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How Nielsen built their Learning Culture with Employee-generated Learning
Mar 18, 2021
1 hour
Meghan Deere
Senior Customer Success Manager
Louise Puddifoot
Learning & Development Expert
Transcript
Welcome

Meghan 0:05 — Good afternoon, or good morning, everyone on behalf of Easygenerator. Thanks for joining and welcome to today’s webinar, where we will be diving into the why and how of implementing an Employee Generated Learning model. My name is Meghan and I am one of the Customer Success Managers here with Easygenerator. Before I do introduce our main presenter today, I do just want to go through a few housekeeping items. First, the session is going to be recorded today and we will send this out within the next week or so — for future reference for yourself or to share with other colleagues of yours who might have missed today’s session.  

 

And then secondly, throughout the session, my colleague Tessa and I will be monitoring the Q&A section of the meeting. So, in Zoom, there’s both a chat and a Q&A section. So, the chat will essentially be available as well and can be used for you to connect with other attendees or to share your thoughts. And you can choose either to send a message just to the three of us as panelists, or to all panelists and attendees if you want to share your thoughts with the entire group or connect with the rest of the attendees as well — so do be aware of that. However, if you do have a more specific question that you would like us to address, because we are going to have a more dedicated Q&A time at the end, you can certainly use the Q&A section. So please do that if you’d like us to answer your question when we get through the beginning of the presentation.  

 

So, to jump in and introduce the main speakers today — of course, I already introduced myself, Meghan, one of the Customer Success Managers here with Easygenerator — but our main speaker today is Louise Puddifoot and I will let her introduce herself and take it from here. 

 

Louise 2:03 — Great. Thank you, Meghan. Hello, everyone. I’m very excited to be able to talk with you all today about our journey of implementing Employee Generated Learning at Nielsen that started about six years ago. For those of you that don’t know Nielsen, it’s a global data and measurement company that measures what people watch and they buy — and it’s a fairly large global company. There’s a there was, in that time anyway, around 40,000 people in 100 countries. It’s more recently split into two separate companies, both of which continue to use Easygenerator today and have a strong culture of Employee Generated Learning living on there. So personally, I worked at Nielsen for many years, and while I was there, I led various Learning & Development-related initiatives and functions. And the Employee Generated Learning one is one, for me, that I’m particularly proud of because of its real breadth on the whole of the whole of the organization and the impact it had there. And the fact that it really empowered people to be able to share their knowledge with one another, share their expertise, and build that learning culture within the organization.  

 

I, myself, left Nielsen about three years ago now to set up my own Learning & Development consultancy. So that’s what I do now, and one of the things I do in that role is partner with Easygenerator to consult with some of their clients one-on-one to help coach them through how to launch Employee Generated Learning and make it a success in their own organizations. And I think there might be some of you that I’ve met previously and in that role, so hello to those of you that are on the call today as well that I’ve met before.  

 

So, I’m going to tell you a bit today about our background, to the decision to implement Employee Generated Learning in the first place, and then some of the considerations that we had, and the hurdles and the challenges that we had along the way and what we’ve learned. So, I hope that sharing our story will help you pick up some ideas, maybe some tips for success that will be useful for you as you embark on your own Employee Generated Learning journeys.  

Why EGL?

 

1. Sharpening the focus of the L&D team

So,to start with our backstory, why did we decide to go down this Employee Generated Learning approach? And for us actually, like many big corporates, I guess, we’d grown by acquisition over many, many years. And the organization was made up of lots of different business units, and they were all providing training for their own people in their own way. And as an organization, we decided to go through a consolidation exercise to bring all of those disparate teams — those disparate training teams — together to form one centralized L&D team. And there’s obvious benefits to doing that, you know, there’s economies of scale, you’re not duplicating effort, there’s cost savings as a result. And you have much more consistency in your approach. And so, it was really important than for that centralized team to be able to align with the business key strategic initiatives.  

 

And that kind of organization obviously comes with its own challenges, as I’m sure you can imagine. A big part of it was designing the team, matching people with new roles, deciding on our priorities, and all of that took quite a bit of time to get right, but that’s another story for another day. But fast forward, and we have the central team in place, and you know, now we’re really keen to focus that central Learning & Development team on the key strategic priorities for Nielsen, because that’s how we’re going to have the biggest impact. And whilst that sounds simple, it’s a lot harder than it sounds, given the team had inherited all of the work and all of the expectations from the previous teams from which it had been made up. And now there are going to be lots of things that we were going to have to decide effectively not to do as a result of taking that more strategic approach.  

 

So really sharpening our focus, as a central L&D team on those strategic priorities meant there were other training needs that were going to go unmet, that there were things that we would need to stop doing. And we tend to find generally that deciding what not to do is always harder than deciding what to do, because there’s always a reason that everything’s done and a reason to do everything. So, it’s really key to make those difficult decisions — have those difficult conversations and agree what not to do. And that was quite hard for us at first, because we didn’t really have clear guidelines, in terms of how to make those choices. But then over time, we put those guidelines together and made it much simpler, and I’ll share a little bit of that with you a bit later as well.  

