eHR technophobicsOn 24 Jul 2001 in Personnel Today There is little doubt that e-learning is the way forward fororganisational development. But how can you convince staff of its benefits ifHR is harbouring technophobes? NicPaton reportsDuring August, while the rest of us are turning our thoughts to holidays,Colin Robinson, training development manager at House of Fraser, and his teamwill be hard at work getting the department store chain’s new nationwidee-learning network up and running. House of Fraser has operated an internal intranet system for the past threeyears, but it is turning this into a full-blooded e-learning resource, offeringits 16,000 staff around the country access to a range of online learningmaterial. The first stage of this changeover came 18 months ago, when it launchedknowledge sharing over the intranet, giving staff advice on how to useelectrical goods for example. This could even be accessed at the tills to dealwith customer queries. It began piloting online learning of various Windows products and first-line management skills last year at its London head office and five othersites. Once established, the system will offer staff the chance to learn skillssuch as customer services, management and senior management, communication,assertiveness, better use of the telephone and finance for non-financepersonnel. Up to 10,000 people will be able to undertake modules in a year. House of Fraser is not the only business waking up to the advantages ofe-learning. A survey by employment law firm Clifford Chance suggests thee-learning market is expected to grow by 96 per cent over the next five years.And a US study by the Corporate University Exchange has estimated that whileonly 20 per cent of corporate learning took place electronically in 1999, thisfigure could double by 2003. Yet, according to Clive Shepherd, director of e-learning specialist FastrakConsulting, for many HR professionals, e-learning remains something of ananathema. “Quite a lot of HR people are opposed to the idea of e-learningbecause they feel it is too ‘techy’ and too impersonal, but other people withinthe organisation may have other views,” he says. So, argues Shepherd, who judged the e-learning category in last year’s PersonnelToday Awards, the first hurdle to be jumped in marketing an e-learning functionis for HR directors to get over their own technophobia. “HR people should enrol on a collaborative e-learning course – theywill find you can have lots of interaction between learners, and they will getto remove their own techno-fear,” he says. Once that is accomplished, it is wise to sit back and assess first offwhether e-learning is the best solution for your business. If so, make sure thelearning is something that needs to be done, such as health and safety orinduction training, not just something that is nice to do. “Make it compulsory. People are slow to change, they will use the oldmethods if they can. Link it to something that is important, such as promotion,money or their development plan,” Shepherd says. It is also important to allocate time for people to use the programmes, andnot to expect staff to do it all in their own time. Getting managers –particularly at senior level – to take part in courses can send a clear messageof the importance of the strategy. “Typically, people will not do itunless those above them are doing it too,” Shepherd explains. “Make sure it is not just a cost-cutting tool. It has got to be seen aspositive and it needs to be accessible to people.” The best courses are those that are accredited and offer employees atangible benefit or qualification, he adds. Logistics firm Astron, a finalist in last year’s awards, has put theselessons into practice. The company, which three years ago was a traditionalprinting and warehouse operation, has reshaped itself into an informationlogistics firm with the Internet as the focus for its business. Key to this transformation has been the company’s commitment to e-learning,with all employees being trained in e-business skills over the Internet andusing IT. According to group operations and HR director Kathy Woodward, drivinge-learning is, paradoxically, about playing down the “e” element.Selling the concept comes down to making it clear to people what e-learning canbring to their part of the business, rather than the fact they will be trainingonline. “We are trying to show that these are products which are actually abouthelping you and your relationship with the customer,” she explains. It is also vital to bring the IT department on board from a very earlystage. Astron recruited four skilled software engineers, aged 16 to 18, andrather than limiting them to one area, gave them free range across the company.”They are just kids who love the technology, but are humble enough toteach it throughout the organisation. I think the biggest mistake we make is toforget that there are people out there who can’t even switch on acomputer,” says Woodward. Issues of concern are aired during daily meetings at 8.30am, and thene-mailed around the company, meaning performance databases have been rapidlybuilt up. “We say everybody is a coach. Everybody has to acceptresponsibility for coaching. Part of our job role is to share out learning. We arepassionate about the 8.30 process,” she says. Progress can be measured by the fact Astron has grown in the past four yearsfrom a £13m turnover business to one turning over £100m, she adds. At its most basic, e-learning means the delivery of courses online. It canalso be used as a management information tool providing quick reference andonline job aids. But at its most sophisticated, as Astron has found, e-learningcan be used to help manage the growth of a business. At this level, argues Tim Drewitt, worldwide manager, professional learningservices at McGraw-Hill Lifelong Learning, managers and staff are expected toshare information and willingly part with knowledge and skills, a culturalshift that can be difficult to instill. Courses, whether off-the-shelf, bespoke or a combination of e-learning andtraditional methods, need to be aligned to the organisation’s competencies.”If it is related to the business goals, that will be a motivator initself and you will be able to get staff to accept it,” he explains. It is also vital to involve the end-user – in most cases the line manager –from day one. Presenting a package as a fait accompli and leaving the managerto bed it down is unlikely