The Blend Podcast EP024 – Onboarding with Luke Goodwin

SPEAKERS

Brendan Cox, Luke Goodwin

Brendan Cox  00:25

One of the things that really interests us with eLearning is the different ways that you can use it. And a key thing in business is obviously welcoming employees and bringing them in for new roles or projects. And it’s a really powerful opportunity to actually set the relationship off on a good foot. So we thought we’d actually chat to an expert in onboarding today. So I’d like to welcome learning designer Luke Goodwin to the podcast.

Luke Goodwin  00:48

Hi, Brendan, thank you very much for having me today.

Brendan Cox  00:51

No problem. How are you?

Luke Goodwin  00:53

I’m very well, very excited about the conversation.

Brendan Cox  00:57

Good to have you on, I’m looking forward to digging into this subject. So tell us a bit about your background and your journey to where you are now as a learning designer?

Luke Goodwin  01:06

Well started quite some time ago. So I got into the professional world and started within a sales role in insurance for an insurance company actually Endsleigh Insurance. I don’t know if you familiar with Endsleigh. 

So I started out as an insurance agent on the phone and quickly worked my way through to the managerial position. One of the things I was particularly always interested in was, when we did receive new employees, just making sure that they were welcomed, and they felt safe.  I think the business recognised that. So they actually put me on secondment, to look at our onboarding process and how we inducted employees into mainly the sales divisions at the time. 

I put a lot of energy into that and that transitioned me into the training arena, which I absolutely loved. Luckily, I got the opportunity to build an actual operational training department from that. 

I gradually built up the operational training team and we ended up covering five divisions. It was looking after all the sales and customer service teams across the organisation, when we actually merged with Zurich. At one point the operational training division expanded, and I’ve got the chance to board more team members and got more involved in actually delivering training to new trainers. 

That was what saw my transition into more of the L&D side things and leadership side of learning development.  So I transitioned from that point into what would essentially be your traditional L&D role. I was in that for for a couple of years, and again, really enjoying it. Then I got an opportunity to step out of L&D that was going back into the sales arena. So I was head of sales for a UK warranty company. I think the variety that L&D gives you, such a diverse role – I think I missed that a little bit. 

I then got the opportunity to come back into L&D working with a group of businesses called Activate group. That’s in the accident management arena. So again, similar to the insurance and claims world. I got the opportunity to move into that position and build the L&D teams, it was a very fast growing company. So yeah, so that’s what got me back into L&D. 

Then I spent two to three years I think in in that position, helping grow that L&D division. I’ve always had an ambition to run my own company. So soon as I started to explore the digital world of L&D. I thought it’s time for me to try and make something of this for myself. So I started to do some freelance work. And then thankfully, that’s evolved into my own company LTL, which is Look Good Learning. That’s where I am today as a learning freelance learning designer, helping organisations all over the world for their learning and development needs.

Brendan Cox  04:25

So, building a team organically when you first started, then you went out into the sales side of it, taking that step back and then coming into build another team, how did your perspective change, and were there any insights or advantages you bought to it.

Luke Goodwin  04:41

So, unknowingly at the time, it was probably the best move I could have made for my L&D career. So by stepping away and coming back in, first of all, it gave me a brand new perspective being in that head of sales position as to what my belief was in terms of what L&D should be offering the organisation. So I think it was a huge turning point for me when I came back into that, my new L&D role if we want to call it that, because I’ve had a complete mindset shift. And I think that originally, and I think this is maybe the traditional way of L&D is, my mindset was always, this is my expertise. 

This is what I know, therefore, this is what I offer. And I think when I came back into L&D, my mindset shifted to, what do you need? What are your actual problems? And how do I use my knowledge and expertise to help you solve that problem? Yeah, and I think that the best way of me putting that in it, and I’ve teams I’ve worked with since coming back into L&D, this is the same message I’ve given them. 

I started to really see L&D as its own business. And the moment that I started to say to myself, what would a business do if these stakeholders were my client, I started to get completely different results, completely different reactions from the organisation. Because suddenly, I was talking from their point of view, previously, I felt like, the old way of working, I was always trying to get across my knowledge, I was always trying to get stakeholders to see how knowledgeable I was about my trade and my craft, and whatever else. But the moment I put that to one side and said, well, that’s only going to be relevant at the point where it’s necessary. 

