impact-marsh/ Tue, 12 Jan 2021 08:00:00 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=7815 Business needs aren’t static. If you’re going to keep pace, you need to embrace new ways of working. Hear how Dan Mitchell, Global Learning Leader at Marsh, has built an L&D team that can meet rapidly changing business needs. Find out why striving for perfection doesn’t lead to effective learning. Explore how to cut through […]

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Business needs aren’t static. If you’re going to keep pace, you need to embrace new ways of working. Hear how Dan Mitchell, Global Learning Leader at Marsh, has built an L&D team that can meet rapidly changing business needs. Find out why striving for perfection doesn’t lead to effective learning. Explore how to cut through the noise and make a real business impact. Discover the importance of letting go of control and creating effective partnerships.

Dan March Cut through the noise

Play this episode

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Dan:

  1. Adopt agile approaches to keep pace: Business needs are constantly changing. Keep pace by adopting agile approaches in the development cycle.
  2. Reject perfectionism; embrace bad news: Striving for perfection slows you down. Get resources out quickly. Embrace feedback and iterate.
  3. Cut through the noise to make a real impact: Don’t add to initiative fatigue with another training course. Ask difficult questions and identify effective solutions.
  4. Let go of control and empower your learners: Create partnerships and build trust. Empower people to take ownership of their development.

Top tips for creating real business impact

1. Adopt agile approaches to keep pace

From transformative technology to global pandemics, lots of factors impact your organization. In response, business needs can rapidly change. And your L&D team need to be ready to respond.

When Dan started at Marsh, one of his key objectives was to reduce the friction in accessing learning and development. His team set up the Marsh Learning Hub. A one-stop-shop where people can easily find the right resources for their learning needs. As well as curating and categorizing existing content, they adopted agile ways of working to develop resources at speed.

“It allowed us to design and develop a variety of different learning solutions. We could do so without having to set up a statement of work for every single project. We did it in a very, I guess you’d say ‘agile basis’ with very, very short tight sprints. Having [the Hub] in place prior to that pandemic proved to be a godsend… We just basically shortened the development cycle.”

2. Reject perfectionism; embrace bad news

L&D teams have traditionally been risk adverse. A waterfall approach meant you had to complete each step to move to the next one. You couldn’t launch a course unless it was perfect.

Taking an agile approach involves abandoning these old habits. Striving for perfection isn’t useful. Instead of trying to avoid pushback from the business, Dan embraces bad news. He uses the OODA loop (Observe, Orientate, Decide, Act) to make his decisions. By getting resources out quickly, he can observe and understand any negative feedback. Based on this he can act and improve to create maximum impact.

“Bad news is the only news you can really act on. If you’re only looking for good news – that people love you and they’re giving you happy faces and five out of five stars and smile sheets and everything else – you might be doing something wrong. You might be measuring the wrong things. Or you might be doing things so slowly – being so methodical – you get out a really beautiful product at the end of your development cycle. But is it in time to actually have an impact on the business?”

3. Cut through the noise to make a real impact

Effective learning and development isn’t just about producing content. In fact, producing lots of content only adds to the noise that people deal with every day. If you’re going to cut through this noise, you need to provide the right resources at the right time.

For Dan, the needs assessment stage is key. He doesn’t see himself as a training order taker. Instead, he stays focused on the bigger picture and asks the difficult questions. By interrogating the problem, he can identify an effective solution.

“We have a problem, like a lot of organizations, with initiative fatigue. Because nothing is unimportant, right? And everything is useful to someone somewhere. But you’ve got to make the tough call…

Does it contribute to the noise or the signal? What I mean by that is, does it help people in the business focus on what’s important? Or does it just add to the noise that they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis?

More email, more training, more webinars, more virtual instructor-led sessions, more PDFs, all that kind of stuff. You’ve got to be very tough on yourself and realize that just because you think something is important, does not mean the business is going to value it.”

4. Let go of control and empower your learners

Matching the pace of the business isn’t just about adapting to change. If L&D is out of step with the business, it becomes a separate function. Fully in control of the process, but not necessarily giving people what they need.

Dan wants to reframe how L&D operates. By letting go of control and creating partnerships, he builds trust in the business. Empowering people to take ownership of the direction for their development. Working together to understand the environment and context in order to make better decisions.

“You’ve got to really reach out and create mutual trust with the business. Trying to control everything happening within L&D sends a message that you don’t trust the business. You don’t trust individuals to play a role in defining the direction that learning and development takes.”

A quick recap

Faced with changing business needs, Dan has embraced new ways of working. He has four strategies for creating impactful learning solutions at pace. Adopt agile approaches to keep up with the business. Reject perfectionism and embrace feedback as a tool for improvement. Cut through the noise by focusing on the areas which will really have impact. Let go of control and build partnerships based on trust.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.

About Dan

With over 25 years’ experience in L&D, Dan has also worked for Kaplan and Mercer. As Global Learning Leader at Marsh, Dan is responsible for everything – from graduate and early career programs to leadership development.

You can find out more and get connected with Dan on LinkedIn.

On Dan’s reading list

Find out which book has inspired Dan’s approach to his personal and career development.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield

We all have goals we want to achieve. Whether it’s a business or personal objective, how can you avoid the roadblocks that stop you in your tracks? This book gave Dan insight into what was stopping him from trying new things.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog.

Join the conversation!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @elucidat with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

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Democratizing learning at Unilever https://www.elucidat.com/blog/democratizing-learning-at-unilever/ Tue, 15 Dec 2020 16:14:35 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=7771 If you’re going to maximize your impact, learning and development needs to reach every employee. Hear how Leena Nair, Chief Human Resources Officer, and James Hu, Global HR Strategy Manager, are democratizing learning at Unilever. Find out why connecting every person with their purpose is the key to success. Explore how role modelling helps to […]

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If you’re going to maximize your impact, learning and development needs to reach every employee. Hear how Leena Nair, Chief Human Resources Officer, and James Hu, Global HR Strategy Manager, are democratizing learning at Unilever. Find out why connecting every person with their purpose is the key to success. Explore how role modelling helps to make learning a lifelong habit. Discover how data reveals insights and proves the business value of L&D.

Demacratizing learning at unilever podcast

Play this episode

A quick summary…

Don’t have time to listen now? Here’s a summary of the top tips from Leena and James:

  1. Connect every person to their purpose: Put in place plans to help everyone succeed in their purpose. Create a non-hierarchical learning community where people can share their knowledge and passion.
  2. Role model the benefits: Make every interaction an opportunity to learn. Lead from the front. Devote time to learning so others know they can too.
  3. Inspire lifelong learning: Don’t put an age limit on learning. Create life long opportunities for career development.
  4. Gather data and adapt your approach: Use insights to customize the learning experience. Adjust your work environment to support learner preferences.
  5. Prove the business value: Use your data to prove that people with purpose learn and perform better.

Top tips for taking a democratic approach to learning

1. Connect every person to their purpose

Unilever was built on three fundamental beliefs. Companies with purpose last. Brands with purpose grow. And people with purpose thrive.

This philosophy translates into an organization-wide HR strategy. Every person in the business gets a chance to discover their purpose. With the support of workshops and their Future Fit Plan, people can focus on growing and succeeding in the areas that matter to them. Unilever’s learning platform feeds them customized learning every day. Anyone who has great content, can upload it to the platform. Creating a non-hierarchical learning community where people share their knowledge, skills and passion.

Leena: “It doesn’t matter whether you’re packing soap in a factory, or you’re sitting at your desk doing accounts, all of us go through purpose workshops. We believe it’s important to find your purpose before you do anything else because it allows you to learn better.”

2. Role model the benefits

With competing priorities and deadlines, even a passion can become sidelined. How do you encourage people to make time to learn?