 

2. Build a culture of learning

So, once we clear on what our focus is, and the work that we’re going to be doing, then we need to find a way to support the learning needs of the business that we’re not going to be addressing from the central L&D team, and how are we going to support them without us actually creating the learning materials ourselves. And that was where we really realized that we needed to have that Employee Generated Learning provision for the organization. And that was really the key driver. As well as that, we also wanted to be able to build that culture of learning in the organization. And for me, that’s something I personally feel very passionate about. I’m very excited to develop a global learning culture where people can build their own learning.  

 

There is so much knowledge in the organization that can go  unshared, and it’s so powerful to be able to share it more effectively. I think most of you probably work in in Learning & Development, in some way, shape or form, you’re probably familiar with the 70-20-10 model of Learning & Development where 70% comes from hands-on experience, 20% from other people, 10% from formal learning. And we were really keen to support that 20% the learning that comes from other people, and Employee Generated Learning really helped us do that. And we know it’s great when people can learn from each other, you know, face-to-face, or by meeting each other, but they don’t always have the access to the people that they need in real-time. And, potentially, that’s become even more challenging in this last year as we’ve all been working more and more virtually as well. So, bringing in Employee Generated Learning and the Easygenerator tool really enabled us to help people be able to capture and share their knowledge with each other in a really efficient and effective way. And build that culture of learning in the organization.  

 

And so, there’s a few key things that we wanted to focus on in terms of the benefits of that high performance learning culture. So firstly, operational efficiency. Sharing knowledge really increases the productivity of your teams, people can work faster, they can work smarter, as they get easier access to the internal resources and the expertise within the organization. They have the information they need to do their jobs, things don’t get delayed, etc. Also, limiting the skill gap by sharing knowledge and providing training about certain decisions or certain procedures. New people or people new to a task can easily acquire new sets of skills — unlike if all the information sits with just one or a few experts, it can create a bottleneck and it can create vulnerabilities. It also supported our focus on employee engagement. It helped people get access to the learning resources that they needed to do their jobs and it helped them get more opportunities to learn and grow. And in fact, for us a couple of years, actually, after we partnered with Easygenerator, we went on a big employee engagement initiative. It became one of our strategic priorities. So, being able to connect how it supported that as a priority was really helpful and I think it is always really important to stay relevant to the strategic priorities of the organization as they evolve. And then finally, recognition. We know that recognition at work is one of the most powerful motivators that really contributes to employee retention and engagement. And when people get that opportunity to share their knowledge, it can help raise their profile, help get them more exposure, help other people see them as an expert, and help build their reputation.  

 

So that was kind of our rationale for why we went down this journey. And before I move on to tell you a bit more about how we did it, we’re really keen to know where you are in your organization on this Employee Generated Learning journey. So, you should be able to see a poll question come up on your screen now. If you can let us know — have you never heard of it really until now? Is this the first you’re hearing? Is it something you’ve been considering? Have you started out? Started to make some progress? You’re some way there? All the way through to “have you successfully built an Employee Generated Learning culture?” Great, can see lots of you voting there. I’ll give you a little bit more time — few more people to vote. 

 

Okay, brilliant. 

 

So, you should be able to see the results now. Interesting. So yes, we’ve got 44% never heard of it or considering it. So almost half are quite early on in the journey. So I’m glad you’re here. Good timing to think about the benefits and how to go about it. Large proportion of you are starting out — perfect. So that will be really good to help you along your journeys as well, I hope. And some of you are partway there, and a few of you are already all the way there — fantastic — having successfully built the culture. So that’s really interesting to see that spread, and I really encourage you if you’ve got any other experiences yourselves or any other suggestions that you want to share in the chat pane as we go — particularly those of you who have who are already on this journey — then we’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions as well. 

Implementing EGL

 

The Head, Heart, Habit changes needed to successfully implement EGL 

 

So that gives you some background as to our “why,” but how did we do it? And there were two sides to that, really fast. Firstly, there’s the political and the cultural side. So that’s how to navigate the organization, how to get buy-in how to deal with push-backs — all that stuff. And then there’s the tactical side: how do you actually support people to actually do it? And I think that the political and cultural piece is, by far, the toughest — at least it was for us. The tactical side does, of course, require lots of thought and lots of effort, but there’s lots of support from Easygenerator for that bit. So that bit’s may be a bit more straightforward, although it does require dedicated effort for sure.  

 

So, if we start with thinking of that political and cultural side, we identified that there were three key audiences that we needed to convince along the way — and I’ll talk you through this, but I really encourage you to think about what this would look like in your organization as we go through this. So, the first key audience we had was what I call the approvers, so, the budget holders, the decision makers, senior leaders. The second audience are the conduits. So, they’re kind of the enablers — the vehicles to the end users. So, they typically might be your HR community or other people playing that kind of role. And then finally, the end users are the people that are going to actually be going in — the employees that are going to be building the learning themselves and taking the learning themselves.  