So as soon as I did that, I started to get some real, response from the organisation. And people started to listen to what I had to say and starting to get involved in areas of the organisation, historically, L&D would have just gone nowhere near. I think that was ultimately because my focus was on L&D and how it was going to impact performance, from the organization’s perspective, from the actual ground. 

And I got the opportunity to get involved with some really high profile projects within the teams also became not afraid to say, learning development at this point in your project is not what you need, you’re going to need me until three or four steps down the line. And historically, I never would have had the confidence to say that. But as soon as I really started to focus in on how am I going to truly help these people with the problems that they have? 

I then started to question even when I got involved, and as a result, it is far more rewarding to feel as well, if you take that approach, to my opinion,

Brendan Cox  07:56

by taking a step onto the flip side, you were the client basically as a salesperson. Exactly. So I’m guessing as you started approaching everything from an empathetic standpoint of I’m doing this for the good of them as a client.

Luke Goodwin  08:10

Yeah, and I think a lot of the times, certainly with, especially operational teams that I’ve worked with, they are found at times, teams are so busy, and they’ve got so much to do that they, they may make an assumption, or they may think that they know what the problem is, and therefore start to, come up with solutions to those problems, like were too early. 

And I think once I started to work with them, and like I said, work from the ground up on the problems, because I was somewhat removed, because there wasn’t within the teams, but I was there to support and help them. I was there to really question things. 

And because I was working with them, and looking at their challenges from their point of view, they were willing to listen when I started to challenge them on maybe even what the problem was. And then by doing that, we were able to find those solutions together, which often were not the solutions that we Richard originally set out to, to solve. 

So yeah, I really think that stepping away and coming back was was a real catalyst for me in terms of my understanding of why I was there.

Brendan Cox  09:25

Your approach, really, I think it builds a lot of trust very quickly, because they see you as a partner and not someone who’s there to disrupt them, or make their life harder. You’re literally like this go, they were on this, we’re doing this together.

Luke Goodwin  09:36

Yeah. And I mean, I remember one particular, lady, I worked with the stakeholder of mine, where we uncovered the fact that, a report was wrong, we uncovered the fact that if we’d have spent two hours across 150 employees, two hours worth of training, which was the original request, if we spent that time we wouldn’t have even been focusing on the correct problem. 

As a result, we would have wasted, two hours worth of time across 150 employees, which is an awful lot of time and an awful lot of money. So yes, I think it takes a bit of time to, to build that trust, and you’ve really got to work hard, and, to understand the organisation and the potential problems that you’re tackling, but I think once you do, and start to work with your organisation, it really yields results quite quickly.

Brendan Cox  10:33

Yeah, I think it’s jumping into coming up with a solution straight away. Whereas the best way of doing it is to sit back and ask what it is they’re trying to achieve first, and then maybe challenge those assumptions, because everyone makes them.

Luke Goodwin  10:48

Yeah, and once you once you do have one of those moments where your process, because obviously, we’re still following a process. So once you have one of those moments where your process hits home with your stakeholders, and your stakeholders sees that by deploying the process that you have, they will, they will get real results out at the end of it. I mean, when I talk about the report that we uncovered was inaccurate, this person thought that they needed to shift performance by 10%. And by uncovering this issue with the report, we established, it was only two. 

And the level of input we needed to give to make that shift was far less than originally thought. So once you get a moment like that, where, you have a moment where the stakeholder sees that without your input, that value wouldn’t have been added, yeah, you’ve got a real chance, then to use that experience, and, really gain some belief and some traction within your organisation. And they, even your credibility will soar when you start to achieve results like that.

Brendan Cox  11:59

This is something we’ve noticed from our side with Blend as well, it’s immensely satisfying, when you can really help them dig in and the light bulb properly goes off, you build a friend for life when he can help a client like that, is it’s really satisfying.

Luke Goodwin  12:13

Absolutely. And, by saying, you need to trust the process. I follow certain processes where we spend, the analysis phase we spend quite a bit of time up front but ultimately, we know that we’re solving the right problem. And the moment you can get the stakeholders to trust and believe in your process. Then, yeah, you’ll see the results yourself, I mean, obviously, you tried it, I’ve got plenty of people in my network that are starting to approach things this way. And I haven’t yet come across somebody that’s not getting real positive results at the back end as a result.

