The FK team are back from attending the HR Tech X conference held at the Australian Technology Park on 27th and 28th November. With two conferences running alongside each other (Learning@Work and HR Tech X), they found a wide range of topics up for discussion ranging from bring your own learning (BYOL), the emotional workforce, the learning ecosystem and enabling change.  

Learning@Work Conference

One speaker who stood out for Cristina Herrera (Learning Consultant at Future Knowledge) was Laura Overton (Managing Director of Towards Maturity, a business transformation and learning innovation company) who very ingeniously stated that ‘Learning is like a fit bit’. Here is what Cristina learnt:

Activity tracking is a craze taking the world by storm, whether they choose to run, walk or skip, every step is proudly acknowledged. Like the fit bit, our L&D teams can leverage many of the same motivators born out of this device

  1. Empower users to be better informed by giving access to meaningful data
  2. Encourage accountability for success
  3. Gamify the experience to make it fun
  4. Encourage social collaboration and personal connections so achievements can be shared
  5. Reward, without the need for monetary offers

When people look at the data their fitbit has recorded, they feel more informed. They feel proud of their achievements and it motivates them to keep going.

So why not start recording the information that matters to our employees so they can feel heard and acknowledged and wake up the next day ready to invest more of their efforts into a company that listens?

In this digital and fast paced world, people have learnt to get the information they need to allow themselves to learn. Whether it be reading articles, attending face to face courses, joining workshops or completing moocs via courser, delving into Wikipedia, or any other online or offline knowledge provider.

But do they have a supportive framework such as the fit bit to capture, collate and acknowledge our learning across these modalities?

The short answer - no.

The long answer – most organisations don’t understand the organic nature of learning taking place outside of its walls and the huge benefits that learning can generate, if only they could capture all of this. Knowledge is power.

What does the ideal fit bit-like L&D framework look like?

  • -Be proactive in understanding how staff are doing their jobs
  • -Understand what they value; get to know your employees, their strengths, weaknesses, motivation and desires.
  • -Get to know them demographically; where they live, do they drive, train or walk to work.
  • -Understand the skills they bring to the table
  • -Find an easy way for employees to provide and update this information, technology can play a big role here

By understanding all of this, you can get a grasp of how you can involve them in designing learning and development programs that leverage their skills and feeds their desires.

In summary, the essence of the talk was to be innovative and proactive in looking at the successful frameworks which exists outside of the companies walls and asking yourself how you leverage these to engage your staff in the way they want to be engaged.  It is the duty of L&D professionals to be innovators, not for our companies but for our people. Joggers will keep jogging and our hoppers will keep hopping, but will you be the fit bit of today?


HR Tech X Conference

One topic which hit home for Anthony Bickerstaff (Senior Technology Consultant at Future Knowledge) was ‘The fine line between change enablement and change avoidance’ which Amy Poynton, Global Lead of HR Transformation at Rio Tinto discussed. Anthony shares his story about what he learnt:

You’re in project land, meeting with stakeholders – trying to help them make a decision so that the business can make a change.

You’re told ‘we need more detail about how all the features work together’. So you give more detail and they realise it’s too much and say, ‘this is too much detail we need a high level overview’.  So again, you give them what they want.  Wash, rinse, repeat. But they delay and the decision never gets made.

You think you’re enabling them to make a change, but you’re not – you’re actually helping them avoid the change.

When you meet with your stakeholders to discuss decisions, you may find that no matter what you try it’s hard to get them to make that decision. But why is that? You think you’ve given them what they need – the design choices, the implications, the nuances. Sometimes, they aren’t ready to make a change. Other times they don’t have enough information or maybe even too much.

What IS happening is that they are avoiding the change, and it’s critical to find out why. What you realise is that you’ve been giving them what they want, which means you still need to figure out what they need.

And that right there is the hard part. They keep telling you what they think they ‘need’, yet how can you find out what your stakeholders actually need in order to make a decision?

Try asking: ‘What do you need in order to make a decision right now?’

  • If they know what they need, then great! Find out how to get it for them and move on.
  • If they don’t know what they need, then work with them to find out what their criteria are for deciding – and hold them to it.

You may find that they need the advice from another stakeholder, or that their business requirements are not clear on the decision they are trying to make.

If you’re smart, try finding out what your stakeholders need to make decisions early on in a project and make sure to remind them of this. This way you can save time when it comes to decision making.

So next time you’re in project land, and your stakeholders can’t seem to make a decision, try to figure out what they need in order to make a decision. This can help you move from change avoidance, to change enablement.