How you show up is important. For Leena, every interaction with a colleague is an opportunity to learn. She’s deliberate and makes time for learning. She stays curious and open-minded to other perspectives. Her profile on Unilever’s learning platform shows everyone that devoting time to learning is important to her.

Leena: “As leaders we’re leading from the front…The business can see what I’m learning and what points I’m getting. So, there’s a bit of role modelling. The more I learn, the more my team feel it’s okay to make time to learn. You know, if Leena finds the time to learn, so should we.”

3. Inspire lifelong learning

In a world of constant change, continuous learning is essential. Don’t put an age limit on learning. The opportunities for career development are lifelong.

Neuroscience has shown that our brains are wired to learn at any age. But it’s an example that’s closer to home that has inspired Leena. Her father continues to sign up for courses and learn new skills at 89 years old. Proof that the phrase “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks” is a thing of the past!

Leena: “Our human spirit for adaptability, for pivoting, for learning new things is actually very high. And we need to use that, push that and drive that further to make sure people are learning what they need to learn.”

4. Gather data and adapt your approach

A learning platform can be much more than a repository for content. Unilever’s platform provides personalized learning to everyone. From content to nudges, to learner pathways, the platform gathers insights and customizes the experience.

As well as personalizing content, data can help you understand how people want to learn. This knowledge allows you to create an environment that supports learner preferences.

James: “Towards the back end of the week, you naturally start to reflect on what happened this week. What can I do better? We know that Friday afternoons people tend to wind down a lot more. …[It’s] a good point in the week where you can look back and see what are the opportunities and then look forward on to next week.”

5. Prove the business value

Armed with data, you’re not just able to adapt and improve. Your insights can prove that learning has business value.

Leena and James started by identifying their active learners. Next, they checked how these learners were doing in their performance management system. This proved what they’d previously suspected. People who learn better, perform better.

James: “The Future Fit Plan is anchored on driving learning around your individual purpose. What we’ve seen through some of our internal analytics is…there’s quite a significant correlation between people who feel like they can then apply that to their jobs with productivity and performance.”

A quick recap

At Unilever, they know that people with purpose thrive. A democratic approach to learning and development brings this philosophy for life. Leena and James have five strategies for democratizing L&D. Connect every person to their purpose and provide structure that enables them to succeed in their passion. Role model the importance of making time to learn. Create life long opportunities for career development. Gather data and use your insights to customize learning experiences. And finally, use your data to prove the business value of a democratic approach.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.

About Leena and James

With over 29 years’ experience at Unilever, Leena has taken on a number of leadership roles. She became Chief Human Resources Officer in 2016. She oversees employees across 160 countries, focusing on learning, development and well-being.

James is Global HR Strategy Manager. He connects what’s happening externally with HR strategy internally.

You can find out more and get connected with Leena and James on Linkedin.

On Leena and James’ reading lists

Find out what reading informs Leena and James’ approach to HR.

The 5 Personality Patterns: Your Guide to Understanding Yourself and Others and Developing Emotional Maturity, Steven Kessler

From motivation to communication, this book explores what’s going on inside people. It’s made Leena reflect and go inwards to understand herself better.

Design thinking

Design thinking provides iterative process for solving user problems. For James, understanding his learners and iterating solutions is key to success in his work.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog.

Join the conversation!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @learningatlarge with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

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Building a robust learning ecosystem ready for future challenges https://www.elucidat.com/blog/building-a-robust-learning-ecosystem/ Tue, 17 Nov 2020 06:07:54 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=7664 After a short break, the Learning at Large podcast is back with a brand new series – bringing you the top tips and tricks from learning leaders in some of the world’s biggest organizations. Faced with a global pandemic, being ready to adapt your approach is key to remaining effective. In this week’s episode, hear […]

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After a short break, the Learning at Large podcast is back with a brand new series – bringing you the top tips and tricks from learning leaders in some of the world’s biggest organizations.

Faced with a global pandemic, being ready to adapt your approach is key to remaining effective. In this week’s episode, hear how Casper Moerck, Siemens’ Head of Learning Technology – Americas, has responded to COVID-19. Explore how he’s creating a robust learning ecosystem ready for future challenges. From embracing a learning culture to crowdsourcing skills gaps, find out how he puts his people at the center of L&D.

Building a robust learning ecosystem ready for future challenges

Play this episode

Top tips to future proof your learning ecosystem

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are five top tips from Casper:

  1. Get prepared for unpredictable challenges: Don’t wait for challenges to appear. Make a plan. Move to digital. Get ready so you can adapt without disruption.
  2. Put learners at the center of your ecosystem: Learning ecosystems bring together great tools. Make sure the user experience is just a good. 
  3. Build, buy and curate to maximize your impact: Populate your ecosystem with mixture of content. Buying off the shelf can help you maximize your budget.
  4. Embrace all learning to see unexpected benefits: Let your people learn about what interests them. The spark of inspiration can come from surprising sources.
  5. Crowdsource your skills gaps: Keep pace with change by staying future focussed. Look to your learners to identify the skills you’ll need in the future.

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1. Get prepared for unpredictable challenges

COVID-19 has created unprecedented levels of change around the world. Whatever sector you’re in, being ready to adapt has never been so important. So, what can you do to support your people as they face these current and future challenges?

From virus hygiene to ergonomics, COVID-19 has created some obvious learning needs. But other support may be harder to predict and more complicated to provide. Siemens had already been making a move towards digital. So, Casper was ready to adapt and continue to provide support without disruption.

“For our managers, how do you remain effective as a leader? We’re already very digital. That means that all the [leadership] classroom training that we had planned, we’ve cancelled. But we do have very good alternatives in the online space.”

2. Put learners at the center of your ecosystem

If you look to one piece of technology, you’re unlikely to meet all your business’ needs. Instead, think about learning and development as an ecosystem. Whether you’re looking at talent acquisition or learning content, it’s about choosing the best technology for the task. But with lots of systems, tools and resources, how do you make this ecosystem user friendly?

For a long time, user experience was not the priority in L&D. With more online learning available, creating one clean interface is the only way to avoid overwhelming people. For Casper, a learning ecosystem can only really be effective if it puts its users first. 

“The experience that our learners have had with elearning has been really poor. Especially compared to the interfaces that people use in their daily lives. Like Facebook. It’s so simple that you don’t need training to use that system… [By] providing what looks like a common front end [to the ecosystem]…we create a nice user experience.”

3. Build, buy and curate to maximize your impact

From digital to supply chain, each business, division and individual has different needs. So, how do you ensure your organization has what it needs to be effective? 

Casper doesn’t take one approach to learning content. Just as his learning ecosystem brings together the best tools, it’s also packed with all kinds of learning resources and journeys. Casper populates his ecosystem with a mixture of built, curated and off the shelf content. Using the right approach to content allows him to maximize the impact of his budget.

“I think you want to build your own content, when it’s the only way to do it…. If it can be bought off the shelf, I don’t really want to build it myself, right? It’s like cornflakes. I mean, sure, you could probably make cornflakes yourself, but why would you?”

4. Embrace all learning to see unexpected benefits

What your people want to learn isn’t necessarily what your business needs them to learn. Of course, you need to give your people a career development path that fits with your organization’s goals. But should learning only focus on achieving these capabilities?

Casper believes that, if you embrace all kinds of learning, you’ll see some surprising benefits. Letting people build their own learning journeys can identify new needs. Exploring unrelated content can lead to that unexpected piece of inspiration. Whatever your people are learning about, the key things is that they’re engaging in the process.

“You never know, that piece of learning might inspire someone to do something great. What if the person learning about Beethoven comes up with the next jingle? …What if that person who studied feudal Chinese culture went out and made a $500 million deal in some province in China?”

5. Crowdsource your skills gaps

Whether it’s a global crisis or consumer expectations, all organizations deal with change. If you’re going to keep pace, you need to be future focussed. But how do you know which skills you need for continued success? 

