Influencing learning culture: how staff at Citi are learning to #BeMore

by | Mar 15, 2017 | Case Studies, Evidence for Change, Featured | 0 comments

Citi is over 200 years old, an established global financial landmark with a great history. To be able to survive, let alone thrive for over 200 years, companies need to be adaptable and innovative. This case study unfolds how Citi ran a 30-day challenge for staff to #BeMore by learning continuously. The campaign encouraged everyday learning through a series of micro actions embedded into their workflow – leading to several awards for the team.

In exploring how the organisation could continue to adapt and to grow, the team at Citi have focused on creating a culture of continuous workplace learning built on 3 critical global objectives:

  • Build leadership and manager capability
  • Drive ethical and cultural change
  • Empower employee-led development

In May 2015, the EMEA L&D team at Citi launched an internal behavioural change campaign titled #BeMore. This internal programme was designed to empower employees to take control of their own development, facilitating behavioural change across Citi’s diverse organisation.

Whilst the ability to access tools and resources was important for success, #BeMore also looked to change behaviour in 3 ways:

  • Encouraging employees to have honest conversations with their line managers whilst better equipping line managers to do this
  • Introducing a greater focus on continuous workplace learning based on the principals of 70:20:10 and known at Citi as the 3E’s Experience, Exposure, Education.
  • Encouraging more completion of Individual Development Plans (IDP) to a high standard.

After a year or so from its inception, more staff have completed their IDP’s, the voice of employee scores have been positively impacted and #BeMore activity has been embedded into the everyday actions of the business. So, what are their secrets of success?

Brian Murphy, Head of L&D EMEA shared some of his lessons learned at the Learning Technologies eXchange in 2016:

“It was clear that the business leaders felt the responsibility and pressure to create opportunities for development. But they needed to get the dynamics right – not just to create a top-down push but a pull to bring about an employee-owned and manager-supported learning culture. Our people needed to be empowered to own the changes and the culture for themselves. Lastly, L&D’s role was to create the conditions for behaviour change, not to ‘drive it’.”

Citi took a campaign approach, a core component of which was a 30-day challenge for staff to #BeMore.

Traditionally, when supporting the implementation of a new initiative the team would have pushed content to staff, but this campaign encouraged everyday learning through a series of micro actions embedded into their work.

Brian Murphy adds:

“L&D are not the fount of all knowledge and our traditional approaches no longer work. It was critical to shift to new learning principles, principles, and pivot our role as Learning professionals. In our team our priority was to shift to role of performance consultants. Our role in helping our people understand how to balance their own learning across the 3 E’s – Experience, Exposure and Education – has been fundamental in supporting business change and agility in our organisation.”

About the #BeMore 30-Day Challenge

Central to #BeMore’s annual activity is the 30-Day Development Challenge. The challenges have both comprised thirty micro actions (one a day, for thirty days) that are designed to challenge individuals to do everyday activities differently, thus building muscle memory and beginning to form new habits that will influence their day to day work. Each micro action takes less than ten minutes to accomplish and is something that can be actioned at home or in the workplace.

Examples of micro actions include:

  • Going for a walk and talking to someone today
  • Becoming more curious about how a different space enables a different quality of conversation
  • Thinking about how a valuable piece of advice you’ve been given or that you have learned over the years has changed something important in your life and passing that lesson on to another person today.

Influencing global culture requires global reach

Two-way engagement with Citi people was essential to the behavioural change they sought to facilitate. To achieve this, internal collaboration between key stakeholders of Public Affairs, HR and business leaders across the whole region was critical. Five of the largest hubs in EMEA were initially selected as priority audiences but it was important that this campaign impact the wider EMEA region (54 countries). In the second year of the creative execution of the campaign was extended to support all of EMEA’s countries. An online marketing toolkit was created so that all individuals could access all marketing materials, to print and adapt locally.


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Learn more about the principles behind the challenge

This feature is part of Towards Maturity’s In-Focus report, 70+20+10=100: The Evidence Behind the Numbers – download the full report for other case studies, myth busting facts and helpful tips on corporate learning in social, experiential and formal contexts!

Read more about the #BeMore Challenge on Citi’s blog

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