How Continuous Upskilling Will Define Your Organization’s Future & What to Do About It

In today's dynamic business environment, prioritizing ongoing learning and development for your employees is critical for staying competitive and agile as an organization. But HR and L&D leaders often encounter significant hurdles in fostering a culture of learning at every level of the organization.

That’s why we’re going to address these challenges head-on and empower you with the essential tools to drive organizational growth through upskilling initiatives.

In this webinar, you will learn how to:

  • Align learning objectives with overarching business objectives
  • Implement effective strategies to cultivate enthusiasm and engagement in learning
  • Build a continuous learning culture at every level of your organization


Watch now to start taking concrete steps towards fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation within your organization!

Rea Rotholz: Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar.

My name is Rea Rotholz, and I'm very excited to be joined by Heather and Shana to discuss how continuous upskilling will define your organization's future and what to do about it. It's great to have you all here. A few quick housekeeping things. I know the first question we always get is, will this be recorded?

It's not a webinar if we don't get at least three people asking us that. So, getting ahead of it. This will be recorded. You will get it. Your colleagues who signed up for the webinar will also get it. You can share it. Spread the love. We are excited that people want the recording. We also have the live transcript enabled, so you, that helps you to understand what we're saying.

That's perfect. You can use that. And we want to hear your questions. Today is really a casual conversation about continuous upskilling. So if something is top of mind for you, or if you even have a comment or perspective on what we're sharing, go ahead and chat it in. If you have a specific Q& A go ahead and put it in the Q& A box so that we don't miss it, but we encourage you as a community of HR folks to leverage the chat to share with each other as well.

So let's get started. Who are we? We'll start with some introductions. My name is Rea Rotholz, I lead the learning solutions team at Hone been with home for about two and a half years and prior to that I led learning and development at dow jones parent company the wall street journal. So i've been on the in house L&D side and i've been on the consulting L&D side so excited to share Some thoughts with you today and I am joined by two wonderful women.

I will pass it to shana to introduce herself next 

Shana Storey: Hi, everyone. I'm Shana Storey. I'm senior director of learning at Progyny. I've been at Progyny just shy of a year. Prior to that, I took a little bit of a break and went back to started an MBA. So it was really fun to go back to school and kind of dish out what I talk about all day about continuous learning.

But before that, I was leading global talent at a consulting firm, but on the internal side, I have had external facing roles. So like Ria, I've spent some time inside and outside both client facing and talking about employees.

Heather, I'll pass it over to you. 

Heather Blue: Thanks. Yeah. I'm so glad to join these wonderful ladies today and thank you all for joining and attending. I'm honored to speak alongside these wonderful women and talented women. And I have been at 360 learning as the head of knowledge and learning for two years now.

I started as the knowledge manager. And if you're not familiar, knowledge management and learning and development really go hand in hand. Knowledge is created through learning, so there are two peas in a pod. And so that's where L& D became a core part of what I do. And I'm based out of Denver, Colorado, if I didn't mention that already.

So we're enjoying a cooler week this week in the 80s. But yes, I'm really excited to join and engage in this conversation about learning. 

Rea Rotholz: Thanks, Heather. I'm heading to Denver in two weeks, so we have to chat about that. And Shana, you want to tell everyone where you're from? 

Shana Storey: Yeah, I live in New York City, so this is home for me, and I noticed Dani's Q& A pop up.

Progyny is a benefits company primarily focused in women's health benefits. We started off in the reproductive and fertility space, but we've expanded our products to include preconception, post conception, as Well, as menopause. And so it's really awesome to work for such a powerful company.

We've been recognized in times top 100 this year. We've seen some really amazing things, but it's also be really is near and dear to my heart. Fertility journey impacts us all, whether we have Children or we don't, we all have bodies that have to function. And it's really amazing to be part of a company that is working in women's health and doing some progressive things around benefits care.

Rea Rotholz: Love that. And so true. It's such a powerful thing to be part of, Shana. Would love to also share a little bit about Hone. So Hone is the live skills development platform. We have the world's largest breadth of live learning offerings. We specialize in Power skills, so also known as soft skills, leadership development skills, anything that helps individuals work better with other individuals, which we have to do every day.

We have a platform that powers all of our learning opportunities so that it's really scalable. And we have a wonderful team. Shout out to my teammates. I see you here. Of learning strategists who partner with our customers to really understand the skills needed and design learning journeys to help support.

So that's a little bit about hone. And then I know we want a little intro Heather to 360 learning as well. 

Heather Blue: Yes, absolutely. So 360 learning is the AI powered end to end learning platform for collaborative learning. Our platform allows you to leverage your internal experts to share their knowledge, and it also has off the shelf content to fill any knowledge gaps you might have or skill gaps.

You can create a course in minutes using AI along the way. So content creation for your L& D and HR teams actually can be something you enjoy rather than an endeavor that ends up occupying your mind for months. And it means you can deliver the trainings a lot faster and get results a lot quicker. And your learners get to enjoy the learning process too, since it's a collaborative platform where they can engage with their peers.

So in short, we empower L& D teams to drive business impacts by pinpointing skill gaps, capturing knowledge from experts, and delivering it to learners when they need it most. with learning insights and analytics to help you measure success as you go. 

