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5 lessons for L&D from THRIVE LIVE ‘22

If you somehow missed it, our blockbuster customer event, THRIVE LIVE '22, was absolutely abuzz with innovation, inspiration and celebration of all things L&D. Check out the 7 lessons we learned from our host of amazing talks.

Cassie Gasson Chief Marketing Officer

A picture of our panel and of the Royal Opera house stage with our THRIVE LIVE set up

If you follow THRIVE on our social channels it won’t have escaped your attention that last week saw our annual customer event THRIVE LIVE take place at the iconic Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. With more than 350 customers in the room and on-stage keynotes, interviews and panels featuring the likes of Steven Bartlett, Jacqueline Gold and Mollie King, it’s safe to say there was a palpable buzz in the air and innovation conversation aplenty.

Are we tired? Yes. Are we taking our foot off the gas? Do we ever?

We captured so much incredible content on the day, it seems selfish to keep it all to ourselves. So now that the dust has (somewhat) settled, we’re back to share some of the inspiration with you all, in the form of these five takeaways for L&D. Enjoy!

  • Failure IS an option

To kick off THRIVE LIVE in style we had man of the moment, entrepreneur, podcast host and TV personality, Steven Bartlett, in the hot seat. Radio presenter and ex-Saturdays singer Mollie King was firing off the questions and boy did we get some inspiring responses. We could put together an entire blog post compiling Steven’s advice (makes mental note to self…) but when it comes to takeaways for L&D here’s our favourites: 

Embrace failure. 

Steven talked at length about how we’ve all been brought up to treat failure as a negative, when in actual fact, isn’t failure a symptom of pushing boundaries and innovating? In other words, the very things we need to do in order to grow? His advice is to reshape the concept. 

“Failure is feedback, and we need to learn to fail fast when trying to innovate”. 

He also thinks failure can be a result of trying to master the wrong things. His opinion? “Everyone has an innate desire to learn, we just need to find out what they’re interested in.”

Teaching leadership. Can it be taught? 

Yes, under the right circumstances. His take on this is two-fold. Leadership can be taught if the fundamental skills are there (or can be developed) but what’s equally as important is to make sure the right tools are in place to enable that growth and ability to get the best out of a team under your leadership. In his own words; “Successful leadership is about personalisation.”

  • Better engagement is in reach

One of the THRIVE LIVE highlights was having a panel full of our customers talking about all things learning strategy, and boy did they offer up some amazing tips. Ted Baker’s Digital Development Partner, Debbie Frearson, leaned into a question about user engagement following their first year with THRIVE, and she gave the audience these two takeaways from her experience.

Identify your champions. 

You’ve got your platform ready to launch, loaded with content and ready to change how your organisation learns. But even the most intuitive, user-friendly technology can get people panicked and not sure where to start. To instil engagement from day 1, have super-users or platform champions in place. People within the organisation (not just in L&D) who have spent time in the platform, understanding how it’s going to impact the organisation and getting to know the ins and outs of the functionality. Access to these super-users kick off an incredible year for Ted Baker.

Don’t underestimate the impact of user-generated content. 

If TikTok and other social apps in recent years have taught us anything, it’s that UGC fuels engagement. And when it comes to business, it’s no different. According to LinkedIn, content created by peers is twice as likely to be shared than that created by the employer. Debbie highlighted this and pushed how important UGC has been to the brand and their 2300+ employees, particularly during the pandemic when a lot of the workforce was unexpectedly back home. During the first six months with THRIVE in place, 80,000 pieces of user-generated content were uploaded by employees, supporting initiatives like wellness, and prompting a whole host of sharing, commenting and likes.  

  • Learning is not do do, it is to become

Sticking with the customer panel (because there was SO much great advice shared), we heard from Financial Times’ Global Training Manager, Liszel Nathaniel, who shared her view on learning philosophy and how this is being approached at the FT. 

“At the FT we believe learning is not an event, it is an iterative campaign.”

Liszel sees learning as a philosophy embedded throughout her entire L&D team and it’s this approach that they’re working to filter through the organisation. How? By taking a look at the past, to learn for the present and ultimately build for the future. Stakeholder buy-in is a huge part of this shift, and Liszel attributes their success to having those senior figures “cheering you on with their pom poms.” A simple video from the senior leadership prior to launching any learning campaigns has had a huge impact on their adoption and engagement.

  • Be adaptable and open to criticism

One more tip from the THRIVE customer panel, from Dunelm’s Helen Robinson, and what she highlighted brilliantly was adaptability. Talking about the perception of L&D and their role in the business, she explained how the Dunelm team always has the employee front of mind when it comes to learning, to guide their decisions. “Adaptability allows you to be really relevant and current. If you put your heart and soul into something you can become a bit blinkered, so we need to be really open to the right outcomes, and the right thing for that colleague.” 

  • Unconscious bias is an everyone problem

On our Women in Leadership Power Panel, Executive Chair at Ann Summers, Jacqueline Gold CBE talked at length about how she’s approached gender bias throughout her career and her advice for female leaders today. It’s a topic she feels strongly about, as she explained that “at Ann Summers, 80% of our Board is female, our top 4 earners are all women, and I’m extremely proud of that.” 

Her advice for today’s business leaders is to understand unconscious bias and promote equality through company values. After all, people coming into the business are going to be looking for an ethos that aligns with the way they feel. Do they support women? Are there initiatives in place to support females in the workplace? These are the questions employers need to be asking, and for L&D, how should they be supporting and vocalising this? 

Her key takeaway was for all business leaders to focus on building an environment that people want to join, and want to come back to if they take time away. In her own words, “This isn’t a female issue, it’s a business issue.”

Champing at the bit for more? We’ll be sharing more exclusive content from this incredible event over the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled. And if you want to be part of THRIVE LIVE 2023 we’d love you to get in touch!

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