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Unlocking data to understand our learners as customers

by | Jun 5, 2017 | Articles, Featured

Teresa Rose from E.ON describes how her team gained deep insights into the way people learn across the organisation, helping them transform their learning strategy.
Image credit: E.ON

Image: Workers construct an offshore wind turbine (Credit: E.ON)

As an organisation, we have shifted our strategy over the last few years towards putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. To realise this, we have a Global Customer Experience and Insights programme, where we run customer immersion sessions to actively listen to customers and non-customers.

These sessions provide the most valuable insights, which we use to apply design thinking to develop solutions that are based on real data.

We began to think about how we could adopt the same approach in Global Learning. We currently provide resources for 45,000 employees and largely design or purchase solutions without data to understand if it’s really what our learners want or need. This requires effort to market content and engage learners. How could this be different if we too put our customers at the heart of what we do?

Our thinking happened to coincide with Towards Maturity’s Make It Happen campaign in 2016, so we decided to embrace Towards Maturity’s passion to turn “insights into action” and signed up to the stream on Understanding Your Learners.

How we gained insight into how people learn

Inspired by the campaign to deliver on our aspirations, we decided to partner with Towards Maturity to run a Learner Landscape Audit across the E.ON group, which we referred to internally as Learner Insights. For even further impact, we decided to combine the audit with focus groups in Germany and the UK. We had never before embarked on anything of this scale in Learning & Development and there were many hurdles, including Worker’s Councils approval and Data Protection regulations. However, we had the benefit that the principle of gaining insights is embedded in the organisation and this helped in communication and engagement.

Image credit: E.ON

Image: E.ON’s headquarters in Essen, Germany (Credit: E.ON)

Eight focus groups were delivered in summer 2016 in our German and UK head offices. In December 2016, we launched the Learner Insights survey in 5 languages. For launch and ongoing communications, we made effective use of our new social intranet which had been launched earlier that year, using #LearnerInsights to tie our posts together.

The survey was open for six weeks. During that time, over 4,000 colleagues began the survey and over 2,500 completed all of the questions. That gave us a lot of data, which Towards Maturity helped us make sense of.

What we learned

In particular, we saw how well we were achieving against our L&D strategic goals. Amongst many areas, the data showed us:

  • What motivates our people to learn
  • The barriers they face
  • Which digital platforms they use to learn inside and outside of work
  • What helps them to have a great learning experience
  • How social they are
  • How willing they are to share what they learn
  • How much time they perceive they are spending learning
  • How self-directed they are
  • The role of line managers in learning
  • Their expectation for the future of learning at E.ON

How we’re moving forward

This has helped us get under the skin of our learning culture and establish how much of a learning organisation we are. We’re breaking the data down further and applying the Design Thinking approach, developing learner personas for different job families and compiling reports for our regions. It’s fascinating to see the variances in regions and roles.

With these further insights, we can deliver a more personalised approach when designing for a particular audience, for example, the channels we choose and the style of content. We can use data to be far more confident in our stakeholder meetings, particularly in the areas of performance consulting and engaging line managers in learning. Furthermore, we’ve shared the insights with our key suppliers, so we can have purposeful partnerships and make wise investments.

This data has become even more important and equipped the regions, as we embark on a transformation in Learning & Development to a de-centralised model.

Find out more about the Learning Landscape Audit and how you can run one in your organisation at: www.towardsmaturity.org/learners

Join Teresa Rose and Towards Maturity at the Learning Technologies Summer Forum

Teresa will be joining Jane Daly, Head of Strategic Insights at Towards Maturity and Laura Overton, CEO at Towards Maturity on 13 June to facilitate a workshop on “How to kickstart a learner-centric strategy”. You’ll learn how to:

  • Challenge your assumptions about how staff really learn
  • Banish your organisation’s preconceptions about learning
  • Find out how listening more helps you achieve more
  • Inject vital evidence to win hearts and minds of managers
  • Crucial research on the learning voice
Find out more

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