Rea Rotholz: Awesome, Heather. Thank you. So now that you know a little bit about Progyny hone and 360 learning, let's get into today's topic, which is continuous So I really liked this question.

What the heck is continuous learning and a culture of continuous learning? I feel like we hear it as a buzzword often in the L& D space. We all want a culture of continuous learning. But we thought it'd be helpful to actually define what we mean by that. And if you have your own definition, feel free to put it in the chat.

But when I think of culture, I think of the way things get done. In your organization. So when we think about a culture of continuous learning, the question is, how does learning get done at your organization? Is it a compliancy? Check the box thing, or is it something that's truly embedded into the day to day workflow of your individual contributors, managers, and senior leaders.

So we put the definition here for you, an environment that values, encourages, and promotes the ongoing education and skill development for all employees, pushing those individuals, teams, and organizations to continuously improve. If the individuals in your organization are continuously improving, then your organization itself, which is made up of the individuals, will continuously improve.

And we have some key elements on the right hand side. So, Relevant learning opportunities that address real needs, ongoing, meaning it's not just a one and done or episodic learning experience. It's integrated into everyday work practices. There's leadership support and role modeling. Your C suite actually cares about continuous learning.

And there's recognition, celebration, and acknowledgement that learning is a priority at the organization. Now, why do we care about this, Heather? Please share. Please share! 

Heather Blue: Yes, absolutely. So the importance of continuous learning really cannot be understated in today's day and age, especially the age of AI where you blink and there's something new that you have to catch up on.

But learning is also personally important at a human level, which in turn helps drive organizational success. So here are some really interesting statistics for all of you data driven folks out there. Seven in 10 people say that learning improves their sense of connection to their organization. As LinkedIn found 76 percent of employees say that they're more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training.

So it helps with retention and turnover rates. 56 percent of companies with formalized education initiatives report improved employee retention compared to just 21 percent of companies with ad hoc education efforts. So it makes a difference. The intentionality behind your trainings. And continuous learning organizations are 46 percent more likely to be first to market, 30 percent more productive, and 92 percent more likely to innovate, which is huge, and it's Deloitte found.

Continuous learning is all about proactive training and upskilling. This means that organizations that prioritize continuous learning culture and strategy have a major advantage in today's market, in which a vast majority, 87%, of organizations currently face critical skill gaps. And that was from McKinsey and Company.

So there's a lot of different reasons that you should care about continuous learning. 

Rea Rotholz: Some heavy hitting stats there. Take that for your business. Your business reasoning behind why you need a new L& D program, why you need continuous learning. But let's take a moment and have a we are all in this together moment.

We have found some of the common challenges. So we're going to talk a little bit about the benefits in driving that continuous learning, and we put them on this slide. We're also going to do a poll. So we would love to hear from you. What are the most common challenges that your organization is facing as you try to develop a culture of continuous learning?

So we'll launch the poll now. There's definitions of what we mean on the slide, and we would love to hear from you, and you can check as many as you want. You're facing all of these, feel free, go wild. And we have an other option, so if there's an additional challenge that you're facing, put it in the chat, we want to hear it, because I bet other folks experience that too.

So we'll give you a few moments. What do we think, Shana, Heather, what's gonna be number one? You 

Heather Blue: know, I feel like lack of time, competing priorities, bandwidth it's always a struggle. That's where my vote's at. We'll 

Shana Storey: And I'm gonna place my money on the same comment Danny had in chat. I think we're gonna see a lot of multi votes across the board.

Rea Rotholz: All right, we'll see who's right in this case. None of them are overly positive. So, okay. Interesting. Lack of time and competing priorities came up as the number one pick. I always say to our clients that we're not necessarily competing with other learning vendors. We're competing with. eyeballs because people want to be doing their actual work and not learning, right?

So it's a fight for calendar space. There's always priorities that pop up work wise, so I'm not surprised to see that. And then kind of a four way tie with the next group, which is interesting, engagement, resistance to change, difficulty measuring impact. We'll talk a bit about that. Limited resources.

Okay. Other. Let's check the chat. Lack of leadership buy in, training as a band aid, variable learning styles, lack of budget. Yeah, this is something that we are all facing. We know that it's important to drive continuous learning cultures in our organization and we have amazing statistics that support that, but the reality is when it comes to actually doing it, it's not that easy.

So that's what we're here to talk about today. We have some amazing stories and experiences from Shana and Heather. And so with that, We'll hop into kind of our first question. And again, we want to hear your questions. So please put them in the Q& A box so we can get to them. So the first question is around business goals.

So we know that learning objectives need to ladder up to the overall business priorities in order to drive the business forward and not just be kind of a check the box thing. So I'm curious, what's steps, Shana, for you first. What steps can an L& D team take to make sure that their L& D strategy is laddering up to those business goals?

Shana Storey: I really think it's about not just understanding the business goals, but also understanding the strategy behind the business goals and then the metrics that support whether or not the goal is going to be achieved or not achieved. And I think when an L& D team really starts to understand the details behind those things, they start to be able to attach how they're programming, not their objectives of their programming, but the, their programming and their strategy about how they approach their goals.

Approach problem solving. They can kind of latch on to or partner with the business on a lot. I think on a deeper level. I think what starts to happen is. Learning never becomes a priority unless senior leadership says it's a priority. So people aren't going to make time unless leaders say part of what part of our goals this year is driving learning or incorporating a culture of growth.