to gain HR many Brownie points. The company, which is known in the UK as Xebec McGraw-Hill, runs a series ofpractical workshops on the issue three times a year. Martine Garland, UKmanager of the company’s Professional Learning Services, who organises thecourses, argues HR should not be afraid to draft in outside expertise, such asfrom the marketing department, to get its message across. “If managers do not buy into e-learning, they will make life sodifficult that end-users will not be able to do it. You have to show them thate-learning is a corporate-wide, business-critical initiative, not some ‘wussy’HR thing,” Garland says. Teaching employees in a “real life” situation brings home thebenefits of learning online much more quickly, argues Richard Barkey, chiefexecutive at Imparta, a specialist in e-learning simulation and implementation.And when advertising agency and Imparta client J Walter Thompson put inplace its e-learning function, it made sure it had about 40 champions in itsoffices around the world to promote the switch, run workshops and help iron outdifficulties. A “chief learning officer” was also appointed to showthe importance the company attached to the process. “It was like apyramid. Each level spread the word out to the level below it,” Barkeysays. Most e-learning systems have performance appraisal software embedded in themto help measure user achievement. Appraisal can go from the most basic – usersticking sheets to say if a course is good or bad – through to showing whatimpact there has been over time on the profit and loss statement. Creating a bespoke measuring tool for managers may be a good idea, but anoff the shelf will do just as well. Regular checks that look for changes inperformance or behavioural skills can also monitor progress. The HR manager should not forget the effect e-learning will have on thecompany’s traditional training department, adds Fenella Galpin, consultant atE-Learning Solutions. Tutors and trainers can often feel threatened by thearrival of e-learning, so its consequences need to be thought through andaddressed. The other element to look for is what is known as the “killerapplication”, where e-learning shows immediate successes, she argues. Thismight be simply induction training or specific guidance that helps a salesmanclose a deal. But it is vital to remember the technology must remain secondaryto the main goal – the learning. “Lots of people get excited about the technology but they can end upignoring the learning,” Galpin says. “You only get one launch. If youlaunch it and something isn’t right or a button doesn’t work, that’s a realturn-off, so project management is crucial.” House of Fraser’s Robinson agrees. Any business wanting to make a go ofe-learning must first recognise it cannot completely supersede conventionalmethods. Its e-learning system is, for instance, supplemented by work booksthat staff can take home and study in their spare time. “E-learning does not replace workshop or face-to-face learning. But itcan deliver more training to people locally when they want it,” Robinsonsays. Ahead of its full launch at the end of August, House of Fraser has beenrunning “teasers” on its intranet and training sessions have beenorganised from board level downwards, with two-hour on-site sessions formanagers. Once it is up and running, monthly “health checks” will be carriedout looking at knowledge retention, how learning is being applied back and howit is helping the key business targets. There will be an employee responsesurvey and the progress of each department will be checked. Further down theline, House of Fraser will look to update and refresh its systems, he adds. Wider evidence of success will come over time – if staff turnover can bereduced and motivation improves. “E-learning will offer more training toour staff generally. It will improve management skills, as we have quite a bigpopulation of early middle managers. And it is more cost-effective as it istraining people in their location, not training people away from the floor somuch,” Robinson enthuses.Five dos and don’ts:Do1 Tailor the message to theindividual audience or organisation. Make sure learning is aligned to thecompany’s business problems, and that its goals are reflected in the trainingmessage2 Get backing at the highest levelpossible, create champions throughout the business3 Use it to solve real problems.Make people see how it can work for their department. Make it simple, withhyperlinks straight through to what they want4 Start small, with a pilot ortrial. Get it right and you can grow it, get it wrong and no-one will listen5 Reward success. Find some earlywins and publicise themDon’t 1 Forget to explain the basics. Manypeople, even today, don’t know how to turn on a computer, let alone learnthrough one – that may include the chief executive2 Assume you can buy an e-learningproduct off the shelf, plug it in and simply forget about it. Keep monitoringperformance and communicating its benefits to ensure there is not a peak ofusage at the start, which then tails off3 Try and do it alone. However goodyour boardroom backing, without the support of the IT department it will bemuch harder to make it happen, while the expertise of the marketing departmentmay help to bed it in4 Automatically assume e-learning isthe best solution simply because it is the latest buzzword. Take a long, hardlook before taking the plunge5 Believe e-learning willimmediately replace conventional face-to-face learning. Create a mix that isflexible, but robust enough to offer something for everybody. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has described the opening of the new Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation (NFSBiH) headquarters as “a great step in the development of football in the country.”UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has visited Bosnia and Herzegovina to attend the official opening of the new headquarters of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation (NFSBiH).The opening ceremony in the capital Sarajevo was attended by representatives of the Bosnia and Herzegovina and international football communities, as well as senior government officials including the representative of the country’s presidency, Šefik Džaferović, and the chairman of the council of ministers, Denis Zvizdić.They will provide the association’s staff with the best possible working environment to implement various development strategies in the coming period, which are expected to have a positive impact on football in Bosnia and Herzegovina for years to come.