Learning’s New Deal: The Social Compact Between Employer and Employee
About This Episode
Today, there is a new social compact emerging between employer and employee. Continual learning and skilling is something employers must be able to provide employees, and making the most of those opportunities is something employees must deliver back to employers. Both parties must hold up their end of the bargain. And, when they do, there are positive, measurable outcomes for all involved. In this first episode of The Edge Season 3, we glean insights from both the employer and the employee perspective, as we welcome a passionate learning leader and a prolific — and prodigious — learner. Host Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek sits down with Black Knight's Rich Baker, Enterprise LMS Administrator, and Matthew Noto, Manager for Cybersecurity and White Hat to discuss how they have created this social compact and culture of learning across their organization.
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Michelle BB 00:00:07 The views expressed by guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Skillsoft.
Michelle BB 00:00:13 Welcome to the edge, a Skillsoft podcast, designed to help people and their organizations grow together through true transformative learning experiences. And today I am so extremely proud to kick off our third season. I can't believe it. It has been an incredible ride and I wanna thank you for being a part of it. If you're new to us. Welcome. And for those of you who've been listening for a while. You'll recall that we began this podcast almoast two years ago at a time of great upheaval and uncertainty. And since then it's been our mission. And frankly, our privilege here at Skillsoft to help our customers and our community lean into learning. Learning has proven to be an invaluable way to cope with the unexpected successfully weather disruption, and to create new ways to thrive. In fact, learning has helped organizations around the globe meet challenges, ranging from business continuity for a suddenly remote workforce to assuring compliance best practices during a pandemic from upskilling and reskilling, to keep pace with digital transformation, to building meaningful and impactful diversity equity and inclusion programs.
Michelle BB00:01:21 And something very exciting has emerged across industries and around the globe. Employees are seeking more and new kinds of value from their work and employers are involving to meet those new expectations. The traditional relationship is transforming and there is a new social compact between organizations, their people, and it centers around growth growth has become a critical lever of the new employee value proposition, employees crave personal growth and fulfillment employers, crave business growth and performance. And that that makes learning a win win proposition. Research has show own that employees, especially now after two years of mass disruption and individual soul searching want more than just a paycheck. In fact, they are 50% more likely to leave a job for another. If they feel they'll have more opportunity for growth and development, then a financial raise. And that's one reason learning is so important because it enables employees to unleash their own potential.
Michelle BB00:02:27 Meanwhile, employers are challenged by skills gaps, a war for talent and the great resignation. They are redefining their obligations to employees and more and more are providing continuous learning journeys. They're finding that learning drives employee engagement improves employee retention ensures a competitive workforce. Then as employees make the most of those opportunities, they deliver enormous value back to employers. So you can see how this benefits all, when both parties hold up, their ends of the bargain, there are positive, measurable outcomes for everyone. And so on today's episode, I'm going to introduce you to one of our valued customers. Black night, an organization that has taken that social compact I've described very much to heart. They understand that talking about learning or expecting employees to seek out opportunities on their own isn't enough. Instead they tirelessly build value, rich learning opportunities for their entire workforce and virtually all of their employees just as tirelessly consume learning content and put it into action.
Michelle BB00:03:34 Black Knight is a premier provider of software, data and analytics supporting the mortgage and home equity, low life cycle. And even prior to the COVID 19 pandemic technology in the mortgage industry was rapidly advancing as lenders and servicers continue to face an increasingly complex and regulated industry. They rely on black night to help them address challenges and navigate an ever changing landscape. Having deep, not of products and services that can help lenders and servicers solve industry issues is mission critical for black night and its employees black night relies on a data driven learning and development program and this program and covers skills gaps in real time empowers employees to become experts in critical fields and fosters learning culture of growth and innovation across the organization. And employees have so many learning opportunities to choose from including black night university, a proprietary program built around course topics related to the industry and products as well as professional growth.
Michelle BB00:04:36 They have a robust new hire journey, custom online training programs, leader of programs, town halls, and more than a hundred virtual hands on labs where employees can build skills and test for technical certifications. Investing in the development of its people has been a remarkable success for this company. And I'm gonna let my guests today fill you in on some of the incredible metrics. And speaking of my guests, I'm thrilled to welcome rich baker and Matthew Notto two of black Knight's leaders, and they're both earners too. Rich is the enterprise LMS administrator. He manages and implements Skillsoft's platform for all employees with custom channels specific to every job role at black night. Notto is one of the thousands of learners at black Knight, and he's a manager of cybersecurity and white hat. And he describes himself as an ethical hacker. I am sure we will learn more. And as you can imagine with solutions supporting the majority of the us mortgage and home equity market, staying a step ahead of hackers is mission critical for, with this company and for Matthew personally, gentlemen, welcome. And thank you for joining me on the edge.
Rich 00:05:49 Happy to be here.
Matthew 00:05:51 Yeah. Very happy to be here. Thanks for having us.
Michelle BB00:05:52 Oh, we're gonna have a great session. I'm really excited. And look, let's dive right in rich. I wanna start with you. Um, can you, I, I wanna talk a little bit about your journey because frankly, one of the reasons that we're here today, even talking to you and black Knight is because you have been so inspiring to us as an enterprise law running leader. So I'd love to know more about your journey, how you became so passionate and why learning and growth is so critical to black night's success as an organization.
