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Dynamics Matters Podcast Ep 48: The impact of a learning culture on business success
With special guest Rebecca Fox, Head of Learning and Development, HSO.
✔ Why a learning culture is important
✔ The importance of soft skills as well as technical skills
✔ How you go about creating a learning culture
Welcome everyone to episode 48 of the HSO Dynamics matters podcast.
Your regular sonic dive into the world of Microsoft technology related matters and much more besides.
I’m your host Michael Lonnon, and for this episode I caught up with HSOs Head of Learning and Development, Rebecca Fox, in between hazlenut and syrup laced cappacinos for a natter about why having a focused approach to learning and development is a win win for both organisation and workers.
I wouldn’t trust her with a lift but I would certainly trust her when it comes to her views on how to build, encourage, and enable a culture of excellence and highly capable people.
So, grab a brew, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
University or University of life?
University of life.
You can teach skills can’t you?
You can teach skills; I think what it does is it gives you the skills but it’s like passing your driving test. So, you can operate the car, which is great but actually, it’s not until you have the other drivers on the road, and you have the experience of driving, and people running out in front of you and all of those things. That’s what gives you proper experience and then gives you resilience to deal with different situations.
From a business point of view, why is it important to have a learning culture or development of skills culture?
It’s important to have a learning culture in order for people to stay in an organisation. People need to feel valued, engaged and feel like they’re able to progress in their career. I think at HSO, we offer both technical skills as well as soft skills for employees and that helps them succeed in their career development, and the appropriate tools and skills to do their job effectively gained by having all of those different training sessions. I think more and more organisations are starting to realise that by investing in learning and development, and other things, it’s basically a win win situation. Organisationally we’ve got the best people to do the job, then people feel invested in, they feel engaged and valued as individuals and HSO puts L&D at the heart of what we do, because we realise that our key differentiator, because you’ve got lots of other Microsoft partners, is our people, and we’re a people business. People are kept within our organisation because they feel invested in and then they can realise their potential within their career and then we also have the best people in the market that makes us world class in what we do.
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That’s important isn’t that people feel invested in and people feel valued. There’s a lot to be said about that and in keeping people happy feeling like they’re progressing, in a career point of view.
Yes, it is. I think lots of it isn’t just technical field skills, it’s also soft skills as well, because you can have all of the technical skills in the world but if you can’t actually run a good demonstration, or you can’t do a good presentation, you can’t relay the information then it’s all pointless. You need to focus on both the different things, not just one.
How do you go about creating one then? So, for any organisation out there that wants to invest in its people, wants to help them develop and progress, who wants to attract new people, because I guess that’s part of this as well. How do you go about creating that kind of environment and that culture?
Creating the environment needs to come from each area of business. That starts from the top so you need good sponsorship within the leadership team because the problem is, without that sponsorship, you can’t drive through changes throughout any organisation or your own. Once you’ve got that sponsorship, this then filters down through all the team leads and onto every individual within the organisation. A culture isn’t about running a few training courses, once a month, and having expensive entertainment, if you don’t do anything good with it. You’ve got to have a good roadmap; you’ve got to have a good strategy for every single individual to follow and I think the roadmap should be relevant for any challenges that you come up against. The organisation needs to give people time and that’s very important. They need to have the time to learn new functionality, but also learn new skills. What we’ve done previously that has helped with those things is have dedicated training afternoons where people select different types of sessions. We also have mini master classes, where you can sit in on a subject matter expert on the business. We give people time so we do it at lunch, but we also record it so you can log in and listen to it later. The other exciting thing that we’re doing is organising a training conference. And the training conference is going to be held in May and each person is going to get two full days of training, on soft skills, on technical skills, and wellbeing sessions as well, because that’s also incredibly important. So, we’re giving people the time to upskill themselves.
You’re giving people at HSO two days, they’re investing in two full days for everybody to go and do these things!? What cost of business that is but what a positive message.
It really is a positive thing, because it’s showing people that we really care about doing these things. A lot of it is about people feeling valued in the organisation, like I said before, it’s a win win thing. We invest in people which makes them want to stay with us, but also makes us have top quality people, which I think is important. Also, what we do is we upskill existing people within the organisation, but we also upskill new talent. So more recently, we’ve been doing apprenticeship programmes, and we have a data analytics apprenticeship programme, we also are going to be running a support apprenticeship programme and we’ve got the graduate programme as well, where we spend time investing in new graduates that come straight from university.
That also solves one of the biggest challenges we’re facing, and lots of organisations are facing, and that is finding new talent. It’s very hard to go out into the market, and go outside of the pool, in our example, existing partners and therefore existing people working in there. By having this training culture, and talking about apprenticeship programmes, graduate programmes, development programmes you’re nurturing the skill that’s already in your business to fill positions that you would otherwise externally fill.
We call it a war on talent. And at the moment across all the Microsoft partners there’s war on talent. How we going to address that is through learning. What we’re also doing in addition to new people coming into the business as in like new apprenticeships, new graduate programmes, we’re also taking people from industry and upskilling them. Our apprenticeship manager, he’s spending a lot of time creating end user training so these individuals that have come from working within that environment but didn’t have necessarily the D365 skills to actually for example, be a consultant. At the moment, what he’s doing is bringing lots of different people in from a manufacturing industry, giving them all the skills, they need to be really good consultants, which I think is another exciting thing and a different, diverse way of dealing with the problems with resourcing. A learning culture is beneficial for everybody, and it gives people opportunity, which I think is exciting as well.
People who work in your organisation want to feel as though their careers are developing. That they are learning new skills to help them grow, and that you are helping them achieve their professional aims.
And so being able to offer training and development that covers the core areas of their role as well as other soft skills will delight them.
They will feel appreciated, enabled, and empowered and will serve your organisation and customers better as a result.
And as they pick up new skills they’re able to do more, to take on more responsibility, and deliver positive outcomes. It’s a win for you, a win for your customers, and win for your people.
Thanks for listening, take care of yourselves.
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