Q&A: Empowering people to thrive at work using on-demand performance tools & resources
As consumers of content, we want to be able to access information at the click of a button – and there’s no reason workplace learning should be any different.
To adapt to this, the RSPCA are delivering on-demand performance tools and resources that empower people to perform, manage and lead. During this live session at Learning Technologies 2022, Colin Beaton, Senior Client Partner at Mind Tools for Business, and Jenny Martin, Learning & Development Manager at the RSPCA, participated in a Q&A to discuss how Mind Tools’ “in-the-moment” performance tools and resources have impacted employees and helped to drive results with real impact.
Q1: How has the RSPCA’s approach to organizational learning changed over the past two years?
A1: A change in working patterns meant that we needed to dramatically change our approach to learning. Like many organizations in the last two years, we have seen our employees move from a 9-5, office-based working model, to working from home full-time and then eventually settling on a hybrid working model.
We introduced core hours and more people are now working across various locations and have different working schedules. Although, saying that, our field-based teams cover the whole of England and Wales and many work irregular shift patterns. So, there was already a need for us to move away from face-to-face traditional “training” to a more flexible approach for people to access learning, so that they are not restricted by their location or working hours.
Q2: What were the drivers for the RSPCA to purchase Mind Tools for Business and what learning challenges had you had as an organization?
A2: Even before Covid-19 happened, we were looking to move away from traditional face-to-face training towards a more flexible, self-directed approach to learning. We launched a new organizational strategy last year which outlined our goal of becoming a more modern and inclusive organization, and the toolkit is one of the ways we are making that happen.
We wanted to give people the opportunity to access performance support at the point of need, to help build the capability of both our managers and team members in a way that is accessible to everyone, regardless of working hours or location. I also do not think we can ignore the fact that we are a charitable organization who receive no public funding, we are completely reliant on the generous donations we receive from the public to do the amazing animal welfare work that we do.
Moving towards more blended and digital learning solutions was really a necessity for us to ensure our people have the knowledge and skills they need, whilst making the most of our limited resources.
Q3: What have been the challenges faced by the RSPCA around remote and hybrid working, and how have Mind Tools for Business supported you with this?
A3: We have really had to adjust how we do things, like many other organizations over the last couple of years. We recently launched a new line manager development programme which we created and are delivering ourselves. We had expected to deliver some elements face-to-face but because of Covid-19, we have delivered the program entirely online.
The Mind Tools for Business resources have been a huge help in making this happen though, we have used them to top and tail the live learning we deliver online, meaning that we can get some of the theory out of the way and spend the time on meaningful conversations and activities to help managers apply the theory in their roles. It also means they can access detailed information on lots of the topics we cover in the program whenever they need it.
Q4: Have you got any examples of the positive changes you have observed with the development of leadership skills across your organization?
A4: Another big project our People & Culture team delivered last year was launching a new performance management process.
In 2020, only 50 percent of employees completed an annual appraisal, so we knew we would need to work hard to communicate and embed the process, as well as preparing managers and team members for the new process. We ran webinars throughout the year based on where we were in the performance management cycle and used Mind Tools resources and playlists to support people with the new process.
Looking back at 2021, our five most-viewed resources were all around feedback, objectives and development, and having these available for people to access as they were setting goals or preparing for meaningful conversations was a huge factor in making this happen for us. The resources and support we have been able to give people have helped managers to feel more prepared as they now know how to access the right content and find more help if they need it.
Q5: What has been the people impact in the RSPCA of using Mind Tools for Business?
A5: Well firstly, we have moved from an organization who believed you weren’t learning unless you were sitting in a classroom listening to people speak, to one where approximately 50 percent of our organization had accessed Mind Tools for Business on-demand resources in 2021.
For a charity that is almost 200 years old, and only in our second year of having the toolkit, we are incredibly pleased with how engaged people have been with it. We have a weekly scheduled email to all staff highlighting “What’s new in Mind Tools” and I’ve heard how one of our employees starts their Monday with a coffee and the highlighted Mind Tools resource. That change in how people access learning is one of the key things we wanted to get out of using the toolkit.
As people are getting more used to accessing bite-size learning in this way, it means we can provide more efficient bite-size solutions to other learning needs not covered by the toolkit, like rabbit welfare. People are taking time for learning now, where they didn’t before.
Q6: What have the benefits been to your organization’s performance working with Mind Tools for Business?
A6: Our Client Partner at Mind Tools has always been an incredible help and support for us. We’ve built a great relationship over the last couple of years and treat them as a trusted advisor. We can talk things through with them and get advice on how we can make the most of our toolkit. They also keep us connected with what other organizations are doing and what is going on across the industry.
As a team we have also benefited hugely from the resources we have access to. Some of us have come from more technical training backgrounds and may be earlier on in our L&D careers, so to be able to access high-quality content easily has helped us to learn and then be able to provide good advice to our managers and teams across the organization.
Want to learn more about how Mind Tools for Business can help your organization? Book a demo with one of our team today.
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