Webinar Survey Findings Report
Leading up to the first in our series of Learning Leader webinars, we surveyed over 260 of SA’s top HR and L&D experts, thought leaders and professionals on their response to learning and development in their organisation since the COVID-19 outbreak. This is what they had to say...
We also asked respondents to advise what their organisations have done to respond to the COVID outbreak that has worked well?
It’s good to see that a large number of organisations are taking up the opportunity to learn and embrace innovative ways of working and learning, to connect with colleagues and clients in new ways and provide comfort and support to those who need it. For a view of the key themes, click on the recording of the webinar below.
You asked and we answered...
We have also included below key questions that were asked by participants during the webinar, but that the panel was not able to answer as we ran out of time. Thank you to our panel of experts for reviewing these questions post the webinar and providing their responses below.
What are some of practical ways of optimising learning in everyday work experiences? (answered by Sanet Meyer, Human Resource Development Manager at SPAR Central Office)
We have stand-up coffee meetings every Monday and Friday for about 15 minutes in the morning. We have a theme for our Friday meeting where we share a situation that created a learning opportunity that week. The intent behind this:
- To ensure that all voices are heard.
- We create a culture of learning, whereby staff can see how any situation can be seen a learning opportunity.
- We see how staff deal with various situations and how we can support them.
- It bonds us as a team.
- It improves communication.
We use every opportunity as a platform for gathering data. We often build Knowledge Café’s into our training and the rich data we get from the staff tracks nicely how we live our values. It is never about how good the training was, always about what we are doing well as an organisation and what we could do better. We look for creative ways to get staff to share what they are thinking without necessarily utilising surveys.
How can you best equip your trainers to adapt to online training in future to ensure the effectiveness of L&D in the organisation? (answered by Sanet Meyer, Human Resource Development Manager at SPAR Central Office)
Trainers are often people-orientated, love the interaction with their students and can often be quite animated. In most cases, they work from a manual and are very knowledgeable on the topic, as well as master storytellers. Online training requires a slightly different approach:
- Pre-work is key when attempting online learning.
- There is a shortened training period, because of the intensity of online learning.
- They must steer away from being “on-the-stage” and focus on key deliverables.
- L&D staff need to adopt a coaching role post training.
How do we make employees see the critical importance of learning/upskilling when they are overworked, burnt out, too busy...? (answered by Sanet Meyer, Human Resource Development Manager at SPAR Central Office)
Our company is built on a voluntary trading model and that is how we approach most things. Our learning philosophy is to provide opportunities for growth, and what employees do with it is up to them.
However, we have a responsibility to create a safe environment for learning to take place. If employees are not in the right frame of mind, you cannot push your training agenda. It is important to meet employees where they at. I address “issues” in the organisation as they arise. So, I am fortunate that my training plan is agile.
I am also very mindful of the business needs and accommodating individuals, so we always scatter training, providing different options for staff to attend.
One thing I learned from my brief stint in sales, is to overcome objections upfront…if staff cannot see the benefit in training, forcing them will only antagonise them and create resistance. People make the effort if they believe the intention is good and see the benefit for themselves. It is quite frustrating, and it takes time, but the overall benefit and engagement achieved is worth it.
What options are there other than e-learning to bridge the gap for lower qualification employees? (answered by Colin Carmody, Learning and Development Manager, OD Manager, Facilitator and Coach #ONO)
There are Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) options for learners who can provide evidence of workplace experience. There are several providers offering this as an online submission option with digital assessment or the traditional hard copy and face-to-face assessment.
Where e-learning is not an option, there are also self-study options with printed material where classroom training cannot take place. If this is not an option due to literacy, smaller circles of learning need to be created where transfer and impact is high, but group size low. The days of putting 20+ bums on seats in a classroom are dead or dying for high skill programmes requiring competency tests.
Apprenticeships, as a transfer of skill, will still be a valid qualification route in the future and an area that needs attention. The more we as L&D professionals allow the ‘lack of access’ to be an obstacle to learning, the more we are keeping people behind the learning curve demanded of the fourth industrial revolution.
What are some of the biggest opportunities for L&D in the current environment? (answered by Colin Carmody, Learning and Development Manager, OD Manager, Facilitator and Coach #ONO)
Moving to a far more blended approach to learning that includes self-driven, flexible learning along with measurable difference in the workplace. Self-driven learning can exponentially improve skills and knowledge compared to L&D planned, led and facilitated training. Creating a learning culture in this environment and it will be the L&D professional who will be scrambling to keep up.
Infusing gamification strategies into their learning platforms with AI and chatbot technology is also an exciting area to explore. The companies that can blend their talent profiling into an LMS that automates curriculum delivery with a seamless, digital competency assessment is going to be ahead of the game.
What effective learning strategies can be implemented during these times? (answered by Colin Carmody, Learning and Development Manager, OD Manager, Facilitator and Coach #ONO)
As more generations grow up on social media platforms that encourage instant connection and feedback, but lack real depth, we are in danger of losing our ability to really connect on a human level with empathy and deep thinking.
Any learning strategies that encourage social learning and connecting on an emotional level, will be important. Methodologies that promote Emotional Intelligence and dialogue that encourages respectful pragmatic debate, must be in the forefront of our minds as we navigate the new world we live in online.
While the basics of adult learning still hold true, L&D professionals must provide the space to learn with autonomy, to achieve mastery and must link to a higher sense of purpose.
How can staff continue to grow in their careers under the new normal? (answered by Clelland Kruger, Head of Learning and Development at Metropolitan)
I have seen that many companies are still hiring, so first, COVID-19 does not mean that our lives are on hold. Our lives must (and will) continue, but differently.
Imagine you were in the middle of a soccer game, suddenly and without warning, the game was stopped and now you have to play cricket. That’s what our careers will look like. Some skills will underpin both worlds. To use the metaphor a bit further – both are sports, both require ball coordination and fitness, both require that you play as team, but the rules of the game are different and the skills are different – soccer uses the lower body primarily, but cricket uses more of the upper body.
So, the important question to ask is what are the skills, behaviours, characteristics that are going to be in-demand going forward – and then go out and learn those skills. You can learn through courses, through practice, by being coached or mentored and more. My lesson here is to challenge your thinking from traditional to the ‘new way’ and then make sure that you are ready.
In your view, which medium of online training has the most impact and greatest ROI? (answered by Clelland Kruger, Head of Learning and Development at Metropolitan)
There are many different ways of training online and the important thing is to ensure you match your learner and their needs to the correct platform / tool that you use. My recommendation is always to opt for a blended approach because in that way, you will probably appeal to most audiences at some stage.
What insights can you provide on the impact of pandemic on human behaviour and the actual productivity of the team? (answered by Clelland Kruger, Head of Learning and Development at Metropolitan)
We have seen a sharp increase in productivity of some teams but a decline in others, so it probably goes to the nature of the job and the innate characteristics of the individuals that comprise the team. Imagine how challenging it would be to be in sales right now, so these teams will need a lot of motivation, guidance, coaching and more to remain productive. On the other hand, a team such as my current L&D team are working at full throttle right now and loving the challenge.
The important aspect for me is that you need to keep a finger on the pulse of your teams. Check in on how people are doing often because this pandemic causes emotional waves. Also, allow people to have some sense of balance – support them on a personal level and you will reap the rewards down the line when you need to call on them to put in extra time.
“As human beings, we crave familiarity. It becomes a comfort zone that we seek, and actually we should be doing the exact opposite now. We are in an opportunity, a pause, a time to reflect of what to do moving forward. How do we re-imagine the world ahead of us?” - John Sanei