Siemens has moved from a focus on instructional design to a learning needs analysis approach. For Casper, it’s about understanding at an organizational and individual level what’s needed. Start with what you think you need to remain competitive in the next one to five years. Look to your learners. How do the skills attached to their profiles match what you need? Are there any new skills appearing on profiles that you need to support? 

“Asking all Siemens employees whether the skills attached to their profiles are up to date. Or whether there are new skills that are necessary in their roles. And once we see new skills pop up, we can support that. So, crowdsourcing using technologies, like our LXP.”

A quick recap

Faced with unprecedented levels of change, Casper was able to adapt his approach without disruption. He has five strategies to future proof a learning ecosystem. Get prepared so you can adapt quickly. Don’t just build a learning ecosystem – create great user experiences. Know when to buy or curate, rather than build content. Embrace all learning and inspire your people. Crowdsource your skills gaps by asking your learners what’s needed.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast. 

About Casper

Casper joined Siemens in 2012. With over 10 years’ L&D experience, he became Head of Learning Technology – Americas in 2017. He supports learning solutions across the organization using a variety of technologies.

You can find out more and get connected with Casper on LinkedIn.

On Casper’s reading list

Find out which reading informs Casper’s approach to L&D.

World Economic Forum Future Work Reports

The World Economic Forum’s Future Work reports explore the changing world of skills, tasks and jobs. These reports inform how Casper anticipates the evolving needs of his people. Check them out here.

Podcasts

Casper knows that inspiration can come in many forms. From a Navy SEAL’s work routine to ancient philosophy, podcasts are a wealth of information on many things. 

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog

Join the conversation! 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @Elucidat with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

Looking to future proof your organizations training with effective, scalable online training? Help your team take your training online sustainably with help of the Digital Learning Skill-Up – A community of over 1000 L&D professionals, who share best practice and top tips.

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The future of training and development? https://www.elucidat.com/blog/future-of-training-and-development/ Wed, 29 Jul 2020 10:41:57 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=7153 Demand for online training has radically increased, but the way it’s produced is under strain. Is there a better approach? One that’s fit for the future of training and development? Here’s a suggestion for a new model for producing online training in large organizations – one that scales well and drives down the cost to […]

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Demand for online training has radically increased, but the way it’s produced is under strain. Is there a better approach? One that’s fit for the future of training and development? Here’s a suggestion for a new model for producing online training in large organizations – one that scales well and drives down the cost to train.

The future of training and developmentDemand for online training is only increasing in businesses around the globe. Pressure and strain on central L&D teams is building with it.  I’ve regularly heard from L&D teams that they want to move away from being order takers. To add more value, they want to become drivers of best practice and have more time to enable others in their organization to deliver training where it’s needed most.

But, the way most businesses approach the production of training keeps L&D teams stuck on the treadmill of training requests.

Podcast interviews, years of conversations with clients, days spent jotting down ideas and a few sleepless nights have resulted in what I think is a smarter way for businesses to meet demands for more online training.

The old way: Center of production

The old way: Center of productionIn the old way (current for many) the L&D team are the center of online training production. They take requests from the rest of the business and are expected to transform the information received into an engaging online training experience.

But – the L&D team only has so much capacity, and only so much budget for getting external support. This means an inherent limit to the amount of training they can produce and the speed at which they can do it.

Given the L&D team can only juggle so much, departments and regions often take matters into their own hands. Instead of putting training requests through central L&D, they’ll have a go themselves. The result of this is inconsistent training experiences, inconsistent impact and inconsistent quality.

The new way: Center of excellence

A model for the future of training and development production.

Center of excellenceRather than see L&D as the order takers for training, turn them into a center of excellence. Think of L&D as the conductors. They should be driving best practice and crowdsourcing the very best knowledge from across the business for targeted training where it’s needed.

This approach allows the L&D team to spend more time driving standards and identifying where training interventions can have the greatest impact on the organization.

In this model, the L&D team leads on strategic flagship projects. These are the enterprise-wide, high visibility projects, for example onboarding, leadership development and core competencies.

When it comes to the more targeted and personalized training for specific teams, departments or regions the L&D team can empower subject matter experts. They do this by providing the guidelines, best practices and tools that enable others across the business to produce online training – whilst ensuring consistently high standards.

Making the shift

This model sits at the heart of a sustainable strategy for online training – one that can cope with increased demands and accelerate training and development.

I’ve explored this in more detail in our Whitepaper “Beyond the Zoom boom: How to develop a sustainable online training strategy in the wake of COVID-19”. This is being launched at the start of August – you can pre-register now to be the first to get it delivered to your inbox.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback – feel free to connect with me on Linkedin.

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How lifelong learning creates an engaged and loyal workforce https://www.elucidat.com/blog/lifelong-learning/ Tue, 14 Jul 2020 07:55:53 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=7067 Lifelong learning keeps your people engaged and ready for the next step in their career with you. Hear how Joe Tischbern, Director of Talent Development and Engagement at Smart & Final, has used his own experience to inspire the next generation. Find out his secret to high retention and career loyalty, and discover how Joe […]

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Lifelong learning keeps your people engaged and ready for the next step in their career with you. Hear how Joe Tischbern, Director of Talent Development and Engagement at Smart & Final, has used his own experience to inspire the next generation. Find out his secret to high retention and career loyalty, and discover how Joe built a homegrown leadership training program from scratch.

Joe Tischburn lifelong learning

Play this episode

Top tips for lifelong learning and keeping people engaged

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Joe:

  1. Foster a culture that creates loyalty: Empower people to create their own family culture. Authentic, supportive relationships lead to employee loyalty.
  2. Listen to your customers to identify new learning: Compare customer and associate feedback to target your learning. Great associate experiences lead to great customer interactions.
  3. Lead with your purpose: A clear purpose helps you stand out. Lead with the ‘why’ in L&D and keep people engaged and working together.
  4. Use your experience to inspire others: Harness your organization’s talent to inspire the next generation of leaders.

Design training your employees will love. Free Elearning Project Template

1. Foster a culture that creates lifelong careers

Smart & Final started life in one LA grocery store almost 150 years ago. Despite growing to over 250 stores and 11,000 associates, they’ve managed to stay true to their roots. Each store feels empowered to create their own family culture. Experienced store managers set the tone. They support colleagues in their development at the organization.

Joe’s 29-year career shows that this culture enables people to grow with the company. Starting as a cashier when he was at college, Joe quickly became a store manager. He moved into HR, and completed his Masters before taking on his latest role. This experience made him loyal and gave him a passion for developing others.

“Companywide, we’re a big family. Those relationships are what keep people…I had a young man that worked with me back in 2000. He told me he’d never be a store manager. I supported him going to college, with his schedule, and I put him in charge of a department. And he grew into one of our best store managers…When we invest in people’s education, they’re more likely to stay with us.”

2. Listen to your customers to identify new learning

Experiences are at the heart of retail success. But how do you know what’s happening in the store? And how can you learn from and make these experiences even better?

Mystery shopper feedback can provide some insight but it isn’t always authentic. Instead Smart & Final listen to the voice of the customer. Gathering feedback after customer visits gives them much more detail. But they don’t stop there. They also compare this customer feedback with associate surveys. This allows them to be more targeted in their learning. By focusing on great associate experiences, they can create great customer interactions.

“We compare results between associate experiences and customer experiences, and see where those links are. It’s led to some really pointed conversations. Rather than making all our decisions globally, they’re much more pinpointed to the store itself. Because now we have these two pieces of data that can really help us to work with individual store managers.”

3. Lead with your purpose

A clear purpose helps you stand out in a competitive retail environment. This purpose needs to informs everything you do. But it takes centre stage in learning and development.

For Joe, it’s essential that his people understand the ‘why’. Why you have that unique business model. Why your stores have a particular culture. It’s not just about explaining your history. It’s about giving your people a foundation that they can translate to their store and team’s purpose.