 

And I like to use this personal change model: Head, Heart, Habit. I like this model because it’s really simple and easy to use, and it’s really simple and easy to remember. So, I like to think about things in terms of how we appeal to all three of those. So firstly, if we think about the Head, that’s the thinking piece, the logic piece, the business strategy, the plan — that side of things. The Heart is the feeling, the “why,” the emotion, the “what’s in it for me,” the call-to-action — whatever the good or the bad factors are that are involved. And then the Habit is the doing — how you do it, how you make it easy to implement the change on a day-to-day basis, and the detailed steps that are going to be involved.  

 

So, for us, our main approvers were the budget holders. So, the President of Talent Engagement and Development and the Chief HR Officer, first and foremost. And, for us, this was a relatively easy conversation in that they wanted us to focus on the strategic priorities; their strategic priorities. So, the work that we were doing was really supporting that reorganization, supporting that strategy and enabling a better performance. From an emotional perspective, it was focused on their priorities — it would make them look good, and it also meant we had all those things that we were going to stop doing covered. In terms of habit, their time commitment was small, so they didn’t really need much in the way of tools. The main thing they needed was a really simple guideline for what was in and out of scope for the central team versus Employee Generated Learning, which I’ll share with you in a moment. And that was what they needed to really help them communicate with other leaders in the business that they might be talking to when they were sharing how this would all work. And obviously, this piece is really critical, because any organizational change, as I’m sure many of you know, requires senior leadership support to be successful. So, you do really need to get this bit right, and keep these approvers and the stakeholders informed and supportive as you progress.  

 

The next group, the conduits. For us, we had talent business partners that were the connection really between the central Learning & Development team and the wider business. In other businesses, you may well have HR business partners or an HR community playing that role. And they would really launch the initiatives that we were creating in the central Learning & Development team out to the business and they would get feedback on those. And they would also get requests from the business in terms of the kind of training that they needed. So, they want to keep their local clients happy, and being asked to push back or say no to things coming into the central teams hard for them. So, we needed to be able to support them to be able to do that. 

 

So, for them, the Head piece is really around understanding the how it supports the overall strategy. The benefits are that this is a quick and simple tool. There was no direct cost to them, it was covered by the central team. And the emotional piece was a bit tougher because we were basically asking them to say no to more than they would have had to say no to in the past. A negative message is typically not something that people want to be delivering — people are naturally resistant to delivering that negative message. So, we needed to be able to give them some guidance on how to communicate that. And some of that’s negative — it’s this or nothing, we’re not doing it. But it’s very clear. But also the positives of the approach and that this is enabling people to share their knowledge. And this was actually one of the toughest parts of the transition for me. I certainly came under attack once or twice in meetings and things like that, and had to navigate situations where people weren’t keen to go along with this journey of change. And we’d see things like people misrepresenting a project to try and make it appear to be in scope for the L&D team, or people trying to like not go through the proper process and go around the back door — through the back door — to access designers to get them to do stuff without working through the process that we had to navigate, all of those kinds of things as well. But then to be successful, we needed to give them what they needed, how to communicate the change and where to point people so that they could be successful.  

 

And then finally, the end users were basically the people that were creating the learning. So, for them, they get to own it. It’s quick, they don’t have to go through the central L&D team, they can do things as they want, but they are fully supported. They get to share their knowledge, they get to share their expertise, they can easily keep it up-to-date, easily maintain it, and it can be good for their career recognition, people like it, people thank them for sharing that their expertise, that kind of thing. And then they obviously need the full toolkit in terms of how they can then go about building Employee Generated Learning. And at that time, six years ago, we set up a kind of central hub in the business called My Training Builder, where we housed everything that they would need to be able to create Employee Generated Learning. And actually, over those years, the amount of resources that Easygenerator offer has grown beyond what we had then and is amazing now. So, I feel like there are so many resources that you can pull on from Easygenerator to support that. And then it’s just really making sure that you have the whole end-to-end process covered within your organization.  

 

And one positioning tip, I guess I’d give at this point is that communicating it as “this is a way of making it easy for employees to share their expertise” worked a lot better than saying that we’re asking employees to create training. And effectively, that’s what we’re doing, we’re giving them an opportunity to share their expertise in a nice, easy, efficient way. We’re not asking them to become training experts in the same way that a member of the L&D team is. 

 

So, the exact details of this will no doubt look a bit different in your organization but I really encourage you to go through this process of mapping your various groups of stakeholders and considering what you’ll need to do to support them on the journey from a Head, Heart and Habit perspective.  

 

Where to draw the line

One of the things we found really helpful as we did this, particularly at the approver level, was having data to back up our story and informing our decision-making, particularly for those Head communications. And one thing we referred to was something called the “long tail of needs” that you can see pictured here. And here, we’re referring to the idea that there are many learning needs in the organization that fall outside of the scope of the central L&D team. So, the area in light orange on the left is the few initiatives that impact a large number of employees. And the area in the darker orange is the large number of initiatives that impact a much smaller number of employees per initiative. So, we didn’t gather actual data to make this chart. But we found it a real helpful way of illustrating that there is this long tail and that’s what Employee Generated Learning is there to support, and we do need a solution for it but the L&D team is still focused on this key strategic bit on the left there.  

