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Editor's Notes

  • Hi everyone! Thank you for making time for today’s webinar from Degreed.

    Everyone in L&D (and in HR and talent management more broadly) has been obsessed with measuring and improving workplace culture and employee engagement for the last couple of years.
    - But one critical driver of both of those things – learning and development – still gets a lot less attention from the C-suite.

    So today we want to focus on four things:
    1 Why it’s important to also pay attention to how the workforce really learns and grows
    2 Then I want to summarize some new research we’ve done on just that topic
    3 Third, we’ll cover what we think the results mean for you all – L&D leaders; how you can start to adapt
    4 And last, we’ll cover how some leading-edge companies are already evolving their approach to L&D.

    We’ll try to cover all that in about 45 minutes.
    - Then we’ll have some time for Q&A.

    And YES, we will share this slide deck afterwards, along with the replay.

    We’d be grateful if, as we go through, you could share anything you find useful.
    - You can tag us @toddtauber or @degreed
  • Let’s get right into it.

    The most important word in learning and development right now isn’t “learning” or “development”. It’s “and”
  • Before I get to why, let’s start with a question for you all…

    Everyone in HR, talent management and L&D is obsessed with employee engagement right now. It’s on the agenda at every conference. It’s in every research report. It’s in all the magazines and blogs.

    And it’s important. There are well documented links between engaged employees and productivity, innovation, revenue growth and profits – all the key drivers of shareholder and stakeholder value.

    So the question is, how important do you think learning is to engagement?
  • The fact is that L&D are essential drivers of employee engagement.
    - There is research on what drives engagement from pretty much every HR and management consulting firm you can think of.
    - All of them highlight learning and career development as crucial factors in engagement.

    I, personally, like Aon Hewitt’s Trends in Global Employee Engagement studies.
    - Most importantly, because they go intro more granular detail than any other study.
    - I also like their clarity
    - They say 3 main things really make employee engagement happen:

    1 Building engaging leadership. That’s about communicating a clear vision and purpose, and showing everyone how their role matters.
    - And leaders are rarely born that way; they’re built.

    2 Creating a compelling employee value proposition. That’s about articulating your values and expectations and, in turn, delivering on what employees expect.
    Pay and rewards are obviously a big part of this. But so is a reputation for cultivating talent.

    3 Growing your talent. That’s about explicitly tying learning to performance management and career development.

    And the one thing that ties all of those things together is learning and development.
    - So if you care about employee engagement, you should care about L&D.
  • I think it’s notable, then, that what is obviously a critical lever is not being pulled broadly or effectively enough.

    ATD – the Association for Talent Development – released some interesting new research just before the holidays. Which means a lot of people probably missed it. The headline, if you’re one of them, is that only 38% of L&D professionals think they’re ready to meet the needs of tomorrow’s learners.
    - Almost two-thirds of people in their survey believe that the ways workers learn and develop are evolving. But most are not doing much to evolve or adapt.

    Only a minority of learning functions are even trying to understand and prepare for changes in the ways we learn.
    - I think that’s only partially right, though.
  • There has actually been quite a bit of attention on how the workforce learns over the last couple of years.

    There has always been a close link between learning and cognitive psychology, for example.

    And there has been some good, practical work lately on what employees want, and what both they and L&D practitioners think is effective.
    - You should all read Jane Hart’s Learning in the Workplace survey, Towards Maturity’s Learner Voice and Consumer Learner series as well as Bersin by Deloitte’s Meet the Modern Learner report (which, full disclosure, I wrote).

    Over the last year or so, there has also been a renewed focus on neuroscience – how you actually get stuff into people’s heads and make it stick.
    - It’s all over the trade magazines and industry blogs. It’s at all the conferences and trade shows.

    Psychology and neuroscience are essential, of course. However, they don’t show the whole picture. What’s still missing far too often in L&D is an appreciation of the economics of learning
    - both the micro-economics of supply and demand, and the behavioral economics
    - employees’ values and beliefs, their technologies and working environments, and all the other things that dictate and influence their behavior and habits.
  • And in economic terms, supply does not equal demand. Today’s workers don’t only build their knowledge and skills through formal training provided once-in-a-while by the L&D function.
    - We also grow informally, every single day, through all kinds of experiences and interactions – and through osmosis. Often on our own or through our managers and peers.
    - In fact, according to CEB research, almost 80% of employee learning comes from outside of the learning function. L&D only controls 21%.
    - Yet by all accounts – CEBs, Bersin’s, ATD’s, Brandon Hall’s, DDI’s – formal training dominates budgets, organizations and schedules.