“We consider ourselves a partner. People come and shop in our stores for their business, restaurant, food truck, club, football team, churches and organizations. Our ‘why’ is that we’re partnering with them to make them successful, which helps us be successful. That culture of partnership is one of the things that’s made us a family. Because we interact with each other the same way as we interact with our customers.”

4. Use your experience to inspire others

Great leaders inspire others to action. Smart & Final’s homegrown leaders are now inspiring the next generation.

Joe used his own experiences of management development to create a leadership program from scratch. The focus was broad – from StrengthsFinder to emotional intelligence. But the key was inspiring people through personal experiences of leading at Smart & Final. Providing practical approaches that learners can apply with their team. From small beginnings, he’s seen big results.

“We started with one leadership development program. Everyone was excited about sharing their career path and what their department does. We had a lot of willing leaders…And this 12-week program for 12 people has become seven different programs. And we’ve seen multiple promotions.”

A quick recap

With over 250 stores and 11,000 associates, Smart & Final has maintained a family culture. Joe is a living example of how this culture creates career long loyalty. He has four strategies for encouraging lifelong learning that keeps people engaged. Foster a family culture of support and development. Listen to the voice of your customers to identify new learning. Lead with the ‘why’ and keep people engaged in your purpose. Use your experience to inspire the next generation of leaders.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.

About Joe

Over a 29-year career at Smart & Final, Joe has worked at every level of the organization. From cashier to director, he uses his experience to deliver leadership and development to their 11,000 associates.

You can find out more and get connected with Joe on LinkedIn.

On Joe’s reading list

Find out which books have sparked Joe’s career inspiration.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey

For Joe, it’s important to be able to manage your life before you can manage others. This book is essential preparation if you’re leading others.

StandOut: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment from the Leader of the Strengths Revolution, Marcus Buckingham

Appreciating your own strengths is important. This book taught Joe that he doesn’t need to change who he is. The focus is the result, but there’s no right way to achieve it.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog.

Join the conversation!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @learningatlarge with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

Design training your employees will love. Free Elearning Project Template

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Designing a learning technology ecosystem https://www.elucidat.com/blog/designing-a-learning-technology-ecosystem/ https://www.elucidat.com/blog/designing-a-learning-technology-ecosystem/#respond Tue, 09 Jun 2020 07:09:26 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=6973 The global pandemic has seen people rapidly adopting new technologies. Hear how Tracie Cantu, Director of Learning Technology at Wholefoods, is adapting her approach in light of these developments. Find out how she sees an increase in user experience data driving an L&D evolution, and how a modern learning ecosystem meets her organization’s unique needs. […]

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The global pandemic has seen people rapidly adopting new technologies. Hear how Tracie Cantu, Director of Learning Technology at Wholefoods, is adapting her approach in light of these developments. Find out how she sees an increase in user experience data driving an L&D evolution, and how a modern learning ecosystem meets her organization’s unique needs.
Desining a learning technology ecosystem

Play this episode

Top tips for successful learning in the face of change

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Tracie:

  1. Speak their language and see your story take hold: Tell the story of what great user experiences can achieve. Use operational language and see this story take hold across your organization.
  2. Respond to change with a new approach: Don’t use the same learning content and technology just because it worked before. Changing demands need a change of approach.
  3. Gather data now and lead the L&D evolution: Rapid, ad hoc adoption of learning technology presents a huge opportunity. Capture user experience data and use it to evolve your approach.
  4. Build your own unique learning technology ecosystem: No two organizations are the same. Be flexible with your learning technologies. Create a learning technology ecosystem that meets your organization’s needs.

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1. Speak their language and see your story take hold

Learning technology has lagged behind other sectors. But with huge changes to the way we work in response to the Coronavirus epidemic, it’s time to catch up. So how can you move things forward in learning and development?

Investment is important, but it’s not a route to instant credibility in your organization. Tracie and her team work in partnership with the business. Empowering people to use technology to create effective learning. A passion for user experience is the key to their success. They pass this passion on by speaking the language of operational impact.

“The majority of our workforce is hourly. So, we have an average hourly pay rate. When people come to me and want to do X, Y and Z. I explain that we can implement option A but it will cost $525,000 more than option B. If we enable self-service, we reduce labor hours. And that’s really powerful…their mission is to make those gains… and that helps them tell a story to their leaders.”

2. Respond to change with a new approach

As an essential service, Whole Foods has seen an increase in demand. From London to Hawaii, they’ve had a huge recruitment drive. They needed to get these new starters onto the shop floor as quickly as possible. And this meant adapting their approach to onboarding.

The L&D team started with the learning content. They focused on the essential knowledge and skills needed to get people safely out on the shop floor. Reducing their four-hour orientation to an hour. Tracie and her team focused on deployment. But they faced a challenge in getting people access to this new, shorter learning content.

“When you go through our HR systems to be hired, you’re automatically generated a team member ID, which gets you into our learning management system. But it can take up to five days. And we didn’t have five days. So, my team put together a separate portal for self-registration. Behind the scenes, we’re merging those accounts. This allowed them – from the moment they’re hired – to log in, take their onboarding and show up.”

3. Gather data now and lead the L&D evolution

People have embraced technology to keep learning during lockdown. But what will this ad hoc adoption teach us?

Tracie thinks we’ll see a massive evolution of learning technology in the coming years. The fresh eyes of all those first-time remote learners will offer many new insights. But this will only be possible if you’re gathering information. As the global pandemic forces people online, look to new ways to capture user experience data.

“Something I’d love to have in the xAPI world [would be] to be able to load a piece of elearning into a learning management system and…I want to know seat time. I want to know how many times they attempted the quiz…how many times they watched the video. You could drag and drop the data points from the course into what you want the learning management system to record. And get a customized learning experience or learning analytics for each course.”

4. Build your own unique learning technology ecosystem

Wholefoods prides itself on its informal learning. It’s at the heart of the way the organization develops. With the shift to remote learning, they didn’t want to lose this unique part of their culture.

For Tracie, it’s about maintaining the right balance in her learning technology ecosystem. Keeping real world learning, such as scavenger hunts. Using elearning for product knowledge. Embedding social learning in virtual leadership training. Moving from a helpdesk approach to service desk support that offers a choice of learning technologies.

“This model would help support folks in all industries. Because a learning ecosystem is just like an environmental ecosystem. An ecosystem that works in a tropical rainforest will not work in a desert… A learning ecosystem that works for an oil and gas company would not work for healthcare. We have to have flexibility.”

A quick recap

As an essential service, Wholefoods has seen a massive increase in demand. Tracie and her team were ready for the challenges and opportunities this created. She has four strategies for responding to change. Speak the language of operational impact and gain credibility in your organization. Adapt your approach to respond to change. Gather user experience data now and you can lead the learning and development evolution. Develop a learning technology ecosystem that’s flexible and meets your needs.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.

About Tracie

Tracie is a lifelong educator. After starting out in adult education, she moved into the commercial sector. With over 20 years L&D experience in various industries, she became Director of Learning Technology at Wholefoods in 2019.

You can find out more and get connected with Tracie on Twitter and LinkedIn.

On Tracie’s reading list

Find out which books are Tracie’s learning technology must-reads.

Shock of the New: The Challenge and Promise of Emerging Learning Technologies, Chad Udell, Gary Woodill

How do you prepare for what you don’t know is coming? Tracie recommends this book for practical approaches to help you adopt new and emerging technologies.

Millennials, Goldfish and Other Training Misconceptions, Clark Quinn

Can you tell learning fact from fiction? Tracie always keeps this book on hand to debunk some long-held training myths.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our top books blog.

