Back on September 23rd, the Fredrickson Roundtable for Learning Leaders welcomed Nick Boyd, Senior Director of Strategy, Design & Operations for L&D at Target.
Nick led a session on The Future Learning Experience in a Hybrid World, during which he discussed how learning, strategy, and culture come together at Target to drive company performance, and how Target is evolving to bring a hybrid approach to its workforce.
Just like our Thought Leader presenters, Nick was gracious enough to answer some additional questions from the attendees, which we'll share now.
How have you managed or replaced the missed "networking" and connection from the physical classroom experience?
Interestingly, in programs leveraging our enhanced virtual classroom, participants are citing increased connection and improved ability to build relationships with program peers. Our facilitators have adopted best practices around connecting and socializing before and after training events as well – sometimes opening the “room” 10 minutes early for participants to join and connect.
We’ve also seen increases in Slack use for cohort or group instant messaging as well as grassroots peer-to-peer coaching engagements. These small steps are adding opportunities for connection and we’ll keep an eye on what’s working to understand how and when we should scale certain approaches.
How were you able to sell the investment of creating the virtual learning spaces to your organization?
[In the session, Nick had talked about the virtual learning spaces being physically built to support virtual learning, including pictures of a room full of monitors and a podium for digital facilitating.]
"We emphasized the importance of creating engaging and immersive learning experiences – much like we would have accomplished in person. We also outlined the experiences that were best suited for this enhanced virtual training approach, reiterating that not every program or learning moment needed deep facilitator to participant interaction and sophisticated engagement tools.
That clear differentiation helped to build the business case and prove where typical virtual meeting tools simply wouldn’t be sufficient. On a tactical level, the pandemic’s impact on travel also became a selling point for investing in a solution that most closely mimicked the classroom when we couldn’t physically meet in person."
Are there limitations to qualify for the free education you discussed and especially degree programs, or can all 400,000 associates take advantage in an unlimited capacity?
[Nick shared a tuition program Target sponsors to support the educational efforts of its employees.]
“Team members are permitted to participate in only one Target-sponsored program at a time, however team members are allowed to enroll in a double major or major/minor within a specific program. Team members may switch between programs subject to Target’s eligibility requirements articulated above and relevant universities admissions requirements.
Funding caps, as described above, are applicable for the current funding year a student is enrolled in. In the event a student moves from one program to another (i.e. Fully Funded to Partially Funded), any amount already spent in the current funding year will count towards the new program’s funding limit.”
How do you make sure people complete the programs?
"Guild coaches stay connected to team members throughout the process, especially while the programs are under way. We will also get reporting around completions."