 

We did have some visibility to things like the amount of time Learning & Development team members were spending on projects. So, we kept a record of the projects that had come in — even though we didn’t actually record the time we worked on it, we could estimate it given the nature and size of the project. So, we could build a simple tool that would classify projects in terms of their size and their complexity, and estimate the number of hours a project would take. So, we also use that for our planning. We could say that those projects that were shifting to Employee Generated Learning, and how much time that would mean that we were saving, and how much time that would then mean we were using, instead, to support those strategic priorities. So that was also a helpful argument.  

 

And then we could use the argument, the benefit of the employee expertise in the business and how many people there were able to share their knowledge and the impact that that had.  

 

We also needed to communicate the investment and the benefit in terms of why we were going down this path and buying this tool. And within the team, we reviewed a number of different suppliers. And the people in the team working on that did a really nice job of putting themselves in the end user shoes and selecting a product in Easygenerator that was really easy for people in the business to use, rather than something that a learning designer might not be used to using, I should say. And also, that it was really good value for money we felt at the time. So, we were able to show the diligence and our selection in terms of what we’d looked at and what our considerations were and the benefits and the cost of the tool to help give people confidence that this was a good decision. And for us that was really important because we were in an environment where budgets are being cut. So, we had to show wise use of spend.  

 

So, the data you use or need may be different to this. But having that benefit of using data to make decisions and to appeal to that Head piece when communicating is really powerful in backing up your plans and giving people confidence in what you’re doing.
 

Provided clarity and assurance

The next thing we did, which I’ve mentioned, is we provided a guideline in terms of how we would decide what would be generated by the Learning & Development team, and what would be generated by employees in the business. And this is a kind of outline of what that looked like. You can see it’s very simple. We did start off with something actually way more complicated that just didn’t work and ended up with something really simple. Simple’s always good.  

 

For us, we were in a business at that time, that was 40,000 employees. So, for us to take a project into the L&D team, it needed to be targeted at least 5000 of those 40,000 — 1/8 of the business. It needed to have global reach, it needed to be aligned with one of our business’ top five strategic priorities, and it needed to have a senior-level stakeholder. And then, if it didn’t fulfill those criteria, then we would say, “okay, it’s Employee Generated Learning.” There was one exception to this, which was all agreed upfront, which was our leadership development program, which obviously had a lower number of employees, but was such a strategic priority that it still felt with in the realms of L&D team.  

 

So, there’s really great value in having something like this, it keeps you on track, it makes sure your focus is correct. And without this when things are vague, they are definitely much more open to different interpretations, and also more open to individual personalities influencing decisions. So having these clear criteria made it easier for us — and other approvers and other stakeholders in the business — to be able to guide people to communicate with them and to push back. And when they didn’t need to push back and say it isn’t something that L&D team will do, they can share these criteria, rather than it feeling like it’s their personal decision to reject — it’s much easier for them.  

 

It also offered really good reassurance for the central L&D team because it can be the case that when you start going down this Employee Generated Learning path, it can potentially feel a little bit threatening or uncomfortable to the central L&D team in terms of, you know “but I normally do this with the expertise, how is this possible? What does this mean for me?” Especially in our organization, whether it was a massive time of change and reorganization. But this clearly illustrated what remains in the L&D team, what they’ll be working on, what their future looks like. So, they found that quite reassuring as well. 

 

So again, no doubt, this would look a bit different in your organization but having some kind of guideline is really, really helpful, I’d really recommend it. 

Challenges with EGL

The hurdles that came along and how these were solved

So then let’s think about some of the challenges that we came up against which, again, from the one-to-one conversations I’ve had with other Easygenerator clients seem to come up in a few conversations.  

 

“But the quality won’t be good enough”

One of those is around quality. Basically, a common pushback is that the quality of Employee Generated Learning won’t be as good as L&D would create. And I think, particularly when you’re looking at it as moving the work that used to sit in L&D to the business, people in the business can feel like they’re being asked to be training experts and people in L&D think “there’s no way that anyone can create training the way I do.” But there is a place for expertise. And there is a place for good enough. And for me, this comes back to that positioning around making it easy for employees to be able to more effectively share their expertise and learn from each other.  

 

So, it’s not about asking employees to become training experts. An analogy we would talk about would be talking about YouTubers or bloggers. Anyone can successfully post on YouTube, anyone can write a blog, and the content is useful for the right audience. They don’t all need to be trained actors or trained writers. Although there are some really slick, professional YouTubers out there, there are many more YouTubers who are amateurs who are sharing their expertise. So, for example, if you’re doing some home renovations, and you need to know how to paint a straight line, how to cut in — if you find a YouTube video that shows you how to do that. All you care about is that it’s good enough to give you the information you need. You probably don’t care how fancy the backdrop is, what the presenter’s wearing, what equipment they’re using. You just need it to be good enough to show you what to do. You don’t need it to be a work of art. 