Rich00:06:29 Absolutely. I was really fortunate to begin my learning career 20 years, some odd years ago, <laugh>, um, creating e-learning and providing training programs at scale. When I worked for AOL in its early days, um, working with learning in any technology industry is gonna create a mindset of constant improvement and learning, uh, just to keep pace with your peers. And I think that's even more important now since every industry is a technology company or a technology in industry mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, I've been really fortunate to do something I love and have leaders and mentors that champion the work I do. I will say I'm usually happiest when I'm sitting behind a screen, uh, either making or curating content. Uh, one of my previous managers really guided and reinforced to me, uh, to be more vocal about what I do. I am very much an introvert. Um, but I know I am. I'm fortunate that the leadership at black Knight understands the importance of continuous learning for every employee and that they actively support our learning initiatives and provide opportunities for every single employee to grow and learn whether that's something to help with their daily work or something they atti aspire to achieve. And that I get to support them in those journeys.
Michelle BB00:07:45 So you said something that I really love, every employee has access. Every employee, um, has opportunity. And I think, and, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, but some of this has to do with, with what you've created with black Knight university. And one of the things that I found so impressive is even though the organization is investing so heavily in employee learning, really the bulk of the learning is voluntary. You have employees who are embracing and engage with this. So how do you, um, I guess ensure that this investment that black Knight is making is delivering for the organization, but then also, how are you motivating this amazing workforce to do what they do to engage and embrace the idea of a learning journey? There must be some secret sauce here that you can share
Rich00:08:39 There. I think there are is, and I think some of it's simple and is available to every company out there just to utilize the tools they have. Um, I will say our C-suite is very involved with many of our programs, whether that's BKU our leadership or emerging leader programs, even our intern learning community and the programs we put together for new employees and new managers. Um, many of our, uh, our Csuite executives really, uh, ensure that their employees set aside time for learning, uh, that it's built into their goals, that there is a percentage of time, um, for that's allocated for learning. And, uh, even our Knight's values, our company values the very first one, the K in Knights is knowledge. Uh mm-hmm <affirmative> so it it's emphasized for the, from the top. It is part of, of our culture from that perspective. Um, but they also set the example, our, uh, sets the example on the importance of L importance of learning and, uh, giving employees the permission to grow and explore as for a lot of our specific programs and, and really all of our programs.
Rich00:09:48 We actually feature them on Percipio. Sometimes it's just a link to the external source, uh, but it helps helps when you have a million and a half page views on the LMS. And, uh, that 91% of our employees voluntarily consume learning content. And the rest have exposure since compliance training is also hosted on Percipio. Uh, so they're gonna see the banner ads that we're gonna use to promote content, even if they're not necessarily direct accessing that content there. So it gives us a single location that we can direct our employees to discover content. And we also will work with anyone who asks to build a custom journey for their team or a specialty group. Uh, it's a lot of work to get to that point. Um, one of the more subtle ways that we started building the culture several years ago, uh, was we provided the executives with the report and, and it was more of a dashboard, uh, that showed the percentage of their managers and the percentage of their employees that were participating in learning.
Rich00:10:49 And we compared that to every other business unit. So it was a really subtle competition, but also sparked a issues, uh, in some business units that led to our team being invited to over a hundred town halls, department, and team meetings to show what we could offer that specific audience. Uh, and I didn't take the easy route of presenting the same content to every single one of those. Uh, it was, and still is intensive prepare for each one of those presentations, as we always strive to use examples that are relevant to that specific audience, not just generic examples. So now everyone knows if they invite me to a meeting, they are going to hear about content we have available, uh, and preparing for those meetings gave me a thorough understanding of all of the content it we provide and the confidence of being able to say on the spot that I have content for you and I can meet your needs. And in many cases, giving him an example right then and there to the point where I always will have the mobile app, uh, up and running on my phone, walking into a meeting that I can do a quick search if I don't have my laptop available. Uh, so just, you know, it, we encourage the subtle competition, always in a friendly way, but that really led us to awareness and allowed us to open up conversations, uh, across the organization.
Michelle BB 00:12:11 Okay. So I think I, I just glean, I think it's five lessons I'm gonna, I'm gonna point them out. And then you tell me if I'm right. So, so the first thing I heard is that you have a very engaged and involved C-suite that is setting the example and giving people permission to grow and explore. The second thing I heard is that you, you are giving the time to set aside for learning. So, so not just, you know, you have the permission to go and do this, but really we want you to make the time. The third thing I heard is that it is embedded in your values, right? So the, and that's amazing that it's knowledge, it is a part of your culture. And then I heard that you utilizing internal promotion for discovery of new content and new assets and new learning has, and then last thing, or, or no, one more, um, there's a little bit of personalization that you and your teams are doing and then connecting it back to the goals. And then finally, the last thing I heard is, Hey, a little competitive goes a long way.
Rich 00:13:16 Absolutely. Did I capture that Ok?