And so until senior leaders really. Kind of put that stake in the ground. I think manager managers struggle to create space for their teams to grow and experiment. And so partnering where you can with the senior leaders to help them understand how learning can make or break an organization using statistics, sharing some really strong things from industry, like McKinsey and Deloitte, where we did today, I think starts to help build the case that learning becomes part of a culture and also can either Support that strategy or not support that strategy, and I think it's really important when we look at the things that are on the strategic docket for the year, whether those are systems changes or cultural changes or leadership changes.

How does how can learning help make the change easier on employees? And in turn, how can help learning help make the change easier on managers? And so kind of. Building that strategy on a, on an annual basis, but also longer term basis of what those business needs are, I think is like the table stakes for all L& D leaders.

Rea Rotholz: think there's almost a misconception in the corporate world that learning is in addition or separate from the work getting done, right? Like one of the things you mentioned that I think is really spot on is you need leadership support. Otherwise managers don't feel permission to prioritize the learning because it feels separate.

From what their goals are or the work they need to be doing. Do you find That's kind of how I interpreted what you were saying. Yeah, I definitely do. I think 

Shana Storey: if you can't connect like the strategic L and D initiatives to the strategic business goals, learning stays as a transactional activity that employees do.

And that's why I think we get stuck with terms like training. I'm going to manage your training. I'm going to job training and. It's not that training is a bad word, but I think most of us as L& D professionals kind of always are like, No, we do more than train people. We really develop people. We help people grow their career at this company and help become better leaders.

But if The activity stays as an activity, and it stays separated from the job, and people don't start thinking about having a learning and growth mindset, it will always stay as an added activity that people have to create space for, not that it's integrated into their day to day. 

Rea Rotholz: I love that reframe from training and activity to career growth, leadership development, you know, the kind of even the words that we use can make a big difference if you're having to sort of sell the concept to a leadership team.

It seems like which you've had experience doing clearly. Heather, is there any other additional thoughts you'd like to add? 

Heather Blue: Yes, absolutely. I think you hit the nail on the head, Sheena, but I will say, too, whenever we can weave in learning initiatives into the everyday workflow, we're bound to experience more success.

There's the 70 20 10 concept, where 70 percent of what an employee learns is in their job, 20 percent is more social interaction, and only that 10 percent is considered the formal training. Don't underestimate it. It's a significant amount. But the more that you can weave it in the more success you're going to have.

So that's not another item on a to do list to check off. Making sure you have, make sure you have the right tools is a really big part of that as well. And making sure you don't have too many tools. Context fatigue, context switching fatigue is something that can't be understated if you're having to jump between a bunch of different systems.

because they have a narrow scope of what they can do. It's really important to take a look at how you're delivering your learning solutions and making sure that it's in the most appropriate format possible. 

Shana Storey: I want to add Heather, when you said something about that learning happens on the job, I think also helping employees and managers understand that part of what they do day to day when they're solving problems at work is learning.

And I think that People as a whole forget how much they learning they do day in and day out without recognizing it as learning. And so building these for managers to support and reflect on lessons learned from projects or growth, like growth plans or the changes an employee has in behavior across the year and highlighting that as part of that learning journey for someone also really helps reinforce it.

And I think that piece of the conversation gets left out a lot. 

Rea Rotholz: Right. When we say learning, do we mean formal classroom learning or do we mean the constant continuous improvement that we are making personally or in our teams through stretch assignments, through our manager delegating certain work to us, through trying something new?

I think that's really interesting. Learning is not just the formal learning, although that can play a big role in it. Yeah. Yeah, I love some of what people are putting in the chat too. Danny, connecting it to talent cycles. If you are a company that's large enough to have sort of a talent management philosophy and you do talent reviews, succession planning, etc.

It becomes really paramount that the individuals that are seen as successors in an organization, are going to be ready when the time comes for them to be that successor, right? And so learning is a really big part of preparing. And often you have to be prepared way sooner, right? And far enough in advance so that you actually have the skills by the time you need to go do whatever that job might be.

So I think that's, that makes a lot of sense. So one of the other things that came up, I think it was 40 ish percent in the poll was this idea of resistance to change. So I feel like I hear when we talk about formal learning or even like a new talent initiative, right? We're always launching new things, right?

In the HR space, we're always launching a new system, a new initiative, a new program, whatever it might be to meet the needs of the business. But then we face this kind of change fatigue and this idea of, oh man, it's another thing. And I think it was 40 percent or so said that's part of the barriers to creating this continuous learning culture.

I'm curious, Heather, and then Shana would love to hear from you too, What are some ways that we can overcome that kind of barrier to change or resistance to change? 

Heather Blue: Yes, absolutely. I've ran into that issue myself. If you're in L& D, you're bound to run into it. I think it's impossible not to at a certain point.

There's always going to be some people who are really eager and excited to adopt, you know, the initiatives you're rolling out and some who are happy with the way things are and they know everything they need to know. So change management is really such an important topic to L& D and HR professionals because typically when we're asking someone to learn something, we're also asking them to change something about what they're doing, whether it's a behavior, a habit, or something else.