Join the conversation!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @learningatlarge with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

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Designing the future of learning https://www.elucidat.com/blog/designing-the-future-of-learning/ Wed, 06 May 2020 08:00:55 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=6828 In the fast-changing world of retail, a workforce that’s ready to evolve with your business is key. Hear how Megan Comerford, Vice President of Talent Development, and Charles Donnell, Director of Talent Development, are focusing on the future at PVH. Find out how an agile approach to learning is building a workforce ready for change. […]

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In the fast-changing world of retail, a workforce that’s ready to evolve with your business is key. Hear how Megan Comerford, Vice President of Talent Development, and Charles Donnell, Director of Talent Development, are focusing on the future at PVH. Find out how an agile approach to learning is building a workforce ready for change. Discover how using local partnerships and business expertise is central to their success.

designing the future of learning

Play this episode

Top tips for designing the future of learning

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Megan and Charles:

  1. Keep it agile to build a workforce ready for change: Retail is dynamic. Match this energy and take an agile approach to L&D. Focus on understanding and empowering your people.
  2. Get informed to maximize engagement: Digital natives have high expectations. Take the time to find out what they want. Trial ideas to identify the most effective delivery. 
  3. Strengthen brand identities through local partnerships: From brand identify to store locations, embrace the differences within your organization. Create strong local partnerships to produce effective learning. 
  4. Harness the passion in your business: Your organization is full of skilled and knowledgeable people. Work with these experts to increase the impact of learning experiences.

1. Keep it agile to build a workforce ready for change

Retail is a dynamic a business. Faced with constant change, developing the skills needed for future success isn’t easy. With so many unknowns, where do you start?

For Megan, it’s about focusing on what you know. And the one thing that’s certain is change. For PVH to remain successful, its people need to be ready to evolve with the business. Effective learning and development is key to achieving this. With PVH University, they’re putting people at the heart of business transformation. Not providing learning resources, but enabling people to design their future at PVH. From quick pilots to user generated content, the focus is understanding and empowering learners. This dynamic approach to L&D translates into a workforce ready for change.

Charles: “Traditionally we would spend weeks and weeks developing content. Making it perfect. But we found homegrown content, using an iPhone or using quick online development tools, to create and get it out there quickly – although it’s not perfect – it works!”

2. Get informed to maximize engagement

Used to having everything available at the touch of a screen, digital natives are happy to pick up their devices to learn. Delivering content to these tech savvy learners may seem easy. But how can you be sure it’s effective?

PVH developed their University app in 2018. They released the technology and let the people gravitate towards it. Without heavy promotion, there was huge uptake, particularly in Asia. But the team didn’t stop there. Detailed analytics offered valuable learner insights. Data enabled them to understand how learners were engaging with content. And the ultimate aim is to use this data to predict future learning needs.

Megan: “We’re focused on satisfaction rates and fill rates. Because that tells a story around whether it’s the right content. Is it marketed in the right way? Are we offering it at the right time? Looking to get a picture of what’s happening. Ultimately, I’d love to get to a point where we’re able to be predictive with what we offer. Start to make informed decisions.”

3. Strengthen brand identities through local partnerships

Creating a learning community in a large organization isn’t straightforward. Doing this across different brands and geographies adds further complexity. If you’re going to be successful, you need to embrace your differences. 

From stores to customers, the PVH brands and regions have individual identities. Maintaining these identities is key to the continuing success of the business. Charles works in partnership with a number of regional counterparts. Together they identify each area’s unique needs, and how best to meet them. By trialling approaches, they check they’re on the right path before rolling it out more widely. 

Megan: “We try not to make the assumption that it’s something that everyone needs. It might just be for a small population. We create those strong partnerships to understand what our consumers need – the people working in the retail stores. And then build a quick prototype, to test it out and use that information to inform future decisions.”

4. Harness the passion in your business

Taking in design, manufacturing and sales, retail L&D covers a broad spectrum. How do you ensure your whole organization develops the skills they need – now and in the future?

Megan and Charles aren’t the experts. For them it’s about harnessing the power of their people. What’s happening in the store informs the skills developed for future success. The enthusiasm of product designers translates into great customer experiences. Input from the business is an essential ingredient for successful learning.

Megan: “We often partner with the people who actually developed the design. [Getting them] to explain some of the neat features in short videos. That’s an exciting way to use technology. It’s also a way to get people excited. You can hear the passion. That can translate to the person on the sales floor and out to the customer.”

A quick recap

PVH needed their workforce to be ready to evolve with them. Launching their University app was the start of their learning transformation. Megan and Charles have four strategies to continue this journey. Take an agile approach to create learning that gives your people the skills they need now and in the future. Use data analytics to understand what your learners want. Create strong local partnerships to keep your brands unique. Harness the passion and expertise in your business to maximize impact.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast. 

About Megan and Charles

With over six years’ L&D experience at PVH, Megan became Vice President of Talent Development in 2018. She oversees global learning technologies, and leadership and skills development in North America.

Charles Donald is Director of Talent Development and part of Megan’s team. His focus is learning technologies. This includes the implementation of PVH’s global learning platform.

You can find out more and get connected with Megan and Charles on Linkedin.

On Megan and Charles’ reading lists

Find out what reading informs Megan and Charles’ approach to L&D.

Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell 

From rock stars to scientific geniuses, this book explores a range of success stories. It’s made Megan think differently about analytics and user experience.  

Social media

Social media provides a view into what’s happening in the world. For Charles, understanding how people engage with technology is a key input into his work.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog

Join the conversation! 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @learningatlarge with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

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Building a global workforce that creates great customer experiences https://www.elucidat.com/blog/building-great-customer-experiences/ Wed, 08 Apr 2020 11:23:16 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=6760 Great brand experiences don’t just happen. Your people make them happen. Hear how Kathleen Mattie, an experienced Global Learning and Development Director for many large-scale beauty brands, approached a global program of brand education. Find out how she managed a centralized learning model across 42 countries. Explore the impact of personal development. Discover why looking […]

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Great brand experiences don’t just happen. Your people make them happen. Hear how Kathleen Mattie, an experienced Global Learning and Development Director for many large-scale beauty brands, approached a global program of brand education. Find out how she managed a centralized learning model across 42 countries. Explore the impact of personal development. Discover why looking to consumers will give you metrics that matter.

Play this episode

Top tips for successful brand education

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Kathleen:

  1. Create brand experiences to drive sales: In a changing retail landscape, memorable brand experiences are invaluable. Give your people the skills they need to make this happen and you’ll see results.
  2. Start centrally, support locally: Make a centralized learning approach your foundation. Adapt and support it locally to maximize your impact.
  3. Make development personal: No one knows your people like your managers. Give them the skills they need to support personalized learning and individual development.
  4. Look to the consumer for metrics that matter: Use customer reviews and manager observations to assess your program. Customer impact is the best way to measure success.

1. Create brand experiences to drive sales

Increased choice and online shopping are changing consumer expectations. If retail is going to keep pace, it needs to adapt. So, how can you create retail experiences that draw people into your brand? 

After analyzing what her customers wanted, Kathleen developed a Client Emotion program. From greetings to purchases, the program explored seven customer touch points. A blended learning approach combined face-to-face training and elearning. Each element focused on key customer service skills, including listening and empathy. Everything needed for a great brand experience. The results were impressive. 

“We did a pilot test of the program. Taking a client from the front door all the way through to what happens when they exit – the seven touch points to ensure that their journey was a really good experience. And everywhere we piloted it saw a double-digit growth in sales. So, it works!”

2. Start centrally, support locally

Creating consistently great brand experiences isn’t straight forward. Rolling it out globally adds another layer of complexity. If a global retail program is going to be effective, you need to be open to adapting it.

A centralized learning approach was the foundation of Kathleen’s program, but the regions, stores and managers felt empowered to deliver it in a way that worked for them. It wasn’t just a case of providing resources and letting people get started. Kathleen needed to support this localization to ensure it translated

“There’s a very good chance that resources are not going to be the same in a different language. The nuances are going to be different. So, it’s really important to communicate with your global stakeholders to make sure they understand. I have to make sure that I’m giving them the best service I can. And the best material so they can take it and they can localize it.”

