Let them decorate cake – social learning at MYOB

by John Hilton10 Nov 2015
At the accounting software maker MYOB there is a culture of asking staff to invent, innovate and bring solutions to clients, according to Alla Keogh, head of people and performance.

“It’s not just technical skills that they need, but they need the freedom to learn and share and that’s why social learning is becoming so important,” she said.

‘Share the Love’ is part of their integrated learning lab offering and is inspired by an idea that Google implemented some years ago around social learning.

Keogh told L&D Professional that it enables workers to become an expert and teach others in areas that they are really passionate about. This can be work-related, but does not have to be.

So far the subjects have included amateur photography, cake decorating and death by PowerPoint to name a few.

“We have got someone here who is an incredibly effective online shopper and a couple of weeks ago we had one of our amazing marketing people do a session on ‘how to be awesome’. So it’s really about developing your own personal brand,” she said.

“It just creates a fantastic social learning atmosphere. It engages people in discussions and topics that they wouldn’t ordinarily have at work. And it encourages our team members to really bring and share their whole selves at work.”

‘Share the Love’ is open to everyone at MYOB from executives down to their junior team members.

However, despite its advantages, Keogh thinks the learning approaches they take should always depend on what they are trying to teach.

“I think it depends on the content and the knowledge that you are trying to impart,” she said.

“In an agile environment such as ours the opportunity to not only learn content but also to experiment, learn, discuss and reflect is important.

“And creating a safe place for people to try new things and make mistakes in a supportive environment is really really important.”