Category: Associate Development and Engagement, Innovation, Smart Sourcing

A Smart Approach to Learning Solutions


learningIn a recent post, we discussed how smart sourcing has helped Boston Financial align the right resources with the right work at the right time. In Core Operations, our hybrid model includes full-time, part-time, flexible, seasonal, and long-term contractual associates, as well as weekend and off-shift schedules. This dynamic shift in the workforce has precipitated a change in our approach to the development and delivery of “learning” solutions.

In today’s workplace, traditional classrooms and standard curriculum are rendered obsolete. Learning in this new environment needs to be targeted, just in time, and practical. At Boston Financial, we introduced three critical elements to this equation:

  1. A learning lab environment grounded in practice
  2. Peer educators
  3. Virtual learning tools

Our experience has proven that flex workers require training that is agile, relevant, vivid, interactive, and engaging.

In our Lawrence, Kansas facility, we hire and train flex college students who work anywhere from 12 to 30+ hours per week, and we are successfully deploying production ready flex core processors in four to six weeks. These flex students receive condensed, targeted new associate training and move directly to a learning lab with a peer trainer where they learn job specifics and demonstrate their proficiency on real work.

Learning labs provide a supportive and supervised environment allowing workers to learn at their own pace, practice what they learn, and self-determine their individual progression. The learning lab provides two valuable elements: time to practice and a safe place to learn through action.

learning labDeveloping smart workers in this new smart sourcing environment is an evolution. This sourcing approach allows us to more effectively meet our business needs, while requiring us to challenge the traditional approach of how we deliver and transfer learning. Smart workers in this new hybrid model tend to be independent, self-directed, and motivated when it comes to their learning and development needs.

Future associate development efforts will be portable with greater access to content in smaller increments. Leveraging technology will be the gateway to such delivery, providing knowledge workers with relevant, just in time, high-value information that is accessible and a vital component to their success in the workplace.

What creative ideas do you have to deliver high-quality learning experiences to tomorrow’s smart workers? Join in the discussion and share your comments.

Susan Sherman, Ed.D.

Susan Sherman, Ed.D.

Sue has over 25 years industry experience with a strong concentration in operations. Sue is a Vice President in Core Operations responsible for the oversight of several operations functions. Sue has over 10 years teaching experience and is currently an Assistant Professor at New England College of Business and Finance. Sue teaches classes in Business Communications, Strategic Planning and Decision Making, Critical Thinking, and Principles of Management. Sue has Masters Degrees in Business Management and Education. In 2009, Sue had her Doctorate Degree in Education conferred with a concentration in curriculum and instruction.


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