Creating Employee Accountability for Learning & Development
Working Links created opportunities externally, manifesting a new approach to learning and development internally.
Working Links' Challenge:
An innovative, future-thinking organization determined to empower its employees and leadership to continue development and learning is more than just ensuring growth for the business. It’s also about making sure that staff, team members and support coordinators are well-equipped to manage the contracts that Working Links was quickly winning, across the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia. A well-developed and educated team is a key component to long-term, sustainable success - Working Links is a case in point of that very ideology.
An organization built around making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, globally, Working Links provides integrated services to help match people with varying needs to jobs, overcome barriers, and provides guidance and support for long term success. A few years ago when Working Links was awarded a contract as direct provider for probation services in three large geographical areas in the UK, this increased not only the breadth of services and geographic coverage but it also increased the Working Links staff from 450 to 1500 staff overnight. This required some strategic restructuring to ensure cohesive alignment across the organization to make sure that every single employee felt like they were part of the Working Links family - one organization instead of its own operating arm within a larger organization. The goal was to create a unified mode of operating, learning, growing and succeeding.
As part of that initiative, there was an evaluation to discover what the team felt about learning and development - what were the existing gaps in training needs, what would they have liked for future needs in development, which external resources would need to be brought in to support future initiatives. As part of the discovery phase, one of the key learnings was that about 85% of the legacy trainings were classroom-based. With the new geographically dispersed teams, there would be significant overhead costs associated with continued support of the classroom trainings. This presented an opportunity for the Learning and Talent Team team at Working Links to introduce a more blended approach to learning - one that would incorporate a lot more e-learning: “more learner engagement, target learner-specific skills development and move away from death by Powerpoint way of training,” says Emma Williams, Training and Development Logistic Manager for Working Links. “Our legacy training system didn’t have the capability to support the level of e-learning that we wanted to introduce. As we learned more about Bridge, the team was really excited that we would be able to offer many ways of learning.
Working Links’ Approach
“Bridge offered us a much more simple, easy-to-use option to create content for our team. Not only was it an easier approach to authoring content but it also allowed us to import SCORM packages from other providers, with whom we already had existing contracts. This seamless content strategy really helped us expedite and multiply the library of learning resources to meet growing business needs,” says Williams. Additionally, working with the management of the different teams, Williams and the Learning and Talent Team designed job-specific pathways based on which roles needed to be developed to accelerate the business. The Learning and Talent Team created targeted learning programs mapped to the job title, description and expectations that included virtual classroom sessions and e-learning courses based on legislation and core competencies for that role. This provided guidelines for the roles but also for managers, it provided an outline for their bi-annual reviews. Traditionally, the Learning and Talent Team needed to run reports on which courses the team member had taken in order for managers to know but not, they had access to all that information at their fingertips.
Another key component that was required of their learning system was to ensure that members of the Probation and Justice team, who often were on the road, geo-dispersed and had minimal affinity for technology-dependant solutions were equally as empowered to engage in learning pathways offered to the rest of the organization.
How Working Links Measures Success
Building simple, streamlined user guidance - With a fair amount of learners who had limited technical scope, it was up to Williams and the Learning and Talent Team to find ways to engage these users in role-specific pathways. The Learning and Talent Team designed programs to help them easily assimilate first to the technology. Once that barrier was overcome, then the next step was to create familiarity with the content, steps and requirements - as governed by the requirements of the government contract. Surprisingly, although these users were initially driven to engage with the system because of compliance-based requirements, once they started to interact with Bridge, they quickly started to find value, prompting requests for finding content, courses and other materials that would help provide value to their learning pathways.
- Average of 68% completion of required courses over the past two years
- Learners took an average of 527 courses in optional learning courses over the past two years
- 440% increase in user adoption over 24 months
Standardization of foundational programs - Induction programs have been created in “short, snappy” videos and other formats that help engagement with learners. “We need to make it easier for people to find content. We can't make it a battle for people to find information, otherwise they won't want to use the platform, much less engage with it in the way we want them to. Also, the speed with which we are able to respond to training needs are much faster than before, as we are able to author, review, edit and publish courses within a matter of hours.”
- 80% completion rate for required courses, trending a 13% increase over the past 24 months
- 851 combined course launches over the past 24 months, an average of 121 courses launched per month
Self-directed learning and knowledge base - By creating learning paths for their employees in Bridge, the Learning and Talent Team helps employees choose the path they want to drive their career. “We’ve had to really think about better ways to present information and courses. For example, if the course used to take a full-day of in-person attendance we’ve now had to think about different ways. The staff has now started to refer to Bridge as My Learning. They are taking it upon themselves to go and find content and courses that helps them in their role, whereas before they would have either abandoned the effort or waited for one of us to help them. Now they go into My Learning and find the answers on their own.”
- Increase of 1000%+ in creation of required course material by training team, since January 2016
- 32% increase in learner interest in engaging in optional learning opportunities
- Average of 450 users that engage with Bridge over the past 2 years - that includes registering, completing, certifying, authoring and engaging with courses (required and optional)
To learn more about how Working Links is preparing today’s global learning and development champions to respond with technology-first, impactful blended learning with Bridge Learn, contact us at [email protected] or +44 (0)800 098 8889.
In Working Links’ Words
- “The response from Bridge Community has been great. Bridge and Instructure truly believes that the people that use the technology have the best answers and suggestions to how the solution should work. So they take the feedback and really use it to make Bridge better. I have either seen suggestions I’ve made implemented or being discussed or are in the queue for development.”
—Emma Williams, Training and Development Logistic Manager