And there's definitely ways that you can ease those feelings of upheaval that change can bring about. With proper change management methodologies, I'm not going to get too into the weeds there because theory can only get you so far, but application is where it's important. So, first, trying to identify where is a hesitancy originating from ideally before you even launch a learning initiative.

If you can anticipate what obstacles are going to come your way, you'll have a much easier time navigating them should they arise. So when I joined 360, I was tasked with a lot of knowledge management work. And one of that was implementing a new knowledge management system and also the way we interact with organizational knowledge, which is a lot of change because it was pretty different from the way things the way people were already doing things.

So I had to be very conscientious about planning this project, speaking and meeting with stakeholders to see, you know, all of the special requirements that they have so we can meet them where they're at, generating that buy in, and then helping the changes come to fruition. I would also say that one of the best ways to energize folks who are hesitant to change.

Is by motivating those around them. So as I already mentioned, you're going to have your people who are excited and you're going to have people who are hesitant. It's just human nature as at a certain point. 1 thing that you can capitalize on, though, is those who are excited about it. So help them be your learning and knowledge champions to help kind of lead the charge on these different projects and initiatives and word of mouth will get out and other people want to will want to participate in whatever initiative it is you have going on.

That's how I conducted this knowledge management project at 360. I created a formal knowledge champions group, and they were people who were super excited about the system, adopting it. And before you know it, the people who are most resistant and nervous about the change were on board with it too, because they saw their peers getting into it.

So I definitely say to leverage the people who you work with inside your team and outside. Of the team as well. I 

Shana Storey: think that the 2 things I want to add is 1, the adoption curve. I think most of us are familiar with the example of the adoption curve, where you see 1 person dancing on a hill at a party or a festival and then they're by themselves and then another person and then another person and then a critical mass happens.

And that's like, at the peak of adoption, I think we underestimate the. The amount of knowledge and consideration we need to give for people who are in the laggards group. There are a barometer of whether or not this initiative can be fully successful. They can provide us feedback early off. And so understanding it in your business where the initiatives attached to who those people who are most resistant to change.

And then learning why they're most resistant to change inviting them to the table, inviting them to participate in some of the development cycle, the focus groups because you don't necessarily have to always worry about your early adopters. They're always going to be your early adopters. I think we need to pay more attention to those people who are most resistant and get them involved.

And invite them to share why they might be most resistant sooner. And I think that helps us as L& D professionals to really think about how we craft a program or the programmatic strategy, the change strategy, because if we're, we have to bring those people along. We don't want to force them. We don't want to make it a carrot and stick.

We certainly want them to be part of the change. And so finding ways for them to be part of that change champion group finding ways for them to be at the table. I have found in places where I've seen like large system changes back at health first, a few couple jobs ago for me bringing those people who are slow and resistant were very powerful as we move towards large system changes.

The second is, I encourage you, like, I, I don't like to launch a learning initiative unless it's attached to a strategic objective because I know I'm not, if I don't have senior leader support on something, I know it's going to hit a roadblock, and I'm going to it's going to get cut, or it's going to be an uphill battle to get people to adopt it, but if I have a strong senior C suite or SVP level who is a champion for the program I know that I'm going to have someone who's going to be speaking about it positively when I'm not in the room, and that's going to encourage their team to be involved.

And so those are the two things I like to think about when I'm building out a change initiative or a new learning initiative that I want people to adopt to, but I don't know if it's going to be something that's right for the company right now. 

Rea Rotholz: I love that. So we have Leveraging your kind of first movers and early adopters while also being conscious of the laggards and sort of bringing them along the journey so that they don't feel like they're being told to do something they've been part of the process.

And then Shana couldn't agree more. You have to have senior stakeholder support. At the end of the day, L& D tends to be HR y like any other HR thing. It's seen as, you know, oh, it's HR. 

Shana Storey: Yeah, and that's like if I want to know if I, the judgment I give myself is are people saying what I did is H. R. E. or is it critical to the business?

I want to hear them say, this matters to the business. And so for me, that's like a personal barometer that I use for whether or not either myself or my team or my department's initiatives are successful. 

Rea Rotholz: Well, and I love how in the first question you brought up, it needs to tie to business strategy and there needs to be metrics.

Yeah. Associated with that. How do we know if this learning program was successful? And how do we know that it's driving this business priority, right? So, you have to prove it to I do just want to comment. We got a question from guy that I think, Shana, you answered really well, which was how do you deal with stakeholders that won't engage in the conversation?

They just want to give directives. You know, what I heard from you, Shana, was Bring them along. Ask them why they're resistant. You know, make them part of the experience instead of telling them that they have to do something and then they're going to tell their direct reports they have to do something.

Anything else either of you would add to that? 

Shana Storey: I will add a book recommendation. It's an older book. It's called Trusted Advisor. My last company used it. Quite a bit. But if you're in a consulting world and I like to think what we do internally at companies is help companies get better. L& D people.

That's what we want to do. We want to help people get better. Companies get better. We want to see performance changes. And we have to do a lot of consultative conversations. And I think as an L& D leader, even internal, building up your ability to be a trusted partner and a trusted advisor even though you get directed.

Guidance. I'm going to call it directive guidance. But understanding what is the levers that person cares about starts to be able to crack the nut a little bit. 

Heather Blue: I was going to add to I think it's really helpful if you can present those who are resistant and hesitant to change, especially if they're, you know, a people leader.

