5 Lessons from Adidas’ New Vision for Learning

Jul 28, 2014 Posted by

In the last year, corporate training spend increased by 15 percent, a good sign that companies are listening to employees’ desire to learn, yet oftentimes the classroom format of learning isn’t effective in the workplace. There’s good reason then that companies are solving the disconnect by integrating learning in everyday activities. 

A prime example is Adidas Group, which launched a new learning and development vision, called New Way of Learning, this week. The HR team, led by chief human resources officer Matthias Malessa, decided to toss out the old (classroom learning) and bring in the new (on-the-job learning). The new platform, Adidas Group Learning Campus, grew from a desire to create a corporate university that aimed to make learning fun, engaging and sustainable, according to Forbes

“This new approach acknowledges our belief that at least 80% of learning happens informally,” says Christian Kuhna, the Adidas employee who developed the new strategy. 

The digital learning platform is all about social and interactive learning online, available whenever and wherever employees are. Once an employee chooses a training topic, the platform suggests specific videos, PDFs, quizzes, TED talks, blog posts and YouTube videos to refer to, according to Forbes. Employees can see which resources are most popular or highly recommended based on feedback and ratings from employees. 

Employees drive their learning and development program, but leaders are also actively involved in making learning a part of every assignment and project. Kuhna says its “a philosophy where commitment drives engagement, and engagement drives performance.” 

5 Lessons from Adidas

Every company can apply Adidas’ techniques to boost employee learning. Here are five insights from Jeanne Meister, partner at Future Workplace and co-author of “The 2020 Workplace”:

  1. Think big and be bold
  2. Communicate the overall learning and company vision to employees
  3. Appeal to Millennials and integrate visuals
  4. Create an office space that encourages learning and collaboration
  5. Offer fun kits that have learning assets

By leveraging the most common workplace trends such as social media and video content, Adidas created a learning center that integrates learning with working, rather than keeping them apart. 

Q/h: Forbes

Image via Can Stock

Top 10 No-Nos When Applying for a Job

Jul 25, 2014 Posted by

There’s a lot out there about the dos and don’ts of job interviews — from both sides of the table — but less about what to do in order to get the interview in the first place. Most recruiters know that the application process actually starts upon initial contact, so it would certainly benefit applicants to know what not to do before face time with a hiring manager even enters the realm of possibility.

According to recruitment software company Recruiterbox, most people think the hiring process begins at the interview — and that’s a big mistake. The application is actually the key to getting a foot in the door. Here are 10 things prospects should steer clear of when submitting an application:

  1. DON’T forget to read instructions: Most applicants fail to read instructions and the result is an indication to the hiring manager that they aren’t paying attention.
  2. DON’T leave a field blank: Leaving blanks means you don’t care very much.
  3. DON’T turn the application in late: Other people are vying for this position, too, and those who took the time to consider deadlines will be the folks recruiters consider.
  4. DON’T make spelling and grammar mistakes: Have someone take a look at your application before you send it in. Spelling and grammar missteps show sloppiness and poor attention to detail.
  5. DON’T leave out employment gap explanations: If you took a few years off to travel or volunteer this could actually set you apart in a positive way. Be sure to explain why years exist between jobs (if they do). Recruiters will notice the time disparity.
  6. DON’T forget attachments: Required attachments left unsent will take away from additional information a recruiter can use to compare you to another applicant who attached material to his or her application.
  7. DON’T confuse the reader: Be brief and concise when explaining past employment while highlighting skills that would apply to the job you’re applying for now.
  8. DON’T forget to tailor your application information: Don’t be generic. Be sure the information you provide is relevant to the industry and job you’re applying for.
  9. DON’T apply if you’re obviously overqualified: If it seems you won’t stay and grow with the company (but just want a job for the right now), hiring managers are apt to shy away.
  10. DON’T apply if you’re obviously under-qualified: Zero years of experience applying for a senior-level position is a waste of time for both applicant and recruiter.

Other no-nos include: an unprofessional e-mail address, resumes with copied and pasted details from the job description, resumes on decorative paper, and resumes that are either too long or too short.

See the full infographic from Recruiterbox here.

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How to Build Employee Trust with Learning and Development

Jul 24, 2014 Posted by

The problem with employee learning and development is that there is little trust in the relationship between employers and employees. Employers do not want to invest in employee learning only to see people take their new skills somewhere else, and employees hear nothing but empty promises from employers about new training in the works. Yet both parties agree that employee development is important. So, now what?

In the new book The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, authors Reid Hoffman (CEO of LinkedIn), Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh talk about the broken trust in the employer-employee relationship as it relates specifically to the loyalty and commitment each brings to the relationship. The book offers specific advice on how to repair that relationship by treating the relationship in a different way: as an alliance. 

In both instances, there needs to be a promise to help each other to grow and flourish. In this post, I would like to focus on how employers can think differently about how to use learning and development as a tool to help employees grow and flourish. These learning opportunities could come in many forms, but here are a few ideas for what employers should specifically do to make employees more valuable:

Offer Formal Training Classes: No matter the job, you should offer a formal on-boarding program that helps your people learn the way your company does business (at the very least). This helps people socialize into your culture and way of operating and also increases the chances that they will be successful.

Support Industry Certifications: Certainly employers cannot offer all of the skills training people want or need. However, an employer could allocate a budget amount and encourage employees to use that money to seek out industry training or certifications. These could range from the Project Management Professional to the StrongLoop Certified Node Developer.

Send Employees to Conferences: We all know how inspired we get attending a conference. Imagine what employees can learn by attending a conference once a year. Now, imagine what new inspiration, ideas, and action they will bring back to their jobs when they return. Employers should set aside a budget for this.

Encourage and Support Speaking Engagements: Even better than attending a conference is speaking at one. You should make a deal with your employees that if they get accepted to speak at a conference, you will pay for their travel expenses. This deal might strengthen your alliance more than any of the others on this list.

Job Rotations: It will take some effort to make this happen, but you should offer job rotations. Motivated people tend to start to look for a new challenge, even if they love their job. If they don’t get that new challenge, they think about leaving. Why not pre-empt this by offering job rotations every 6-18 months.

Opportunities to Sit in on Higher Level Meetings: You can make a huge impact on the employee-employer alliance by just inviting employees to sit in on high-level meetings that they would not otherwise be able to attend. You do not have to do this often, but a steady drip of invitations will inspire people.

Share Information: Another technique you can utilize to help employees learn is to share information with them on topics that normally would be withheld from them. I am not talking about confidential information. I am talking about sharing information that you have from reports, executive-level meetings, or even hallway discussions you have with peers. By sharing this kind of information with your employees, as appropriate, you help them see the types of information you use to make decisions about strategy or execution or operations.

What other things can employers do to make employees more valuable? Share your ideas in the comments below and let’s help create the new employee-employer alliance.

3 Reasons You Aren’t Feeling the Brand Love on Facebook (Part 1)

Jul 23, 2014 Posted by

When it comes to Facebook, sometimes less can be more. Find out the most common mistakes brands make on Facebook and how to avoid them in this 2-part series.   40 percent of the average Facebook user’s time is spent in the Newsfeed perusing what friends and chosen brand pages are sharing. This presents an opportunity […]

3 Reasons the Candidate Experience Matters

Jul 22, 2014 Posted by

Making the business case for candidate experience is pretty easy. After all, there’s not only a ton of statistical documentation proving that it positively impacts both brand perception and bottom line results, but it’s also kind of the right thing to do morally — a common courtesy to let people know where their job application […]