Brendan Cox  12:57

So let’s dig in a bit more into their onboarding. So it’s obviously your expertise you’ve seen on both sides of the thing. What are some of the real return in investments of good quality onboarding?

Luke Goodwin  13:12

I mean, going back to the point that we’ve just been talking about there, I think, for me, onboarding is much bigger than just that initial phase. And I think one of the challenges with onboarding is, depending upon who you speak, to, will determine what answer you get as to what it even is. 

I think for me, it’s, from the point where we’re really trying to bring somebody on board into the company, all the way through to that person being able to have real competence within the role, that’s it, that’s quite a long amount of time. And I think, for me, onboarding is not just about, the usual ROI things like, how many people have been recruited, what’s the length of time that’s been served. So for me, it’s about again, like we’ve just been talking about, really focusing in on the performance metrics that actually matter. And not forgetting the process of onboarding is still an area where performance should be measured for me. 

When you start to look at it that way, you start to ask different things of onboarding, I think you start to ask questions about, maybe a person’s turn to competence, you start thinking about the impact of the organization’s culture and how that affects employee engagement throughout the onboarding process. And you even start to ask, what’s included? So bit of a difficult one to answer and I think a lot of the times L&D would say well, ROI is difficult, but I don’t think it is, I think it’s about saying and every organisation will be different and in some cases even the departments and the teams will be different. 

But it’s about asking the question, what is our onboarding process? What is it truly aiming to achieve? And then once you can answer that question, you are able to sit back and say, well, how can we prove that? What data do we need to establish whether we are achieving what our actual goal is? one company’s onboarding process might be just that, people feel welcome. It might be a small organisation, and that’s all it is. Very, very large organisations with, extremely large targets. 

To me, the onboarding process may be very, very different. And I think it’s about asking the question, what are we looking to achieve? And then sitting down and saying, how do we prove this? How do we prove that we are meeting that particular goal? And I don’t think certainly my experience, I don’t think L&D does enough of that. I don’t think they do enough of trying to prove something’s worked. So yeah, so I think it’s about concentrating on the performance metrics that actually matter for your organisation or your departments. And then establishing or whatever achieving those metrics.

Brendan Cox  16:24

Yeah, and then looking at holistically, like, this isn’t just a stand alone, bit of training, this is a part of the bigger map for the actual company strategy of what direction we want to take everything in? And how does this little bit of onboarding actually grow into something to take the actual employee through the whole relationship with the company?

Luke Goodwin  16:49

Certainly people I’ve spoken to me, me included, I can very quickly remember the experiences I’ve had within my career, where the onboarding experience had an impact on that. And it’s very easy to forget the ones that don’t I think everybody wants to achieve that, every business wants to achieve that their employees are on board, it pops up. 

But I think not every company focuses exactly on how we can know that that is the case. I can prove it. I think the big thing for me is well, how do we prove that? how do we prove that that is what we’re achieving? it’s all right at a team of people in an onboarding programme telling you, they’ve had a great time. But that’s not telling you much, really, that they’re probably going to tell you that anyway. 

Because you’ve asked them the question, you need to find different ways of proving that what you set out to achieve has been achieved. I’ve been involved in organisations where, onboarding programmes around six months after you’ve started with the company. For me, that’s not focusing on performance metrics that actually matter. Because you’re essentially saying, we’ve waited six months to find out if this is any good. 

I think if that is a need, then you may have a need to question well, what are we aiming to achieve? And how do we achieve that sooner? and I’m probably guilty of running those programmes at times in the past, but yeah, I would do things very differently. Now, if given the chance.

Brendan Cox  18:35

A lot of the challenges are very similar across eLearning, in general, like you say, is actually taking the time to invest in looking at the actual goal of a project, and then work out when it succeeded. Is there anything specific to onboarding?

Luke Goodwin  18:50

So one example for me is, I’ve battled with this a lot over the years is this that this is distinguishing between onboarding versus induction. When does an onboarding start? And when does it start? Really, because it’s a person’s experience of growing within that component. And I think one of the challenges, first of all is that separation in terms of onboarding, and in a way by giving it a name, you’re suggesting that there’s a start and an end. Now that of course, there has to be a start and an end if you’re going to put a programme in place. 

