In the latest instalment of our HR industry executive interview series we spoke to Go1‘s Chief People Officer Ashleigh Loughnan about professional eLearning, the many balls being juggled by HR departments across all industries as we emerge from the pandemic, the importance of empowering employees and the exciting future in the world of L&D…
Tell us about your company, products and services.
Go1 offers the largest curated eLearning library from top training providers in a single subscription. Integrated with leading LMS and HRIS systems, the company is transforming the way businesses manage their learning and development globally. Our aim is to reach a billion learners worldwide and we’re right on track.
We operate across most markets with some 5M learners onboard, and through our integration with the likes of Slack and Microsoft Teams, we’ve been able to seamlessly integrate with existing functions to deliver maximum impact. Because we offer a one-stop solution for an enterprise’s L&D needs, most of our customers are businesses that want to streamline their offering into a single platform subscription.
What have been the biggest challenges the Human Resources industry has faced over the past 12 months?
Where to begin! The obvious struggles have been around adapting to a new normal of remote working, hybrid teams, greater emphasis on work/life balance and expectations on the role an employer plays in people’s lives.
But there is also so much more going on we need to be mindful of. The two most important, as we see it, are around mental health and ongoing development.
The importance of louder, more open, more empathetic conversations around mental health is key. The pandemic threw emotional and mental stability into the spotlight and advanced us a long way in how we address those conversations – how leadership can better equip their teams but also helping everyone know where the line between colleague and counsellor is. This is vital work but there’s still some way to go before it’s consistent across businesses.
The other challenge is the gap in the workforce created when businesses stopped hiring during lockdowns. There is a notable absence of people coming through the ranks in multiple industries, which not only impacts the roles they would fill but also the people who are having to pick up that slack. Too many businesses are trying to hire their way out of this problem and not enough are investing in learning and development to upskill existing employees. It’s something we see happening time and again.
And what have been the biggest opportunities?
The biggest opportunities are the flip-side of the coin from the challenges. We have an amazing opportunity to embed effective and empathetic mental health policies into the workforce; we’ve been presented with a once-in-a-generation reset that we need to seize upon to push important conversations to the heart of the workplace and not let them slip back down the agenda as the world returns to normal.
And we also have an opportunity to highlight the impact of continued learning throughout careers, making learning and development absolutely central to business plans and growth. Proper training isn’t the reserve of the few, or of businesses established enough to fund it, it should be for everyone and every employee in every business should feel empowered to expect and request it.
What is the biggest priority for the L&D sector in 2022/23?
For us, it’s to build upon the change we’ve seen in the past 18 months. The way we interact, learn, engage and communicate has changed fundamentally, so it’s crucial for L&D functions to evolve with the world, embedding behaviours that will future-proof the workforce. We can’t let the sense of a “return to normality” to mean we should be going back to the old ways of doing things. The future is here and we should be at the forefront of the excitement of what comes next.
What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2022/23?
We expect to see greater emphasis on upskilling to offset the shortage in the work-force but we also think there will be a continuation of the shift towards hybrid learning embedded within everyday workflows. There will always be a place for structured learning but the future lies in a blend of structure and ad hoc moments of L&D that fit within the everyday of work. Whether mini modules delivered through Slack or short bite-sized pieces of content that can be consumed between meetings, learning will become more about little and often than it ever has been before.
What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?
Productivity software. Lockdown forced many businesses to start using software like Monday, Trello and Workflow, which presents an amazing opportunity for L&D functions to embed within everyday projects. And for those businesses who were using such software already, they’re already two steps along the road to making learning a part of daily life.
In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?
The next phase of DEI. It’s such an important topic on a number of levels but many businesses are still taking their first steps to address inclusivity and diversity. But even for those who are more advanced, the conversation won’t ever stop. As we learn more about the power of diversity, the conversation will broaden from things such as cultural and ethnic backgrounds to non-graduates through to neurodiversity and beyond. Until we can fully understand the full spectrum of the human experience, we won’t ever come close to full representation, which is, in a way, an exciting prospect for our industry to be a leading voice for.
Which person in, or associated with, the L&D sector would you most like to meet?
I wouldn’t like to limit my options to only those formally in or around the L&D sector – everyone has a role to play in how someone learns and how they can influence others and there are so many people on this list for me. If I had to pick one, Simon Sinek would be my first – I would love to underdtand his world outside of his incredible books.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the L&D sector?
I am surprised it has taken as long as it has to appreciate the impact of learning outside of the workplace. There is as much to gain from our experience and interactions outside of the workplace and as employers we have a role to play in supporting that.
You go to the bar at the HR Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
At Go1 we are very much on a “build” journey. Whilst every business should consider themselves to be in the same position, at Go1 we embrace it and acknowledge for us and others that there are always ways to improve and be better.
And what’s the most challenging?
The opportunity in front of us is enormous. To get there, we need to focus on building an organization and team that can support our growth and scale journey to reach our vision of a billion learers. And we need to do that at the same time as we continue to grow and scale.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from.
The Crown or Peaky Blinders?