We are pleased to announce that Jay Kasdan has been promoted to our Director of Community Learning and Connection! 

Many of you who know Jay may wonder “well, isn’t that what Jay already does?” Yes, absolutely. In addition to Jay’s main jobs as Account Manager and Learning Consultant, Jay has been our number one community builder since he joined Fredrickson.

Back in the early 2000s, the Roundtable for Learning Leaders was only a concept we had. Jay brought direction and momentum to the group and led its growth to its current participation of more than 500 members. Jay also started our Young Learning Leaders Forum and the Sales Enablement Circle, and has been the co-leader of the Twin Cities Articulate User Group.

Moving forward as director, Jay will address an important question for Fredrickson: How do we foster community learning and connection in a world that is increasingly virtual, global, and in a perpetual state of change?

We look forward to sharing this journey with Jay!
Four learning leaders from around the Twin Cities shared their answers to the following question:

What new or expanded activities did your learning team do in 2020 that you plan on continuing and/or increasing in the future?
Desmond Clancy
Director, Sales and Customer Training

While 2020 was a challenging year for Uponor and our training team, we were all able to focus on the opportunity this difficult set of circumstances presented and bring value to the business we serve. Our digital strategy, which was secondary to hosting 3,000 participants a year at our training center, became primary. What was a full calendar of instructor-led training quickly became webinars, video, eLearning and virtual coaching. 

There are two projects that will bring the most long-term, sustainable value to the business. First, we launched a virtual coaching tool that offers virtual skills practice and coaching, using a video platform to capture and share role plays, giving sales leaders insight into the seller’s ability to apply new skills and execute on key selling assets and value messages. In 2020 we primarily used the tool to launch our new sales methodology and our sales onboarding program. In 2021, it will be a critical piece of several new product launches and marketing campaigns.
We also created a virtual reality factory tour. Bringing customers and prospects to our factory has long been a key part of the retention and conversion strategy for our sales team. The goal of the Uponor Virtual Factory Experience was simple…if we can’t bring customers to the factory, we will bring the factory to the customer. And that’s exactly what we did! We created a 360, 3D virtual factory tour, with multiple viewing options. Since launching the experience in January, we already have more than 1,000 people registered. In 2021 we will continue to explore ways in which we can use this technology to launch new products and create compelling customer experiences.  

After a hectic and unpredictable 2020, we are consistently hearing feedback from our customers and business partners that these experiences have created value for their business and bolstered their commitment to Uponor. 
Lorayne Etoll
Global Training & Development Manager

We need to help sales professionals gain the skills to engage with customers regardless of the delivery method. Yes, there will be face-to-face selling again, but that will be combined with virtual selling. Some customers may not go back to their offices, and digital channels will coexist with f2f channels.
Taylor Kearns
Supervisor - Training, Technical Support and Communications
MN Dept. of Human Services, Disability Services Division

Working for a State government agency, numerous challenges related to the pandemic have forced us to adapt on many fronts. This may come as a surprise to many of you but government isn’t always quick to adapt. But we have also been afforded opportunities because of the pandemic; one specific area that we have been forced to adapt is in how we lead and manage our teams and staff.
One day, we will return to the office. It will be great, right? But what will we take from this experience and how will it transform the way we work moving forward? Sure, we can talk about our reliance on using technology to support our work. We can talk about changes to culture. But I believe that we need to focus on looking at how we support the work/life balance of our people. The pandemic has essentially given us a golden opportunity to break the “normal” rules of our work day.
My approach has been to tell people that their #1 job is to take care of themselves so that they can bring their A game to their work. Every day. I encourage people to spend time with their family. Go outside and get some exercise. Eat a good lunch. Take a nap. Putz in the garage (one of my favorite breaktime activities). Whatever you need to do to care for yourself is your first priority so that you are primed to meet the relentless demands of the work. This is something I will continue to carry forward even when we go back to the office.  
Mara Lawler
Change and Learning Leader
Red Wing Shoe Company

My team starts each day Monday through Thursday from 8:00 to 8:30 with a video “Jammies and Java” meeting. It’s the best way to begin our work day! We mostly chat and share books, shows, movies, recipes, etc. We talk about work sometimes if needed but try to keep the conversation informal. The meeting helps my team feel grounded and connected as we are working virtually. We have Jammies and Java scheduled through the end of 2021 and foresee continuing as we reimagine how and where we work. We are more in tune with each other now than when we were in the office.
Chris Walmsley
Training & Publications Leader
Thermo King

2020 allowed our team to explore and implement new learning technologies. As the need for easily accessible and on-demand training content increased exponentially our team was able to expand upon the recently introduced TKTV video library to meet this need. TKTV is an internal “YouTube” style video platform that focuses on task based activities (i.e. how to flash load a unit controller, etc.) and is available 24/7 for our employees and Dealer network. 