But I think, by separating even from induction, which is, the often the next phase of the onboarding programme. I don’t think businesses see that the onboarding experience often extends well beyond the first few weeks of a person’s, employment with that company. And when you then start to think about cultural impact which for me is a massive element in terms of creating great onboarding, an employee has to have quite a number of experiences before they are really a member of the team as it were. 

I think for me, one of the biggest parts of onboarding is that that person is now part of that organization’s family. And there’s a lot that has to go in, into making that happen. So I think the first thing is, by just labelling it onboarding, I think often organisations don’t put enough into the to the programme or don’t give the program enough time for that person really, to embed themselves within the organisation. And I think that leads on to even what to include, because I’ve worked with multiple companies. 

One of the things I see, especially when you get different types of organisations with different requirements, different targets, just different jobs, just want to include within that period of time, I think is a challenge in itself. Because you will have some organisations that will be very responsive and want to include an awful lot of things within that period of time. 

Then you can have the, the complete opposite to that. So I think the thing for me is, and I’m a real advocate of that concept of, in the flow of work, so where I’ve tried to overcome that challenge is by thinking about the absolute core things that somebody needs, when they start with an organisation. And that might be something as simple as, what time of the arriving, have they been greeted, and who were they greeted by, do they know that that people know they are arriving? 

I remember speaking to a girl, I used to work with him. She said, the most nerve wracking thing for me was sitting on the sofa waiting for somebody to acknowledge that I’d arrived, she said to me, I didn’t know whether I’d arrived on the correct day or not. Yeah, she started to get anxious. 

So I think, what is the absolute fundamentals that a person needs within your organization. To truly feel welcome. And I think that differs for different organisations. And then when that person starts to develop within that role, I think, then it switches to that concept of, what, what do people need when they are in that flow of work? 

What seems to be the end of the onboarding process is often not for me. But I think it’s then about how do we then make sure that this person is still receiving that core information that they need, as they’re developed within that role. And that, for me is that concept of in the flow of work providing people with what they need when they need it, rather than just separating them from their working experience completely.

Brendan Cox  23:15

Really interesting, because you mentioned about that on the first day nervousness. Is it the right place. And so that’s definitely something that on my personal experience, I’ve seen that happen a lot. And you turn up somewhere, and the onboarding experience is purely for the benefit of the company, almost like they just want you to get cracking. 

Yeah, there’s no empathy with the actual employee. And so like you say, It’s that thing of, building a relationship that feels balanced from the word go, where the employee feels that the company’s there for them.

Luke Goodwin  23:48

That’s interesting, you say that, because of, another point, I think, and, and again, I’m thinking about my experiences, across the organisations, I’ve worked with things people have told me, things I’ve seen online, that to devote a lot of energy into this period of time to help organisations I’ve worked and then one of the areas where I think businesses have failed to focus on is, is the actual culture of the organisation. 

I think this is this is probably become extremely apparent for me as I moved into the freelancing arena and started to work with, multiple organisations over a very short period of time. And I think somewhat every time you start a piece of work, as a freelancer, especially if it’s on a project that started, you can feel like you’ve been onboarded. And I’ve had to flip it on its head and one of the things I’ve tried to do is not in a forceful way, but I’ve tried to as much as possible understand the culture of an organisation so that could serve as a person, really in a company, trying to offer services, I can get in there and make things happen quickly in a way that that organisation understands. 

I think one of the things that can fail to happen within an organization’s onboarding programme is focusing on ensuring that employees really understand the culture of the organisation, and how they can, how that organisation is going to help them fit in, and the things that they can actually do to fit in. I remember working for a company where, my brief, in my onboarding programme was, I needed to read between the lines, and figure it out. 

As useful as that was, at least I knew I had to read between the lines, yeah, it wasn’t very supportive in the way of onboarding, because it almost created like immediate anxiety. And that really could have been avoided. 

Again, if that is the culture of the organisation, that’s fine. It’s just how are you going to develop an onboarding programme, where people therefore understand their responsibility within that culture? It was a very exciting, very challenging time. But when I do think back, I think, just that one phrase, had a very impactful effect on me, and I’m very 100% forward. 

