A Benjamin Franklin quote, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” has always inspired me. Education gives people the confidence to dream big and tackle obstacles they might not have undertaken.
IT learning also provides an interesting dilemma for any organization. Employees have access to a wide array of learning resources with varying quality and relevance, but they only have a finite amount of time to spend on it. We can supply IT learning opportunities. The harder part is engaging employees to take the time to invest in their own growth.
Encouraging professional growth
At ServiceNow, a focus on the professional growth of co-workers is central to our employee experience. So, when an employee well-being survey signaled that the IT team needed more training, the IT learning and development team jumped on the opportunity to build out a program for nearly 300 IT practitioners.
We decided to revitalize the program and personalize our approach. That takes understanding and guiding each learner through their own IT development journey by curating high-quality and personalized resources.
3 steps to success
How did we do it? Here are the three steps we took to revitalize our program:
1. Embed IT learning and development (L&D) into your culture
We simply changed our mindset, from leaders down through their organizations. IT learning is treated not just as a nice-to-have, but as a fundamental expectation of everyone, no matter their title or responsibilities.
Leaders supported this with policy changes. Each week, two to four hours is built into the schedule of each employee to spend as dedicated learning time.
2. Hang out where the employees hang out
We identified the most popular employee communication channels and released announcements that clarified expectations around what courses needed to be completed, due dates for completion, and updates in L&D programming.
We created a sub-channel that acted like a help desk. Learners can pop in, get immediate help with IT learning program issues and guidance on course relevance, next steps, and certification. By making L&D access as frictionless as possible, employees can spend more time in training and not be deterred by other factors.
3. Eliminate the hassles
We examined our processes so we could adopt automated workflows and remove the frustrations. Some of the biggest issues came from the IT learning content and the management system. We started by listing our goals:
Training content has to be relevant and personalized for different IT personas.
IT learning resources have to be relevant, high-quality, and focused on building skills for the future.
IT learning content has to be managed and accessed through one interface.
Clear paths for learning have to instill a sense of achievement so that employees feel motivated to continue their IT development journey.
Building on the Now Platform
We adopted Now Learning, a central hub to learn about the Now Platform®, because the courses were pre-curated and focused on building skill sets for the future. It’s easy to access and navigate. Plus, it has features we needed, such as personalized learning paths, persona-based training, and gamification to incent learners to continue their education. Best of all, we wouldn’t need to build a curriculum from the ground up.
We also implemented ServiceNow Performance Analytics to create real-time employee dashboards that track employee development at various levels of granularity to measure program value.
For example, one dashboard enables managers to see which courses their team has completed, percentage of course completion, and the progress of their direct reports within the overall IT development journey. This data is then rolled up into a department-level dashboard, where senior directors and vice presidents can see strategic IT learning metrics across multiple teams.
Based on these insights, we can quickly identify which employees fell behind on their IT development goals and provide support to help them catch up. And our leaders can quickly see if overall progress aligns to their expectations.
The new approach is having a significant impact. For example, our ServiceNow Fundamentals course had a 93% completion rate among 295 IT employees in Q4 2021, a big improvement from our former 54% completion rate in Q3 2020.
Delivering a personalized experience
We anticipate more benefits over time. The personalized user experience encourages employees to easily find and take courses in their area of expertise. Learning paths can be linked to team or project goals.
Productivity increases as employees apply new skills. New hires are attracted by the opportunities to expand their skill sets and get up to speed faster within the team. To date, we increased the number of employees who completed required training by 141, a year over year increase of approximately 94%.
IT learning opportunities are only one element of a good employee training program. Engaging employees to participate can often be a difficult challenge. Any organization can foster a culture where employees, to paraphrase Ben Franklin, take the time to invest in their own knowledge and “earn the interest” with better career opportunities and greater job satisfaction by:
Personalizing the IT learning journey
Securing leadership buy-in
Promoting the opportunities to target groups
Using technology to facilitate access and to assess progress.
Learn more about how ServiceNow uses the Now Platform to run its daily operations.
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