Talent Leaders Need to Invest in L&D That’s Integrated into the Flow of Employees’ Work
This article originally appeared on HR.com.
“A digital-first environment is synonymous with speed and agility. The content that talent leaders invest in should be bite-sized, easily consumable, and pulled directly from subject matter experts (SMEs) and peers so that team members can better retain vital information,” said Amy Cohn, Chief People Officer of Allego.
In an exclusive interview with HR.com, Amy touches upon how the learning landscape has changed over the past two years, what have been the challenges when it comes to employee learning and development, and more.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: How has the learning landscape changed in your company since the Covid-19 pandemic?
Amy: Since the start of the pandemic, we have had to ensure our employees have all they need to succeed while they are dispersed in different locations. We have employees working all over the U.S. and Europe. One tool we used to our advantage was asynchronous video. At Allego, our CEO, Yuchun Lee, used our platform to send a weekly video company-wide to keep everyone informed on business updates, as well as the progression of the pandemic and how it was affecting us.
Our teams also used video even more between meetings to share project updates and get feedback on ideas, since we could not brainstorm in person and did not want to fill everyone’s calendars with too many additional meetings. We also asked new employees to introduce themselves on video and shared these company-wide.
These were watched at a very high rate, and our employees welcomed the new hires with friendly comments left in the videos. Each department also built team-specific onboarding courses to introduce each new employee to the company and to the functions of the team they were joining.
For our new sales representatives, our sales enablement team assigned video exercises to help our sellers learn and practice their responses to buyer questions. The learning was designed to happen in the flow of work and not take time from our seller’s days. This helped them manage new workflows as they adjusted to fully remote work initially.
Conversation intelligence (CI) was also a key tool we used. With our representatives operating in different locations and schedules, it was harder for our sales managers to coach their teams effectively. CI solved this problem by parsing through the topics our sellers spoke about in any given call and generating feedback that gave them a quick self-assessment. They could then practice the delivery repeatedly with the feedback in mind, continuing to reinforce the lesson each time they did. CI also helped our managers give feedback more constructively, allowing them to focus on areas that required more attention.
Q: What are some of the upskilling and reskilling initiatives taken in your company recently?
Amy: Since I started in January, Allego has focused on rolling out a comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) program for managers and employees, which included training, workshops, and internal discussions. This is essential for every business now, but especially as a technology company we want to be proactive in our hiring, onboarding, and management to create a diverse and inclusive environment.
Our future focus will be on evolving from understanding our unconscious biases and understanding what inclusive leadership looks like to becoming a consciously inclusive workplace.
Q: What are the metrics you follow to track the progress of your employees undergoing reskilling and upskilling?
Amy: The metrics we use depend on the intended outcome. At Allego, we use our platform to look at coursework completion rates to understand both participation and engagement. We also measure inclusion as part of our employee experience survey to understand what progress we are making, and we are able to see how many employees are viewing and commenting on the content we are providing to support our learning initiatives for DEI and beyond.
Q: As companies are adopting a digital-first environment, what kind of investments should talent leaders make to modernize learning & development?
Amy: Talent leaders need to invest in learning & development (L&D) that is integrated into the flow of employees’ work, provides just-in-time learning, and helps employees share knowledge with their peers.
Talent leaders need to invest in learning & development that is integrated into the flow of employees’ work, provides just-in-time learning, and helps employees share knowledge with their peers.
In the past, the traditional approach to learning involved L&D teams creating courses and quizzes to train and certify employees. But these courses were often delivered in person, were long and tedious, and took too much time to develop to match adjusting business needs.
By investing solely in traditional content, talent leaders are not ensuring it can be remembered at the moment of need, no matter how good the material is.
A digital-first environment is synonymous with speed and agility. The content that talent leaders invest in should be bite-sized, easily consumable, and pulled directly from subject matter experts (SMEs) and peers so that team members can better retain vital information. Having content sourced from SMEs and other employees allows L&D teams the bandwidth to create robust just-in-time libraries, reinforcement drills, and other things of higher impact.
Q: What are the key challenges you are facing when it comes to the skilling of employees?
Amy: One of the key challenges we have seen is historic rates of employees quitting their jobs, or “The Great Resignation.” As a result, many businesses are hiring a record number of new sales representatives—and doing it in record time.
This only works with world-class sales onboarding. Companies need to provide training specifically for the hybrid sales environment, deliver learning in the flow of work, prioritize community and collaboration, and enable continual learning to succeed at onboarding in the hybrid era.
Q: How can technology and analytics be leveraged for L&D to power reinvention and make an impact?
Amy: In the early 2000s, the learning management system (LMS) was the go-to solution for enterprise learning and development. But today’s companies have different needs. Today’s employees are on the go, using smartphones, tablets, and laptops for work.
This means organizations need up-to-the-minute, continual learning in the flow of work about your customers, your market, and your industry that an LMS simply cannot provide. Employees need to tap into the wisdom of their peers, who have mastered product knowledge, customer relationships, and industry-specific skills.
Modern learning platforms enable this type of learning—agile content creation, ease of access, self-directed learning, and experiential learning on the fly—all of which are essential for L&D to make an impact. Modern learning platforms also provide holistic analytics so L&D leaders can gain a 360-degree view of the activity and content that is correlated with success.
Q: How can leaders lead through these unprecedented times to build a continuous learning culture?
Amy: For above and beyond traditional learning, employees need the latest and most relevant content from trusted sources and an efficient, low-friction way to collaborate. The role of leaders is to ensure their employees have access to the resources they need for these things to happen.
At Allego, we do this through learning libraries. With learning libraries, employees have supplemental content, such as asynchronous video, case studies, and use cases, that helps enable their continuous learning. For example, learning libraries enable our sales representatives to view videos of what top performers in the company are doing in similar situations, such as how they articulate value, tell compelling customer stories, differentiate from the competition, and handle tough customer conversations.
Leaders need to make sure this can be done in the context of their work and make sure all the content they need is at their fingertips.
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