In addition, with the travel and group meeting restrictions put in place due to the pandemic we were able to fully implement formal instructor led training programs through the use of virtual delivery platforms WebEx and Microsoft Teams. While the use of virtual delivery isn’t groundbreaking in and of itself, this was a huge step for our team especially given our primary target audience of mechanical technicians. We were able to completely redesign, what are normally week(s)-long hands-on training sessions, into workable and very well-received virtual technical training offerings. 

Leveraging video/animation technology to build out technical workshops and being able to deliver these workshops virtually allowed us to continue adding value to the business and for our customers. As we move into this year we will continue to expand the use of these technologies and look to leverage additional technologies around experiential learning.
Toward the end of each year we invite leaders from the L&D community to participate in a steering committee by sharing ideas and topics for compelling group events.

This past December, ten members of the Fredrickson Learning Leaders Roundtable joined us for a virtual discussion. It was great to hear everyone’s stories about their accomplishments (and struggles!) during 2020. 

Here are some of the many potential topics that the group brought forth, which will help shape our community events in the coming months:
  • Modernizing the learning ecosystem and learning experience
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Learning in the flow of work
  • Transitioning on-site events to virtual experiences
  • Capability accelerators and skills development as learning and development drivers
  • Wellness initiatives
  • Driving accountability and adoption
  • Benchmarks and metrics
If you have a topic and/or facilitator idea you’d like to share, please send a message to jkasdan@fredricksonlearning.com.
Interested in the Roundtable for Learning Leaders?
Are you a learning leader who would like to interact and share best practices with your peers? Would you like to learn more about any of these topics? If yes, we encourage you to apply for membership in Fredrickson’s Roundtable for Learning Leaders.
This community of leadership-level L&D professionals will connect you with like-minded individuals where you can discuss trends, challenges, and solutions facing you and your L&D team, as well as network with the learning community.
In the last week of January, we held our pilot gathering of learning leaders in banks and financial services organizations. We deemed this special event a success, as the limited participant group bonded and had several common threads of interest:
  • Many are seeking to gather best practices around how to train a group of colleagues/employees who are in different locations—remote and on campus.
  • Determining how to measure the impact/effectiveness of a learning event or course can be challenging. What are ways to track the improvement in learners?
  • Everyone has had successes as well as pain points around various tools and platforms. The ones mentioned most often in this group were Workday, Cornerstone, and Degreed.
As is the case with all of our communities, our hope is that connecting with peers in similar roles and organizations will encourage further collaboration and idea sharing.
We feel that ongoing events for this group will provide value. Therefore, we have happy news: we’re introducing it soon as one of our communities that meets regularly. Stay tuned for details on future gatherings, and please contact Molly Hendricks, community manager, for more information - mhendricks@fredricksonlearning.com.
With both vaccinations and variants in the news, it's hard to predict your next hiring move. The good news is, you don't have to! We can help no matter how you plan to hire. 
  • Your need--and your funding-- is short term? A staffing resource is just the ticket.
  • Considering a regular hire, but only if you find the right person? Temp to hire may be the right option for you.
  • Finally got funding for a regular hire and need to use it before you lose it? Let us help you find the perfect fit faster with direct placement.

Contact Christine Douglas, cdouglas@fredricksonlearning.com, if you would like to talk about an immediate or upcoming need.
Cargill's Learning & Development (L&D) team initiated a new vision and digital learning strategy aligned with their CEO's call for bold and courageous actions to aid in the transformation of Cargill and to aggressively build digitalization capability. The strategy is intended to accelerate the modernization of critical business learning and the employee learning experience, as well as position corporate learning investments as a lever to accelerate transformation and execute on strategies.

During this session, Cargill will share two of the key elements important to achieving the goals laid out: learning governance and the data and measurement strategy.

Tabatha Cronin, Global L&D Portfolio and Roadmap Leader, will share Cargill's approach to learning and development governance. Angie Ballinger, Global L&D Business and Commercial Excellence College Lead, will describe the data and measurement strategy which is key to ensuring that they deliver undeniable business impact.
Join us in late March as three members of Allianz Life share "The Art of the Pivot: How Allianz Life quickly transformed from an in-person sales culture to fully digital."

Bethany Esse, Sales Development Program Manager, Alex Herrmann, Sales Enablement Principal, and Melissa Schmit, Sales Enablement Analyst will co-lead this session.
This virtual session will be the first Sales Enablement Circle event in 2021. If you are part of this community, watch for an invite in the next couple of weeks. If you are not, please learn more about our Sales Enablement Circle community below and contact Jay Kasdan for details (jkasdan@fredricksonlearning.com).
In mid-April, Samuel Ragsdale, 3M's Learning UX, Operations, and Design Leader, will lead a session on "Transforming the Learning Experience." This session will focus on the learning ecosystem and the platforms that support it. This virtual session will be the first Learning Technology Network event in 2021.

If you are part of this community, watch for an invite in the next few weeks. If you are not, please click below to learn more about our Learning Technology Network community and contact Robin Lucas for details (rlucas@fredricksonlearning.com).