Key lessons I’ve learnt in L&D

by John Hilton14 Jul 2016
Melanie Hawkins is the L&D business partner at Beca, which is one of the largest employee-owned professional services consultancies in the Asia-Pacific.

L&D touches on all aspects of Beca, and they have different teams that govern the various areas.

Hawkins’ area of specialisation involves being part of the Group Delivery (change) team.

This team works on developing the consulting and technical skills of employees to improve delivery to their clients.

“As part of this team, we focus our L&D aspects on the development of people alongside the changes to tools, technology, and procedures,” Hawkins told L&D Professional.

There is another team that specialises in personal development, with career progression and leadership development as a core role.

“They work closely together with our team where key interpersonal and consulting skills intersect with current and future business needs, and our team supports their change activities too,” Hawkins added.

“The most important aspect of our Group Delivery L&D program is a change from up-front training to help where you need it, when you need it.

“As a consulting company we are selling our time and our expertise, and this time needs to be spent wisely.”

Hawkins said that just like many organisations, the ability to have large groups of people away from their day jobs to spend a day in training is a luxury.

Beca still have some face-to-face training but they use this tool strategically to support other methods of development.

As well as the time challenge they have to cope with the speed of change.

“Both our internal tools and systems and the external industry we operate in are rapidly developing,” she said.

“We can’t take months to develop a training solution that may be out of date as soon as we launch it, we need solutions that can be developed rapidly, rolled out, and updated easily to support changing business needs.”

One of the key lessons which Hawkins has learned in L&D is “that you need champions”.

“It’s not just about training, it’s about getting the new skills and behaviour to stick,” she said.

Hawkins emphasised that having people who are passionate about the message, who are great mentors and who can help people adjust to the new way of operating is essential.

“No matter how great your technology is, you still need the human touch,” Hawkins said.

She added that another important lesson is it’s not about reaching an end.

“There are always things about project delivery that we could do better, so the learning has to evolve alongside the business,” Hawkins said.

“We also need to be honest when something isn’t working or has reached the end of its useable life – which just opens up more opportunities to be creative again.”

Hawkins added that “just like change, learning is constant”.  

“I feel privileged to be able to help make continuous learning for our delivery team fresh and relevant every day.”

Melanie Hawkins is a featured speaker at the Learning & Development Masterclass in Auckland. It takes place on the 24 August 2016.

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