This month, our friends over at 360Learning interviewed this month’s Modern Learner Spotlight: Jess Almlie! Jess is a strategic L&D leader, and currently the VP of Learning Experience at WEX Health. Not only has Jess immersed herself in the LCD model by reading Designing for Modern Learning, she has been a guest speaker at our Monthly Modern Dialogue and has had her team attend our two-week public workshop.
In her interview with Jonah Goldstein from 360Learning, Jess highlights how she uses modern learning principles from the Learning Cluster Design model to guide her L&D strategy at Wex.
Jonah: What do you and your team focus on in terms of L&D?
Jess: Internally, we oversee everyone who is onboarding and upskilling. Externally, we create education components responding to customer needs, which primarily take the form of webinars and videos. Our internal strategy is blended (using the Learning Cluster Design model) so we offer eLearning with interactive labs and structured shadowing. We have a team of 20 working within the L&D team. In addition to leading the team, I’m also creating and driving the strategy for learning in the health division.
Jonah: What are some of the challenges you’ve been able to identify with a performance consulting approach?
Jess: Every sales team has bigger and bigger numbers every single year. That’s just how we help our companies to grow. This year, our sales team had a particularly large number that they wanted to hit. So, they came to us late last year and asked us to help with some training.
Whenever somebody asks for training for an internal group that is already functioning well, I always ask: why? What’s the real issue here? It might be related to training, or it might not. I don’t want to provide training as a solution if that’s not going to help, because that’s a waste of company time and resources. We looked at our top performers and we found through interviews (the Learn Action) that there wasn’t a gap in sales knowledge or principles, because people knew how to do their jobs. For this particular group, it was more about building a greater awareness and understanding of the specific activities which led to a sale, and standardizing best practices of the top performers.
Jonah: What were some of those best practices or learning interventions that came from the top performing sales people and how were you able to expand those to the broader organization?
Jess: First we looked at metrics so we could learn from them (the Track Action). Then we looked at where the high performers were leveraging learning resources (the Learn Action). The major thing we found was that our top sales performers were all leveraging a collaborative approach to learning. We asked them: what’s your go-to resource? Where do you go to find information when you get stuck? Their number one answer was: the team. We realized that when we bring a new team member into sales, it’s really important for them to know that the team is their collaborative resource. They just need the right guidance (the Surround Action) on how to access the team around them, and how best to lean on each other.