Michelle BB 00:13:18 Did I capture that Ok?
Rich00:13:19 You certainly did. Uh, absolutely. We, we, uh, we try and apply lots of lessons anytime we speak. And, and a lot of times it's a multi-layered effect that we'll have the, that outright statement where we're saying, but we always try and have that subtle influence as well.
Michelle BB00:13:34 That think that's great. Now we have one of your learners with us who, who I think that we would describe as an extreme, extremely avid and committed and passionate learner. And so, Matthew, I, I really wanna hear about your journey, but first, because I am sure everybody's gonna ask the question, um, based on the bio that I've already given, what is an ethical hacker? It may be a new concept for some people. So you have to tell us what that is.
Matthew 00:14:02 <laugh> absolutely. Thanks, Michelle. Um, so in short, ethical hacking is a legal and authorized practice where cybersecurity professionals work to test and bypass an organization security controls in order to identify potential data, uh, threats and vulnerabilities. Um, so what that really means is we basically act like the bad guys. We are the good guys, but we act like the bad guys to try and find where some potential gaps might be in the organization. Um, we work our best to make sure we're protecting organization's most critical assets. So obviously not just the, but, um, our data, um, you know, the privacy of our data, the protection of our data and of our client's data. Um, and so we work to, again, test these different security controls, test our applications, test our network, our infrastructure, to identify any gaps, um, alongside the different responsibilities I have at black Knight.
Matthew 00:14:54 I manage the P team of penetration testers who work as these white hat hackers who conduct specialized engagements, who in turn attack our own applications, our systems, and our networks to identify these potential weaknesses. We provide reports, story developers, and system owners who work, mediate these issues and harden, the systems that they're in charge of, you can tell how important this role is within any organization, um, in this time and age, and especially within our own highly regulated market. And especially as technology continues to rapidly advance. So too will the bad guys, therefore, so too, will the good guys.
Michelle BB00:15:30 Yeah, I was just, you know, I was going to ask that question. It, it must be challenging to keep pace with the quote unquote bad guys because of the rate and pace of technological change. And I would imagine then it's probably one of the reasons why you and your team are such avid learners, that you are completing so many courses that you are going through your own learning and development journeys to not only grow your career within the organization, but really to contribute to the overall success of black Knight, which, which you've just outlined is. I mean, what you do is mission critical. So maybe you can elaborate a little bit, you know, it, it sounds to me like learning, doesn't just matter. It is essential for you to be able to do your job.
Matthew 00:16:20 Absolutely. So, you know, first off I'll kind of piggyback with what rich has said, and I'll really just kind of highlight. It starts really at the top, as much as it does at the bottom. It's at all layers of our program. Um, you know, at black night it it's really comes to the core leadership team, especially within our own C-suite. Um, they've really defined our premier provider status through a culture of ongoing leadership and learning our leaders are huge proponents of continuing education. And through the support of skills, Percipio platform, we're able to take a myriad of courses ranging from topics such as it security, diversity, and inclusion, programming, productivity, and collaboration tools. And every employee gets to enjoy this benefit on day one. Um, you know, and I get to act as both a student and a mentor within our own learning programs. I get to have the honor of always learning and being able to share that knowledge, given my sometimes limited schedule, I take as many courses from perio as possible.
Matthew 00:17:17 Um, I especially love the three minute courses and I love when I bump into rich, uh, on campus sometimes. And I'll, he'll, we'll say, Hey, what's, what's going on? You know, what are you learning? What are you doing right now? And I'll mention a topic in rich goes, we have a course for that. <laugh>, it's, it's absolutely the most funniest and famous line that rich says. Um, and I really appreciate that, you know, uh, friendship and relationship we have, it's so important and, um, you know, rich and his teams share that across the organization. Um, and you know, we kind of have various programs as rich has mentioned as well. We've got the it, uh, I, I act as the it security guru, uh, part of our guru program at black Knight. And that's kind of where I do a monthly blog post related to relevant issues within the cyber world. And I always include a link to Percipio courses to share it with my peers. So every blog post I out there has at least one or two references to some quick two, three minute course. So just in case I didn't knock it outta the ballpark will go help me back it up and provide that information to others. Um, and, and yeah, I
Michelle BB 00:18:21 Love that!
Matthew 00:18:22 Our at CSO and deputy CSO, uh, from my specific, uh, leadership team, they have a huge, huge, uh, belief in continuing education. Um, they're huge proponents of knowledge sharing. And so my team has actually kinda fallen within that special role of being the knowledge share. So not only do we absorb the knowledge, but we do biweekly cross training. Um, and what that means is yes, we do some cool hacking stuff, but we do all sorts of different topics. And we invite people from all over the organization to attend this meeting every other week. And you can come in, listen, ask questions, propose a topic, present yourself. And it just really highlights the amazing, you know, opportunities that we are able to share with, you know, the Percipio platform and throughout black night, you know, hovering over the most important. One of the most important values, I'll say of knowledge, uh, with the Knight's values.
