From ‘have to learn’ to ‘want to learn’ at PwC France
Murielle Navarre, Head of Talent & Development, at PwC France, explains in this article published in The People Space how a new training resource gives employees more control and enjoyment as they upskill.
As one of the major branches of the global PwC network, PwC France needs to be fluent in the evolving language of 21st century business. Whether B2B clients want to talk about digital transformation, or advances in data analytics, our teams need to be well versed in the latest terminology and ahead of upcoming trends.
That’s true for everyone in the company, not just its front line business and technology consultants. With around 5,000 people working for PwC France, that’s a lot of people to keep up to speed.
An added challenge for us: our employees spend a lot of time out in the field, on-site, on-project, in meetings or at industry networking events, so the opportunities for formal classroom-based training are limited. We also firmly believe PwC has a responsibility to practise what it preaches – which, in the context of learning and development, means keeping content, channels and formats modern and relevant so people engage with and get the most from them.
PwC has a responsibility to practise what it preaches – which, in the context of learning and development, means keeping content, channels and formats modern and relevant so people engage with and get the most from them
All these factors led us to rethink the way we approach employee learning and development. Specifically, we wanted to get away from old-fashioned, top-down approach of mandatory training imposed from above. Therefore, the workplace learning we wanted to offer had to be in the form of e-learning that was smart, consumer-like and properly integrated into the flow of everyday work, so as to encourage learners to develop all their skills to their full potential and to future-proof their careers.
So clearly, we needed to move away from making training something formal and mandatory, and make it more inviting and fun. It was important to make the experience more engaging and accessible, so people would become more active in their own development, always choosing the content they want to consume to upskill themselves.
At a global level, we have launched a worldwide initiative to raise people’s digital knowledge, so that anyone in the company can talk authoritatively about everything from blockchain to machine learning. So rather than create a one-size-fits-all L&D programme we launched a Digital Fitness application, specifically designed to identify gaps in people’s knowledge which they could address at their own pace, via a menu of different resources.
Feeling that some of the proposed content was not going to engage (as it relied on team members reading PDF-based documents, for example), we decided to create a more modern, self-guided L&D experience for our employees, with richer content and learning pathways adapted to individual needs.
In essence, rather than push people through something they ‘had’ to do, we wanted to offer them something they would enjoy, which they would benefit from personally, and which was easy and convenient for them to engage with.
PwC France found its ideal partner in education technology supplier, Coorpacademy. What we liked particularly about Coorpacademy’s approach is that it’s based on real evidence about the way people learn most effectively. Plus, it allows for people learning in different ways. This really stood out for us, along with some impressive success statistics.
As stated, our people are already extremely busy, so we wanted to make the content very compelling as well as easy to digest in small chunks as and when they have time. That could be between meetings, or while travelling. Post-implementation, the good news is that all these targets are, one-by-one, all being achieved. PwC learners particularly appreciate the fact that they are asked questions before any teaching takes place, meaning they only ever get offered the lessons they need. People also feel very proud when they’re able to answer the different questions, which spurs them on.
Global search: customised L&D content on demand
The whole PwC network is looking to transform training – to make it more of a ‘Netflix’-type experience, where users can create and share a ‘playlist’, like or dislike content, and so on. We’ll embed the platform within this environment, aligning competencies with keywords so when people search they can find our content very easily.
Ultimately, all of this work is also being seen by the PwC France L&D team as the foundation of a move towards adaptive learning, in which content and teaching frameworks are customised to the individual.
That’s because we want to provide more adaptive learning based on people’s current level of knowledge. The aim is to give our employees a greater sense of responsibility and control over their own learning and development. And so far, we seem to be striking the right chord – people like the way they can understand and follow something whether they have 5 minutes to spare or 20, and can skip straight to the content that will help them, for example.
We know it’s vital that we continuously update people’s skills given the pace of change today, and the Coorpacademy learning platform helps us do that, as it’s the perfect delivery vehicle for providing engaging, tailored and easily accessible high-quality content which people can consume quickly and enjoyably, whenever and wherever they can or need to.
Murielle Navarre is Head of Talent & Development at PwC France