How to Maximize the Value of L&D in a Fast-Paced Environment – highlights from our podcast interview with Amie Kelson Walmart Ecommerce
L&D Professionals need to follow the example set by YouTube. . . not the video component, but the mindset.
L&D functions should stop acting as owners of the learning within the organization. This is too slow for today’s fast-paced ever-changing environment. Instead, L&D Professionals need a mindset of enabling learning by stewarding a learning culture and, like Youtube, bringing the owners of the content directly to the audience.
In our most recent episode of The Hive Podcast, we had the opportunity to chat with Amie about the manner in which L&D Professionals work with large organizations to promote learning effectively in step with the fast pace of change.
The Role of L&D is Creating a Culture of Learning
Walmart needed to have a change of mindset about L&D. Not just the company as a whole about also within the L&D team.
In a fast-paced environment, you have to position L&D’s function as enabling learning rather than owning learning.
Some L&D professionals feel really uncomfortable with that because it can create confusion for them over what their role is and what it means for them.
Amie says that in today’s environment the learning professional should do two things:
- Meet the organization where they’re at and look for ways to clear the path for learning; focus on creating and stewarding a learning culture.
- Cut out the middle man.
Shift from being the purveyor and creator of formal training that has to be tracked.
Instead, get subject matters experts to share their knowledge directly with users.
4 Steps to Keep Up with the Pace of Change
There are 4 steps Amie recommends to keep up with evolving learning needs within the organization:
- Have a critical eye to what needs to be created in a traditional learning process.
Determine what has to be created in house.
- Outsource everything else.
Though on one level, outsourcing might be more expensive, it’s much cheaper on other levels because an outsourcing agency can quickly scale and move faster.
So find a great partner that you can outsource to and take advantage of the scalability of that.
- Bucket changes so that you can tell a more holistic story.
Create a space for change in people’s minds. Otherwise, it feels like everything is bombarding them.
- Have an entrepreneurial spirit.
Think about the things that you produce as products. You are trying to beat the market, so you need to get out a minimally viable product as fast as possible.
How to Engage The Business in the Creation and Promotion of Learning
One thing Walmart did to answer this question was to create a rotation-hybrid role. A people manager that was on the cusp of promotion.
There were 4 major benefits to creating this role
- It gave the manager additional skills in facilitation discussion coaching in the moment plus visibility to senior level leaders within the organization.
- It gave the training team a liaison between the L&D function and the business.
- It provided the business with a promotion pipeline that could begin to see talent and promote through the origination.
- It provided new hires with somebody to train them who had deep organizational experience in that role.
An Innovative Approach to the L&D to SME Interaction
One innovation that Amie has tried recently within Walmart eCommerce was to restructure the interaction between her team and the subject matter experts.
The goal of her approach is to facilitate the enabling of content and learning to come out of the organization.
Amie thinks about her team of graphic artist, content developer, analytics person, and communications specialist as encircling and enabling the SME.
And by sending them to surround the SME instead of taking a more traditional approach, Amie is able to develop training much faster.
Be Agile as an Entrepreneur.
The most important takeaway Amie recommends to L&D professionals is changing the mindset to one that’s like an Entrepreneur.
Thinking like what you’re offering is a product and that if you don’t launch it, someone else will and you’ll miss your window.
This thinking frees you up to go with a minimal viable product and not get stuck in a perfection first mentality.
In a fast-paced environment, you need to be agile.
Check out The HIVE: Perspectives on Innovation in Talent Development podcast series to listen to any of our other guests.