Michelle BB 00:19:15 So, you know, I, I think you both recognize just how special this is because not every organization or you, you probably wouldn't find this at every organization. So Matthew, I know that you do a lot of interviewing. I know that you're doing a lot of hiring and onboarding. You talked about your mentoring program, but how do you really convey the value of what black Knight brings from a learning and growth perspective? How do you ensure new team members not only understand, but avail themselves all of this amazing opportunity within the organization.
Matthew 00:19:52 Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, this is something where I'd love to kind of be a rich Rich's kind of protege. I'll say <laugh>, whenever somebody asks me if that's something or a topic that they might not be familiar with, I immediately don't go to Google anymore. I'll go to <laugh>. Oh
Michelle BB00:20:09 My God.
Rich00:20:10 Have to, I,
Michelle BB00:20:11 You just say that one one more time. Cause that was really good. I go to perio. Yeah.
Matthew 00:20:16 <laugh> yeah. Instead of going to Google, I actually do go Tocio. Um, and I, I, you know, Percipio search, um, and because it's so important, it's kind of like our own internal Google in that sense. Not only do we have our, you know, black night knowledge, but, and all the different programs and learning offered, but we also have pers vast, you know, offerings. And so, uh, my team, I basically get a link copy paste and I can do something as simple as three minute videos offering the aspire journeys, which are phenomenal, you know, something that, uh, I'm not actually trying to do right now, rich is working with me to kinda help develop a, what we would call our kinda pen tester track. Um, there's already similar offerings within Percipio. We're trying to also kind of customize that content and, and that's another huge benefit. So, um, part of what I do, um, whether, you know, it's try and to help, uh, you know, mentor somebody or even kind of with our intern program, I make a point where your first start is kind of not only understanding what black does, you know, why your role in black eye is so important, but how you can continue to learn not just about, about black night, but also about all these related topics and sits right there on their homepage.
Michelle BB00:21:28 So this is wonderful because what, what, what I really hear is that employees at black night, they get the tools and they get the encouragement that they need, but they also have to be willing to take the initiative. So there's this social compact that black night and its employees have made to, to grow together. And I think this goes back to culture. And so rich, I wanna come back to you because I think that you have achieved something in a very extraordinary way at black night culture is very much a two-way street. So what advice rich would you give to other organizations that see what you've done that are, that are listening to of this today, and maybe don't have it yet. Don't have it as, as much as a black Knight. Does, uh, how, what, what advice would you give them if as they are looking to build something similar, this strong culture of learning and growth?
Rich00:22:25 Absolutely. So I have a, I have a personal theory or, or personal practice mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, and that is, am I utilizing every tool and resource that I have at my disposal to its fullest capacity? Um, and I think it, it, that's important because it's gonna take effort, it's gonna take resources. It's gonna take individuals who are passionate about learning and gonna take a lot of trial and error as you get to know how your audience will respond. Um, it sounds simple to say it like that, but we do quite a few pilot programs. We'll test out a theory or a program on a small audience, and then we'll expand it to the entire company after revisiting it, uh, and applying the lessons from that pilot in our primary leadership or the very first session, we didn't have any gamification. Well, we learned an important lesson in our second class.
Rich00:23:16 We had gamification and the retention rate of content, the participation skyrocketed. It was a huge difference. And a lot of it was, Hey, go take this Percipio content after the us to reinforce the lessons from the live learning or to prepare for the live learning. Um, I do remember one of the very, very early BKU courses that taught us several very valuable lessons. And I think Matthew May have been the person that was supporting us, uh, for this one. Uh, so it was about five or six years ago, maybe a little longer. Uh, and we were super excited. It was actually a session where I was discussing the new learning opportunities that we had just added to our LMS, which was a, a Skillsoft product at the time. Uh, and I was on stage of our auditorium, uh, and when the came, uh, and the cameras started rolling, uh, I had six people in the audience in an auditorium that could hold hundreds.
Rich00:24:13 Uh, so I pretended the auditorium was full. I delivered the content with GU Gusto, hoping we had people watching us live from home or at our other campuses. Most of our BKA courses are presented by regular employees. They don't have instructional background. They've never been a standup trainer and we never wanna put them in that type of situation, always trying to set them up for success. So the next day we sat down for lessons learned and you know, what our primary mistake was, what tell me, we scheduled the course to occur after work on a Thursday that coincided with the first NFL pre-season game exasperated by the fact that Jacksonville was at home in the stadium, which is just on the other side of downtown from our headquarters <laugh>. So all of our audience was either heading to the stadium or home to catch the game.
Rich00:25:06 So it really taught us a lesson that we have to take a bigger look at external influences that may impact participation. We shifted all of our BKU courses to lunchtime, and we were already considering that to better accommodate parents. Uh, we implemented a registration system at that point. It was just show up. Uh, and so we didn't know who, who was attending or anything like that. So with that registration, we could now send a reminder and, and Matthew see me in the back of the auditorium with my laptop, sending a reminder five minutes before the time of the course of, Hey, yep. Log in. Here's a link you registered, don't forget. Um, we started giving away prizes and trinkets for both people live and remote. We treat everyone equally. Um, we actually started creating half page references for the content because there's nothing for them to be able to write down, write on.