    But if you really want to build a culture of continuous learning, you need it all. Formal and informal. Job training and career development. L&D and self-service.

    The operative word here is “and”. Business requirements are sometimes at odds with what employees need and want. And until now, most L&D organizations have been built, organized and rewarded for delivering efficiency, scale and standardization.
    - The thing is, the conventional L&D toolkit doesn’t work so well for workers.
    - According to our research, only 18% would recommend their employers’ training and development opportunities. Many are tuned out and looking elsewhere.
    - That translates into a net promoter score of -31.
    - If you’re not familiar with NPS…

    What they demand is utility and personalization
    - That’s not to say traditional approaches are obsolete. They’re just not enough.
  • The takeaway here is that the operative word in L&D is “and”. Or at least it should be. Evolving to meet the needs of tomorrow’s learners still starts with the conventional L&D toolkit – psychology, neuroscience, classes, courses and LMSs.

    But there is more to the job now.
  • This quote from Bain really nails it… Satisfied employees have the training and resources to do their jobs.
    - That’s the conventional L&D role, right? And it’s still got to be the foundation.

    But engaged employees – the ones you’re all trying to build – learn and grow every day. And that’s something very different.
    - That’s the “And” I’m talking about.
  • To help L&D teams better engage employees and adapt to the future, Degreed recently surveyed 512 people. They work in all kinds of jobs, in small companies and big ones, and at every step of the career ladder.

    We wanted to understand how today’s workforce really builds their skills and fuels their careers. Right now. Not in 5 years.
    - We’ll be releasing a report on that research in the next few weeks. And we’ll be exploring the insights in more detail over the course of the year.

    In the meantime, here’s a high level summary of what we learned about the supply and demand from workers for learning culture
    – how, why, when and where they lean.

    Feel free to reach out via email, twitter or linkedin after the webinar if you want more information about that.
  • Before I dig into the research findings, let’s start with another question to get a handle on the balance of supply and demand.
  • According to Brandon Hall Group’s research, the consensus is that your workers should be connecting with your learning at least every week in order to keep up with their jobs.

    24% Daily
    37% Weekly
    29% Monthly
    9% Annually
    1% Less frequently

    Y’all might have seen that New York Times article last weekend, where AT&T’s CEO, Randall Stephenson, was quoted telling his workforce that they should be spending 5 to 10 hours a week learning online to keep up with the technology impacting their business.
    - What he also said was, “There is a need to retool yourself, and you should not expect to stop.”

    He is validating the whole idea of continuous learning.
  • The fact is, most workers do spend time learning every week. Just not necessarily in ways you might expect or value.

    Formal, L&D-led training is still a valuable part of how workers learn, of course.
    - We asked people how they learn for work; are these things they do every day, every week, every month, once a year, or less.
    - Around 70% told us they take live, virtual or e-learning courses from their employers at least once a year.
    - However, on average, they only do those things once every three or four months.

    However, they use informal, self-serve learning to connect the dots and fill in the gaps in-between. All the time.
    - Almost 85% said they learn things for work by searching online at least once a week. Nearly 70% learn from peers or by reading articles and blogs every week. And 53% learn from videos in any given week.

    Most of that, though, is happening outside your control or view.

    What this data says to us is that people progress every day, in all kinds of ways – not just sometimes, in courses or classrooms.
    - So your L&D environment should enable self-directed development as well as formal training – and it should do that through both micro-learning, which everyone is obsessed with right now, and through old-fashioned macro-learning.

    They both have their place. It’s just that the balance needs to be adjusted.
  • One big imbalance between supply and demand: The workforce is heavily focused on developing themselves to be ready for what comes next.

    In a similar survey we did last year, workers told us they spend about 1% of the average work week on their employers’ training. That’s just 37 minutes. However, they invest 3.3 hours a week on their own – that’s 5x more time!
    - And almost two-thirds said they would put in even more time if they received some kind of credit or recognition they could leverage for professional growth.