3. Make development personal

For any program to be effective, it doesn’t just need to work for regions. It needs to work for individuals. Putting personal development at the heart of your program is the key to its success.

For Kathleen, it’s essential you understand what’s happening with your people. Are they completing your elearning? How are they self-assessing? Are they getting good feedback? And – most importantly – do your managers see behavior change? Think about your managers as your compass. They support individual learning and development. But they can also help you understand what’s happening on the shop floor. 

“Each person needs to be treated differently. Each person has different soft and technical skills. The manager is responsible for having these conversations – saying, let’s look at the competencies that the company expects. Let’s look at your skills, and where you want to go with your career. Let’s do some comparisons and get you into some training. It’s very personalized.”

4. Look to the consumer for metrics that matter

Digital learning platforms and feedback tools have made it easy to get information. But if you want metrics that matter, you need to look to the consumer.

Increased sales were a clear indicator of the success of Kathleen’s program. But that wasn’t the only metric she explored. Customer feedback was key. From online reviews to manager observations, she measured success through consumer impact. These insights were then used to adapt and improve her program.

“Customer feedback is one of the ways that you can quantify a better customer experience. Asking ‘how was your experience today? with reviews on websites and in stores. And, of course, it’s also the manager being abreast of what’s happening with their people. So, if they have five people and one is receiving complaints versus one that always has five stars.” 

A quick recap

Faced with a changing retail landscape, Kathleen knew she needed to focus on the consumer. Her Client Emotion program transformed their brand experience. She has four strategies for effective retail L&D on a global scale. Create great brand experiences and you will drive sales. Start with a centralized approach but adapt it locally. Enable your managers to support real personal development. Look to your customers to measure your success.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast. 

About Kathleen

After over 19 years’ L&D experience at L’Oréal, Kathleen joined Estée Lauder in 2020. As Executive Director of Global Learning and Development, she’s responsible for building and executing their global learning strategy.

You can find out more and get connected with Kathleen on LinkedIn.

On Kathleen’s reading list

Find out which books are Kathleen’s L&D leadership must-reads.

The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Brigette Tasha Hyacinth

This book is essential preparation for the ongoing digital revolution. It’s Kathleen’s must read if you’re working at a company that’s going through this kind of transformation. 

Conscious: The Power of Awareness in Business and Life, Bob Rosen and Emma-Kate Swann

Faced with increasing complexity and uncertainty, many of us feel unprepared and ineffective. Kathleen recommends this book for exploring how self-awareness can help you lead effectively.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog

Join the conversation! 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @learningatlarge with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

If you’re looking to produce learning content that delivers exceptional customer experiences, download this best practice guide to designing awesome learning!

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Making a move from face-to-face to online training. Where to start? https://www.elucidat.com/blog/face-to-face-to-online-analyze/ Fri, 27 Mar 2020 08:21:34 +0000 https://blog.elucidat.com/?p=2222 So, you need to adapt your face-to-face training program into an online experience. Where do you begin? Is switching to a virtual classroom enough? Probably not. Here’s our practical advice on how to get started on the right foot. It might feel like we’ve been flung into a digital-only world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, […]

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So, you need to adapt your face-to-face training program into an online experience. Where do you begin? Is switching to a virtual classroom enough? Probably not. Here’s our practical advice on how to get started on the right foot.

Face to face vs online learning

It might feel like we’ve been flung into a digital-only world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but online learning has been in demand for a long time now. 

Back in 2018, a Towards Maturity report on people’s learning preferences noted that 70% say online learning improves job performance and 90% access learning on their mobile devices. Online learning gives audiences more control with its self-paced and readily-accessible content. But audiences also rank collaboration, tutor-led, and social learning highly, which is why blended learning can provide the ultimate solution.

Traditionally, blended learning has contained face-to-face elements, but they’re by no means necessary. In fact, an online blended learning program can have just as much impact – if not more!

Can’t I just deliver my face-to-face workshop in a virtual classroom? 

Well, yes, you could. But you’re missing a trick if you want to keep up engagement levels and deliver impact. We’d heartily recommend going beyond delivering your face-to-face training in a virtual classroom. A blended approach will be more time-efficient (for you and your learners), sustainable and scalable. 

Here’s where to begin…

1. Do a top-down analysis

Start with the business and performance goals at which your training is targeted. Even if you already have a face-to-face course in place, it’s worth going through this exercise to ensure that the learning strategies and content still align with your core goals. Do this without looking at your content!

Ask yourself the following:

  • What business goal is this training aiming to meet? (e.g., reduction in errors, increased sales, better retention of staff). Try to make this SMART.
  • What do learners need to do to attain this goal? (e.g., start or stop doing x).
  • What are the ways in which they can demonstrate they are doing this? That is, what specific activities or actions do they need to do to meet their performance goal?

You may find that there are differences in the actions required by different learners; for example, a manager may need to perform different actions to a team member. Take note of these differences.

Notice that all these questions are about action, not knowledge. 

You can then drill deeper and identify the examples and theory that the learners will need to help them do the above. The idea is to cut out any theory or knowledge that isn’t necessary and keep the focus on the outcome. 

Anything that doesn’t link back to the goal, scrap. Cathy Moore calls this approach action mapping.

2. Then go bottom-up 

You don’t have to start from scratch – you can reap the rewards of the time you’ve invested in developing your face-to-face training. Revisit the content with fresh eyes. 

Break down the content that’s left, noting the learning objective for each part. Then think about the way you’re delivering the different sections right now. It’s more than just explaining the content to the participants – right? You probably have some of the following:

  • Discovery activity: learners uncover something for themselves
  • Practice activity: learners take part in an activity either alone or in a group
  • Demonstration: learners get walked through the “how”
  • Case study: learners see skills come to life in a contextual example
  • Tutorial: learners are talked through a theory, process, etc.
  • Story sharing: learners and/or facilitators share stories or personal experience
  • Mythbusting: uncovering misconceptions from learners in order to correct them
  • Assessment: testing learners’ ability to apply their skills

What works well from this list? What will motivate and engage your learners, according to your learner profiles? What directly supports your goal? Cut out anything you don’t need. 

3. Consider your learning channels

You probably already know what works well in a face-to-face context, so consider how you can create a similar experience online. 

Channels you might have available to you:

  • Mobile-friendly elearning 
  • LMS discussion forums
  • Intranet pages
  • Virtual classrooms / web conferencing
  • Video production capability
  • Virtual mentoring / tutoring
  • On-the-job shadowing / supervision

You can mix and match – remember, a blend is anything more than a block of one thing, however small. Keep the overall experience in mind and make sure your learners know what to expect, where and when.

Digital Learning Skill Up Program - Save Your Spot

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Developing a growth mindset for 140,000 people https://www.elucidat.com/blog/developing-a-growth-mindset-gap/ Tue, 17 Mar 2020 12:28:00 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=6691 When research showed that traditional performance management wasn’t working, Gap Inc. decided to make a change. Hear how Rob Ollander Krane, Head of Talent Planning and Performance, transformed their approach. Explore how a toolkit of resources can support behavior change and empower managers, and find out why you need to keep retail learning short and […]

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When research showed that traditional performance management wasn’t working, Gap Inc. decided to make a change. Hear how Rob Ollander Krane, Head of Talent Planning and Performance, transformed their approach. Explore how a toolkit of resources can support behavior change and empower managers, and find out why you need to keep retail learning short and visual if it’s going to be effective.

