On July 3, Mind Tools hosted its second L&D networking event. More than 35 fellow L&D practitioners joined them on the top floor of London's iconic Gherkin building to share and discuss their own success stories.
I'm pleased to bring you the event's highlights, as well as some key takeaways and practical tips from each speaker.
The informative and interactive session was titled "Successful Learning Transformation: How to Meet the Needs of the On-Demand Consumer Learner Generation." It was designed to showcase insights from the new, groundbreaking research conducted by Mind Tools and expert learning analysts, Towards Maturity.
Mind Tools CEO Ollie Craddock introduced the morning, and along with Towards Maturity's Chief Insight Officer Jane Daly, explored L&D's perceptions of their learners in 2019. They revealed the divide that exists between the perceptions of L&D staff and those of their learners. And they questioned whether or not L&D practitioners are meeting those learners' needs.
After this session, two of Mind Tools' most respected clients in the U.K. joined Ollie and Jane in a fireside chat to discuss the biggest issues that L&D practitioners face when their learners don't have the time to learn.
Taking part in the event were:
- Jyoti Ghai and Grace Francis- L&D specialists at Heathrow Airport, the second busiest airport in the world, and the busiest airport in Europe. Heathrow handled a record 80.1 million passengers in 2018.
- Ciara Lennon-Smith - HR Coordinator at 'Rothesay Life’ a leading life insurer, established in 2007.
The questions asked by moderators Ollie and Jane were:
Does your organization encourage self-directed learning?
In response to this question, Jyoti outlined the challenges that the airport faces: their complex, multi-operational workforce runs on shift hours, making it difficult to offer employees face-to-face learning opportunities. As a result, the need for self-directed and on-demand learning is a must.
As a company, they have started their journey to develop a self-driven learning culture through their internal campaign, "Inspire to Grow." The objective is to encourage people to be more proactive, stay curious and take control of their own learning success.
Does your organization encourage, and provide time for, reflection?
Grace admitted that currently, Heathrow doesn't plan in time for colleagues to reflect. However, the company's face-to-face learning programs actively encourage learners to reflect in different ways, even if they don't insist on it.
"As part of our campaign we are going to start encouraging people to build 'time to grow' into their diaries so that they can have recognized, protected and undisturbed time for self-directed learning or reflection."
Can you give examples of how to adapt learning to the needs of your organization?
Ciara kicked off this discussion by describing the success of launching Mind Tools within Rothesay.
"We looked at performance review time and goal setting, which was a huge driver for people accessing Mind Tools content.
We split the learning population into cohorts and targeted people specifically, rather than company-wide. This included launch emails, and offering shorter training courses over three sessions rather than full days.
We now also offer increased lunchtime sessions so that they are more accessible, utilizing the feedback we have received to market our resources."
As Jyoti explained, when Heathrow launched Mind Tools internally, they found that there were two issues they needed to address.
"The first was myth-busting about career development, and the second was giving line managers the tools and resources they need to do their job.
There was lots of feedback about line managers not being adequately prepared to line manage people- with this in mind we created two custom pages and mapped resources that would help these objectives."
Grace has found the results from Mind Tools invaluable.
"We use the data that we get back from Mind Tools and our other platforms to help us to adapt our learning offering. It gives us an insight into what people are looking for, so we can adapt materials and resources according to those needs."
Can you provide examples on how you engage your learners through marketing campaigns?
Ciara outlined the importance of keeping Mind Tools content at the forefront of thinking for the learners at Rothesay.
"We ran a campaign during Learning at Work Week, in which we had a huge drive towards Mind Tools content, along with our other training providers. Our intranet is gaining increased views, so to that effect, we have built dedicated landing pages around learning.
In addition to this, we have added some promotional banners on the site to remind everyone about the importance of self-development."
Ciara also discussed the importance of continually testing campaigns and gathering feedback for the future.
"We have been focusing our campaigns around specific seasonal internal events, such as performance reviews and goal setting. This has seen great results in comparison to blanket emails at all times of the year."
Grace and Jyoti provided five top tips on keeping learning fresh at Heathrow:
- Set clear objectives and goals for the campaign. What are you trying to achieve?
- Ensure materials look professional and on brand. Become friends with your marketing and design team!
- Launch with a big bang. Use a "hook" if you can, such as Learning at Work Week, or a similar event.
- Continue the drum beats. Set up lunch-and-learn drop-ins to maintain momentum.
- Don't just rely on digital. Talk to the business! Create ambassadors and create some energy. Excitement is contagious!
I'd like to personally thank all of our speakers for sharing their insightful stories with us.
We will be looking to host more of these networking events, so keep an eye out for more information!
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