Dessalen Wood

Vice President, Talent Development Thoughtexchange

Dessalen Wood, CHRP, is an innovative HR executive, seasoned speaker, and coach. She specializes in passionately leading Learning and Development and Human Resources teams at some of North America’s most-respected organizations. Dessalen has over 20 years of experience in national corporations such as Reitman’s Canada, Hudson’s Bay Company, The Children’s Place and The Disney Stores. In 2019 she left her role as Vice President, Talent Development at Cineplex Entertainment to join Thoughtexchange in the newly created role of Chief People Officer. Thoughtexchange’s community intelligence software empowers leaders to find common ground, inspire trust and use data to make decisions that get immediate support.

Throughout her career, Dessalen has coached senior leaders and built teams from the ground up, in addition to designing and delivering multiple original programs. The results have been engaging corporate cultures and high performing leaders at all levels.

Day Two: Monday, February 24, 2020

Monday, February 24th, 2020

8:35 AM “Let’s Give ‘em Something to Talk About” – The Power of Engaging the Employee Voice

Companies today face the challenge of engaging their employees in meaningful dialogue - whether it be due to geography, flex work - or simply that many people feel that speaking up has a cost associated with it.

In this talk we will examine:
•How technology can humanize the employee experience
•The power of allowing all voices to be heard which results in organizations benefiting from higher engagement 
•The value of gathering ideas and solutions from a broader, more diverse population

3:10 PM Creative Approaches to Developing and Maintaining a Culture of Learning

What does it mean to have a Culture of Learning – and why is it so important?  One of the biggest challenges facing organizations today is how to create the conditions where employees will take advantage of the learning programs and resources available to them.  In most organizational cultures, there is very little individual accountability for learning, both in the formal and informal sense. In surveys, more than 50% of employees say they would engage in learning if they had the time, or if their manager asked them to do so.  The challenge for L&D executives is to effect a culture shift in the organization; to integrate learning into the DNA of what employees do every day in their jobs.  Having a learning culture within your organization means that employees recognize the value proposition of learning, embrace both the informal and formal opportunities, and take ownership of their upskilling and development without waiting for permission from their manager. Some topics discussed will include:
  • Establishing a culture of continuous learning where management prioritizes learning, models best practices, and recognizes and rewards employees who demonstrate learning behaviors 
  • Linkage between continuous learning and readying employees to develop skills for the future of work (and the changing landscape in the workforce). 
  • Compelling ways engage employees and create modern, impactful learning opportunities (i.e.: Gamification, Social Learning, Storytelling, etc.)

Check out the incredible speaker line-up to see who will be joining Dessalen.

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