 

Another analogy I’d use comes back to this picture of the baby. So, I personally have a passion for psychology. And the phrase good enough was bought into prominence in writings about psychology by the pediatric psychiatrist Winnicott. And he was talking at the time about the development of small babies, and emphasizing the role that what he would call the mother — what we would now call the primary carer — has in their development. And I guess the relevant point is that a mother only needs to be good enough, she doesn’t need to be perfect. He would say, you know, a good mother learns best how to look after their baby, not from books or healthcare professionals, but from going through that process themself and learning themselves. They don’t necessarily need an expert. And he wanted to take the pressure off mothers — that they don’t have to be perfect and that they can just get on with what they need to do.  

 

And I think there’s a similarity there with the SMEs — the business’ subject matter experts — and the business, and that they know better about the needs for sharing their knowledge with the people in their area of the business than the L&D experts. Taking the pressure off making perfect training and just enabling them to get on and do it and share their knowledge easily is really the only effective way to do that. 

 

So, the idea of perfect training, for every training, is also just not realistic — we’re just never going to have the capacity to do that. And even if we did, it wouldn’t really offer any additional benefit. If you think about this presentation today, that photo is taken from a free photo website called Unsplash. It’s good enough for our needs now. I could have hired a photographer, I could have made a video, but it wouldn’t really have offered any additional benefits. You have to know where to stop; where it’s good enough.  

 

Of course, you might need a more professional L&D solution for a big strategic global rollout. But the same level of attention is not needed for a local team need. And then I think it’s thinking about the benefits of Employee Generated Learning, which are really the speed and the efficiency with which they can be created, and also how easily they can be updated directly by the experts themselves. We know that sometimes creating training through L&D can take a little bit longer depending on what we’re doing. Sometimes it can be expensive, depending on if we’re using external vendors and that kind of thing. 

 

Now, I just want to note that I’m not suggesting that Employee Generated Learning quality can be rubbish — we definitely don’t want it to be rubbish, it does have to be good enough. Good enough is still good. And we still want it to be understandable and useful to the people that are using it. And Easygenerator provide all of the tools and the support that people need to make sure that those e-learnings are good through their onboarding and their support and they’re tools like objective generator and their best practices and their templates, and that kind of that kind of thing. And we wanted to really make sure that those employees in the business generating learning had access to all of those tools. 

 

One of the things that I love about Easygenerator is they’re always innovating their support, always doing new things. I know recently, they’ve launched the new Resources — the Checklist and the How-to guides. I think you have a webinar on that next week, don’t you, Tessa? So, there’s always new stuff coming to help support people. And for us, it was just really making sure people could get access to what they needed quickly and easily. 

 

“But we don’t have time for this”

Another challenge we often heard from the business was “but we don’t have time for this,” which is fair enough, right? We’re asking them maybe to do something extra. And it’s kind of an instinctive reaction, isn’t it, to us when we’re being asked to do something additional when we’re already busy? No matter what we’re being asked to do, if you’re already busy and someone asks you to take on something new, a typical immediate feeling or reaction can be that you don’t have time. And to some extent, it’s true. We do appreciate that employees have day jobs. They’re juggling lots of balls and it isn’t always easy to juggle everything.  

 

But I think when someone says they don’t have time for something, the first thing is to accept that’s typically usually a knee-jerk reaction. So, it’s helpful to sympathize and help explain more about it. Because what they’re really saying when they don’t have time is that it’s not their priority. So, then it’s thinking about: should it be their priority, and if so, why? Which kind of comes back to that whole Head-Heart-Habits thing. What’s the rationale for this? What’s the strategy? This is quick, this is no cost, they have ownership, there’s no more back-and-forth with L&D, they can update it easily, there’s a tool that’s really easy to use. There’s all that logic. And then there’s thinking about: how do you get your employees excited and feeling empowered and recognized for doing this? Do they feel good about sharing their expertise? What’s in it for them? Are they repeatedly teaching other people in the business the same thing? In the long run will it save them time because they won’t have to address so many questions, all that kind of thing. Will it be good for their career? All that kind of thing. And then it’s back to those habits — how you get them started, and how you kind of hold their hand at the beginning to get them started knowing that their upfront investment of time will pay back.  

 

User support from beginning to end

I’ve mentioned the support that we offered and the support that Easygenerator offered. And I think our L&D team did a really nice job — the team did a great job putting this together. Bear in mind, we started working with Easygenerator when they didn’t have all the resources they have today. We built a toolkit to support them, that we called My Training Builder. And we really wanted to help them with a couple of things, I suppose. One, how do they turn their SME expertise into training? And how do they use the tool, which is the easy bit really. So, we created this to support people from the beginning to the end of the process. And it was basically an internal hub; an internal website that contained everything they need.  

 

Now, I think most of those resources and support that you need is all available from Easygenerator, I think it’s about thinking of the end-to-end process. Things like: once it’s created, what’s the process for how it then gets loaded to the LMS in your organization, for example. Or before it’s created, what’s the process for how do they know if this already exists in your organization, or if they need to create something. So, you kind of need to think about the whole end-to-end process. But definitely leverage that Easygenerator resources as much as you can rather than create your own.  

