9 episodes

Every two weeks we dive into an L&D topic with experts, consultants, trainers, thought leaders and executives. We shine a light on best practices, ask for advice & tips and talk about the current state of L&D. We keep things short and simple, stick to relevant, actionable information and tactical insights. Get in touch with the host, Liz Stefan, at liz@niftylearning.io or connect via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/elisaletitiastefan/.

L&D Spotlight Liz Stefan - Nifty Learning

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Every two weeks we dive into an L&D topic with experts, consultants, trainers, thought leaders and executives. We shine a light on best practices, ask for advice & tips and talk about the current state of L&D. We keep things short and simple, stick to relevant, actionable information and tactical insights. Get in touch with the host, Liz Stefan, at liz@niftylearning.io or connect via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/elisaletitiastefan/.

    Using Nudges in L&D to Support Behaviour Change

    Using Nudges in L&D to Support Behaviour Change

    In this episode, we take a look at nudges in the context of L&D and see how an organization can put in place such a tool to enable positive behavior change.

    Guest: Lavinia Mehedintu, People Experience Manager at eMAG and co-founder and curator of Offbeat.

    Highlights:
    * Daniel Kahneman's book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" shows us that humans are irrational creatures who rely on two systems to make decisions. If adopting a new behavior requires too much cognitive power from the brain, it will default to the so-called fast system, which is biased and unreliable, thus failing to change.
    * Nudges are a tool that enables easier behavior change by removing decision-making friction with the help of choice architecture. Richard H. Thaler explains this in further detail in his book "Nudge".
    * Humu has a ready-to-use library of nudges for the workplace that L&Ds can use to kickstart their work with nudges in their organizations.
    * There is no specific time frame in which people form new habits, as previously thought. It's simply a question of how long it takes to make the new behavior automatic, thus no longer requiring the slow system to burn too much energy to execute.
    * Nudges should be subtle enough not to distract the recipient's attention, which means that nudges must be very well immersed in the person's work context not to become spam.
    * Nudges are more effective than formal training or eLearning for impactful behavior change. Still, they should be part of a complex ecosystem that contains communities of practice, mentoring, knowledge sharing sessions, coaching, and other L&D methods. No one L&D method in isolation is sufficient to produce long-term, lasting results.

    How to start working with nudges in your organization:
    1. Start with behaviors that you already measure in employee engagement surveys or the 360 feedback process and develop campaigns relevant to this context.
    2. Put in place nudge campaigns for specific cohorts and, once implemented, determine how much of the campaign was observed by employees through interviews and data analysis. Remember that nudges are subtle by design, so lack of feedback might mean one of two things: either the information was received but not remembered, or it was not acknowledged at all.
    3. Observe changes in behavior by way of data gathered to see if the cohorts exposed to nudges exhibit a different behavior to those not exposed.
    4. Remember that you must personalize nudges to the employees' context; otherwise, they risk becoming overbearing and ineffective.
    5. Experiment, iterate and learn from the data you're gathering to understand how many nudges are just enough to start producing results without becoming a distraction.
    6. Some nudge mechanisms might require a lot of time and resources to implement, so start small and gradually build your business case to expand this new tool to new, more complex behavior change goals.

    To join the conversation or get in touch, reach out to Liz Stefan on LinkedIn or send an email to liz[at]niftylearning.io. 

    • 15 min
    Managing Up in L&D

    Managing Up in L&D

    In this episode, we look at how L&D can showcase its value in the business and speak to decision-making stakeholders.

    Guest: Lavinia Mehedintu, People Experience Manager at eMAG and co-founder and curator of Offbeat.

    Highlights:
    * The L&D team typically sits between two business environment extremes. One side is when L&D is entirely disconnected from the business's objectives and metrics. The other one is when L&D is a true business partner and actively contributes to improving these metrics.
    * L&D should take specific action to measure the impact and effectiveness of learning programs and find out ways to promote these positive results.
    * L&D can invest time and effort into getting closer to the business, understand the language, immerse itself in the operational departments to understand their context.
    * Having a separate L&D thread from business objectives like revenue streams or cost optimization is the single most negatively impactful activity for L&D's image.
    * Showcasing L&D value to the business is a gradual, slow process, as it has to do with other stakeholders' behavior and perception change - not different from the process of learning itself.
    * An excellent L&D professional is brave and assertive in promoting the value of their team and knowledge.
    * The essential factor that L&D brings is the deep knowledge and understanding of adult learning principles. L&D is the expert here, and this is where it can make the most significant contribution.
    * Doing a premortem analysis before launching a new learning program or technology is the best way to prepare for a conversation with decision-making stakeholders.
    * L&Ds must keep their consultant hat on when speaking to business stakeholders, making sure they consistently ask the right questions, then measure the impact of L&D programs and feed it back to the business.

