L&D in the hot seat: Andrew Fletcher, Mercer

by L&D10 Aug 2016
L&D Professional interviews Andrew Fletcher, head of learning at Mercer, for his insights.

LDP: How do you go about ensuring that your employees are learning a lot from your training and enjoying it?

Engaging and interactive face-to-face and online trainings

Enjoying training I believe is vital, but even more important is to keep those employees (learners) engaged. By providing options for both face-to-face and online training, we seek to engage employees (learners) from all ages and, more importantly, geographically.

Learners these days are also more tech-savvy and I think this is due to the rapid technology explosion that is going on around us. You only need to observe on public transport how many people have their eyes fixed on a mobile device to see how we are subconsciously training our brains to be “on” more than ever before.

Experienced and approachable trainers

We actually retain information (or learn) more from painful experiences. If you think of your own most unpleasant experiences that have occurred in your life they probably were not ones that you enjoyed, for example burning your hand on a stove or tasting something that didn’t agree with you.

A difficult subject for educators is to balance the need for participants to retain relevant information and change behaviours whilst delivering a training experience that is also enjoyable. As humans, we are not well equipped to do both easily.

Quantifying learning experiences in a meaningful way

How do we know if what we are measuring is accurate? It’s a bit like measuring most things like the weather or economics, in which we have up to the minute reports to keep us informed. But we still don’t know precisely what will happen in the future.

With Mercer Learning, we will soon start to implement Mercer Learning Paths that allow a more informed idea of what one’s learning journey has been and the options ahead.

I have always found that this is a useful way to look at most things in life when they seem a bit daunting at first, not just learning.

LDP: What do you see as some of the most important aspects of your L&D program?

Understanding the context

What are the broader issues and changes required that will make a difference? How critical is our L&D program to the goals we are trying to achieve and do we have the right resources? Is this program a main priority for stakeholders? Being able to answer these questions with our clients helps them to maintain focus on what is important so they can succeed in their own goals.

Redefining the role of leadership within organisations

We are seeing an increasingly important role of people managers and the influence they have on the success of organisational programs to keep staff engaged and productive. An ongoing conversation is particularly significant. Performance management through people managers needs to adapt to a more fluid way of working, requiring a simpler and less structured style. It is placing additional demands to interpret multiple sources of information, and to convey feedback with greater frequency, clarity and impact.

Evidence based data approach

Using science to take on the organisational challenges; asking questions that matter and developing innovative ways to deliver and create coaching pathways and skills which help develop people managers to reach high valued decisions.

LDP: What parts of L&D interest you the most?

Each client is at a different stage with the challenges they are facing however they are often similar, so how we approach each problem requires real consideration.

Many organisations have great resources but are challenged when it comes to motivating staff to get out of their comfort zone. This requires willingness and expertise to make L&D work and understanding that a training program may provide this opportunity instead of solely relying on good luck.

I enjoy seeing people we work with internally, and external organisations grow as they continue to challenge themselves to achieve greater performance results.

Part two of our interview with Andrew Fletcher will be published this week.

Mercer will be featuring at the Learning & Development Masterclass in Auckland. It takes place on 24 August 2016.