One year ago we launched the AirBnB of Corporate Learning: a Social Learning Marketplace where employees learn and teach each other for tomorrow. 5000 employees at Swisscom Enterprise Customers are the ones who decide, create and execute corporate learning. Content is developed either internally or sourced externally; the same thing goes for trainers. The Corporate L&D team, called ENT Academy, doesn’t create any content anymore nor does it perform any trainings. It transformed from a training department to a learning organisation enabler.
Market Side 1: Employees
Employees want to secure their long-term employability, agilely improve their skills to achieve their annual goals and share their experience through networking with colleagues. As an employer, we want to be an attractive environment for our employees and differentiate ourselves through our employees on the market.
Market Side 2: Training Content
Training content can be from any source (internally or externally produced), any format (one-to-many or peer-to-peer), role or theme-based. Content is only required to be relevant for business success, from credible sources and delivering a great user experience.
Social Learning Marketplace: bringing 2 markets together
The marketplace is organised along with themes that were decided by our board of directors:
- sales & services
- infrastructure (Hardware & Software engineering)
- methods & processes
The goal is to professionalise four critical roles of which the board believes that these have the most significant impact on business success. Organising the marketplace in this way also allows for natural expansion towards other themes. Driving themes even starts breaking down information silos inside business units.
The first goal we have at ENT Academy is to support in bringing back the winning spirit. Digitalisation is bringing job insecurity to employees who have a fixed mindset. These employees we support towards having an agile mindset. This creates a willingness to share knowledge and teach others.
The second goal is to enable business performance improvement. That concretely means that the L&D team empowers the organisation to close their skill gap so that annual business targets can be achieved. This is done by making it easy to create and deliver corporate training. An LMS that offers a great user experience from both learner and teacher perspective. Employees are enabled through eLearnings “How do I become a trainer”, and a “Training Sourcing Guide” in case knowledge needs to be sourced externally. With these eLearnings, employees can draft a first training concept. They are then supported by coaches who guide employees through the process from conception to execution.
Thirdly, continuous learning behaviour (or learner engagement) needs to be stimulated through working with the business in creating a learning culture. A part of that is empowering both employees and the business with data-driven insights on learning behaviour, and by having the marketplace, theme leads directly reporting to the business and not the L&D team.
Fourth, working together with expert communities. Bringing knowledge and experience about learning into these communities, enables them to become more valuable for their community members and deliver a more significant business impact. Through this collaboration, the L&D team also learns more about the specific learning needs of these communities. This allows for early identification for developing new strategic partnerships with content suppliers.
NOVA: STAYING IN CONTINUOUS BETA
December 2016 was when I had a telephone discussion with Sonja Betschart in which the idea of a learning marketplace was born. Over the next days, I continued to develop the concept and pitched the idea to Georges Schlegel, who at the time had the mandate from Christian Petit and Andrea Bacca to create and implement the ENT Academy. In January 2017, we pitched the idea to our then CEO Christian, followed by a successful pitch to the board of directors in March. The board was open to pilot a disruptive approach to corporate learning and put their confidence in me as Head of ENT Academy a.i. back then. I had six months to prove that this approach would work and if I was successful, I could be given the role permanently. No guarantees, but all the support to try something new. With the continued support of the new CEO Urs Lehner and his board, the ENT Academy continues to establish itself in the organisation further. A big thank you from my side for the opportunity and the support from the top management.
Like in any corporation that has been around for more than ten years, employees have got high expectations. To manage these expectations and to set the mindset of the new L&D team, we utilised the NOVA label: the Swisscom Label for delivering a beta solution. Not only the services provided carry this label, but also the L&D team itself. After all: when Corporate L&D stops learning how the organisation wants to learn, then how relevant is Corporate L&D?
How successful is this approach?
At launch on 1st June we started with 183 monthly active users, meaning an employee logging in and actively learning something on the platform. There is a clear upward trend, and last May, we reached 696 monthly active users.
How do employees react to user generated content?
Analysing employee satisfaction of training content produced by the previous corporate L&D team with employee-generated training content, we found that employees are 10% less unsatisfied and 10% higher satisfied. Questions asked were:
- The topics and content were addressed clearly?
- What I learned is helpful for my everyday work?
- I’d recommend this training to others?
Next Step: implementing a social learning marketplace for Swisscom Group
In November 2017 the group board decided to restructure corporate learning for the group. Inspired by the approach of the ENT Academy, a new social learning marketplace for all Swisscom employees will be created over the coming months. It is a significant transformation that is going to take place, and I am excited about this new chapter for Swisscom.
What is the secret of this success?
My team. We went through an intense skill and attitude transformation that lasted nearly a year. Without my team, I would not be able to write this article today and celebrate the success of the Learning Innovation Champion 2017 Award. I am proud to work with all of you!