“It is a privilege and pleasure for me to be here today,” said Mr Čeferin. “I am glad that Bosnia and Herzegovina will be richer for this new sports facility – this is a great step in the development of football in the country.”The UEFA President said that UEFA would continue to foster its relationship with the association, and provide crucial sporting and infrastructure support. “Football teaches us team work,” he said.“UEFA will remain a reliable partner to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation, and I hope that future projects will continue this infrastructure development.”Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national team has just enjoyed a successful UEFA Nations League campaign, gaining promotion to League A after going unbeaten through their group stage programme.“[Bosnia and Herzegovina] have caught up with the elite thanks to its dedicated work,” said Mr Čeferin. “The success is also due to the quality of the work undertaken with the younger categories of players.”The NFSBiH president Elvedin Begić said that steady development work was taking the association forward into a new era of stability. “This has been rewarded through the promotion of the senior national team to the highest reaches of the UEFA Nations League,” he reflected, “and today through the official opening of our Home of Football.”Mr Begić expressed his gratitude for the support given by UEFA and the world body FIFA. “It means a lot to us, and we will not betray their expectations and trust,” he said.“We will leave this building to the generations behind us as a testimony to times of good and transparent management – times of reform and changes, success, courage and visions.”
LSU made good on its first College Football Playoff appearance this season. The Tigers steamrolled through Oklahoma and Clemson for their first national championship of the CFP era. That freshened up the Playoff — at least for a year. MORE: Here are the FBS coaching changes for 2020It’s still worth knowing that Clemson (5), Alabama (5), Oklahoma (4) and Ohio State (3) have combined for 17 of 24 possible Playoff appearances, and those four schools will be popular picks to win their conferences in 2020. So, which schools could follow LSU’s lead and make their first Playoff appearance next season? We look at the seven best bets: 1. Penn State The Nittany Lions have been close — they won the Big Ten championship in 2016 only to watch the Buckeyes get in anyway. Penn State has been the closest competition to three-time defending Big Ten champion Ohio State, and James Franklin brings back a talented roster next season with starting quarterback Sean Clifford and the nation’s best returning defensive player in Micah Parsons. The Oct. 3 trip to Michigan — where Frankin is 0-3 — and the inevitable “Whiteout” against Ohio State on Oct. 24 will determine whether Penn State can take the next step. 2. Florida Dan Mullen has built on back-to-back New Year’s Day Six victories, and now it’s time to chase down Georgia — which had heavy losses to the 2020 NFL Draft — in the SEC East. Kyle Trask returns at quarterback, and the Gators have just four true road games next season. Assuming this team can avoid a pot-hole in the SEC East and knock off LSU in a series in which the teams have split the past four meetings, then the Georgia game will be there for the taking Oct. 31. 3. Auburn Gus Malzahn has a new offensive coordinator in Chad Morris, and it doesn’t matter who is calling the plays. Bo Nix — who beat Oregon and Alabama this season and made it interesting against Florida and LSU — will take the next step as a sophomore. The losses on the defensive interior line are a concern, but defensive coordinator Kevin Steele can work with the talent around him. The schedule is never easy — and next year they travel to Georgia and Alabama.4. Texas Yeah, we’re back. We did this last year, and we’re taking another home run swing with the Longhorns, who return Sam Ehlinger around a roster Tom Herman has built through recruiting. Eight of Texas’ losses are by eight points or fewer the past two seasons. They aren’t that far off in a Big 12 conference that has seen Oklahoma run unopposed for far too long. They get to run back the games against LSU and Oklahoma in the first six weeks of 2020. All it takes is a split there to stay in the hunt. 5. Oklahoma State The Cowboys are going to be the chic sleeper team next season based on the returns of FBS leading rusher Chuba Hubbard and receiver Tylan Wallace. Quarterback Spencer Sanders can work with that, and now it’s on Mike Gundy to get this team back to double-digit wins after compiling a 15-11 record the past two seasons. Looking at the schedule, there is no reason why Oklahoma State should not be 6-0 when it travels to Oklahoma for an Oct. 24 edition of Bedlam. The finale against Texas could determine whether Oklahoma State gets in the Big 12 championship game, too. 6. Michigan Michigan’s stock is low after double-barrel losses to Ohio State and Alabama to end the 2019 season. Jim Harbaugh enters year six still looking to break through to the Big Ten championship, and that might hinge on which quarterback wins the starting job between Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton. The roster is still talented enough to make a run in the Big Ten East, and you’ll get a feel for whether that’s possible in the opener at Washington. A three-game stretch against Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State is brutal, but everything revolves around the trip to Ohio State on Nov. 28. The Wolverines have not won at Ohio Stadium since 2000 — when Drew Henson was the quarterback. The psychological toll of that eight-game losing streak to the Buckeyes must be broken before we can talk Playoff. 7. Texas A&M Texas A&M is 17-9 in Jimbo Fisher’s first two seasons, and seven of those losses were to top-10 teams. The Aggies have improved through recruiting, and Kellen Mond returns at quarterback. The schedule is friendly both in nonconference (Abilene Christian, North Texas, Colorado, Fresno State) and SEC East crossover games (South Carolina, Vanderbilt). It comes down to that SEC West meat-grinder against Auburn, LSU and Alabama. Fisher is 1-5 against those teams since arriving in College Station.