Communicate, Collaborate, and Execute — 3 Keys to Employee Learning

Future of Work
June 29, 2021
As a leader, my expectation is that you’re going to be learning.”

For our Future of Work webcast on June 16 2021, Criterion's Erica Sand welcomed Bridgette Wilder, Chief Human Resources Officer, Albany State University, for a deep dive into employee engagement and learning. Bridgette’s not only a seasoned HR leader but a former software specialist. At Albany State University she’s been innovating powerful learning strategies that bridge the best of AI and HI. As she says, to be successful at employee development, you need both.

Take a look at our edited highlights. Then, watch her full Future of Work episode here.

Erica Sand: How can learning be used as a tool to grow employees within an organization?

Bridgette Wilder: Three components: communication, collaboration, and execution.  Communication — that as a leader, my expectation is that you're going to be learning. The collaboration piece — we’ve talked about my expectation, now let's collaborate on creating an individual development plan for you that's going to enhance your skills in your current role, and also upscale you so you're prepared for your next level. Then the execution piece — walking the talk. You’ve got an action plan, and now you’ve got to implement it.

There are a variety of learning options we utilize. One is called Power Out: I require employees to pick one hour out of a forty-hour week and dedicate it to learning. They have to actually put it on their calendar as a recurring activity so it's a priority, and at the end of the week, they have to tell me what they learned.


ES: How would you recommend using HCM solutions to foster employee learning and growth?

BW:I love HCMs, especially when they have artificial intelligence technology, cause that's really what it really is. And when I think of technology, I'm really showing my age here, but I think about the Bionic Man. He used technology to help him be better and accomplish his goals. It was a tool, but he didn't allow it to take over his human intelligence, his humanity. I think that HCM is great when it comes to learning, but you’ve also got to have that human back there — because we're the ones that have to tie the technology to the innovative learning strategies. We have to be intentional about learning.


ES: If you had any other advice for HR leaders in 2021, what, what would it be?  

BW: Start at the top. Whenever we're getting ready to do anything in HR, it can't be viewed as an HR initiative because then it's viewed as a flavor of the month. People still have that bias about it. You want to start at the top because you’ve got to understand your customers. Are there gaps in the knowledge, skills, and abilities on their teams? Where do they want to go? That way you’ve got a roadmap from the customer of what their needs are, so now you can curate learning content that's going to help.

One of the ways to implement [greater buy-in] is forming a leadership development consortium — an LDC. It's composed of leaders in each of those areas that understand what their skill gaps are in terms of learning. You'll have, as well, your training group in HR: they get together once a quarter to come up with a leadership curriculum, a catalog of trainings offered to employees. The leaders will be taught by HR how to use that catalog to develop their employees, as well as for employees who have performance improvement issues. Again, you get greater buy-in when it's tied back to the business needs, whether it be strategic or operational. It’s not just something that HR came up with because that's what the trend is, it’s based on your business strategy.

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