Rich00:25:58 And while we were recording, all of the sessions, gave them something, could they, it gave them something they could immediately apply. Uh, and we distributed that both print form and digital worked with our it team to get metrics. So we weren't really measuring our impact for people that weren't physically in the audience. Um, and then we started advertising the courses on digital billboards, on every floor of every campus and advertised the recordings on our LMS when they were made available. And then I used my little bit of a subtle competition. We started adding the metrics to the executive learning dashboards of how many people from each business unit were attending these classes. Um, most importantly, though, we listened to what people were saying and what they were not saying after every session to the point where we started going immediately from the class and taking our lunch in the cafe on campus and listen to hear was there real time buzz on our topic? Uh, we'd let everyone and give us advice. And we always asking what we could do to improve the experience. And that led us to even further in many more advancement over the years since we implemented that program.
Michelle BB00:27:13 I mean, so talk about a culture of continuous improvement, where you were striving to not just make the courses better, but make the ways in which can deliver the content, the ways in which, um, you can ensure that level of engagement. It it's remarkable. And I think some great advice for everyone out there listening, learning, improving continuous cycle. That's great. I think that's, I think that's wonderful.
Rich00:27:43 I was gonna say too, I have a, another example as well, and this is even more recent. Um, our company learning is part of HR. So we're constantly working with the other HR teams to support their needs in initiatives. And it really allows us to function with one voice in one mission, uh, as we like to say one black night. Um, and part of, of that relationship we have with the other teams allows them to focus on the what, knowing that we are gonna focus on teaching people the how, and also getting word out. Um, one example is our new hire journey. So we saw very early feedback start coming in, uh, as we were really expanding and grow as a company, that there was a gap for new employees. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, uh, you know, we already had some programs to get them oriented, but it wasn't enough.
Rich00:28:33 Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, everyone was getting new, hire new hire orientation, but there's only so much you can communicate in a session where rightfully so new employees are focused on their pay benefits, and that's really what they care about in that session. So our team came together, uh, and, and with the support of the rest of HR and input from the business. And we built a support plan for those first 90 days. And we put together 12 tracks of content, each one, about two hours long. So they get two hours a week mm-hmm <affirmative> to introduce an ex band on the topics that were introduced in that first week. So each week is themed as, as, uh, you know, you've heard from us before. Uh, so week two, for instance, is taking your place at the table. Mm. And that's gonna focus on setting goals, uh, the nights of the, the diversity equity and inclusion, uh, and inclusion round table, uh, and where to go for system help and access work week three is exploring our kingdom. So it focuses on our industry and our products, uh, and it doesn't exist in a Val vacuum. There are live sessions to reinforce the topics or to just be a Q and a session for the new employees, new hire buddy program, um, support from their business unit and other corporate teams. So it really became a cohesive response, but all focused on that 90 day period, that is so important to, to get an employee engaged.
Michelle BB 00:30:00 I, I love the commitment rich. And you mentioned something that I, I wanna come back to, because in addition to your role as enterprise LMS administrator, you became the founding chair of the Knight of the diversity and inclusion round table, which I love the name. That's amazing. Um, can you talked to us a little bit about black Knight's diversity equity and inclusion efforts? I think people would really love to hear what it is that you're doing.
Rich00:30:29 Absolutely. And we have updated our name recently, so we, we're now the Knight of the diversity equity and inclusion. We're, we're always round table. Um, so we try and try and grow at the same, same time and pace. Um, I really joined with a like-minded group of individuals from HR. Uh, I personally wanted to start an ERG, uh, at that point, and it was a very narrow focus, but with some guidance from the rest of HR, um, we decided to put together a round table where anyone who has an interest in DEI is welcome. Um, and, and we can have conversations around a variety of topics in open and honest ways. Uh, the interest was so much greater than we initially imagined. Um, and one of the activities that I've received the most feedback on and always positive is in our quarterly meetings, uh, that are open to any employee mm-hmm <affirmative>.
Rich00:31:21 We discuss a slow of topics in breakout rooms, uh, in those breakout rooms, we always start with one of those three minute, uh, DEI, Percipio videos. And th that will be the introduction of the topic. And then we'll ask some generic questions to get th that are specific to that, that video, uh, to get the conversation going, but really giving them the opportunity to have that open conversation in a small group. And, and, you know, it may be three, uh, three topics, or it may be 10 topics just depending on the number of people we try and keep it so they can have a, uh, a conversation and everyone can be, uh, can be heard. Um, and we always ask them to think about how that topic can relate to not only their work life, but their personal life and just, I know everyone loves the parts of the sessions that, that give them the ability to hold those open and honest, uh, conversations and be heard, um, and, and be listened to.
Rich00:32:21 Um, I will say that that when dealing with DEI, I think it was a stroke of luck, a little bit that I became involved at the founding part, um, because I am, you know, part of our, our learning team. Uh, and it, it really made me realize that if your learning team is not partnered with the groups that are focused on DEI, you're both missing an opportunity. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So the learning team is always going to have tools and resources that your DEI team is gonna crave to deliver content. Conversely, our DEI round table surf items that the learning team can do better to support all employees. So we have a, a few examples of that. I know you can't see my mouse cursor right now, but it's six times larger than normal, and it's the brightest color in our company in color palette, because that way, when I'm demoing content, people can always see where my cursor is.
