L&D in the Hot Seat: Gayle Piek, Westpac Bank

by John Hilton09 Jun 2016
L&D Professional interviews Gayle Piek, group head of capability at Westpac Bank, for her insights.
LDP: What do you see as some of the most important parts of your L&D program?
GP: As a financial services organisation it is essential that we support our people as they build their professional and leadership skills, enabling them to deliver exceptional customer service. The best way to do this is to remain connected to the needs of our employees and understand how they want to learn. We must ensure they have access to world class content and are digitally enabled to be self–directed in their learning.

LDP: What are some of the greatest challenges you are facing in L&D?
GP: This is such an exciting time to be involved in the L&D space. The way we are connecting and learning has gone through a fundamental shift. People want to be connected through great technology; they want access to quality content; they want support in finding what they need when they need it, and opportunities to regenerate their skills to match the constantly changing requirement of their role.
Our biggest challenge in L&D is ensuring we remain responsive. We have to be thinking about how we design and deliver learning in completely different ways. We need to ensure that we have access to new capabilities like curation; digital design and video production. We must continue to apply design thinking to our curriculum development and ensure that face-to-face learning is a truly facilitated experience. What we really need to achieve is a learning environment inside our organisations that mirrors how people interact with information and collaborate with each other in their personal lives.
LDP: Is the combination of face-to-face learning, and e-learning important for Westpac?
GP: Yes, we have a strong foundation of blended learning. What is really important though is that the learning is designed with the learner experience in mind. We must ensure we consider the context and environment in which the learning will take place.

LDP: What parts of L&D do you find the most interesting and exciting and why?
GP: L&D is changing rapidly and right now the opportunities that technology, and the associated social media dynamics, is creating to really make learning accessible and learner-centred is very exciting. Always of interest and of critical importance is the ever-evolving landscape of the core capabilities required by the organisation. Understanding what is going to be expected of people and designing learning that supports them in developing these skills to be the best they can be is really why the L&D function exists.

LDP: What are some key lessons you have learned with regards to learning and development?
GP: We’ve learnt it’s not our role to teach or train people - our role is to create an ecosystem that facilitates learning in ways that are most relevant to the learner.

LDP: Are there any trends which are influencing your L&D?
GP: Social (or more accurately) collaborative learning is really shaping our L&D strategy. We are currently rolling out a personalised learning platform that allows our employees to learn anywhere, anytime and to connect with others in a way that encourages them to teach and share their learning.

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