 

The other thing we did is we also used our social media group as a place for people to ask questions and support each other. And we would offer support initially there as well so they had a place to go as they were working through things. Interestingly, we started off pretty much with offering no in-person support. So, I guess my mindset was, well, this is Employee Generated Learning. And if we support them, then we’ll end up doing all so they have to work out for themselves — we have to give them a toolkit and then leave them to it. And actually, that turned out not to work. We did realize that people did need at the very beginning, definitely a little bit more hand-holding. So, we did end up changing that approach to providing a little bit more support from the instructional design team in the beginning. And that was really just, you know, “have I done it right? Should I launch it now? Any help maybe with a little bit of troubleshooting?” So, we did a lot of that ad hoc. But really, as much as anything it’s to give people confidence and encouragement to actually feel like what they’ve created is good enough and that they can go ahead and launch it.  

 

I don’t want to label that too much because I know Easygenerator do have a lot of support on offer, which is fabulous. But I think my key point is just to make it easy. In real life, outside of work, people are used to being able to create and share content really simply, often in a matter of seconds. And so, it’s really important for us in L&D to aspire to make everything we offer as simple and as quick as possible. People can use templates and things like that so they don’t have to create stuff from scratch. And really just to forgo fancy extras and complexity in favor of simplicity and speed. So that that end-to-end workflow is really straightforward.  

 

I’m going to just hand over to Meghan quickly now so that she can tell you a little bit more about the support that’s offered by Easygenerator.
 

 

Make the most of support offered by Easygenerator 

 

Meghan 39:30  Yes, thank you Louise. So as Louise was mentioning, it’s about supporting the authors from the end-to-end experience. But from our perspective, to really enhance the experience of authors during the content creation actually in Easygenerator, and be able to take the burden of supporting those authors off of the customers who feel like they maybe need to do that fully themselves. Easygenerator’s customer success and customer support teams are — for lack of a better word — obsessed with providing top notch support to the authors working in the tool. Now we do this in a few different ways.  

 

The first one is via the in-app chat support, which was in the screenshot previously, or on the previous page, where our support team chats with and responds to authors in in real-time as they’re in in the tool and actually working. They can give advice, answer questions help with any troubleshooting needed while the authors are in there, in the course creation. And this way authors can really get help immediately from our team of actual real human beings responding back to you, not just a bot who may or may not understand what it is you’re actually asking. I think we’ve kind of all been there probably in in needing support on other online tools before so. 

 

And then secondly, myself and the rest of the customer success team host live product onboarding sessions, and then best practice sessions and various webinars to ensure that authors not only know how to use the tool from a practical perspective, but then also ensures that they’re aware of how to apply best practices in e-learning creation to really get the best use out of the tool. And then as well, as you can see on the screen here, we do also have a knowledge base with multiple self-help guides to support those more independent learners as well. Now we do kind of all of this because subject matter experts who make up the majority of authors in Easygenerator don’t typically have a background in e-learning creation. So, while our tool is already built around the idea of simplicity and ease of use, our main goal is to also support authors beyond just providing an easy tool to ensure the content created is instructionally sound for a high-quality output. So essentially, you can really see myself and the rest of the team as a partner in rolling out a successful Employee Generated Learning approach at your own company. 

 

Louise 42:05   Great, thank you so much, Megan.  

 

Meghan 42:06 — Sure 

 

Louise 42:06  Thanks for the comments. Yep, Megan and Tessa do definitely rock. 

 

Meghan 42:12   I did not pay them to say that, I promise. 

 

Measurement, feedback and celebration 

 

Louise 42:15  So, thanks. So, you’ve done it. When you get to the other side, you’ve got your stakeholders convinced you tools are in place, people are out there, they’re using Easygenerator support, they’re creating their training, what’s next? So, a few final things to think about how you’re going to measure success. I generally find it most useful when you have a mixture of quantitative and qualitative measurement. So, from a quantitative perspective, we measured the number of trainings created, the usage of those trainings, and then we also looked at things like the number of social media posts we had on our Help page and things like that. From a qualitative perspective, we looked at what was being created. And with the most successful projects, we then identified what was behind them being successful, and we also use that as case studies and success stories to share with the organization, which was really powerful to be able to share those success stories.  

 

We also provided positive feedback to the end users creating courses to help motivate them to carry on and help them feel part of a community of people that were creating courses. And I think we did a pretty good job of celebrating within that community and giving them that feedback. One thing I think we could have done better was the wider celebration. So, I think really doing more formal initiatives to recognize success and celebrate more broadly in the organization. It’s always a challenge in a big organization because you’re effectively competing with many other business initiatives for attention. But I think if I was having my time, again, I’d really focus on creating more of those success stories and really making sure we really celebrate and reward people who have been really successful at using the tool.  