What is the issue that you're fixing here? What are the numbers? You know, if you can present, hey, engagement is low here, your turnover number is high here, and here's how we can combat it with these learning initiatives. I think they'll be more open to that conversation, but. It does take some work for sure.

Rea Rotholz: Absolutely. I think I want to, we had a question here and this was another one of the barriers to continuous improvement around measures of success, right? And how do we, as L and D practitioners measure the progress of our programs or even not a formal learning opportunity? You know, we made the point earlier that not all learning that happens in an organization is.

formal classroom instructor led learning, right? Learning happens all the time. So some of the measures of L& D, whether it's formal or not formal is really important to understand. I love Shana with the way you put it, as it ladders up to the business priorities. Oftentimes, you know, at home, I hear, look, we have an engagement survey.

We ask questions once a year or, you know, every six months and things like manager effectiveness. are really important. Well, if I'm going to launch a formal, let's say, management development program, whether that includes job shadowing, training, or whatever it might be, I would certainly want to see the participants in that program Have better score at the end of the year, right?

Like that is an important metric to the business. If I'm doing a program for it, then it should be an important metric for the business, right? That I can then report up. That's a very common example that we see. We also see commonly the need for measuring the behavior change that actually happened as a result of formal learning.

So if you're going to launch a. Classroom learning opportunity. If you're going to make that investment, which is often a significant investment of both money, budget and people's time, right? You want to be really clear about the skills that you're addressing and you want to be able to say, Hey, look, we move the needle on those specific skills that we addressed in this classroom learning opportunity.

So one of the things just quickly that we do at home is we have an impact survey. So we ask learners about a month after their formal learning, you know, what do you see as different in your day to day? How are you better or worse, frankly, at these skills? And then we have their direct reports or their colleagues corroborate that.

Right? So it's not just my self reflection, which arguably can be a little biased, right? But we're also asking other people, what have you observed about this learner as a result of this program? And I think that paints a really nice picture as to the behavior change that's happened. I'm curious, Shana or Heather, how you've, in your experience, measured L& D initiatives, whether formal learning or informal learning.

Would love some examples. 

Heather Blue: Heather, do you have one first? Yeah, absolutely. I'd be happy to. So on our platform, the 360 learning platform, we can see people who've gone through the course, how much time they've spent in it where their scores are at with different questions. So measuring success comes directly from our platform.

I track it in a spreadsheet for different things. For instance, we just had a manager training recently launched and we want to make sure that coaches are completing it. Coaches is what we call managers at 360. And we want to make sure they're genuinely completing it, not just, you know, clicking through to check the button, but actually spending the time they need in those courses to absorb the material.

So, I can report on those numbers and see the the time it's taking as well as we have upward performance reviews as well as bi weekly poll surveys that all employees participate in. So this is where we're actually going to see the outcome of these trainings reflect. We want to see that people report their managers are more empathetic, they're more conscientious of DE& I related topics.

That's how we're measuring success, but it first starts in making sure that The user is actually completing their training. And I do that through the 360 platform. 

Shana Storey: I love the fact that you've culturally normalized pulse surveys. So many organizations are so resistant to survey fatigue.

And I think that where organizations have normalized taking like a weekly or bi weekly pulse, it starts to become It doesn't feel like fatigue because it's just a task you do as part of your day, and it gets integrated. And I think there's so much power because you get instant feedback on initiatives.

You get such a strong data story that supports learning and change and communication programs that you don't normally get on like an annual measurement. We currently my current company doesn't we do an engagement survey. We do all the standard stuff, but we don't have a pulse survey. I've never had the privilege of being in a company that's done that.

So I'm very envious there. But what we do have at my current company, but previous companies I've been with has been performance data. And so we may not be able to measure manager impact or impact on manager training. What we can really look at Employees interactions within a care management system or back in the day at JetBlue, a number of transactions processed in a certain hour, a number of flight incidents on flight or reports on a flight.

And I always, whenever I think about measurement, I always think about my experience when I worked at JetBlue. One of our departments in JetBlue University was solely focused on measurement and performance impact on incredibly talented and wonderful professionals whose expertise was in. An employee impacts and heavy data workers.

They were just phenomenal to work with. But early in my career, they helped me shape how I would in the future. Future me would be doing post programmatic data. And so really looking at the level threes and level fours where I see myself. and helping my team build survey components or build measurement monitoring post program change or post program completion number of calls per hour number of customer complaints have these things changed after the program, and if they have changed for the better, we can start to tell a story if we've changed the worst, we got to look at what's going on, is there something beyond the knowledge aspect of the job That's broken.

Is there something that's happening within the job itself? And so, really awesome group of people who helped me shape my thoughts about measuring. Yes, I care if people join my programs, complete my programs. I care if they've learned something and retained that knowledge and they've implemented it.

But I really care about the overall impact of seeing 300, 400, 2000 people going through a program and what that can do for a company. And so really thinking even before we design a program in those initial partnership conversations, what data is available for us to build our story around. 

Rea Rotholz: Again, you're starting with the data.

So you know how you're going to measure if it's successful or not. I'm so jealous of having a data team. 

Shana Storey: I am too. They were amazing. But many of us work at companies that have, you know, Data available. They have teams. You have analysts. You gotta get to know them. We don't have a L and D team that's focused solely on performance impact, but we have a call center environment.

