Yesterday I shared the TELUS story with 99 like-minded HR professionals at the fantastic Impact99 HR Summit. It’s easy to get excited about the amazing technology that we play with on a day to day basis, but during my presentation I used a line – one that was more off the cuff than I’d like to admit – that seemed to resonate with the people listening.
“Everyone can buy into this if you find what works for them.”
What I meant by this was pretty obvious; the value of social tools as a support mechanism for HR and learning is undeniable, provided you take the time to find out what works best for your audience. If you can find the trigger, you can connect with any audience of any generation. Micro-blogging. Mentoring. Coaching. Peer-to-peer sharing. Apologies to Malcolm McLaren, but the medium for learning is irrelevant. For most of our learners/team members, all they care about is the content we present.
Formal. Informal. Social. As long as we offer the effective content, it will be consumed. It doesn’t matter if someone is 18 or 64. It doesn’t matter if it’s through old school ILTs or futuristic gamification. If the tool works and promotes retention and engagement, people will keep using it. Our numbers prove it; our team is happier now than they were three years ago and not by a marginal amount.
But when I was driving home last night – thankfully, driving about 9km/h on the 403 allowed for plenty of time to reflect on the great content presented at Impact99 (seriously, how to people not lose their mind driving in and out of the ‘Saug) – I started thinking about how we need to regulate the flow of information to reduce the noise and simplify the end user experience.
Are we going to reach the tipping point and overwhelm the people we are trying to help? Have we reached it already? We are so busy trying to find new, innovative solutions, do we overlook the simplicity of finding the right one? I’ve heard the soundbite 1000 times in the debates so I apologize for yet another mention, but are we “giving the military two trillion dollars they didn’t ask for?”
I was asked about the pain points of the TELUS collaboration journey, and what I’d do different “next time.” Obviously, we had our fair share of swings and misses and will continue to fail, and that’s OK but as I watched tail lights stretch for miles I couldn’t help but wonder if we are too focused on the utopic end state that we forgot about the smaller milestones. Are the learners still getting information they need, and the support they want when they want it? Did we stopped solving problems and earning trust? Do we need to acknowledge that it might be better to fix the current process/tool instead of simply providing an alternative path.
It’s amazing that a day of innovation and inspiration actually made me want to take a step back and become a shepherd instead of constantly surging forward, but it did. It’s great to blaze trails and push boundaries, but at the end of the day we’re here to make things better for our team and that might mean taking the foot of the gas or turning down the pressure to the hose.