Rob Ollander Krane Developing a growth mindset for 140,000 people

Play this episode

Top tips for transforming performance management

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Rob:

  1. Focus on performance, not on management: Create a learning culture through regular conversations. Embrace feedback and the growth mindset.
  2. Provide the tools for change: Don’t just tell people to change, make the case for change. Give people the tools they need to make it happen.
  3. Empower people to drive performance: Let people use your tools in the way that works for them. Your desired outcome is the same for everybody, but the way they get there doesn’t have to be.
  4. Keep learning short and relevant: If you’re going to engage retail employees you need to keep learning short, visual and relevant.

Capture the needs of your learners with this project planning template!

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1. Focus on performance, not on management

Traditional performance management is time consuming and transactional for both employees and managers. Putting the emphasis on one conversation and employee compensation is not effective. So how can you focus more on performance and less on management?

Rob developed GPS: Grow Perform Succeed. Gap Inc.’s innovative approach to performance management removes the annual performance review. Instead, GPS focuses on having regular performance conversations and creating a learning culture. At its foundation is the growth mindset. By harnessing the positive power of feedback, you can transform performance conversations. Encouraging people to try things out and learn from mistakes.

I felt it was time to get rid of that [traditional] approach. And then I got asked to do that for our company. And in the process of doing research, I found out we weren’t driving performance at all. All we were doing was allocating reward. Instead, we want performance management to focus on performance and really help people improve.”

2. Provide the tools for change

Traditional performance management has gone unchallenged for the last 50 years. Every company did it, and most people thought it worked. 

In this landscape, taking a different approach didn’t just involve rolling out a new process. It required organization-wide behavior change. Rob knew he couldn’t just tell people to change. He had to provide the tools they needed to change. Asking employees and managers to talk once a month didn’t guarantee quality conversations. Consistent communications and centralized resources helped people approach conversations with the right mindset.

“You can’t tell somebody to change. You have to give them an incentive to change. You have to give them the tools to change. The system has to support that change. You have to let people change at their own pace. And you have to be forgiving when people fall back to the old and encourage them to go to the new.”

3. Empower people to drive performance

From product design to the shop floor, each retail division has different needs. So, how do you ensure an organization-wide change program works?

At Gap Inc., the change needed was the same across the company: moving to a learning culture. The goal was the same for everybody, but how you achieved it could be different. Providing a toolkit for change enabled each division to choose their own learning path. Rob is clear that empowerment is essential for success. Managers are accountable for their day-to-day work. Why shouldn’t they also feel responsible for hiring, assessing and developing their employees?

“We didn’t want to micromanage this. We wanted to say here’s the outcome, you pick the path to get there. And some started with philosophy, some started with tactics and some were a blend.”

4. Keep learning short and relevant

With young, often part-time, employees, and high turnover in stores, the retail learning environment can be challenging. If it’s going to be effective, it needs to be engaging.

The traditional approach to L&D does not work in this retail environment. It is time consuming, expensive and doesn’t engage the workforce. For Rob, learning which you can do in a few minutes on your phone is the answer. Making it light and visual keeps employees engaged. Make sure you reinforce the learning to ensure it’s effective.

“Salespeople don’t have a lot of time. On my phone, I can do a module in like three minutes on my break and learn something. And that is reinforced maybe a week later. It’s got to be small chunks, very visual, very much fun. It can’t feel heavy.”

A quick recap

Tired of traditional performance management, Rob transformed Gap Inc.’s approach. He has four strategies for creating a learning culture. Focus more on performance, and less on management. Don’t just tell people to change – give them the tools they need to change. Empower people to drive performance. Keep people engaged with short, relevant learning. 

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast. 

About Rob

With over 20 years’ experience in retail L&D, Rob has worked for Levi Strauss & Co, and LVMH. As Head of Talent Planning and Performance at Gap Inc., Rob owns performance management and succession planning.

You can find out more and get connected with Rob on LinkedIn.

On Rob’s reading list

Find out which books are Rob’s must-reads for improving performance management.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel H. Pink

Drive explores what motivates knowledge workers versus productivity workers. This book showed Rob he needed different approaches for different retail divisions.

Get Rid of the Performance Review!, Samuel A. Colbert

Colbert covers everything that’s wrong with traditional performance management. Rob recommends this book if you’re exploring a new approach in your organization.

Mindset, Carol S. Dweck

Dweck’s seminal book is the foundation of Gap Inc.’s GPS approach to performance management. For Rob, the growth mindset is a life lesson as much as a business lesson.

Handbook of NeuroLeadership, Dr. David Rock and Dr. Al H Ringleb

This handbook looks at how the fight or flight response shows up in social interactions. Rob sees this as a vital insight into how we should approach giving and receiving feedback.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog

Join the conversation!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @learningatlarge with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

To capture the needs of your audience at scale, download our free project planning template.

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People first: HR and learning’s role in tackling COVID-19 https://www.elucidat.com/blog/covid-19-hr/ https://www.elucidat.com/blog/covid-19-hr/#respond Fri, 13 Mar 2020 15:10:32 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=6675 In the face of the escalating COVID-19 – or coronavirus – pandemic, business as usual is not an option. The extraordinary measures governments are taking are testament to that. Business leaders are turning to HR and L&D for help; the need to respond to change on the fly is critical. So how can you best […]

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In the face of the escalating COVID-19 – or coronavirus – pandemic, business as usual is not an option. The extraordinary measures governments are taking are testament to that. Business leaders are turning to HR and L&D for help; the need to respond to change on the fly is critical. So how can you best support your people and mitigate business risk in face of this unprecedented challenge?

covid-19 manager advice elearning

At the heart of this crisis are people. There’s uncertainty and fear – “What if I get ill? I’m a carer, how will I cope? Will I be able to make rent? I can’t afford to stockpile! What if my kid’s school closes? Will I lose my job?”

These human and financial anxieties need to stay front of mind. In the face of a huge productivity challenge for your businesses – start with your people first.

Things are moving fast, and so should you

Government and WHO advice is updating daily. Remote working is going off the scale (for those who can). Policies are being updated and health and safety protocol has never been more important. Conferences and face-to-face meetings are being canceled. These are not normal times.

HR and L&D professionals need to be agile and on the front foot to help keep people aligned around the fast-evolving state of play.

Confront the harmful impact of fake news

A global crisis on the scale of coronavirus generates lots of media attention. Misinformation spreads faster than the virus itself, causing confusion and fear.

Providing clear and consistent communication to employees is key

  • Give easy access to up to date guidance. 

Make sure your employees know where to look for the latest guidance and information. Do you have a centralized portal that collates your company’s advice and resources on COVID-19?

As well as being easy to access, it needs to be effortless for your team to keep up to date – wherever they are.

  • Pulse check current thinking. 

Are there misconceptions bubbling away in your business that you need to confront? Get your finger on the pulse of what the fears, concerns and questions are.  Jump on any issues you spot quickly, so you can stay on the front foot before things escalate.

Using polls is a great, and simple, way to get a sense of where people’s heads are at. You can also support them in the moment based on their response, to offer an alternative view and address any misconceptions.

social polling elearning example

Mitigate against loss of productivity

Coronavirus is highly likely to have an impact on productivity. But how can you minimise this and protect your business and people for the future? Here are some suggestions:

Equip your frontline managers.

Line managers need to know how best to respond to the questions and fears of their team. And they need to do this in line with your central strategy and the latest information.

As you can’t cover every possible angle, supporting them to make good decisions on the ground is key. This is where modern elearning comes into its own. Quick diagnostic tools and scenario-based learning are both great approaches to help managers handle new and challenging situations. Don’t forget to respect their time by providing just enough information and support, when they need it.

This elearning example shows how you could communicate key policies and assess your managers ability to deal with different scenarios. Use it for inspiration.

If you’re an Elucidat customer, just ask and we’ll gift this course into your account. Use it as a template and adapt it for your needs.

In fast-evolving situations, it’s essential that digital learning content is fast and easy for your learning team to keep up to date. This is not the time to be stuck in complex, frustrating development processes.