Our call center operations team has data. How do we and our leaders have conversations? So Manuel, who happened to join the call today, how does she connect with that call center operations to see where performance changes happen and if the programs we've rolled out have impacted it? Even you can start to tell a story.

If we've done a ton of manager training, what happens to employee data? What happens to employee performance? If we've done all these initiatives for managers, we want employees to have a better experience. We hope to see that in the data too. So it's trying to identify where you have data in the organization, even if you don't own it and how you can build your story with it.

Rea Rotholz: Absolutely. And I love that you don't have to, it doesn't just have to be survey data. Right. I feel like often we get kind of pigeonholed in like. We're just going to do a survey, or we're going to do a pre post, or whatever that might be, and it's like, no, what are the outcomes of the training? Yeah, 

Shana Storey: I mean, I like when my programs have pre posts.

Of course, you need that too. You need it to tell part of your story, but I, as a leader being able to connect it to the broader, I think it becomes more critical. 

Rea Rotholz: Well, and you can share explicitly how it has impacted some of the business or as 

Shana Storey: close as possible because learning isn't the only thing and learning is never going to be the only driver to make change happen, but it can be part of the positive story on why change happened.

Rea Rotholz: Absolutely. So I do want to get to additional topic here that is usually top of mind. I know we get asked this a lot, which is around how do you generate sort of awareness and enthusiasm For continuous learning at an organization. So whether it's a new program or whether it's taking advantage of opportunities that currently exist, I hear often we have an employee stipend.

Employees can go spend a thousand dollars however they want. And only 10 percent of employees are using that. Right. So how do we generate enthusiasm for these opportunities? Would love to hear Some of your thoughts and then in the chat to, you know, if you are responsible or you have good examples, I've heard some creative things like we'd love to hear your examples to but China, maybe you could share a story or an anecdote on that.

Shana Storey: Yeah, I'm actually excited to see what folks put in chat because I think we're all struggling with the competition and it's not a competition, but sometimes it feels like it is that people just that they want to go to the program and then work gets so busy. They can't go. And so they have to change which program they're in.

And it is disappointing for us because we put our. This is our work. And so we feel very sad when people don't want to engage with it, or it falls short of what we thought it would. And so, every company is different. And what works at one company does not work at another. And I've unfortunately encountered that across my career.

I'm like, this worked great elsewhere. I'm going to try it here. And it just didn't go anywhere. But I think right now, Some things that we've been trying out that do feel like they're working is celebrating learning and so not awarding learning per se, but celebrating where and we just changed how we celebrate learning.

So we're looking at completion and engagement within programs and then reaching out to the manager to tell the manager of that person. Hey, this person's done these programs on these platforms. We see that they have a really high engagement before we celebrate. them and award them. Can you tell us how this is getting implemented on the job?

These are the three courses. These are the kind of three themes of courses we see them taking. And we've been able to have a much deeper conversation with our manager about that change of behavior. So actually today is the first day we're going to do that. We're going to celebrate. These three individuals from quarter two who both who all did learning, but also had impact on their job that was related.

So perform project management in one area, another area was I think customer engagement in another area was a leadership development skills. So we were able to gain stories from their leader. And then we're going to share it on our company town hall today to celebrate how their learning has made impact.

So we're not going to celebrate. Attendance, we're not going to celebrate getting it done. We're going to celebrate doing something with it. And hopefully this will build into to a larger. We celebrate all types of growth and professional development and talent development, not just those things that are kind of in and out coming out of an LMS.

And we've done that a little bit with our managers. So we're celebrating at the managerial level. So, manager up about where we see those types of impacts. And more about where they're dedicating time to carve for their teams to do development work. and seeing their teams make impact. So we're really excited.

I think that's it's a new lever that we're playing with this quarter. There's a lot of excitement about it. And so I hope that kind of continues as part of our part of our way to have fun, but also kind of drive some engagement. 

Rea Rotholz: You're really humanizing it. You're moving from this is a company initiative to these are individuals who are experiencing a transformation in some way.

Shana Storey: Yeah, 

Rea Rotholz: that's a beautiful way to put it. Yeah, I mean it's a beautiful thing because at the end of the day when we get back to how we define culture. Right, and we're talking about a culture of continuous learning. Right. The culture is made up of how individuals at a company are working together, right?

It all comes back to the individual. When you think about learning, the company doesn't change. The company doesn't grow without the individuals within it learning and growing. So I love that is celebrating the individual. Heather, did you have any other ideas or examples? 

Heather Blue: Yes. No, it's actually ironic because Shana, I don't want to get ahead, but it's very similar to a question coming up about upskilling related success.

But I think when it comes to getting engagement, in addition to giving positive feedback, it's so important. It's really important to make sure you're delivering things that people want. You know, and will benefit from them that in and of itself is a big one. So asking your team, where are your knowledge gaps?

Where can we close that? And how can we help you learn what you want to learn is really going to naturally and organically help drive engagement. Because you're not just delivering something that's top down, you're listening to their needs conducting formal needs analysis, if need be, and then delivering on that.

Rea Rotholz: And if you ask the people who are going to be your laggards, or your resistors, then you can address their, you know, reason as to why they're not going to be as engaged up front. I love what Steven put in the chat, three things. Finding out what works and duplicating that. Shana you mentioned, you know, you've tried something that worked at another organization and it doesn't work because every company has a unique culture.

