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Let’s catch up on Learning Pool’s hybrid events from 2021

More than 18 months ago, our day-to-day lives changed quite dramatically and for most of the world, things are only just returning to normal. The way we work and our working environments were impacted, perhaps most significantly, but the way we interact and knowledge share with our peers was also somewhat strained. Water cooler chat was replaced with virtual coffee mornings. Colleague’s birthdays were celebrated with an email or an e-card as opposed to a physical one. And face-to-face events of all kinds were canceled or postponed (we had our fair share of rescheduling to do) and online and hybrid alternatives were forced to take their place. 

To keep up with this pace of change, in September last year our VP, North America, Sharon Claffey Kaliouby launched a series of hybrid events, inviting L&D professionals from across the globe to share their experiences of working during a pandemic, as well as the hottest trends and topics from across the industry. These sessions are informal and therefore raw, real & unrecorded. We invite you to review this recap on our several months of hybrid events by reading the key points discussed below. 


Women in Learning

This topic was discussed in September 2020 & then again in March of 2021! The evolution of the topic is well laid out in the below notes! Warning it is not all good news and there were some “uncomfortable truths’ discovered!

COVID-19 disrupted the workplace in ways we never saw before. Workforces across the globe are struggling to do their jobs, and the boundaries between home and work are blurred. As a result, women are being impacted negatively – in 2020 alone, 855,000 women were forced out of their workforce as opposed to 216,000 men

The pandemic further intensified the challenges already faced by women in the workplace, even with the increase of flexibility at work, and now we are at risk of losing women at all levels of the organizational hierarchy. For example, recent research indicated that working mothers are three times more likely than men to discontinue work due to childcare demands. 

Further studies also show that this is even worse for women from ethnic minorities – Latina and black mothers are likely to be the family’s sole breadwinner and Latina women are 1.6 times more likely than white women to be responsible for both childcare and housework. 

But the divide doesn’t stop there.  Data from Chief Learning Officer’s Talent Tracker found that 89% of learning and training managers are white – 5.6% are black, 9% are Hispanic or Latino and just 2.2% are of Asian background. 

According to the World Economic Forum, the gender pay gap is predicted to close in 108 years. Right now, white men account for 55.9% of the highest earners, white women fall behind at 22.9% and women from ethnic minorities barely register at less than 3%.

The evidence is there – women, particularly those of ethnic minority, are still severely mistreated in the workplace and gender stereotypes remain to play a huge role in this divide. And with women more than twice as likely than men to develop mental health issues, now is the time to act. 


Here are just a few solutions discussed during the session to help alleviate the gap:

  • Leveraging remote work as an opportunity to expand our female senior talent pool
  • Creating the building blocks of a more empathetic workplace (managers play a critical role in this but need more direction and support)
  • Overcoming gender stereotypes (stop using labels as distractors/reflectors)
  • Creating an allyship with men
  • Increasing opportunities for women with disabilities in learning
  • Supporting women from ethnic minorities (fostering a culture that supports and values women from these backgrounds)


L&D/Sales Enablement for the Financial Services

There is no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic is a big disrupter for Financial Services. The challenges set by the pandemic, for example, how to network whilst working remotely, increased dependence on technology and even the safe return to work, have intensified the business need for both learning and development and sales enablement. 

For this reason, the ability to educate employees and students on a variety of compliance topics, as well as regulations and legal requirements remained paramount but traditional methods – face-to-face training, for example – proved difficult in light of the pandemic. The ability to impact behavior finally was as important as “checking the box” to mandated training. 

As a result, sales enablement and learning leaders were forced to quickly adapt to shifting business priorities and have responded to these changes by being more flexible, agile and creative. The ‘return to work’ was no longer the focus (“we’ve been working all along!”) – it was the ‘return to the workplace’.

Though many organizations adapted to some form of online learning, this isn’t necessarily confined to learning and development. This opportunity for change and innovation impacted all areas of business including HR functions, sales, marketing, and operations (i.e. attracting, interviewing, onboarding a diverse workforce as well as product education, increasing sales and data analytics in order for the business to remain on track). 


Key takeaways from this session include:

  • How the roles of L&D/Sales Enablement played a part in helping businesses adapt during the pandemic
  • The challenges associated with networking and working altogether during the pandemic, for example, technological restraints/complications, travel restrictions (the debate of a vaccine passport), enhanced health and safety procedures for staff’s return to work
  • The Impact remote working has had in a regulatory world – how do businesses successfully measure success whilst operating remotely?
  • How people develop themselves and move along their career path whilst job searching, interviewing and onboarding in a remote way 
  • How businesses respond to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusions (EDI) needs whilst operating remotely – this latter topic later leveraged for future conversations in hybrid events!  


Life of a CLO: A Fireside Chat

The evolution of learning: 

From being told what to do by a teacher in a classroom as a child (pedagogy) to developing the practice for learning as an adult (andragogy) to self-determined, learner-centered learning (heutagogy), the evolution of learning is truly evident when it comes to corporate training. 

For L&D departments today, the importance of self-directed learning has never been greater and those responsible for an organization’s training and development must decide upon the correct methods and technologies to provide learners with personalized learning pathways directed towards their individual learning goals. 


The role of the Chief Learning Officer 

As a C-suite executive, the role of a Chief Learning Officer is to ensure an organization’s learning strategy is aligned with its business goals, maximizing employee performance, and driving a tangible return on investment. Dissecting the responsibilities associated with the position, the panel during this session paid particular attention to the impact of COVID-19 on the typical CLO and what can be done to overcome the challenges associated with the pandemic. 


Key considerations for a CLO right now:

  • How to train a workforce for maximum performance, upskilling and reskilling for the skills needed today AND tomorrow. 
  • How to respond to the digital transformation of work and the workplace – this could mean a complete transition to online learning or adopting a blended approach. 
  • How to structure/organize compliance training to ensure maximum uptake but to also scale to the growing regulatory needs of a business – particularly post-pandemic and post-Brexit. 
  • How to ensure leadership teams are not overwhelmed by the advancement of learning technologies but rather understand its importance and utilize what is available to them – socialization, personalization, automation, analytics etc. 
  • How to still achieve results from training in response to budget constraints. 

It was an intriguing session experiencing the journey and insights of our panel including Nigel Paine (past CLO of the BBC) & Rob Lauber former CLO of McDonald’s & previously YUM Brands. 


Help Shape Research on ‘The Future of Work and Learning’

Joined by Learnovate Centre‘s global L&D research leaders Nessa McEniff, Peter Gillis and David Farrelly, this session centered around the ‘future of work and learning’ during which it was predicted it will focus on learner engagement, motivation, wellbeing and learning as a culture.

The value of industry-led research was also covered with Peter discussing the importance of L&D and its alignment to corporate business goals, 21st Century skills and some of the Learnovate Centre’s onboarding research that is currently being conducted and shared with over 40 of its members.

The panel also touched on the value of community and collaboration regarding the definition and direction of research. Organizations such as Gates Ventures, Mastercard, Microsoft, Zoom and Learning Pool fed into many of Learnovate’s research projects sharing challenges and best practices from world-class industry organizations. 

The Learnovate leadership team provided an overview of their current and future research agenda and welcomed feedback, participation, and insights. Visit their website to find out more


Some key points discussed during the session include:

  • What can be expected for the future of work and learning
  • The value of industry-led research
  • What Learnovate’s “Thought Leader Circle” is and how it works
  • Feedback and insights from the 30+ attendees online and the 5 in the room


Learning Pool’s hybrid events will be back in September. Keep an eye on our events page for more details. If you would like to see the slides or detailed notes from any of these notes, please send an email to [email protected].

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