Read our guide to a successful elearning development process – this includes links to lots of templates and resources to help you save time.

“Some of the more interesting models we have seen involve providing clear, simple language to local managers on how to deal with COVID-19 (consistent with WHO, CDC, and other health-agency guidelines) while providing autonomy to them so they feel empowered to deal with any quickly evolving situation.” – McKinsey 2020

Give your employees the tools to help themselves

Supporting your employees to stay in good health is critical to reducing the business impact of the pandemic.

Take the best and latest advice, and give it context to your workplace environment. It needs to be relevant to your audience so they take notice and make changes. Communicate clearly in a way that’s memorable and relatable. See the following two versions as an example – which do you think is most effective?

“Remember! Wash your hands thoroughly to help keep you and others safe from infection”

vs

“Imagine you’ve just diced some extra hot jalapenos and then need to change your contact lenses. That’s how thoroughly you need to wash your hands!”

You could use polls to identify gaps in knowledge and where you need interventions. For example, you might identify that everyone knows they should wash their hands more often. But that there’s uncertainty about when and how thoroughly to hand wash, increasing the risk of exposure to your business.

Online interactive guides and diagnostics are powerful tools for supporting employees to help themselves. You can use these to personalize critical information to an individual’s context and needs.

Think global

This is a global crisis with the situation changing at different paces around the world. In your training and learning materials, don’t overlook cultural differences.

Look to offer variations for different regions to ensure it makes sense in their context. Your polls may help you to identify cultural nuances and where you may need to adapt to deliver impact. Many organizations will be producing centralized resources that can be adapted and used by regional teams.

In summary

We’ve seen some amazing examples of using digital learning to support employees in a scalable and human way – but it needs to be done right. There’s a huge opportunity to empower people to build confidence and develop skills – even in the face of unprecedented circumstances. As well as ensuring a people-centered approach to designing elearning – organizations need to get smart about how they produce it.

Here are some resources we hope will help you in this challenging time:

We want you to know that we’re here for you. If you need support or guidance to quickly design and deploy digital learning resources then our Customer Success, Support and Professional Services teams are ready. From simply gifting template courses you can adapt and use quickly, to helping you design and develop specific interventions faster – we’re on hand to help you weather this storm. Just get in touch.

Elucidat COVID-19 Statement

Elucidat is a cloud-based solution and as such, our infrastructure can be managed via the cloud. We expect absolutely no disruption of service due to COVID-19.

We have robust Business Continuity plans and we are well set up for remote working. Elucidat is a flexible working company and our entire workforce is able to work from home if required.

Our number one priority is providing continued and undisrupted service to our customers and maintaining the safety and wellbeing of our employees.

 

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4 ways to spark a learning revolution https://www.elucidat.com/blog/sparking-a-learning-revolution/ Tue, 03 Mar 2020 11:56:11 +0000 https://www.elucidat.com/?p=6636 Following a period of rapid growth, Lush North America needed to adapt – and a new learning strategy put its mission center stage. Hear Shauna Grinke, Head of People and Culture, share her insights into these changes. Find out how connecting your people with your purpose can see real results, and explore why the human […]

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Following a period of rapid growth, Lush North America needed to adapt – and a new learning strategy put its mission center stage. Hear Shauna Grinke, Head of People and Culture, share her insights into these changes. Find out how connecting your people with your purpose can see real results, and explore why the human element is key to effective retail L&D.

Shauna Grinke sparking a learning revolution

Play this episode

Top tips for sparking a learning revolution

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Shauna:

  1. Connect people with purpose: Create a learning strategy that supports your mission – use a blended learning approach to create consistent and effective messaging.
  2. Get aligned and work together: Everyone should be working together to achieve your mission. An organization-wide learning strategy enables you to connect and respond at speed.
  3. Relate learning to results: From increased sales to improved engagement, measurement is key. Assessing your results validates your approach. 
  4. Keep it human: Retail is all about great customer experiences. Make elearning part of a blend to ensure you don’t lose the human touch. 

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1.  Connect people with purpose

A clear mission is key to success in the demanding world of modern retail. From recruitment to development, this purpose should inform all your decisions. So, how do you create a learning strategy that supports it?

Shauna is passionate about Lush’s mission: creating a cosmetics revolution to save the planet. This purpose informs everything Lush does. It’s the foundation of their new learning strategy – an approach that has enabled consistent messaging across the organization. It has translated product innovations into customer conversations on the shop floor. This empowers learners to become passionate advocates who live Lush values. 

“Our evolution to a blended learning approach with elearning at the foundation has allowed us to be much more consistent in our messaging. We are also more intentional in what we’re saying. Staff can learn foundational knowledge and then get on to the sales floor. They work with a sales ambassador to apply that knowledge in a way that’s going to be really valuable to the customer.”

2. Get aligned and work together

During periods of rapid growth and change, you need to be able to respond at retail speed. But moving quickly doesn’t always mean moving in the same direction. 

Your mission will only be successful if you work together to achieve it. For Shauna, collaboration is key to competing in today’s dynamic retail environment. The rapid growth of Lush led to siloed ways of working. Experts in manufacturing, supply chain and retail developed their own systems. Introducing a new organization-wide learning strategy made the company more interconnected. 

“There is a considerable amount of work you have to do slow to go fast. Make sure that you have the alignment first, before you jump to action. What we’re doing now is getting senior leadership aligned with our context. It is our focus on our purpose that enables the organization to change quickly.”

3. Relate learning to results

In an organization with a mission, the aim of learning and development is clear. Everything you do should work towards achieving that mission. So how do you know you are heading in the right direction?

For Shauna, measurement is key. It confirms that staff feel empowered to be advocates of the brand. And their pilot results showed that they successfully achieved this. The new learning strategy saw a significant impact. From customer conversion to staff engagement, Shauna saw improvements across the board. Anecdotal feedback showed that the learning encouraged conversation and informal collaboration.

“In the last year, elearning has become an important part of how we communicate. And how we validate that the messages have landed. The pilot results over the holiday season were significant. They demonstrated the impact of the style of delivery of knowledge.”

4. Keep it human

Technological and social changes have left people craving human connections. In this landscape, unique customer experiences can be a true competitive advantage. So how does digital learning fit with these human retail experiences?

For Shauna, the human touch is important across the whole system of learning. It’s not only building skills and knowledge. It’s about creating the right culture and attitudes. As part of a blended approach, bite-sized elearning can help achieve this. In fact, it can be more effective than face-to-face training. 

“Even with the most inspiring trainer, sitting in a hotel room for a day-long training event might not be the best way to help people learn. Giving them bite-sized learning in short segments, and augmenting that with inspiring trainers who support them in applying the learning seems to be the secret sauce.”

A quick recap

Lush North America has seen a period of rapid growth. In response, Shauna has moved to a blended learning approach. And she’s seen significant benefits from this strategy. Shauna has four tips for ensuring your strategy is successful. Connect your people with your purpose. Get aligned and work together. Relate learning to clear results. Keep the human element. Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.

About Shauna

Shauna has headed up the People and Culture function at Lush North America for over five years. She’s responsible for everything from employee relations to learning and development. 

You can find out more about Lush on their website and get connected with Shauna on Twitter.

On Shauna’s reading list

Find out which books are Shauna’s must-reads for success in retail L&D.

Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia

What kind of business do you want to be? How you can build a more positive future? Shauna recommends Conscious Capitalism to help you explore your company’s mission.  

Leading Change: An Action Plan from the World’s Foremost Expert on Business Leadership, John Kotter

A seminal book on managing change. Shauna has returned to this book many times since it was first published. 

Managing the Training Function For Bottom Line Results: Tools, Models and Best Practices, Jean Barbazette

A guide to getting the best result from the corporate learning function. Shauna describes this book as an oldie but a goodie. 

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog

Join the conversation!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @learningatlarge with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at simon@elucidat.com. As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

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