Rich00:33:19 Point <affirmative> on the screen. We at the beginning of our, uh, of our big sessions now have started including an instruction slide. Uh, that's part of the title slide, how to turn closed captions on for everybody, so that they can individually select that, or even switch the language if they want, uh, in the closed captioning. But one of the, the prime examples that that really made me most proud is in late 2020. So we were all at home. Uh, the de round table asked, what could we do because we weren't gonna have the physical ho holiday displays put up at each campus. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So it led to just an informal conversation and request to the learning team. And, and I had to kind of play both hats there, um, task, if we had the bandwidth to support the DEI team and put together a video to celebrate the winter holidays.
Rich00:34:10 And one member of the learning team really took that ID and ran with it. It went from three holidays that were in the normal on campus display, uh, to six in the video and being remote helped both teams take ownership of something that just happened on the campuses. Not only did we make it more inclusive, educational, and accessible in the process. So now we could give voice to the symbolism, the celebration, and even the food in an engaging way, and expand from Christmas Hanukah and to now include BDI day Santi and the winter solstice, and then took it a step farther by making it available to everyone, by promoting it and putting the content on Percipio. So we're now reaching employees with this content that never would walk on a campus before, or maybe would you walk by it because the displays are maybe on the ground floor, but the entrance is on the first floor. So unless they went to the cafe, they wouldn't even see the display. Uh, now they actually had access to information and, and exposure to the culture that they weren't aware of before.
Michelle BB00:35:20 That is so incredibly rewarding. And what I find interesting is the level of commitment that you and your organization have made to employees, and obviously they are embracing and celebrating. And Matthew, I wanna just take a moment, cause you talked about something earlier on, um, another learning program that is incredibly intriguing because it takes advantage of internal experts and that's black night's guru program. Can, can you tell me a little bit about what it is like what, what a GU is first, but then what it's like to be a guru at black Knight?
Matthew 00:36:01 Sure. Yeah. So, I mean, part of, again, black Knight's various programs and offerings is the guru program. And at the core of the guru program is essentially a collection of what we would call subject matter experts within specific fields. Um, so we've got everything for, um, uh, we even have a, uh, you know, work from home expert, uh, who talks about, um, you know, best practices and, you know, uh, kinda ergonomic setups and whatnot. And we've got it security for me. <laugh>, we've got a bunch of other people in the best part about it too, is we've got in the different topics. We've can also have multiple gurus. So it's the not like there's only that one person who has all the knowledge, we welcome anyone and everyone to be able to try to, uh, you know, kinda share the knowledge at the core of this is knowledge sharing.
Matthew 00:36:48 Um, we incorporate it very closely with Percipio where, uh, rich and his team have even gone so far as to add additional points <laugh> so if you even just have a to AIO course, um, people will get additional points as gurus, uh, just for sharing another course within Percipio. So it's, it's another avenue of kinda gamification how rich was talking about, um, and really just being able to share across such different topics. Um, I feel honored honestly, to be even selected while like I took it as like a huge reward to be selected as an it security guru, and I take great pride in it. Um, everyone's different on how they post there's no kinda necessarily right or wrong. You can do a quick little writeup or, or long one. Uh, in this past month I had done a quick little story unrelated a black night, but, um, ransomware story I had kind was involved with that.
Matthew 00:37:40 I learned a whole lot of stuff, and I kinda gave some of that knowledge. I learned back to our own community to kind of understand what ransomware is, how kind of the event played out. And I received so much awesome feedback and rich was so kind and promoted the story. Um, I, I was really honored just to be able to kind of share my own story and share that knowledge with others. That's really kind of the core that, you know, the joy of the program is just being able to not only have the knowledge gain the knowledge, continue to learn and to share that knowledge,
Michelle BB 00:38:10 Oh, rich, you are so fortunate to have a Matthew Notto on your team. I mean, I have to ask rich because from what I understand, you are almost as passionate about tracking as you are learning, meaning like what's the value. So tell us about the results, because I think everybody wants to know, Hey, look, this is all well and good. It's wonderful that the organization is committed. It's wonderful that employees are engaged, but at the end of the day, what benefits is the organization saying? You can, you can really quantify that
Rich00:38:49 I can. And, and, uh, I put out a dashboard I'm actually in the middle of, of working on our first dashboard as we speak. Um, and, and part of that, the, the first slides one is I sh you know, is what is the percentage of employees that are voluntarily accessing training? And then I even break it down by program of how many employees are, are accessing across the enterprise. But the second slide is I think, one of the most, and I know it certainly catches our CFO's, uh, attention, and that's the benefit to cost ratio. So in 2021, it was, uh, we had a return of $18 for every dollar we invested and a total ROI benefit. That was more than 3.7 million on top of the, the over and million, uh, platform views, 200,000 course views, 40,000 hours of learning. I go through and, and present that content at an enterprise level, but then I actually break it down for every single business unit. So they have a slide that they can put up in their town hall that says, here's how we did, but also there's that one slide that compares their percentage of how many employees and managers are accessing content against every other business unit in the company. So that subtle competition in a friendly way, uh, not pointing out any individual, but it, it helps us identify gaps, as I mentioned earlier, but it, it does that competition going, and I think really helps keep that activity high because it's, again, giving permission for people to access content.