So I took it on as a challenge. But there’s many that probably wouldn’t. So yeah, its really honing in on the culture and helping people embed themselves within that culture, I think is super, super important.

Brendan Cox  27:04

Like you say, the power of language in terms of just those little throwaway comments that because that culture isn’t defined, yeah, say something like, Oh, well, what happens if I want to improve my skills or something, or what happens if I get stuck with a project like this, what happens if I get stuck in there, right?

 Don’t worry about it, you’ll work it out. They think they’re being supportive, I’ll be fine, you’ll be great. But what it subconsciously tells you is, you’re on your own on this, you’ve got to work it out for yourself, we’re not going to tell you.

Luke Goodwin  27:37

You know, that might be dependent on the level, you’re coming into the organisation and things like that, I was working with, having meetings with the CEO, and can be quite daunting. But that doesn’t mean an individual is any less capable in terms of their needs, when they’ve been embodied into a company, just because of their experience and their expertise. 

Maybe we’ll move on to that. But I think there’s a responsibility to acknowledge that whoever you are, in whatever position you’re in, the onboarding process is vital. I think that played a factor, I was coming into the organisation at a certain level, you’re expected to know what you’re doing and hit the ground running, which is all fine. 

But you still have to understand that organisation and how it operates. So some time invested in helping somebody learn the culture, I think is, like I said, very, very important.

Brendan Cox  28:44

So have you got any examples of those kinds of major challenges in terms of getting someone to understand what the culture is in a company and how did you approach it?

Luke Goodwin  28:55

Examples of major challenges? For me, I think there’s a couple of things here. So I think there is an element of helping organisations understand that less is actually more. I think a lot of the time, companies may try to cram a lot of things into that onboarding experience. And it’s too much, its the polar opposite of what I just said, regarding, just run with it. 

I think a lot of companies do the other side of things, especially when they have rigorous induction programmes, they try to cram so much into the very first few weeks and it’s just not necessary and a lot of the time it will not be what people need when they first start with a company. 

So I think there is a little bit of helping organisations as I understand that less is more and I guess what I really mean is helping organisations truly understand what they need to focus on to make the onboarding experience effective. I think a lot of the time, companies think they need to provide more than they do to really make people feel happy within a new position. 

Another part I think this is huge within the cultural piece that we’ve just spoken about is engaging leaders and frontline managers and helping them see what role they acquire within that onboarding experience. A lot of teams I’ve worked with a lot of them have been in that contact centre type environment. I think a lot of the time they think that, well, we have an onboarding programme, we have an induction programme, and that gives me everything I need, and I don’t need to spend any time with my people, they’re onboarded the good to go. 

I think that’s a big challenge, because, leaders play a huge part in making that new employee feel very welcome. And I think that leads on to leaders understanding how their own expertise in the overall process, how it fits in and how they can help. And I think all this ties in with that concept, when can we be confident, an employee has what they need, and they’re completely competent within that role. 

I think, in terms of overcoming that, how do you improve that, I suppose, is what we’re thinking about there. The first thing for me or where I’ve had success, I’ve done this and I think that the big thing is, you got to see it for yourself, you’ve got to be involved with these people across the organisation. Both existing and new people, you’ve got to actually interview employees and understanding, when you think that’s the cultural aspects, what do employees within this organisation need from an onboarding programme? 

Because that can even differ, like I say, across different departments, depending on the interdepartmental culture that’s formed. So I think, get it yourself on the ground and actually seeing it for yourself, seeing how these teams operate, seeing what a day in the life of these positions is like. And where possible, we’re trying to understand it on a level that the other people across the organisation don’t understand it, because it’s not their responsibility, like speaking to people. 

I think it comes back to what I’ve mentioned, focusing on the culture and thinking well, do the solutions that we are suggesting , the solutions that we are coming up with, does the programme that we are developing fit with the culture? I’ve tried to develop programmes before that’s been, all singing, all dancing eight week programmes, everything covered. 

The sales divisions go, we haven’t got time for this, this ain’t going to happen on my watch. And what didn’t I do? Well, I didn’t see it for myself. I didn’t understand them. I didn’t interview them. I didn’t actually get on the ground and think, I am offering a solution. Do I understand their problem? Do I understand what a day in their life is like? 

Because if I had have done, I wouldn’t have developed an eight week all singing all dancing programme, that programme might have had to extend somewhat and be delivered in a way that actually is appropriate for them.