 

If I summarize what we did well, I think — although I’m obviously no longer personally at Nielsen — the wonderful team that continues to work with Easygenerator. It’s been there for six years or so, and is really a part of the way that the business works. I think the reasons behind that is we have really strong support from the top — leaders owning that decision and supporting it. We’ve always had a really clear plan and really quick, clear roles. It’s a real team effort with the learning and design team, working on the projects, getting creative about how it implements it and implementing those ideas. And I feel like, in partnership with Easygenerator, we made it really easy for the end users and putting ourselves in their shoes. So, we really focused on thinking like a person in the business, not thinking like a person in L&D.  

 

Things I would do better if I had my time again — I think the bit in the middle with the conduits; the HR community. there’s more we could have done there to support them. They had the most difficult message. Really making sure they had clarity and the communication resources they need is really important. As I’ve said, going bigger with formal recognition and celebration, really raising people’s profile in the organization. And then something I haven’t particularly mentioned, but, we really focused on learning. I think it would be a phase two to really consider the broader use cases for turning other static things into something more digital. So, things like the comms team or client presentations could be an example. And I do know that Easygenerator has had a lot of success with other use cases with sales teams or communication departments, with other clients. And I think probably the recent launches of resources supports that as well and many of you may already be using that. 

Key takeaways

Key success takeaways to implement this approach in your organization 

 

So finally, before we move on to Q&A, key recommendations: 

 

  1. Identify and convince your key audiences. Do take the time to do some proper stakeholder mapping. Use that table I’ve shared to think about what your different groups of people need, from a Head, Heart and Habit perspective. 
  2. Use data to support those decisions. It’s always easier to convince people when you’ve got some numbers behind you. Put in some simple, easily accessible data measures that support your strategy. 
  3. Provide clarity in terms of what training will be generated by the L&D team versus user generated. When people don’t have clarity, they tend to make up the worst-case scenario. S,o making it really clear why you’re doing this and what part one initiatives will be involved is really important. 
  4. Support the end-to-end needs of those users. Put yourself in their shoes.
  5. And don’t do it alone. There is so much amazing support available from Easygenerator, as some of you obviously already know, so do leverage that. 

 

So, thank you very much for indulging me in telling our story. All of your cases will be a little bit different to ours. But I do hope that there is some things here that you can take and apply to your own initiatives. And we now have 10 minutes or so for any questions that you have, which Megan, Tessa and I will be happy to answer. 

Q&A

Meghan 47:31  Yes, thank you, Louise. Maybe just first to say thank you as well for sharing your story. I think this is a really interesting one and one that — while it might not align perfectly with where you’re at in your own organization — I think it’s very relevant, let’s say for a lot of our customers. So really great to hear. We do, of course, already have a few questions that are coming through or that came through the Q&A. You touched on this a bit as well, just mentioning kind of the broader range of content that can be created. But do you have any examples of some of the content that was actually created at Nielsen via Employee Generated Learning? 

 

Louise 48:11 — Yeah, all sorts. It was used by lots and lots of different departments across the business. So, it was used to do things — so, if I think we implemented a new sales process and a new sales tool, and it was used to provide training in terms of that process and their sales tool — it was used to support other initiatives in the organization. We’ve had some kind of very process related things in different departments, different teams in terms of how they work. And then some more skill-based things around — even things like diversity and inclusion, we’ve used it to cover topics and that feels. A real full range in terms of how we’ve used it. And not only did we use it in the business, but we used it also in the actual L&D team. So, it became one of the tools in our toolkit that was used alongside other tools as well. 

 

Meghan 49:10  Right. Yeah, exactly. And there was another question as well, that maybe goes along with that slightly. Where was it that you actually store the materials created by employees? Did you all use a Learning Management System specifically, or maybe a hybrid of the two, let’s say? 

 

Louise 49:27 — Yeah, we use a Learning Management System. So, we had to learn Learning Management System already in place. And we asked anyone part of the process that we provided, was once you’ve completed your Easygenerator learning then this is how you get it loaded to the LMS. To be honest, we did need to simplify our process. So, our process wasn’t ideal. And it was convoluted in lots of touch points. So, we had to make that really easy as well to make sure people could upload it to the LMS really well. I think you could do it either way, you can obviously access things directly from Easygenerator. If you don’t want to go down that approach, I really do think it depends on your organizational strategy to learning. We really wanted to be able to measure everything, so that was our driver. 

 

Meghan 50:18 — Great to know. Great. Maybe just to say from our perspective as well, just for other customers in general: I think that one of the beautiful parts about Employee Generated Learning is that it can be flexible. So, whether you all at your own company do work in a Learning Management System specifically, or you have SharePoint or anything like that — Workplace, etc. — that you perhaps already communicate with employees is that you can actually be flexible with where you’re storing this information or sharing it. If it’s, you know, more of a formal training, I think a Learning Management System is great, of course, but you know, with moving also to the way the world is communicating these days as well, being online, I think that it’s great to be flexible as well, and then almost have a hybrid.  

 

Perfect. And then there was another question as well, about actually, maybe more specifically to the hand-holding, let’s say, or the support that we were providing, or that you all provided to the learners. How would you say the process looked from a feedback or review? Or were you all performing quality checks with the employees as well in the in the courses that they were creating? 

