How do you ensure that you’re having those very human-to-human conversations with a global workforce?
So, take the business I'm working in at the moment. We have HR operations representation in every single one of our offices. We have somebody who essentially looks after the HR function in each space, which is helpful because they understand it. And then when I'm writing content, they'll take it out and look at whether it's fit for purpose across their demographic of the business. You have to make a decision on if we put out something that's local, because it's really specific to that population, or global because we need company-wide consistency. That relationship with local HRBPs is essential for me as they’ll give me open and honest feedback on whether something we’re doing will land well in their area, or if we need to go back to the drawing board.
What role do line managers play in this structure, or carrying out HR’s aims?
Across any business, line managers are absolutely fundamental. And it’s a very key set of skills that really, don’t have much to do with the skills of the team they’re managing. It’s incredibly frustrating when you see someone who is a technical expert, get moved into a management role. If you’re great at what you do, why would we move you to a job you may not be good at? We want you to thrive in your role, and be supported by a line manager with a very different technical skillset. And then when you’ve found an individual who may be a great line manager, it’s also frustrating how little development they’re often given. When you find that person, support them with coaching and mentoring! In fact, you should ensure you’re offering all staff the opportunity for coaching and mentoring.
What are other ways, apart from coaching and mentoring, that can fuel skills development?
We’re an extremely successful business, and we’ve seen some huge growth. As a result, we’ve managed to gain some incredibly skilled people. We’ve got people who are really at the top of their fields. So, offering these people training is complex as they’re probably more knowledgeable than most. All we can do is signpost where learning can happen, and make sure everyone in the company is aware that skillsets shift and change, and if they want to keep up with what’s coming, then we’ll support them.
I think everything you do is an amalgamation of experiences that you’ve had previously.
Aaron Reading | Group Talent Development Director, Tripledot Studios
To some extent, our bigger project is working out how to unlock that knowledge and disseminate it within the company. We’re still very much working on that, but we brought in a learning experience platform, rather than a learning management system. We try to make it more collaborative and get people involved in generating their own content as well. It definitely comes back to the point I made around utilising your top people as key coaches and mentors for others. The more we can get people talking and sharing their knowledge, the better.
What have been the crucial moments that formed your perception of your role?
I think everything you do is an amalgamation of experiences that you’ve had previously. I started off in training, working in retail. And I got spotted doing some training in a store, which people seem to like and were enjoying or getting something out of. One of the regional trainers saw that reporting back and then when he moved on to another role, he suggested they speak to me about that role. Then I got into learning design, then started doing broader learning design from there. I've kind of done a bit of everything. I'm willing to try anything. I try not to see things as an obstacle, it's an opportunity to try something, learn something new or get a fresh perspective on things I already know pretty well, because there's always another way you can view the world. And why not explore that and see if there's another way that you can approach your work or support other people.