Shana Storey: And every department within a company, even though you're the same company, there's sometimes a unique difference between the folks who are engaging on a clinical side versus someone who's doing technical work in the tech team. What's going to work for one group is not going to work for the other group.

Rea Rotholz: Absolutely. Love that. Thank you, Steven. If anyone else has any ideas, feel free to continue to chat in. So Heather, you're excited about our next question, which is around how do you maintain momentum? And sort of continuously engage oftentimes, especially if it's a formal, you know, management program or something like that.

There's a lot of excitement in the beginning and then you kind of work gets in the way and it doesn't feel as much of a priority and you might see drop off. I'm sure many of you have experienced that. So you have to kind of combat that. Would love to hear Heather, what your thoughts are there. 

Heather Blue: Yes, absolutely.

As I mentioned, Shana, it's going to sound a little bit familiar cause I'm on the same page with you. Feedback is really important here, but 360 learning, our tagline is upscaling from within. So we are very passionate about this topic naturally. And if you already have an upscaling program, you're ahead of the curve.

So first celebrate that big achievement. And then secondly, you do want to make sure it doesn't lose steam and fizzle out as time goes on. And one of the best ways to do that, as Shane has already touched on, it's keeping the news. So any upskilling achievements that have occurred, share and highlight those success stories with the rest of the group.

It's not only a testament to the program success itself, but it's a great way to recognize someone for their hard work and achievements that went up, that went into upskilling because it's tough. And it creates more positive energy around this L and D program, which just generally will ripple out to other people.

We at 360 just had multiple folks in our engineering department upskill and become tech leads. So this is very relevant and reminds me that I need to congratulate them formally and publicly, you know, after this call but doing that, I had met with. The head of engineering to discuss what kind of training would be suited for this.

It's a new role. And they were all very enthusiastic and very committed to the process. So that deserves praise. Learning on the job, as I've already mentioned is one of the best ways to learn, if you can integrate learning programs into everyday workflows. Whenever possible, then you should shout it from the rooftops because that's something to be proud of as an LOD team.

It's easier said than done. And also, who does not love positive feedback? Speaking of feedback, another way to keep the momentum going on your different programs is to make sure you're getting feedback on it. Always ask people who are currently in the program, people who completed it, touch in with them and see what were the strengths, what went well what could be improved upon.

Always gather that feedback. Don't let them leave without getting that from them. And then you can improve the program to make it more accessible for people who follow in their footsteps. 

Shana Storey: And I love that because I love actually letting my learners know that have attended and provided feedback that we've shaped the next offering because of something they've told us.

And I love when teams do that, it just feels good, but it also feels good when you're able to tell someone that they've helped someone else's experience be even better. That 

Rea Rotholz: goes for any sort of feedback, right? Or if you're surveying, getting back to folks, understanding how that feedback has been implemented.

I totally agree. And I love just the tagline, keep the news in the news. Celebrate those successes. If a program's going, it's still going like keep it top of mind. There are so many ways now at companies to communicate messages, whether it's your internet and all hands a slack, a celebration channel of whatever There's so many opportunities to keep the news in the news if it's important, which it is.

We did get a couple of Q& A. I want to make sure we get to since I'm doing a little time check. So Tactical question, how do you do 360 surveys if you're a small company where it would be clear Who's responding? Great question. I know at home We allow you to nominate colleagues, not just direct reports, and so you have to have at least three colleagues take the survey in order to see the results.

So that's how we anonymize it especially if you only have a couple direct reports, then you wouldn't be able to see your results. I don't know if you all do something different, Heather, or if you do surveys like that. 

Heather Blue: We do have the same threshold of three for the anonymity piece. If you're in a small company in anonymity is important here.

I think too, there's avenues that the L and D and HR teams can take where it's not being shared directly with the manager. It's going to HR first to identify if there are any issues that they otherwise wouldn't vocalize. And then the HR L and D person can use their discretion on how they you know, move forward with that information.

Otherwise we're big on transparency. We try to make sure we have a safe environment in 360 so that people can express feedback, critical or otherwise. So I think finding that balance, it can be tricky in a small company, but there's definitely ways to do so. 

Rea Rotholz: Thanks, Heather. We got another question from Alyssa.

How long after taking courses, so we're talking about formal learning, upskilling opportunities, do you check in with managers to see how the employee has applied the learning? I don't know, Shana, if you have any thoughts? 

Shana Storey: Yeah, I think I do. Right now we're in a s I'm in a small company, so I don't have a ton of people in programs.

I can I give calls the next day, like, Hey, this person went through the program, blah, blah, blah. I think they did a really great job, just wanted to check in with you. Like, and I don't deliberately do it, like, day after, like, I'm tattling. It's more of a, I ran into the hallway, just wanted to let you know they went through this.

And then typically I like to measure at like a 30, 60, 90 day mark. Sometimes in a program, depending on what it is, I might do something two weeks post event. Because I'm watching some types of data. That comes in. I want their manager to be aware of the data changes. But that's usually on a much larger change initiative, but in a standard program, I like a 30, 60, 90, and then maybe a six month check.

It depends on what's going on, but a six month check, especially if it's something critical. 

