L&D Digest

L&D goes digital, fostering curiosity culture and learning when one wants or needs it. This is the L&D Digest for September 2020.

L&D Digest is your monthly rundown of the most important L&D news from European and global Learning and Development sources.

The digitalisation of L&D strategies is at the center of the learning and development news in September. HR leaders in France are positive that blended and fully online learning will remain a key learning approach in their organization post-COVID, but in many places switching to online learning is still a huge challenge. That’s why we gathered simple tips on how to approach it, what is the way to help employees learn when they want or need and create a curiosity-centric atmosphere in your organization. Also in the L&D Digest for September 2020: the key points of succession planning, how to prevent turnover among young workers and what are the dangers coming against the innovative culture of Netflix.

71% of French HR leaders think blended and entirely digital learning will remain the center of L&D in their organization

A study described by the French portal Focus RH about the essential post-COVID competencies in the workplace reveals new attitudes towards blended learning employee development.

Digital learning has become a standard during and after (if we can speak of an after) the pandemic. 90% of HR reps who participated in the study said the learning strategy in their organization had to be entirely changed because of the crisis. And it changed for good. Meanwhile 71% consider blended and entirely digital learning will remain the main upskilling channel in their organization. 

On top of that, the interest in SPOCs is also increasing and completion rates on these courses are the highest.

According to the study soft skill training courses comprised 16% of all learning courses in 2016, while in 2020 they were at 31%.  Jean-Marie Ferrand, Learning Lead at a 2000+ technology firm, supports the view that the trend to polish hard skills is in reverse and it’s the soft skills that are en vogue. “Learning how to learn, educating oneself in the digital age, learning how to do research – these are the courses employees needconcludes Ferrand.   

Focus your L&D efforts on digital learning 

The article of HR Exchange further reinforces the claim that digital learning is now reigning and here to stay. But how to introduce it in a company with little online learning experience?  

Michelle Strasburger, the Co-Founder of HR Rebooted who took part in the full and swift transition to digital learning in Emerson Ecologics, the provider of vitamins and supplements, gives the following advice:

  • Start small to allow for experimentation
  • Examine the viability of your current tools
  • Involve the necessary stakeholders to ensure buy-in and addressing pain points
  • Focus on the long term
  • Seek out peer advice from the HR and IT communities
  • Diversify technology options to ensure interaction and drive engagement.

Another interesting point Strasburger makes is that to drive any learning strategy, it is vital to find the pain within the organization and solve that through training. Once L&D professionals get creative in the new normal, they can drive direct their innovations at a pain point and this way make L&D a key priority within the organization.

Discover how to swiftly switch to digital learning.

See how it works

Match the moments when learners want or need to learn 

The Association for Talent Development published an outline of the Owens-Kadakia Learning Cluster Design that is meant to help design training in a fashion where the specific topic is provided to an employee within a longer timeframe. It could attract employee’s attention to the courses not by giving them piles of training material they access rarely, but by creating one that they would want or need to access daily or weekly. As such, it does not disrupt, but aligns with the work rhythm of an employee and can benefit the further business impact.

You need 5 phases to design, release and measure a cluster:

  1. Change on the job behavior
  2. Learn learner-to-learn differences
  3. Upgrade existing assets
  4. (Core) Surround learners with meaningful learning assets
  5. Track transformation of everyone’s results

As the authors put it: “For a learning cluster to be effective, the related learning assets are designed as a set and managed so that learners can find them when, where, and how the employee needs to learn.”

Fostering curiosity fosters engagement

Last month, HR morning examined the relation between employee engagement and employee curiosity. The article advises how to provide the right environment for curiosity:

    • Be transparent about the reality – according to a study from Pew Research Center, 85% of people want to know if the situation is bad, so it’s necessary to allow for honest communication.
    • Find the time for the employees to connect with others, learn and reflect – there is no room for curiosity during endless meetings or when replying to emails.
    • GOLD – a framework for (short) conversations with employees. Its first step is to ignite reflection on what they were trying to do (the Goal), what they accomplished (the Outcome), what they learned from that – which boosts curiosity (Learn) and what they would do differently (Do) – which reinforces accountability.
    • Empower the customer helpers with curiosity toolset – these are the people in your organization with different positions who are always there to answer questions. To prevent them from burning out easily, try reframing their mindset so that they approach selling as a way of resolving a problem of the customer.  Give them the techniques to always spark curiosity and encourage brainstorming.
    • Digital training provides space for effective learning to people who are shy or anxious in public. This is one of the ways to give them a safe space to cultivate curiosity.
    • Enable others to act. Equipped with curiosity and trust, teams across the organization can experiment, try new ways of working and learning and give constructive feedback.

Tips on how to retain young talent

As a part of their Talent Coach series, The Spanish Entrepreneur published tips from Ángeles Muñoz on how to retain very young workers:

  1. Create the organizational plan that supports remote work and mobility 
  2. Give them the opportunity to develop their career by supporting work-life balance
  3. Encourage extracurricular activities such as special projects that will motivate them to achieve more goals at work
  4. Promote their integration with the older generation in the workplace

The cornerstones of effective succession planning 

To attract and retain the right high potential employees is a long-term process, where it’s easy to lose track. Holding on to anchor points can be helpful not to lose sight of the horizon. That’s why we introduce you to the 4 key steps of effective succession planning according to HRM Recruitment CEO, Michael O’Leary:

  1. Identify your critical positions

The step consists of planning for the unexpected in a way that personal circumstances of the employee will not endanger the key roles in your company.

  1. Set a competency framework

Prepare a different one for every position and skill set. The personalised development programmes according to the skill gaps of a high potential employee should strengthen their position. Review the framework regularly for adequacy and the high potential worker learning performance.

  1. Engage high potential employee in action learning

Test your leadership candidate in different situations, such as programme leadership. Provide them with a mentor or coach during this time. 

  1. Make this board level

Observe improvement and provide the board with outcomes. Support and oversight from the top are key to successfully grow leaders.

Always retain top talents. See how HCM Deck can help you with an effective succession planning.

Learn more

Netflix’s culture of innovation in danger

The Economist published an analysis of threats coming in a way of Reed Hastings’ innovative organizational culture. Taking vacation as long as you would like (and it does not interfere with Netflix’s interest), reading sensitive information, making huge deals without sign-off from top players. The danger comes from three places:

  1. With the streaming service’s growing size it may be impossible to maintain flat structure and transparent communication. 
  2. Sectoral girth. The flat structure turns out to be a problem, when the organization is becoming so huge and the majority of tasks need to be operational. As a former Netflix producer cited by the Economist put it: “sometimes you need a production assistant to assist, not commission scripts”.

  3.  Expansion into new industries. To stay competitive, Netflix might need to follow its competitors’ way – Disney has theme parks, Apple and Amazon are primarily powerful technological companies. Netflix may not remain in the game if it focuses on production, distribution and streaming.

Bonus: Inclusion. Although Netflix added inclusion as one of company values in 2016 and it has incorporated an Inclusion Strategy team, even Mr. Hastings himself admits there is a conflict between diversity and meritocratic ideals.

Listen to The Economist talk with Reed Hastings.


What do you think the future of Netflix’s culture will be? Will you use the Owens-Kadakia Learning Cluster Design when designing training? Do you have feedback or suggestions for the next L&D Digest or about L&D Digest for September 2020? Drop us an email!

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