    Reasons why the business might not fully understand the value of L&D:
    - L&D is not trying enough to prove value by showcasing good examples or metrics to the business.
    - L&D is not speaking the business language and does not have common points on which to relate to the business.
    - The business does not have a formal learning culture and only relies on informal learning interactions.

    To join the conversation or get in touch, reach out to Liz Stefan on LinkedIn or send an email to liz[at]niftylearning.io.

    • 17 min
    L&D is Not Always the Solution

    L&D is Not Always the Solution

    In this episode, we look at situations when L&D is not the right solution for performance or accuracy problems identified by the business.

    Guest: Lavinia Mehedintu, People Experience Manager at eMAG and co-founder and curator of Offbeat.

    Highlights:
    * Cathy Moore's flowchart is a good starting point to help guide L&D professionals in understanding whether knowledge or skill acquisition can solve a specific business problem - as seen in Offbeat Issue #64
    * The business will likely come to L&D with a request for a training session or learning content when employee performance decreases or errors are identified.
    * L&D's are better equipped than the business to identify if a learning intervention helps solve a problem by playing the role of a consultant.
    * Asking the right questions is an excellent way to help the business identify the source of a problem.
    * Especially in these situations, L&D can work together with people managers and operational teams to understand the root cause and identify an effective solution.
    * If the business still insists on receiving a learning intervention, L&D must set the right expectations about the very limited expected impact of that intervention - advice coming from Anamaria Dorgo, founder and community catalyst of L&D Shakers and Butter.

    L&D can showcase its value to the business by:
    - putting in place a consistent consultancy process, which is especially important for more junior L&D roles
    - interacting openly with all levels of the organization and asking for support in promoting the way L&D works, especially in hierarchical organizations.
    - creating case studies from previous business situations, together with the alternative solution identified.
    - advertise to everyone in the company, especially decision-makers, how adults learn, the time it takes to see behavior changes, the real impact of learning.

    When is L&D not the solution?
    - When documentation or procedures are not put in place or are incorrectly created, employees can't execute their tasks, which can seem like a performance issue.
    - If employees don't feel safe or comfortable at work, they might have performance issues that don't come from a lack of knowledge or skill; in this case, even if a learning intervention is decided, it will likely not be effective. Learning is one of the first things compromised when there is no psychological safety in the workplace.
    - Lack of resources, such as access to people, tools, or the right level of influence to unblock a problematic situation, which might hurt individuals' performance.

    To join the conversation or get in touch, reach out to Liz Stefan on LinkedIn or send an email to liz[at]niftylearning.io.

    • 14 min
    Psychological Safety in L&D

    Psychological Safety in L&D

    In this episode, we explore the concept of Psychological Safety and understand its impact on team learning and organizational performance.

    Guest: Lavinia Mehedintu, People Experience Manager at eMAG and co-founder and curator of Offbeat.

    Highlights:
    * Psychological Safety is the belief that you won't be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or while making mistakes.
    * Amy Edmonson's research paper sits at the basis of the concept of Psychological Safety as the main influencing factor in team effectiveness and learning.
    * Google also did a research project called Aristotle on the same topic; they offer a framework and free tools for any organization to start fostering Psychological Safety in teams.
    * Adam Grant and Melinda Gates put together an experiment at the Gates Foundation. They asked leaders to show vulnerability by talking about their mistakes to create a more welcoming and trusting work environment.
    * Radical Candor by Kim Scott also touches on how leaders can create an open and honest working environment by showing people that they care personally while offering feedback or having difficult conversations.
    * L&Ds can help create psychologically safe working environments in their organizations. First, by identifying issues with trust and belonging on the various teams they support, then by helping executives and team leaders understand the importance and effectiveness of being supporters and promoters of psychological safety on their teams.
    * The absence of Psychological Safety prevents employees from focusing on learning since they're using their cognitive resources on workplace survival rather than acquiring new knowledge.
    * The biology of how the brain works also supports this: learning and going through new experiences protects and improves the neurons' myelin sheath, enhancing cognitive function - more details about the science behind this in Amy Edmondson's book The Fearless Organization.

