Contributing to a Culture of Learning

September 20, 2018 Chris Glitzer

 

Appirio has a strong culture of learning. It’s one of the reasons I joined Appirio five years ago. Yes, we have some great formal onboarding and training programs, but I’m talking about something more: the behaviors of Appirians. By and large, Appirians check their egos at the door; they’re highly collaborative; they’re transparent; and they’re unafraid to ask questions and ask for help because they know their colleagues will be quick to provide answers when they are available.

 

After five years, it could be easy for me to take these aspects of our culture for granted. What keeps me from doing so are memories of other work cultures — either those I experienced before my time at Appirio, or those I witnessed while on client site as a consultant for Appirio. In some of these other work cultures, I understood that the work culture was more formal and hierarchical, that seniority and position influenced how an idea would be received, and that it was perceived by some workers as valuable to hoard information for competitive advantage over one’s colleagues.

 

Avenues of contribution

Appirio’s culture of learning is apparent in the everyday behaviors of Appirians, and it’s also been apparent in the tools we’ve set up to support contributions to each other’s learning. Any Appirian can create and edit any page on our Wiki. Any Appirian can ask and answer questions via a discussions@appirio email. Any Appirian can create and share a Google Doc, and collaborate on any Google Doc shared with them. Any Appirian can learn (or share learning) via our bi-weekly Continuing Education webinars.

 

And now, Appirio has Workday Learning, which adds a new and exciting channel for Appirians to share learning with one another. Workday Learning was rolled out just a couple of months ago, shifting Appirio Academy (our learning management system or LMS) from Cornerstone for Salesforce to Workday. Appirio is a company that prefers to “eat its own dogfood” (or, for people with more refined tastes, “drink its own champagne.”) We were already using an LMS we help other customers to implement, so we didn’t necessarily have to move Appirio Academy to Workday.

 

So why Workday Learning?

There are several reasons why Workday Learning is a good cultural fit for Appirio: Workday is already our people management system of record; Workday has a simple and seamless user interface; but perhaps more important than all of these is that Workday Learning enables peer learning.

 

What is peer learning and why is it such a big deal to Appirio? It introduces the capability for Appirians to now create their own microlearning lessons for the benefit of their peers. This new channel has the power to evolve the culture of learning at Appirio.

 

Microlearning has a few basic principles:

  • It should take very little time to produce
  • It should take very little time to consume (3 to 7 minutes, tops)
  • Each lesson should be around a single concept or idea
  • It needs to be relevant right now
  • It needs to be easy to find​

​​

So why use peer learning in Workday when we still have all of our former channels of learning? Those channels still have their place, so let’s talk about the ways in which Workday Learning presents some new advantages.

Learning Channels

Where it Works Well

Where it Has Challenges

The Company Wiki

 

Centralized company intranet

  • Providing company info, policies, and procedures
     
  • Providing hubs for teams, centers of excellence, and any other resources requiring links out to multiple other sources
     
  • For content that is frequently reviewed for relevance and accuracy
  • To share learning, one must create or edit a Wiki page, which can be time consuming and challenging for those unfamiliar, especially when you only want to share a video or a document.
     
  • To find learning, a keyword search will often return numerous results, some relevant and up-to-date and some not.

Discussions@Appirio

 

Open email forum and question tracker

 

  • Asking a quick question and hopefully getting quick answers to discover what institutional knowledge Appirio has around new or niche technologies
  • To find learning, one must send an email to the discussions alias, and hope that any subject matter experts are available to read and respond to the question in a timely manner.
     
  • To share learning, one must respond to the emailed question, which might be a question that other Appirians might have in the future. You might spend more time in the long run answering these questions one-off.

Google Docs

 

Collaborative creation suite

  • Collaborating on documents
     
  • Ensuring the right people have access to the right information
  • For content all Appirians can benefit from, a Google Docs search can sometimes be as exhausting as a Wiki search, with useful docs appearing inline with docs that may not be relevant or current.

Continuing Education

 

Bi-weekly, formal development series

  • Gaining insight on technology, business acumen, or soft skills aimed at all Appirians
  • Content is “pushed” vs “pulled”, meaning that Appirians may not need what is being offered in every CE session

Workday Learning

 

Powerful LMS with peer-learning capabilities

  • To share peer learning, one logs into Workday and chooses to Create a New Lesson. A five-field page enables you to provide a title, description, relevant topics, and upload your content and a thumbnail image.
  • To find learning, users may browse by keyword, search by topic, and have content recommended to them. Workday Learning will also be periodically audited to ensure learning content is both relevant and up-to-date.
  • It is a new capability at Appirio.
  • Appirians who are not used to recording their own content may need to upskill on video capture tools, such as SnagIt or Camtasia.

 

The conclusion to draw from above is that while each of our peer learning channels have advantages and disadvantages, consider using Workday Learning whenever you have learning content that would be of benefit to all or a large population of your colleagues.

 

Contribute to your culture of learning

I encourage each of you think about what you are an expert on today — whether it be technical skills, soft skills, or experiences with a specific customer vertical. What learning can you share with your colleagues?

 

Go forth and contribute to Appirio’s culture of learning!

 

We’ll be at Workday Rising, will you? Come visit our booth in the Innovation Exchange Expo in San Francisco in early October to find out more about Workday Learning. And find out more about Appirio’s culture and capabilities, please read more of our resources, available on the Appirio Hub.

 
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