Michelle BB00:40:26 Yeah. And, you know, I mean, what I find remarkable is that you have created something that is delivering measurable value back to the organization, and when you can quantify results like that, as well as keep employees engaged. And I also understand that you've had pretty incredible retention results, that this has become a retention tool for you too, is that true?
Rich00:40:58 It is. And, and employee retention is a challenge for any organization, especially right now mm-hmm <affirmative>. And every team has a hand in ensuring employees see not just a future, but also an achievable path to that future for them. Um, thanks to our close relationship with the rest of HR and business units, we were able to identify both gaps and growth opportunities, uh, and then develop custom learning journeys in Percipio, curating content from both internal and licensed content, uh, and ensure everyone has a path for growth and development that was relevant to them and allowed them to fill those gaps in knowledge, by growing themselves in a convenient and a recognized way. I think another small effort, uh, and is one that is so often EV overlooked is to celebrate everyone's learning achievements. Mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative>. So we started, uh, by sending a congrat, uh, congratulatory message to senior management.
Rich00:41:57 When someone had earned a certification, any certification didn't have to apply to their job, but Hey, you, you, this employee got this certification, their manager, their senior manager, and their executive would get an email about that. And it fancy, you know, we got marketing involved and, and for it, um, and we've actually expanded that now to include aspire journey completions as well. So we treat aspire journey completions, just like a certification completion, uh, and we're even planning to expand that to most, uh, more social effort where individuals can actually post their completions, uh, and, and post their badges from any training program or course, uh, and, and make that socially available. Just like some of our other recognition programs we have for their employees and these in other, uh, efforts, I think demonstrated that we would celebrate their achievements mm-hmm <affirmative> and help each employee grow their career and a, of ready individuals as we implemented new technologies or processes.
Michelle BB00:43:00 Okay. You know, I, I, I hate to say it, but we're running outta time. I could talk to you forever. This is fantastic, but I have asked, um, this next question on every episode of the edge, so today will be no different as we kick off season three. And so, um, you may need to write this down. It's a three parter. Um, I'm gonna adjust the first one slightly, uh, as we head into season three, cause I'm really interested first in what you're learning right now, or that you've recently, or, uh, learned that's had an impact. And then second, how are you applying what you you've learned, whether it's in the flow of work or in life, and then third, what advice you might share with others? So what are you learning? How are you applying? What advice would you give Matthew, let's start with you.
Matthew 00:43:49 Sure. So, um, you kind of given the state of how things have changed with the pandemic, the state of remote work. Um, it's been a lot harder to find boundaries between work and personal life. Um, I know this kind of seems like the obvious and the give me answer, but really it's more about time management and effective time management. Um, you know, with work being inches away, family being another couple of inches away, the pandemic has really taught us how to effectively manage our a time bill at home and at work to redefine our own space, to define not just how we bring the best out in ourselves being the best out in others. And I think that it's really important to even highlight effective communication as well within, uh, this kind of remote work landscape. Um, we're meeting more and more people. I feel like we do a lot more meetings actually.
Matthew 00:44:36 Sometimes you'd just go in a, I feel like it was different. You'd go into a, a, you know, boardroom or conference room and you'd see people, but you, maybe you didn't necessarily talk to them here. You can just really ping them and chat them or, you know, compliment them on their, you know, outfit. There's something on the side. And it's really nice to be able to kind of have that additional conversation. And I think that's what kind of helps promote that quest for additional knowledge. So say for instance, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know, I meet somebody in a different team that I don't fully understand what their actual, you know, role is or exactly how they do what they do. And so I can simply look that up and find ACI course, or I can, you know, talk to them and find out a lot more.
Matthew 00:45:14 And it really kinda actually bridges a big gap that I felt that even though we were there physically in person, we kind of can hide behind the keyboard. I would say <laugh> and talk to others. Lot of people necessarily aren't, I would say always comfortable with talking publicly, um, or even kind of doing the whole ice break and getting to know people. Um, I'm a little different, I like to just kinda get out there and talk to people and meet them and learn all about them, but it really brings a whole new perspective to life. Um, and, and I think that we have to embrace that. I think that that's kind of, you know, applying it to whether it's our personal lives apply it to work. Uh, we kind have to pursue that quest for meeting others, to continue to learn about others and their cultures, their practices, their jobs, um, you know, be willing to have that human element to really highlight the human element in this virtual space. And that's what ultimately will help us all succeed. We as a human race, right. Versus we as just individuals going through the day to day just to get the job done. Um, you know, we're not here necessarily, um, all to kind of have a same sort of specific life mission or goal, but we all collectively together work to continue to learn from another learn as much as we can and put that back out there to everyone.
Michelle BB00:46:33 I love that. I love that. Rich. Can I ask you the same question?