    How to foster Psychological Safety:
    - Leaders should show vulnerability to the organization
    - Mistakes are seen as learning opportunities
    - Showing concern for colleagues on a personal level
    - Creating a sentiment of mutual trust and belonging within the team
    - Encouraging people to step out of their comfort zone

    What prevents Psychological Safety in the workplace:
    - Public shaming or shaming in general.
    - Punishing mistakes instead of recognizing effort made and focusing on points of improvement.
    - Putting on a brave face even when it is unnecessary, for fear of being judged or ridiculed; not showing vulnerability.

    To join the conversation or get in touch, reach out to Liz Stefan on LinkedIn or send an email to liz[at]niftylearning.io.

    • 13 min
    Business Acumen in L&D

    Business Acumen in L&D

    In this episode, we take a look at Business Acumen: what does it mean in L&D, why it's essential to have this skillset, how it helps L&D professionals and organizations.

    Guest: Lavinia Mehedintu, People Experience Manager at eMAG and co-founder and curator of Offbeat.

    Highlights:
    * Business Acumen is a combination of skills and knowledge that, summed up, explains how well an L&D professional understands the business they operate in. Having Business Acumen means understanding how that business makes money, what it spends money on and what drives business performance.
    * L&D's role is to support business performance either by driving down cost or driving up revenue through skills and know-how development.
    * Having Business Acumen builds organizational trust in L&D.
    * L&Ds don't typically have this know-how for two main reasons: the main focus of L&Ds professionals is psychology-oriented, and the business' expectation of L&D is to execute upon request rather than to advise.
    * To acquire Business Acumen, L&Ds can: expose themselves to the operational and financial teams' work, take part in projects to practice business-specific skills, or learn about the industry from external sources (i.e., domain research papers, articles, podcasts).
    * Understanding business metrics and KPIs directly from operational and financial teams is essential for building them into effective learning interventions.
    * Prototyping learning interventions together with operational and financial teams ensures a close connection between business growth and learning.
    * Measuring the impact of a learning intervention is easier when you build business KPIs into learning program prototypes.
    * Understanding what drives a domain, a business, or an employee is the best way to exercise the support role that L&D has towards an organization.

    Business Acumen as a form of knowledge:
    - Understanding the business model
    - Knowing the drivers of profitability and cashflow
    - Understanding the interdependencies of the various business functions

    Business Acumen as a skill:
    - Knowing how to act based on the information above
    - Proposing and implementing L&D solutions that fit the need identifies
    - Forecasting the impact of these solutions and measuring results

    To join the conversation or get in touch, reach out to Liz Stefan on LinkedIn or send an email to liz[at]niftylearning.io.

    • 15 min
    Future Skills for L&D

    Future Skills for L&D

    In this episode, we take a quick dive into Future Skills: what they are, why they are relevant, who they are for and how to acquire future skills at your job.

    Guest: Lavinia Mehedintu, People Experience Manager at eMAG and co-founder and curator of Offbeat.

    Highlights:
    * The accelerated adoption of technology and automation is affecting the way we work; Future Skills enable employees and companies to cope with these changes sustainably.
    * With the pandemic as a catalyst for change towards digitization, the way organizations and people acquire skills has drastically changed.
    * Current formal education is not preparing young people to deal with how complex life can be, both professionally and personally, as it is designed based on an industrial mindset. Learning is not personalized to the individual.
    * People who now join the workforce can expect to change careers seven times over the course of their adult life.
    * Future Skills are relevant for employees at any step of their career, not just for young people joining the workforce. It is not a matter of age but instead of experience and each individual's mindset.
    * L&Ds can gauge the adoption and practice of Future Skills in the company by relying on People Analytics to track improvement in business metrics and behavior changes.
    * People Analytics helps L&Ds measure access to learning resources, career growth opportunities, internal transfers, engagement, retention.
    * More resources can be found by following Kevin Yates, Sam Allen, and software products that focus on People Analytics: Culture Amp, Lattice, Nifty Learning.

    Future Skills essentials:
    1. Adaptability, being able to welcome change
    2. Intentional learning - shared by McKinsey in August of 2020 and updated with a practical guideline published here, as seen in Offbeat Issues #13 and #47
    3. Growth mindset
    4. Innovation, Resourcefulness
    5. Data Awareness

    To join the conversation or get in touch, reach out to Liz Stefan on LinkedIn or send an email to liz[at]niftylearning.io.

    • 14 min

Customer Reviews

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criatiannn ,

Great actionable insights

Keep going with those amazing learning and development topics

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