A Homogenous Concoction of Technology and Learning

By Joakim Slørstad, SVP Learning & Development, Telenor Group

The adoption and integration of new technological innovations in an organisation have a direct and catalyzing effect on the employee wellbeing aspect of the HR function. Joakim Slørstad— VP Learning & Development at Telenor Group—gives insight into how digital learning combined with flexible HR processes, can help upscale an organization and better connect employees with the upper levels of management.

Q: How has technology modified L&D processes?

It had been customary that the learning of new technological processes is targeted at a select few members within an organisation. In the current digital setting, learning must be democratized and made available to the whole organization to meet the company’s demand for future competence. Digital learning and blended learning has changed the training landscape immensely in how we think about upscaling the organisation. And, the introduction of new technologies has made work more fact-driven and has provided departments with an ability to give instant feedback in the working environment in ways that were not possible before.

Q: What are the challenges that HR departments face in enhancing employee satisfaction?

An employee’s benchmark for digital standards within an organisationis set by their day to day experience of utilizing consumer technology. Keeping up with these standards is a key challenge for companies who also need to ensure efficiencies and compliance with strict security and privacy standards. The HR department must balance the external experiences employees get as a consumer of new technology, with what can be provided internally through “official” company tools. In the learning domain, there are however still great opportunities for HR to provide a “wow” experience to employees since public technology is less available.

Q: What changes would be welcome in learning technology?

New solutions that are profoundly intuitive in implementation are needed to provide excellent user experiences. I am a strong believer in the need for personalization of learning and that technology can help customize learning to individual needs. Combined with strong data and insights on the skills and craftsmanship needed in the company going forward, technology can open up opportunities for both reskilling and upskilling, in addition to more practice-oriented just-in-time learning. I have great hopes for the development we will see in this area in the years to come.

Q: What are some of the best practices HR teams can adopt when it comes to molding technology around business processes?

Technology needs to be integrated into processes that lie at the heart of a business. Two such critical areas to direct focus on would be collaboration and learning. Regarding the former, the introduction of Facebook’s Workplace some years ago has proven to be very beneficial. It has helped us bring employees throughout our company to a single platform to interact with one another. In many ways, it has brought the company together across geographical borders. When learning is taken into consideration, we try to expose all levels, also senior managers, to new ways of training. We use a blended approach, collaborating with business schools to nurture about thousands of business leaders in our online learning programs on critical and strategic challenges to the company, such as digitalization and new ways of working. We further equip experts with hard skills training through 6-12 months of online learning journeys. Finally, learning should be brought to everyone within an organisation through digital tools, while providing access for everyone to use this learning opportunity. In Telenor, we do this by challenging all employees to complete at least 40 hours of digital upskilling each year.

Q: How would you advise aspiring entrepreneurs, CIOs, and CTOs to collaborate with the HR department and create a seamless digital experience in HR processes?

Firstly, there needs to be a strong collaboration between HR and internal IT on how to design and implement new internal digital tools. An interesting practice we are exploring is to use “employee journey mapping” to understand what experiences employees want to have as they move through the company and interact with various technologies within it. By using such an outside-in way of thinking, rather than starting with the technology, it becomes easier for employees to connect with one another.

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