 

Louise 51:34 — Yeah, so if I think about that in two halves: in terms of the hand holding — and looking at one of the questions about giving the work back to the business and expecting a lot of resistance — I think we did get that resistance. I think, firstly, be prepared. So, think about the challenges you’re likely to get and think about how you’ll address them. And you can do that within your L&D team, so you’ve all thought through those challenges and how you’re going to address them together. And then be clear on the pros and cons. So yes, “we aren’t going to do as much for you directly as we used to,” might be the fact, and be honest about that. But then you need the other things you need — “it’s really easy, it’s really quick, this is how you do it, we’ve made it really simple for you, and actually, the benefits are you can do it yourself, which is more straightforward, or you can update it yourself, you have more control — blah, blah, blah. And having that community to support them as well, if that’s relevant in your organization, so they don’t feel like they’re just being dumped on that they still feel supported.
 

Meghan 52:40  Sure. 
 

Louise 52:42 — And then I think in terms of the process — so for Employee Generated Learning, we don’t really have a quality process. So, it’s different than how we deal with learning generated by the L&D team where we do have quality checks and things like that, on the learning that we produce for. For Employee Generated Learning, we made the decision that we needed to be hands-off and that we needed to give freedom. We didn’t feel like we could be successful if we asked people to build your own learning — “you’re, you’re off, you can do what you like,” — and then we kind of policed it. I feel like that would have been a really mixed message.  

 

You can’t really say to people, “okay, we’re asking you to share your knowledge, we’re not expecting you to be a training expert, but actually, I’m going to police it and check it’s good enough.” I think you have to be able to let go, which can be quite hard when you’re used to working a different way in L&D. But it is something different. You have to be able to accept and this is something different than what we’re doing in L&D. It’s like giving them PowerPoint or Google Slides and then saying, “I need to check your deck every time you’re going to share that information with people in the business,” — you’re not going to do that. So, it’s the same thing. You’re going to set them up for success, by all means, but then you have to pretty much set them free. And you can. I mean it does self-police a bit because if it’s really rubbish, people won’t use it and won’t look at it. And if it’s really good people will share it around. So, it will be okay. 

 

Meghan 54:16  Yeah, and maybe just from our perspective as well. One thing that we also will support on or suggest is having a peer review your course before you submit it. We do have an external review feature in Easygenerator where you can send your course for a quick review. And so, whether it’s something that’s done by someone in the Learning & Development team is different than perhaps your colleague. But just having someone have their eyes on your course as well before you publish really does up the quality as well. So, it doesn’t necessarily need to be someone that’s fully trained, let’s say, so yeah, I fully agree. 

 

Great. Let me see. I believe there were a couple questions, but you’ve kind of touched on them as well, already. But perhaps there was one specific question just to touch on again in terms of how to respond to the business. So, if someone is kind of giving a bit of resistance to adopting this idea, do you have any tips on how to work with those arguments a bit? 

 

Louise 55:23 — Yeah, I think it comes back to the overarching strategy for why you’re doing this. You have to be able to articulate the strategy, that it’s not just, “hey, I’ve decided I can’t be bothered to do your work anymore, you’re going to have to do it yourself.” This is, “we’ve made this decision because these are the benefits of the decision, it is a business decision.” And then empathy is helpful. You can sympathize with them, “yeah, I do realize that this is something that is asking potentially for additional resource, but the benefits are, we have made it simple — blah, blah, blah — it actually probably won’t, hopefully won’t take you more time in the long run because you’ll be able to do it yourself, etc.” And I feel like it’s — when we went on that journey, it was like little wins. You’re not necessarily — like everyone’s here and you want to get them to here. But in the beginning, you just need to aim for here. So, you don’t need everyone to agree that they’re all going to go and create an e-learning tomorrow, but you need to find those one or two people that are willing to do that, and then help them to be successful and just start to make that change and create that culture. And then it kind of spreads from there once you’ve got the first ones through. 

 

Meghan 56:41  Perfect. Well, great. Well, I believe that we did touch on all of the questions that we received. And yeah, it was just a couple minutes left, maybe it’s a good time to wrap up. I know, it’s always back-to-back meetings these days in the online world. So perhaps we can we can wrap up. But if there is anything additional from questions that you perhaps have, you can always reach out to us here. And we are more than happy to address those separately. But yeah, Louise, any last comments from your side? 

 

Louise 57:17 — Well, thank you so much. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share all this with you. And it is a really powerful thing to be able to give your people in the organization another way to share their knowledge in a really efficient and effective way. So, I really, really encourage you to go down that journey and really wish you all the best of luck as you embark on that. 

 

Meghan 57:44  Thank you as well, again, Louise. Really helpful. And I think a lot of positive feedback already in the chat. So yes, if you do have any follow up questions, you can always reach out to either myself or maybe one of the Customer Success Managers that are already in touch with and we’re happy to continue the conversation from here. But as I mentioned, this is being recorded so we will send out the recording to you all within the next week or so. But yeah, wish you all a nice rest of your day, and good luck on your journey. 

 

Louise 58:15  Thank you very much.