By Kevin Young
Wow, what a stunning event, even if I do say so myself.
As our 2015 EMEA Perspectives event drew to a close recently, I started to reflect on how much we had managed to pack so much into a relatively short day, and why so many amazing learning and development (L&D), HR, talent management and IT teams continue to come in their droves. Here are six of my personal take-aways:
- Changing the rules of the game. As our COO and Co-Founder, Jerry Nine stepped on stage to explain the exciting developments resulting from Skillsoft’s recent acquisition of SumTotal, I realised that our delegates come to Perspectives to stay a step ahead when it comes to industry changes. In this year’s presentation he likened the SumTotal acquisition with Apple’s iTunes/iPhone/iPod strategy a few years back because bringing content and platform together completely changes the rules of the game. Our very own game-changer is a marriage between the best of SumTotal’s portfolio of talent management solutions and content and Skillsoft’s elearning platform. I can’t wait to see the results.
- Major advances in tech. Xavier Sillon, CEO of Skillsoft’s most recent acquisition, Vodeclic dazzled the audience with an overview of its large library of cloud-based video content for digital skills. A purpose-built cloud-based application, Vodeclic heralds a new era. It is founded on five key elements; video tutorials, a learning platform, development and integration, management and analytics all of which is accessible through a cloud-based interface.
- Inspiring customer stories. This year we heard from Lloyds Banking Group who presented a case study on its Line Manager Academy that allows manager to perform their own skills diagnostic against which they can design L&D programmes. Aligned with the Company’s business strategy of ‘simplification’ the HR teams were able to demonstrate such value moving from classroom-based training to elearning that Lloyds’ separate business units were able convince them to centralise L&D funding. Meanwhile, CGI Group presented on its learning programme and shared tips such as using roadshows, considering cultural differences and language requirements and blending learning techniques, tools and modalities. Watch the full story on video here.
- Engaging insights. Humair Ghauri, Senior Vice President, Products and Technology at SumTotal and John Ambrose, Skillsoft’s Senior VP for Strategy and Corporate Development used fascinating examples from businesses such as Tesla, the electric car maker, to explain that HR needs a game-changer. John explained that the webification of learning and talent is coming together to create the self-developing organisation; hyper-personalised development plans that dynamically adapt to each employee’s own journey. Hot on his heels, Kieran King, Skillsoft’s Global VP for Loyalty Strategy shared findings from independent research findings on how talent analytics trump intuition and impacts the credibility of the L&D function. The advice she offered included being aware of confirmation biases, ensuring analytics work underpins your overall HR KPIs, be certain your organisation can act on the outcome of any potential hypotheses you set out to explore, don’t underestimate years “experience” that hold stakeholders back from accepting findings and finally, don’t forget ‘context’ because data alone can’t define the insight. All of this and more can be found in the infographic.
Aligning by metaphor. This year’s keynote speakers were a big hit as usual. Entrepreneur James Caan of TV’s Dragons Den fame made some very insightful points. The salient ones included that talent acquisition should be a constant process and not necessarily event-led, that it’s vital to constantly be training your people if you want your business to be able to adapt and that the structure of remuneration influences behaviour. While psychologist and consultant Karen Maloney shared the “WOW Factor” – using technology to help clever people embrace L&D. Her tips included “touching their sweet spot”, making it as easy and accessible as possible for them, using peers as coaches and using exciting new delivery methods.
- Networking. Knowing how much L&D teams like to learn from each other, we deliberately left plenty of time for networking too. And, judging by the buzz in the room at the end of the day, everyone got plenty of time to talk and exchange tips.
My thanks go to everyone involved and I’m already looking forward to doing it all over again in 2016.
Kevin Young is general manager, EMEA at Skillsoft.