An interview with Learnerbly People Operations Executive Crispina Wilson-Jones.
Watch full video.
With remote work becoming more and more commonplace, there is an essential focus on how to keep remote workers engaged and growing within the company while out of the office. Perchpeek had the opportunity to interview Crispina Wilson-Jones, the People Operations Executive at Learnerbly, who shed some light on the new normal of developing your talent while working remotely.
Learning in a Remote Workplace
While there are a surprisingly high volume of companies in the UK that don’t invest in learning & development, it’s becoming more and more apparent in this day and age that it’s an important step for businesses to take.
Learnerbly is a workplace learning forum that provides curated learning resources to businesses and empowers their employees to take ownership of their learning and development. They are loudly outspoken on the importance of ongoing learning, and maintaining it in a remote workplace during a pandemic and remote-first model.
So how can you best achieve it in your company. Here are Crispina’s top 5 tips to maintain your employee’s growth.
Put the right culture in place
When asked if there are any downsides to learning and working in a remote workplace, Crispina responded, “(I) think that if you’re not prepared and you don’t have the right processes in place to set you up for success, then it can be a hindrance.” and went on to explain the importance of culture of the company. “You must be deliberate and thoughtful of the type of culture that you want to maintain or develop.”
Crispina shared the importance of leading by example, and building trust in the workspace - “I also think that managers need to be having conversations about growth and development directly with their employees and encouraging them not to put their learning and development on the back burner.
2. Prevent employees getting overwhelmed
It’s important to recognise that employees are likely to be using online resources to continue their learning, and that can very easily lead to them being overwhelmed with the quantity of information that’s available out there.
Crispina points out is important as “it’s really easy to get lost in the sea of content, and as a result of that to disengage.” At Learnerbly, they use personal learning budgets - and bespoke guides for their users, to keep employees focused on one thing at a time, and with which the company has experienced great success.
3. Encourage proactivity with new formats
When asked about things that can only be learned in a physical office setting, Crispina responded with “there’s nothing I can think of that can only be learned in an office environment.”
As long as there are clear set policies and expectations, Crispina believes a proactive employee can learn and grow just as well remotely as in an office. “What we’re lacking in the last year can be introduced again or in new ways, and we can adapt as well to this new lifestyle with their habits and support from our workplaces.”
“People are turning from just reading and listening to audio books at the start of the lockdown to joining online workshops and taking online courses”, Crispina noted. “They are looking to grow and learn in different ways as opposed to when they could go to a physical conference.”
When asked how she has maintained her learning while being at home, Crispina stated she finds a lot of great podcasts and webinars on Spotify and LinkedIn.
4. Keep employees learning from one another
Crispina acknowledged, “in a remote environment there’s naturally going to be less cross-collaboration. So it’s super important that companies come up with different ways to promote that more.”
One way that companies can promote collaboration and growth among employees is through inter-departmental events and challenges. Employees from different departments can be given group tasks where they have to work together and grow to know each other where they wouldn’t have crossed paths much before, especially if working remotely. An example Crispina gave of one such event was a “hackathon” where each team had to “implement something to do with the Learnerbly platform”.
5. Encourage employees to share their experience
Cripina stressed the importance of “making your team members feel valued and heard… especially in times like this.” With so many different types of learning and teaching, she expressed the importance of employees speaking up with their thoughts and ideas, and employers listening to and considering suggestions from employees.
When asked what advice Crispina would give HR leaders on keeping their teams engaged and growing, she reiterated the importance of communication and feedback, and the ability to act on it. She stated, “People are innately unpredictable and evolving all the time. So what worked for you and your company last year may not necessarily work this year and people need to be ready to pivot and change when necessary.”
6. Use A Different Interview Process
As we look at this future way of working, it becomes even more essential that companies hire people who are suited to working in a remote style.
Learnerbly doesn’t interview in the traditional way of going off of prior experience to determine if the candidate is a good fit for the job. Instead, they utilize practical application to decide if the interviewee is a good fit. Crispina stated about the hiring process, “Leanerbly was the first and only company to test my ability to do the job in the form of an exercise first as opposed to just interviewing me based on my previous experience.”
This method of interviewing allows a better check of fit for remote work, as well as giving the candidate more confidence in taking on the job. It truly allows the hiring manager to see the practical skills of the candidate and make an informed decision.
In Crispina’s case, it led to the perfect job placement - “I started working at Learnerbly at my placement year and I loved it so much that I couldn’t leave after the internship was over.”
The Benefit Of Getting Remote Right - Access To Global Talent
Hiring remotely opens companies up to being able to choose from the best of the best in their field. Crispina herself was hired, trained and onboarded, and continues to work remotely for Learnerbly, and is a first hand testament to the opportunities afforded to remote workers.
With remote hiring, companies have their choice of candidates from all over the globe. Crispina, who works from the UK, also works with “a few colleagues in India, Dubai, Ghana, and Italy.”
If the right method of building, developing and engaging teams can be adopted by remote-first companies, there is truly a massive competitive advantage to be had, as they operate within a truly global talent pool.
Learnerbly is a workplace learning forum that provides curated learning resources to businesses and empowers their employees to take ownership of their learning and development. Find out more at learnerly.com