Brendan Cox  34:06

It comes back to the empathy you talked about before in terms of actually understanding what they need.

Luke Goodwin  34:13

Yeah, and I think more than, one of the huge things that I’ve seen over the over the years, I guess, is, with the rise in technology, people want to get on and do it, whatever it is, but there’s still going to be things that they need in order to be able to do that. 

So that’s comes back to that less is more on point and focusing on what are the things that are absolutely necessary and almost saying to yourself, well, what would cause this person to fail if I didn’t include this? And if you think about it that way, then you are you providing what they absolutely need. 

Then by working with the organisation, you can understand the next level to that . But I think these days people are far more willing to get on and do it. Even in very operational teams where the jobs are extremely technical, I’ve found over the years that that it’s gone from people really having a problem when every single possible question is not covered in the training. It’s not like that now, people want to get on and do it, I want to find out where my difficulties are, and then understand where I’m struggling, you can then help me. 

That’s been a big shift. I’ve seen, people, especially more in the induction world, where some companies are still running 12 week programmes, people get so bored these days very quickly. You got to think well, what I need to give you so you’re not going to fail? And then it’s out in the flow of work concept beyond that point. And saying, well, how do I then make things accessible? How do I then provide a place where people can direct the learning themselves?

Brendan Cox  36:06

Everyone’s attention span is shorter, everyone’s used to googling and looking on YouTube for tutorials for things. How to fix things quick. And by focusing on action mapping, where you just focus on what is the bare minimum this person needs to get cracking, like you say, giving them a culture where they know where to look for the help when they need it for certain things later on.

Luke Goodwin  36:33

Yeah, I mean, it’s a challenging because the content asked to be available for people can be super time consuming to make and it’s much easier just to stand in a room and tell somebody something than it is to provide good quality, engaging content that’s really going to allow them to self-direct, and then get on and do the job. 

That’s the way we’re going, that the time that we spend with people, more than ever, people really need to see the value in that time you’re taking away from them. So therefore, the whole concept of less is more really honing in on exactly what people need. Very important.

Brendan Cox  37:22

Yeah, it’s that understanding training is an investment that saves people, time, and resources, basically. That upfront analysis and discovery session, that strategy, part of the beginning, is where it really pays dividends down the line?

Luke Goodwin  37:43

Yeah definitely, and I think if you really do get that right, employees just do thank you for it, 10 times over. I tried it, I had the luxury with the last company I worked for. When I was working in house, I had the luxury of the freedom to really try things out. 

I really came at L&D, almost like a mad scientist, I was really approaching it from the perspective of, I’ve got the opportunity here to explore things, look at new things, look at new ways of working, try to deploy a more agile method of working. That was super useful because it really gave me the chance to compare things and say, Well, this is what we’ve currently been doing. 

If we completely flipped on its head, and go down this route, let’s see what happens. I was given that chance and for me that the thing I explored was, we’re giving people 10 weeks worth of intense technical training. 

They still get things wrong on the quality assurance assessment, so what happens if we just give them the bare minimum over the course of a week, and we found that there was no further failing in the performance? So if we can deliver this in just a week, and they still perform it in this way, which was what the business needed, it wasn’t any less than the business needed. 

We were then able to say, well, with all that time we now have, what can we do to truly impact performance for these people after the first week. Then suddenly, the whole approach to the business became super, super exciting. Suddenly people were willing to listen, because we’d only take in their employees often through a week, we were then able to work with the leaders who were then able to, implement new training to affect performance and various other things. 

You’ve got to be willing to try new things, try new methods and question your own deliverables. And I think going back to the beginning, when we were talking about, me stepping away, I really learned that, my old way, my old thought process was, well, I’ve designed this, therefore it has to work. This is my baby, I own this, I can’t change it. So I’m telling the organisation that it is not fit for purpose. 

When I came back into L&D, I saw that the things that I design, that you can constantly evolve, the world’s evolving every day, and you’ve got to evolve with it. And as soon as I realised that, my job became super exciting overnight.