    People want more than the typical L&D catalog, though. They put almost as much time into personal interests as they do into professional ones.
    - 75% invested their own money (an average of $339) in career-related development over the last 12 months.
    - In the last four years, since MOOCs started, more than 32m people have signed up with the top 5 providers.
    - That’s three-quarters as many licensed users as the top five corporate learning content providers have – Skillsoft, Harvard, CrossKnowledge, etc.
    - Yet corporate learning teams are actually the biggest obstacle to using MOOCs in the workplace, according to Future Workplace’s research.

    What that says to us is that people will readily invest their time and even some money in development opportunities that fuel their growth and enrich their lives.
    - So don't just train workers; you should also aim to transform them – and do it through informal, on-demand learning as well as structured, scheduled training.
    - They’re both essential now.
  • The reason they’re both essential is that workers already spend a lot of time learning outside your influence and view.

    Most workers don’t confine their development to offices, shops, factories and warehouses – or even to “normal” working hours.
    - While 85% of people said they learn at work, 67% do so on personal time and 18% are learning during travel or commutes.
    - And almost 40% of them are learning across multiple venues.

    The learning itself is traveling across multiple screens, too.
    - I don’t want to state the obvious. But mobile is a core part of how most people live and work now.
    - People we surveyed estimate that 70% of the time they spend learning on electronic devices is still on PCs. But smartphones and tablets account for 30%.
    - 70% said they’re doing at least some learning on mobile devices.

    That finding not exactly surprising, but it’s probably the most disruptive shift for L&D teams. This really does change everything.
    - People can already learn anywhere, anytime, all by themselves. So you should spend less time worrying about how to manage and track all of the workforce’s training and more time figuring out how to channel and feed their curiosity.
    - Whenever we talk about these trends this always comes up: How do you know if people are learning the right things? And that is still a role for the learning professional. It’s just a different one.

    We’ll explore that in the next section. But first...
  • I’m not sure if any of this is earth shattering news. I think most of you believe or at least already suspected that people learn in lots of ways, that we’re more interested in our careers than in compliance, or that mobile is really important.

    So the over-arching takeaway for me here is that transformation doesn’t just happen. It’s cumulative.
    - But that requires constant care and feeding. Not occasional.

    That also goes for how L&D organizations can adapt.
    - There is no judgement day where the robots attach and suddenly take over.
    - Changes in how you operate start small, take root and spread. It’s more organic.

    But in order to meet the demand from tomorrow’s learners, you need to shift your focus, your teams and your investments to accommodate and enable some new and different priorities.
    - You have to start planting new seeds alongside the existing fields.
    - That’s the “and” again.
  • I think this concept is best summed up by this quote from Hilton’s CLO, Kimo Kippen – who by the way, is also Chief Learning Officer magazine’s CLO of the year.
    - Occasional, event-based training is necessary. But it’s table stakes.
    - It’s the getting a little better every day that leads to great things.
  • So how do you get L&D teams ready to help employees get a little better every day?
  • Before I share some of our findings, let’s see what you all think. Time for another audience poll question.
  • It helps to start by understanding why people don’t rely on their L&D function to help them get a little bit better every day.

    One reason is that conventional L&D infrastructure doesn’t really meet their needs.
    - The typical employee only uses their organization’s learning systems once every four months. More than one-third told us they only use them once a year ...or less. That matches the timeline I showed you all earlier. That’s where ILT and e-learning live.
    - When we asked people why, they pointed to three main points of friction.

    First, they just don't have a lot of time for learning; work always comes first. Duh, right? But when you think about what’s in most of those systems - clunky UX and long-form courses - it’s just not compatible.
    - Microlearning content is a start, but the answer isn’t just about short videos.
    - It’s also about connecting people to non-traditional content, to tools and to other people.
    - It’s the whole experience, not just the learning event.

    Second, they don’t feel like they get enough guidance or direction. it’s one thing to be told you have to take this course because you’re new at the company or because it’s required by law. But then what? If I want to move my capabilities or my career from A to B, what’s the learning that helps me do that?

    And third, they don’t think their employers value a lot of the learning they are already doing. 18m people took MOOCs in 2015. But how much of that does your organization give people credit for ...reward them for …even know about?

