Employees don't need permission to learn
L&D is moving towards a model of curation but the shift will require both time and attention, says Annette Hill, director of workforce development at Hospiscare
How do you hope the initiatives you introduce through HR will positively impact your employees?
We are moving towards curation. You have to get people to the point where they don’t wait for permission to learn
For me, it’s about enablement. In my current role, we’ve done a lot of work on simplifying the way we do HR. We’ve reduced the number of policies and we’ve made the policies that are left a lot less parent-child. We used to have a lot of things you could and couldn’t do. For example, if you didn’t ring in sick by a certain time the policy stated you’d be treated as AWOL and you’d get a verbal warning automatically. That’s all gone because that’s not a positive way to treat people. It’s about asking whether our HR policies and processes are being run consistently with our values, and today I can say they are – they talk about the behaviours we expect and we relate our policies to that. We demonstrate the values by giving examples and make links to what people do every day. Values are why you work for an organisation, why you do what you do. What motivates you and why you get up in the morning to do it. The level of alignment you feel to those values is vital because if you don’t feel that fit, you’re a round peg in a square hole.
What sort of HR interventions do you feel have had a particularly profound effect?
As an example, we employ a lot of retail staff in our charity shops and we had a very high turnover in that area. We’ve done a lot of work looking at the way we recruit, because people don’t apply for a role in our shops because of the pay – it’s because they believe passionately in what we do. We hold assessment centres now for our retail staff, which we (HR) led and organised initially with our senior area and shop managers. We’ve influenced them into believing in the value of doing that, in order to enable them to make better recruitment decisions rather than basing it on a half-hour interview. Today, they’re at the stage where they can run them themselves and it’s making a huge difference to the type of people we recruit., Tturnover is lower and our reputation is enhanced…
Your background is in learning. How do you think the concept of L&D needs to adapt to the sort of economic and technological changes we are seeing in business?
A lot of training, in the traditional sense, is instructional. It’s about compliance, about how you do things, and in regulated environments that is still a requirement for some things. Possibly a lot of people who come through a traditional route still see it all learning and development that way.
But today, have to think about where people do their learning, and about whether L&D is responsible for producing the learning or for getting the conditions right for the learning to take place. In my current organisation, there has been a very traditional view that learning will take place in a classroom with a PowerPoint presentation. There is a place for formal face-to-face learning, and sometimes that is what you need. But we are moving far more towards curation as a profession – showing people where information is, setting up Slack channels and sharing resources, but fundamentally making people responsible for their own learning.
If people have been used to having things done for them for a long time, that takes a long time to do. You have to get them to the point where they don’t wait for permission to learn, so L&D can think about doing things in a different way.
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