Rich00:46:37 Absolutely. So I, I, as I mentioned earlier, I'm very much an introvert. Uh, and early in the pandemic, I would just have groceries or, or food delivered. I'd ping my husband and say, Hey, put it away. And I wouldn't walk away from my computer or work. Um, I've, I've come to discover, I, I don't have a problem having someone shop for me, but I need to force myself to actually go to the car and go pick up the food, um, versus having them deliver it to me because that's gonna cause me to, to have a break. Uh, and, and that's something that, that I've struggled with that I will, uh, I'm happy to just stay behind my computer for hours and hours at a, at a time. Um, but now I, I do look for opportunities to get out of the house in a safe manner, uh, and have employed technology to kind of prompt it.
Rich00:47:24 Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So I have a timed virtual commute, uh, that our collaboration tool prompts me with every day and it says, oh, here, what, here's the stuff you didn't get done? Do you want to add that to your to-do list tomorrow or here's commitments that you made, uh, in chats or, or in emails? Did you actually do those yet? Um, so using a lot of the technology that's available in, in these tools to support me, to make sure I am meeting all of those needs. Um, and, and from an advice perspective, I would say, if you're too comfortable, you're gonna stay still. So make and take opportunities to learn and grow, especially when you're busy. Um, cuz if you, if you break that habit, then you're gonna get out of the habit of, of learning. And it's tough to restart that habit again,
Michelle BB 00:48:15 Rich and Matthew, thank you so much for joining me today on the edge and uh, to the entire black night organization. We'd like to offer our thanks for your tremendous partnership. Thank you for joining me.
Rich 00:48:28 Thank you, Michelle. Thank you. Having us.
Michelle BB00:48:31 One of the most important things to take away from today is that while black night's success certainly makes all of us at Skillsoft feel good. These aren't just feel good stories. Black night takes its responsibilities to its employees seriously, by investing in a robust learning program that provides growth and development opportunities for all. And in exchange black night employees take the responsibility just as seriously by making time to learn, to grow, to upskill and add tremendous value back to the organization. And it's that social compact that we're seeing today that is so critically important. And I do believe that black night is really ahead of the curve. Now, based on today's conversation, I encourage you to consider how you can take what rich and Matthew shared with us and make it your own. If you're an employer, how can you provide your workforce with more growth and development opportunities to really transform the nature of your organization?
Michelle BB00:49:28 And if you're an employee, are you taking full advantage of those opportunities for both personal and professional development? I, once again, would like to thank rich and Matthew for joining us. It has been so interesting and so much fun. And to you, our listeners, thank you for tuning into this in every episode as we unleash our edge together. And if you haven't read our lean into learning annual report, which by the way, features an in-depth case study on black night and our learning programs I invite you to do so you can find email@example.com. I'm Michelle BBE. This is The Edge. And until next time, keep learning, keep growing and be well.
About Our Guest
Rich Baker is the Enterprise LMS Administrator for Black Knight where he has overall responsibility for all learning systems used by employees and clients. In addition, Rich is the founding chair of the Knights of the DEI Roundtable at Black Knight where he focuses on open discussions around DEI topics among interested employees. In the community, Rich focuses on support for LGBTQ+ youth charities and initiatives.
About Our Guest
Matthew Noto is a Cyber Security Manager at Black Knight Inc. who oversees a team of ethical hackers that conduct penetration tests against Black Knight’s applications and assets in order to protect the company and its clients. Matthew has his MBA in Information Security Management as well as various industry certifications including Security+, Pentest+, and CySA+. When Matthew is not in an engagement, he acts as a Black Knight Guru and a mentor for his peers, interns, and aspiring cybersecurity professionals. He is dedicated to inspiring our future cybersecurity warriors and is devoted to continuing education, security and privacy rights.
About Our Host
As Chief Marketing Officer, Michelle leads a global marketing organization, focused on transforming today’s workforce for tomorrow’s economy. Since joining the company, she has been responsible for Skillsoft’s global marketing strategy, which includes generating awareness, driving preference, and building affinity for Skillsoft. Additionally – and perhaps most importantly – Michelle serves as the company's brand evangelist, helping to build a vibrant community of passionate learners.
With more than 25 years of marketing, branding, and strategy experience, Michelle has made it her personal mission to support the advancement of women in business. Prior to Skillsoft, she served as Chief Marketing Officer of IBM Watson, where she was instrumental in developing the first “Women Leaders in AI” program, which honors women who put AI to work across industries and around the globe. She also served as the global head of marketing for The Weather Company, an IBM Business, helping companies understand how to anticipate, plan for, and ultimately make better decisions – with greater confidence – in the face of weather.
Michelle is a prolific speaker on a range of topics, including the war for talent, digital transformation, and marketing in a post-pandemic world. She covers these topics and more as the host of Skillsoft's podcast, The Edge, now in its second season. She has authored countless papers covering a range of business and marketing topics, was at the center of Skillsoft’s leadership role in DEI through free “Leadercamps,” and has taught two Percipio courses on the Pink Pandemic and Public Speaking.
Michelle is also a founding member of CMO Huddles, a group dedicated to bringing together and empowering highly effective B2B CMOs to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. Michelle holds a Master’s degree from Simmons University and sits on the pro side of the Oxford comma debate.