| 6 min read

L&D lessons from the gambling industry

In case you missed our webinar with Sophie Wood, L&D partner at Lottoland, we are recapping the core takeaways from the stellar session.

Matt Bristow

Matt Bristow Digital Marketing Specialist

Clip of man saying "lessons have been learned"

Last week, the inimitable Sophie Wood, L&D Partner at Lottoland, joined us to tackle how Lottoland uses L&D as a tool to overcome the unique challenges they face in the gambling industry. Learning how to best utilise L&D to impact business objectives is something we can all resonate with, which is why we decided to write up our key takeaways from the session! So sit back, make a cup of tea and explore what the unique aspects of the gambling industry can inform us about L&D as a whole.

Fast growth can create unique L&D challenges

Rapid digitisation has affected all industries but gambling has especially seen an overhaul of where their revenue comes from. Online gambling has absolutely ballooned into a $57.54 billion behemoth, and with that, companies in the space have had to become incredibly agile and quick moving to create market share.

This fast-paced environment has posed unique challenges for the L&D efforts of Lottoland, with Sophie sharing :  

“When you talk about L&D challenges, you are talking about working in a culture that is constantly trying to catch up with itself.”

How does Sophie keep up with this pace of work and deliver impactful and meaningful training and learning experiences?

“Finding that point of connectivity, things that people are going to bite on to. The first success that we had was the guy who created the employer brand this year, mentioned the tagline ‘we bet on you’. We really started to utilise the homepage on THRIVE to deliver some really great messages, involving people in the business, getting them talking to each other.”

L&D at its core is about connection. Make sure you are doing all you can to drive engagement, not only with the learning material, but between employees, and you can overcome challenges such as lack of time and resources. 

L&D is sometimes seen as purely a cost, but in fact the L&D benefits are more long term

It’s a tough economic time out there at the time of writing this blog. With companies being downsized, budgets cut and a cost of living crisis putting a squeeze on most of the country, sometimes L&D can face the age-old hurdle of not being seen as a division that generates revenue, as much as a sales or a marketing division does. 

So how does an L&D genius like Sophie respond to this argument?

“You’ve got C suite people, who are used to seeing really great looking graphs, pointing in the right direction. L&D is very much perceived as a cost department. The data that comes out of L&D and HR looks very different to financial data for example. Everybody who works in L&D on this call will recognise that when you are talking about ROI in L&D, you’re not going to see results from Q1 to Q2. But the benefits are more long term. Our tagline is We Bet On You. I’m really fortunate that my group of C suite colleagues recognise that, and they’ve said to me ‘we bet on you’.

Educating the C suite on the difference between L&D and immediate revenue generation departments like Sales is crucial. A lot of times L&D will attempt to prove ROI in the same way as a sales department does, but really the data will look very different and should be treated as such. If you want to learn more about how you should approach data analysis for L&D specifically, then check out our excellent Data Demystified series, where Ian Blackburn breaks down how L&D can get a seat at the table with revenue generating departments.

Forgetting to understand your learners is a common pitfall

Content is such a focus point for L&D, be it creating engaging content, mapping it into pathways or crafting and launching campaigns. Content is so much at the forefront that the connectivity we mentioned earlier is often forgotten about.

“I had a real focus on getting content on the system, really wanting it to be a success and having loads of stuff for people to engage with. But the very nature of doing that, I was being very prescriptive to the business. And when you are being prescriptive, you’ll hit the mark with some people but you’ll completely disenfranchise others”

We talk all the time about agile skills, and how allowing your learners to sculpt your skills strategy is super important, but this style of thinking impacts all aspects of L&D! Make sure you are building a solid understanding of the things that interest and engage your workforce, and aim to get everyone involved, no matter their department or seniority, and you have the recipe for a great L&D initiative.

To create an inclusive and psychologically safe workplace, workplace values must be integral to everyone

L&D isn’t all about spreadsheets, ROI and compliance training. Modern L&D has an integral role to play in shaping company culture, including DE&I initiatives and creating an equitable workplace for all. 

Most importantly, L&D should be working to create an inclusive and psychologically safe workplace for employees. How does one go about that? Sophie believes that it starts with company values, and making sure those values are propagated through the entire company and really lived, rather than just sitting on the about us page of the website.

“At Lottoland, we have a really great culture in terms of accepting people are different. But what I want to do, and what I think is important, and the message I want to give to people around DE&I, is focus on the I, the inclusion piece is absolutely critical.”

“The one thing that arbiters what is acceptable, in any given work situation, is the values of your company. And so to create your inclusive culture you’ve got to live and breathe the values of your company.”

Being an ally can be very simple

When asked by Ryan how best to be an ally, Sophie gave a beautifully succinct answer to the question, comprised of three simple to follow rules : 

  • Educate yourself
  • Be kind
  • Be a decent human being

It’s really that simple.

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