The Evolution of Learning: A Q&A with Richard Hazeltine, Learning & Development Leader of Zappos.

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Richard Hazeltine, Learning & Development Leader of Zappos

What are your thoughts on the evolution of learning?

RH: Exciting times! We are seeing more migration away from typical hierarchical "career ladders" which leads us to training diverse audiences on all parts of our business. Research unveiled by CEB in July, 2015 gave some great stats around what employees and employers are looking for in progression today. It is critical that we can get C-level players to understand the new model of more collaborative work and less structure around progression and demonstrating value to the organization. This can empower Workplace Learning Professionals (WLPs) to build out more meaningful 70/20/10 content that will yield high chances of content "sticking" with participants long after the training intervention takes place.

What do you feel makes a great learning experience and what do you think it takes to create one?

RH: The 70/20/10 model, as defined by CCL in the 1980’s, is very relevant today. I feel like there is a huge

opportunity to create more guided reinforcement activities (70%) on the job after the formal learning (10%) occurs. Collaborative learning and support (20%) is also a huge growth opportunity. We can leverage eLearning platforms to guide more interaction through face to face meetings and groups in addition to social media outlets (i.e. chat rooms, etc.).

In what ways do you feel that utilizing emotional intelligence can benefit a company’s workforce?
RH: Self-awareness is something that my experience tells me can be a truly foundational tool to drive organizational
The model I am most fond of ( breaks 8 competencies down into 3 channels: Know yourself, Choose yourself, Give yourself. If one doesn’t really know how they are perceived and patterns to which they may be susceptible, it is really tough to "choose" an effective course of action when working with others and to "give" to others and a noble goal.
When collaborative teams and/or managers do not have a grip on how their actions and behaviors affect others, it is nearly impossible to have them hold others accountable for performance and team work. Starting with awareness, team members and supervisors can practice more situational leadership (everyone is a leader-regardless of title) in their interactions at work. This can lead to a supporting environment where diverse team members work together at a high level of mindfulness and efficiency. I read a recent quote
from an article published in Forbes that stated "18% of managers are rated as effective in doing their jobs". That is scary. I have seen across multiple industries how great performers (workers) are told to quit doing what they are great at doing and watch a team of other people do that work. We often fail to prepare them for the monumental change from "do-er" to "inspirational leader".
EI/EQ helps a person to help themselves and make themselves available to help others through teamwork and support.
Do you think that tactics used to motivate younger generations have the potential to alienate older workers? Why or why not? If so, what types of solutions would you suggest?
RH: Tactics is an interesting choice of words. I feel like the trend of gamification can translate well across generations if it is presented/translated properly. "Play" seems to keep coming up in studies around learning. If we take the time to design games that can be enjoyed by different groups, we can reap some big benefits of learning transfer. I have witnessed this in companies that institute a badging system to reward accomplishments, skills and events. I have seen tremendous responses from various generations around building a robust profile of badges or icons. Making these rewards available in exchange for completing learning activities can help drive more learning (formal and social). Another cool component that we can add to badging or gamification is the expiration of certain types of badges or icons. This can help provide more meaningful reminders to participants to complete their "currency" requirements to maintain their status.
What are your top priorities for 2016?
1. Learn more about research of neuroscience and learning and apply those concepts to as many learning interventions as possible. "Hacking" the brain to get us farther faster can yield big results.
2. Create more internal content to drive effective self-organization and collaboration
3. Say "no" more often. There are only so many hours that we can work. Being "on" all the time has its advantages but taking time to think about the big picture and our non-work worlds can pay big dividends.