We used to spend roughly a third of our day at work and it’s crept up to now occupy roughly half of our waking hours. With a working culture that demands 24/7 access to employees who must always be ‘switched on’, the lines between work life and personal life have become increasingly blurred. But what about our wellbeing at work as individuals?

Research shows training and development to be the most desired employee benefit. An analysis of the future of work calls for a clear focus on how to develop people and create a positive, fulfilling culture in which they can thrive.

Our second event in our Future of Work series examines how to do just that. To help us unravel these questions, we invited three authorities in the learning and development arena to share their visions of how businesses can create environments in which everyone can blossom.

“What if learning and development formed part of the culture of your organisation, rather than being a band-aid?”

 — Alana Drew, Junior People Partner at The Marketing Store.

“What if learning and development formed part of the culture of your organisation, rather than being a band-aid?” muses Alana Drew, Junior People Partner at The Marketing Store (TMS). “What if it was part of the business strategy conversation?”

Alana’s approach towards developing people in the workplace is rooted in genuine care for individuals’ wellbeing: “We’re hugely passionate about creating the right conditions to work – conditions that allow people to succeed, to fail, to try something new and to experiment.” The learning and development team want to ensure each person has a unique experience at The Marketing Store so that when employees leave, they ‘leave changed’.

With shifting demographics, new technologies and an increasing need for flexibility, Alana argues there is no such thing as a ‘permanent job’ anymore. Instead, TMS seeks to understand how they can empower their workers during their time with the business

As part of this, Alana has been responsible for developing the ‘TMS Arena’, a learning and development platform that aims to ensure people are stretching their skills and is designed to drive the business forward.

This involves everything from regular ‘Talent Talks’ to assess people issues and talent gaps through to ‘TMS Talks’, which see the business bring in interesting people to give presentations and provide fresh perspectives. Event tickets are given to employees with no questions asked. It’s purely an opportunity to get out and seek inspiration.

Alana also stresses the importance of career conversations rather than ‘performance reviews’. The former aims to foster the idea that it’s a conversation about long-term plans for the individual extending outside the parameters of the business.

Finally, the team are changing their approach to goal-setting by encouraging employees to come up with an ‘OMG’, or ‘One Mammoth Goal’. This goal doesn’t necessarily need to be achieved within the walls of the business. Employees are encouraged to think about what they’re doing today and what will move them towards that goal in five or ten years’ time.

“It’s designed to get our people to push their boundaries, to really be honest with themselves and to have an authentic conversation with themselves about whether this is the right place to be.”

 — Alana Drew, of The Marketing Store.

Also taking a culture-driven approach to development in the workplace is Geraldine Butler-Wright, Vice President of People & Culture at Yoyo Wallet.

“Fulfilled people who love what they do have a direct impact on health, wealth and happiness,” states Geraldine. She argues that love for what you do is contagious and genuine enthusiasm attracts, grows and retains brilliant minds.

As such, company culture is at the heart of Yoyo Wallet. “People are at the centre of everything and our Chief Operating Officer puts people first.” Geraldine argues that this attitude enables them to realise their vision and mission as a business, including the everyday values that govern the office.

“Fulfilled people who love what they do have a direct impact on health, wealth and happiness.”

— Geraldine Butler-Wright, Vice President of People & Culture at Yoyo Wallet

“It’s more than just words,” she believes, highlighting that it’s also about cultivating purposeful energy, communicating often and striving to be innovative. “It’s also being a good human and tidying up after yourself or saying ‘Hi’ to people.”

One example of how Geraldine and the People & Culture team has implemented a more constructive way of looking at performance is through the ‘9 Box Performance Model’, which places you within a developmental growth chart ranging from ‘at risk’ through to ‘consistent star’. Not only do people love not having to fill out forms, Geraldine laughs, but it has enabled the company to have open and honest conversations around growth and development.

The final speaker on the event’s line-up is Rob Nunn, Head of Learning & Development at Grosvenor. Rob outlines the multi-faceted challenges we face in relation to advancing technology, a young new generation and an uncertain environmental climate.

Rob advocates that we face the return of what he describes as the VUCA world: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. The working landscape is more complicated and unpredictable than it’s ever been before.

“Gen Z tends to reach for an iPhone or tablet on average 9 times a day and 45% to 50% of them see financial security as being driven by self-employment, not employment by organisations”

 — Rob Nunn, Head of Learning & Development at Grosvenor

“Gen Z tends to reach for an iPhone or tablet on average 9 times a day and 45% to 50% of them see financial security as being driven by self-employment, not employment by organisations,” Rob points out.

Furthermore, he suggests that purpose and having a positive impact on the world is the biggest driver of why Gen Z choose to work for an organisation. Attempting to manage and meet those expectations will pose a large question for employers of the younger generation.

So what does that mean from a learning perspective? “Organisations need to fail fast, learn, and do something different,” he suggests. “The idea you can plan your way through this environment is a non-starter.”

Instead, he argues, it’s about experimenting and starting again. “Learning as part of the way an organisation works is essential.”

Budgets are smaller than they were five years ago and business challenges are becoming increasingly more difficult. The solution lies in employees’ and organisations’ ability to learn, change and adapt. Organisations will also need to justify their reason to exist – not simply their reason to make money – to new generations of workers.

“Workers need to self-identify and take charge of what skills they need to learn.”

 — Rob Nunn of Grosvenor

When it comes to developing individuals, we need to figure out how to ‘remain relevant’.

“Every year 20% of your skills become irrelevant because of technological developments,” Rob explains from a report he has read. Instead of Learning and Development managers overseeing what skills employees need to learn, the person who does the learning should decide what skills they need in the future and how this will impact on their ability to remain relevant.

“Workers need to self-identify and take charge of what skills they need to learn.” Then, Rob argues, we can create a space where people can bring their learning to the table and share it with everyone in the organisation.

Aside from providing a forum in which to share knowledge, Robs believes the other function of a Learning & Development team is to provide will and motivation.

“We’re there to make a difference to the organisation by helping people succeed in this complex, messy world.”

If you’d like to come along to one of our upcoming Future of Work events, then follow us @WiseAmigo our social channels below or sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know when tickets are available. We look forward to seeing you there!

Alana Drew

Junior People Partner at The Marketing Store. Alana leads on L&D in Europe, launching a new Learning & Development Platform – TMS Arena. From inception, Alana has partnered with the business to create something that is impactful & meaningful for her business.

Geraldine Butler-Wright

VP of People & Culture at Yoyo Wallet, Geraldine curates an exceptional culture to attract, develop and retain brilliant minds. Geraldine increased Yoyo’s team by 50%, developed career pathways, created an employer brand and transformed the performance process.

Robert Nunn

Head of Learning & Development at Grosvenor, Rob has built a solid background in Learning & Development over the past 15 years. Across big corporations from TK Maxx to JLL, Rob managed his own consultancy and since 2013, has headed up the department at Grosvenor.

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