Brendan Cox  40:49

Yeah, agile approaches, you don’t have to be scared of failure, because that’s the best way to learn. And by trying all these things out, you can really grow it quickly,

Luke Goodwin  41:02

I worked on a project with one of the organisations that I was with, and they were doing a continuous improvement programme. We started that out as a face to face, mapping project. Of course, with COVID, everything came to a halt, but I stepped in and said, well, let’s just find another way, and let’s deliver it digitally. Let’s get people on online. 

Let’s get digital tools to help us map the processes etc and we did it. We got the project done, and originally that project was going to be put on hold, but we got to the end of it and we started to get some real results. 

That required somebody to say, well, let’s find a different way of achieving it. In the end, it ended up being super enjoyable and we even deployed some of the digital aspects into our onboarding. 

We were then able to onboard people throughout the pandemic, which we thought we weren’t going to be able to do. So yeah, it’s been an interesting time over the last couple of years. But getting in there and finding ways of challenging what you do, is an exciting thing that we have within L&D.

Brendan Cox  42:25

That leads into my next question, which is just what advice would you give someone looking to improve their company’s onboarding? Are there any practical steps that you’d say?

Luke Goodwin  42:41

You’re thinking you need something? This is where I’d say to start. You have to understand the day to day lives of people within the organisation. Another thing is, I’ve touched on it, you’re spending time understanding the organisation and the challenges that business leaders face. Because fixing those challenges, it goes all the way to the start of the process, when we’re bringing new people in. 

If people building the onboarding programmes are not aware of the overall challenges that are being faced by the organisation, then you are at risk of failing from the start. So by understanding that you can constantly evolve and focus on solutions that impact those challenges and hopefully eradicate them completely.

None of that actually matters if there’s not a tangible result at the end. I think to really get that tangible result, you’ve got to see yourself as part of the teams you’re working with and not separate from them.

Brendan Cox  44:19

Have you got any resources or things you’d recommend someone looking to improve their training?

Luke Goodwin  44:25

One L&D podcast I listen to a lot is David James’s learn development podcast. I don’t know if you listen to it yourself, but there is a future vision of L&D. I think he really challenges the future of L&D and there are some really good, thought provoking ideas that get explored within that podcast. I think a huge one for me. 

There’s a future way of L&D and that started to make me think, well, then I can’t constantly focus on L&D as a source of my expertise. So I started to think about what sits outside of L&D that I can use to help me within my role as an L&D professional. 

Looking at other industries and other ways businesses operate and thinking of an example…I read The Autobiography of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s. And one of the things I found fascinating was how he deployed such a perfect system, that achieves getting that food ready and served as quick as possible. 

One of the things I’ve tried to implement into our design process within our L&D team within the organisation I was working at the time is to focus in on the concept of design being a real process. And if you perfect that process and help people understand that process, your end result will be super effective. 

That from something I learned from a resource that had absolutely nothing to do with L&D. Since then, I’ve tried to explore other fields, other industries, and other experts and think, what can I learn from these people? Or what can I learn from this industry? Or this way of working? And can it be applied to the work that I do? 

As a learning professional you have a have a duty to constantly be developing yourself. Don’t be scared to look outside of your industry and find new things and new ways of working. Bring that into the work that you do if you think you can do that.

Brendan Cox  47:36

Yeah, totally, I completely agree. As a designer with my background, you really have to look outside of the industry you’re in to get the richer ingredients to bring together in what you’re doing. Especially if you’re looking at all the same types of designers, you’ll just design that type of design, and sitting back and things like using marketing and advertising, presentation techniques. 

So visualising the learner journey right at the beginning of the project is just something taken out of that Mad Men style presentation, just like pitching. And it helps you visualise stuff in the stage where in eLearning normally you might not have done anything visual by that point. 

Where can people find you online and get in touch with you if they’d like to chat?

Luke Goodwin  48:38

Best place to get hold of me is LinkedIn. So if you want to get hold of me, then LinkedIn is the best place to look.

Brendan Cox  48:54

So what key thing would you like our listeners to take away from this chat?

Luke Goodwin  49:00

I think for me, it’s definitely that you must spend that time understanding your organisation. And when you talk about problems you’re trying to solve and resolve, understanding it from the perspective of the people that you help him and not to make assumptions that you have all the answers. 

Brendan Cox  50:02

Great. Thanks very much for joining us for this chat. It’s been really nice.

Luke Goodwin  50:07

Thank you very much for having me.

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