    People aren’t limited to what they can get from their L&D department. So if you want to connect them back to the organization’s priorities, then you have to do more than just build (or buy) shorter, more entertaining content. You have to build an environment and a culture that make the entire L&D experience smoother, more useful and more rewarding.
    - NPS scores for people dealing with these obstacles were much lower than the -31 average
  • Embracing those new roles is essential precisely because workers have more options for their development than ever before. They want and need guidance and recommendations more than ever.

    The thing is, now that guidance can come directly, from the L&D team through the catalog, the programs you build or buy and the LMS, and also indirectly through other people or systems outside of L&D.
    - When workers need to learn something new, for example, they are most likely to ask their boss or mentor (69%) or their colleagues (55%) for direction first.
    - Then they take matters into their own hands. Almost half said they search the Internet and 43% browse specific resources online.
    - Just 28% search their employers’ learning systems and only 21% rely on their L&D or HR departments.

    I don’t think that means that L&D is irrelevant; it is not. But learning follows the the path of least resistance. And that’s usually the people and systems in front of us every day.
    - So you can make all that self-driven learning more meaningful by curating the right resources and tools, and by engineering useful connections and interactions.

    I cannot stress that enough. L&D should still design and facilitate courses and programs and manage LMSs. But the most forward thinking organizations are literally creating new jobs like product managers and community managers and marketing managers to serve these new roles.
  • Changes like that really only happen when you start to shift everyone’s mindsets – from L&D as an “either / or” proposition to one that’s more holistic. But when you do, you’ll start to see organizations get ready to really put their money where their mouths are.

    According to the latest Bersin Corporate Learning Factbook, for example, the best L&D organizations are already delivering...
    - up to 20% fewer hours via formal training (ILT, vILT, elearning)
    - up to 30% more via experiential learning
    - up to 13% more via coaching and collaboration
    - and significantly more through on-demand resources like articles, videos and books

    And by “best”, I mean the ones who are delivering the most value to their stakeholders; they’re having an impact on employees and they’re moving the needle on business results.

    But in order to do all these things – to make L&D work differently – these organizations need new and different skills and processes and tools.
    You can’t really get mentoring inside an e-learning course, for example.

    And in order to invest in those new tools, you need CLOs and L&D teams – and all the other stakeholders – to think differently about how they define learning.
  • So the last takeaway for today is this… If you really want to meet the needs of tomorrow’s learners, then you need to work differently. But in order to do that effectively, you’ll need some new tools. And in order to get your CLO, CHRO or other stakeholders behind any new strategy, you’ll need to get them to buy into this idea of “and”:
    - training for now and development for later
    - control and autonomy
    - formal and informal
    - sometimes and anytime
  • This quote from BP really exemplifies that attitude for me. They’re not a client of ours. But they are doing all of this stuff. And they have totally reengineered their approach to onboarding as a result – from courses to real-time resources.

    And it’s working. The tools and resources the company’s L&D team create and facilitate now are being used more widely and more frequently than before, and new hires are getting up to speed faster and more effectively.

    They’re now investing millions of dollars into porting some of these new ideas and approaches onto their management and leadership development.

    If you’re curious how they’re doing it, we have a great blog post on our web site about the story.
  • That’s a very different way to think about learning. And it requires new and sometimes uncomfortable ways of leading L&D teams. So let’s explore that a little.
  • Before we do, though, one more question for you all…
  • The fact is that innovation in corporate learning requires more than just snack-sized courses, entertaining videos and gamified, social learning systems.
    All the tools, technology and content you probably need already exist.
    In fact, there are more tools and more content available, more cheaply, than ever.
    The problem is that technology and content don’t change things — people do.

    Despite the best intentions, though, only 6% of L&D people rate themselves as very good at providing mobile learning, according to last year’s Deloitte Consulting human capital trends study.
    Even fewer are ready to put video, MOOCs, simulations or other new kinds of learning content to work.
    Many L&D staffs actually resist using MOOCs, according to a study Future Workplace’s did last year.
    So what’s really missing from learning and development innovation are new ways of thinking, leading, managing and working.

    One client who I think is doing a lot of things right is MasterCard…
  • It’s working for MasterCard.
    More learning
    More engagement
    More innovation (BCG list for the first time)