How to transform your learner experience?
SONY, JTI and Fidelidade share stories behind their success.
At our recent Business Transformation Summit, representatives from three companies shared how they have transformed their learner experience to achieve excellent results. Here, we share their insights.
The world of business is becoming increasingly complex, thanks to rapid technological advances and changes in human behaviour. The best way to deal with this is to make sure your people are fully prepared for the challenges ahead and have the right mindset for success.
As such, learning plays a vital role in helping your organisation empower people with the knowledge and training to do their job well.
If your learning programme is to have a substantial impact, however, it must engage the learner throughout, and the learning should be thoroughly applied afterwards. Sitting in a classroom listening to a trainer all day is no longer effective. There must be a well-designed learner experience in place that responds to the needs of your employees.
During our summit, we heard from three global companies about how they successfully transformed the learner experience to meet a variety of organisational challenges. And we noticed some common themes.
1) The line manager is key to learning success
All three companies accepted that L&D is not just the responsibility of Human Resources. When learning is supported by line managers, learning and development is much more effective and has a positive impact on results.
Tobacco company JTI has spent considerable resources implementing their ‘Manager as Developer’ (MaD) scheme that trains managers how to coach their team members and take an active part in their development. JTI understood that it wasn’t enough to simply direct managers to be more hands-on – they had to engage them in the process and support them. The MaD programme is made up of blended learning – a mix of online and face-to-face training – that shows managers how to successfully engage with their team, adapt to skills development needs and create the right environment for employees to put what they learn into practice. The scheme has met with considerable success since it was launched on a small scale and has now been rolled out across the company.
2) Challenge existing thinking and keep an eye on competitors
SONY has seen off major challenges to its competitive edge over the last decade. During a recent slump in trade, Christoph Williams, Strategic Content Senior Manager, was tasked with turning around the performance of the sales department. He knew that, in order to compete in a rapidly changing environment, management had to challenge traditional ways of thinking and inspire their sales teams to do things differently and be better than their competitors. The sales teams also needed support and motivation to collaborate with others whilst having the freedom to challenge their colleagues’ ideas.
The result was the Commercial Challenger Programme – a learning and development initiative designed to generate discussions and new approaches that fit with what today’s consumers are responding to. Sales staff were supported with training tools and given opportunities to apply their training, with the support of line managers.
After initial success, the training was rolled out across the global network. However, case studies and working practices had to be adapted to appeal to the local culture.
The key to success here was to differentiate the training so that it was relevant to the individual. For example, experienced staff were engaged by being asked to draw on and share their expertise, whilst allowing less-experienced colleagues to challenge their thinking.
SONY saw a turnaround in its fortunes and the Commercial Challenger model has since been adopted in other areas of the company.
3) Planning and perseverance are crucial
Portuguese insurance company Fidelidade designed a growth programme for its staff and franchise agents to facilitate an expansion in the scope of its operations.
In collaboration with Cegos, managers developed an accelerated programme that followed a carefully planned route to success, which they termed the ‘growth spiral’.
They began by dreaming big – formulating an ambitious and inspiring goal, which was then developed into a differentiated positioning. Management shared this vision with stakeholders and employees and then ‘dared’ people to take brave decisions whilst managing risk. Importantly, they had to separate growth initiatives from everyday operations and encourage everyone to persevere by keeping up the momentum. Once success began to happen, each team duplicated what had worked and then ensured that achievement was celebrated with a reward.
After the programme was implemented, the company saw a 30% growth in premiums, which showed that the programme had made a tangible impact, not just in terms of profit but also in terms of productivity.
How to create the most effective learner experience?
The session was followed up by Patrick Galiano – Chief Digital Officer at Cegos – who shared 5 tips for success.
- 1) Get into the learner’s shoes
Create a human profile of the learner. These profiles should ideally include names and pictures of the people who will access your content to make the experience more real from a design point of view.
- 2) Generate emotion
Identify pain-points and address them with engaging content that allows the learner to feel the satisfaction of learning a new skill. Remember that online learners will decide whether or not to engage with your content within the first 10 seconds. Ask learners to tell you how they feel about your programme at various intervals.
- 3) Create enthusiasm with ambassadors
Once you have a few happy learners on board, use them to promote the programme amongst their peers.
- 4) Design the learning journey from the learner’s point of view
Make sure the learning journey is consistently relevant to the learner’s current knowledge, skillset and needs. Try to tailor the content to the individual as far as possible. For example, one course can be aimed at newer sales professionals, whilst a more advanced version is aimed at experienced individuals.
- 5) Keep it simple
Learning must be easy to follow, easy to understand and easy to access (e.g., on a range of devices). Too much complexity can reduce engagement.
If you need help transforming your learner experience and implementing training programmes that have a real and long-lasting impact, talk to Cegos about how we can help.