Rea Rotholz: I think it's, I agree. I think it depends on exactly what it is. I know at Hone, We like to survey at the 30 day mark because it's soon enough after the program that the program is still kind of top of mind. We have found when we've done 90 days, people don't always like remember exactly the program or the direct reports don't necessarily remember that their manager went through the program to attribute that.

So if we really want it attributed to the program, we've found that the 30 day mark is helpful. But then, of course, we want lasting behavior change. We're developing a culture of continuous learning. And so embedding that, I don't know if you do this, Shana, but in your poll surveys, too, can be interesting.

So it's not like a formal learning survey is separate from sort of the continuing thing you might do. We are 

Shana Storey: currently, formal learning surveys are separate. Our formal learning surveys are not anonymous. I'm trying to normalize that sometimes feedback needs to have your name attached to it so we can make it actionable which is meeting resistance in pockets and in other pockets.

It's gone great because we've been able to get to the bottom of some challenges. But in employee engagement survey, anonymity is really important. And so. The way we combat it as much like Ria mentioned is gets filtered through the HR team. So it gets filtered through someone who's in a much more HR VP role dedicated to this type of look.

Previously, it was filtered through our VP of HR and our CHRO. So it gets So people can have that feel of protection. And again, we use a threshold number of employees and I've never been in a company that didn't have a threshold. If in some companies I've seen it at the eight, if you don't have eight people in your team respond, if you don't have a team larger of eight, you will be grouped together with someone in your umbrella and you'll report up.

You'll see the full department data, but you won't see your eights data. Just to keep the anonymity really high.

Rea Rotholz: Thank you. And that addresses one of our questions we got in the Q& A. I see how you did that. 

Shana Storey: Looped 

Rea Rotholz: it in. Yeah. Okay. We have time check. We have about three minutes left. Would love, instead of adding new thoughts, to kind of revisit some of our key takeaways from today. So I'm wondering, Heather and Shana, if you could share, and then I'll share too, what stood out to you the most during today's conversation, or what's a key takeaway you'd love our participants to walk away with?

And whoever feels strongly can go first. 

Heather Blue: Honestly, I, this has been great. I'm really appreciative for everyone who's joined and chimed in. The questions have been awesome. I really keep coming back to the point of making learning as approachable as possible to the individual who's taking it and tailoring it to meet their needs, whatever that may be.

Maybe someone's better with this kind of delivery format or that delivery format. Really working in to workflows that it doesn't feel like a chore is easier said than done, but I think that's a big takeaway here is. Trying to make learning as approachable and easy to adopt as possible. 

Shana Storey: And I'm going to, I guess I have 2 is 1 really make sure that when you're rolling out new initiatives that you have a key senior leader as a sponsor.

I think it really helps ease some of the change barrier and 2 is include all your people in your focus groups and during your needs analysis, making sure you get just as many. Slower adopters as you do as your people who you know are going to be enthusiastic. It really helps start to balance the program out and you start to build into different considerations and different modality considerations you might not have.

I think having the opportunity to learn different perspectives always adds to creativity because you have a new way to solve a problem. You have some new insight. takeaways for today. 

Rea Rotholz: Love that. And mine to add on Shana, it's something you said, which was understand what your metrics are before you even launch the program.

So that you know what success looks like, you know, if you hit that mark or not. And as part of having that senior leader buy in, you know that it's laddering up to a business priority and you're going to be able to actually prove that. So I love that idea. It's definitely harder to do than just saying it.

And I recognize that, but doing the upfront efforts to make sure that you're aligned and make sure you have those success metrics can only make. The success sweeter. So, I loved that. I know we have 30 seconds and we have some Exciting next steps for you all. So hopefully you have your takeaways yourself that you'll be able to go apply back in your L& D roles.

And if you want to hear more from me and some other amazing partners Gusto and Gable, we have another webinar coming up. So please sign up strategies for driving employee engagement during times of uncertainty, which this most certainly is. So I have two other amazing partners for that webinar.

And then Heather, if you want to share your L& D Collective. 

Heather Blue: I'd love to see you all join the L& D Collective. It's a Slack space with over 4, 000 people in it. L& D professionals, HR professionals. There's a bunch of different channels. The AI one, personally, one of my favorites to keep up with. All the news there but I'm probably going to be asking a question, you know, just later today asking all these L& D professionals, hey who are the best manager trainers that, you know, who've come in and taught for your group?

So it's a great resource to lean on. Definitely join the L& D collective. You can just scan the barcode right there or just Google L& D collective. It'll be the first link right there. 

Rea Rotholz: Thank you. Huge thank you to Shana and Heather for being here today with us. And even bigger, thank you for all of you joining, taking an hour out of your busy days to come hopefully learn something new and participate with us.

So with that, I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your day and we will see you next time. Thank you all. 

Heather Blue: Thanks all. Thank you.

Meet The speakers

Shana Storey, Senior Director of Learning & Development at Progyny

Shana Storey

Senior Director of Learning & Development at Progyny
Progyny logo
Heather Blue, Head of Knowledge & Learning at 360Learning

Heather Blue

Head of Knowledge & Learning at 360Learning
360Learning logo

Rea Rotholz

Senior Director of Learning Solutions at Hone

☀️ School may be out for summer — but L&D never stops!