BridgeCon Europe 2019, London – Conference summary

Hi everyone. Yesterday I attended Bridge Con for the first time. For those who don’t know, Bridge is a tool developed by Instructure to manage learning and development in the workplace. I’m not posting today to sell or hype that – we at PTT already use a learning platform that we’re pretty happy with – but Bridge Con did have some interesting sessions that we’d like to share with you.

There has been a lot of talk recently about the future of work. Will it be different or the same as it is now? Will it need to be social, adaptive, or personal? Well, for sure it’ll be different as people transition from boring repetitive work to more human-focused work. In other words, all those soft skills that people looked down their noses at in the past at are going to become much more important. Remember this: Soft is the new hard!

One panel on Creating an Engaged & Productive Workplace Culture discussed how to retain talent. Some of the opinions were:

  • Make sure that people bring their unique talents, use them, and are given opportunities to develop them more. 
  • Ensure that managers have the skills to manage well in a changing landscape. 
  • Make sure there is ample opportunity for re-skilling and up-skilling (team work, collaboration, project management, data skills). 
  • Learn and share. 

Really the byproduct and watchword from the panelists was that engagement is the key to preserving talent in the workplace.

Another panel on Creating Effective Employee Development Environments discussed the concept of how to develop a workforce from a learning perspective and highlighted three important points.

Values and culture are very important for creating a shared identity that allows people and companies to grow. 
Mindset change should only be driven by relevance. It makes more sense to position technology and AI not as threats but more as liberators of people and head space. 
Be very clear about engagement. Clarify what you’re asking people to be engaged with so that there is more chance that they will connect. 

One special mention I have to give is for David Wilson, the CEO of Fosway Group who presented data from their Next Gen HR research. You can grab the information from their website but the highlights were:

Think about development in terms of what people need today: job satisfaction and getting a pay rise, as well as for the future: preparing for a new job and preparing a CV. 
Employees have no clear understanding of who owns their development. They think it’s evenly split between themselves, their managers, HR, Learning etc.
People like on the job development but still prefer face to face learning. However, people would like learning time to be ringfenced and to have access to it through digital tools. 
For Employers, the number one driver for people development is retention of staff, number two is productivity, and number three is helping people develop. Surprisingly fifth on their list of priorities was skills gap reduction. 
Also, employers are less clueless about who owns employee development but there is still no obvious choice, although predictably HR and L&D are ahead of the pack.

Very interesting stuff, thanks David. One final thing he left us with and I’ll leave you with this time is to be clear about who owns development. This is key to getting development at the heart of business strategy.


If you’d like to learn more about Bridge Com, either visit their website here or drop us a line in the comment box.

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