“Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use, do the work you want to see done.” Austin Kleon

The new landscape for learning + people

The marketplace is shifting and let’s face it – paying lip service to our people function is no longer enough. Retention is challenging and the way we recruit is changing. How do we find the right people and most importantly, once we find them how do we keep them?

People want flexibility, growth and development at work and they don’t want to feel like just another employee. We’re living in the age of the free agent and we suspect that if you can look after your people, nurture their careers and help them to grow, everything else will take care of itself.

Training has always been something we have invested in for our people and we know that the 70-20-10 model (whereby people obtain 70 percent of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20 percent from interactions with others, and 10 percent from formal educational events), still has an important place in the way our employees learn. But there is a new paradigm in the workplace learning space.

Just-in-time, bite sized pieces of information and learning that occurs as we work is key in helping new employees ramp up more quickly, as well as allowing senior staff members to continue to learn and progress beyond their current roles. We’ve been thinking about it for a while but now we’ve gone and done it – we’ve hired a new gun. Rachel Forbes has joined our team this month as our new Learning & People Manager to help us facilitate this new approach.

Rachel Forbes

Rachel comes to Eco Outdoor with a background in generalist HR and a specific interest in learning and development, culture and career planning. Her appointment will see her align these interests with a company who is seeking to reinvigorate their ‘grow your own’ culture of next generation business leaders to help the business scale. “It’s a big step for me” she says of the transition – “I am super excited to join the team at Eco in a time of huge growth and to work towards making something which is already pretty special, even better”.

 Over the next twelve months, Eco Outdoor will move from standard employee reviews to a new concept called ‘progress plans’, which will ensure there is a path for learning and development for every member of the team. This position is a flag in the ground for us to show we are thinking about our people, our culture and the vital role they play as we continue to grow and build an exciting future for the company and most importantly, for the people who work here.

“At the end of the day people are the heartland of the business. Besides product development they’re really the number one reason why people keep coming back to us so we need to invest appropriately to really take of our teams.” The next 12 months will see a slew of new people programs at Eco Outdoor including health + wellness, employee learning + development programs and activities aimed at getting employees to invest in their own relationships with each other as well as their clients.

From the library at our head office in Sydney which is crammed with a bunch of inspiring books to help shift people’s thinking sideways a little or the quarterly leadership conferences which force people to step up their game in a supportive leadership environment – We’re encouraging all our managers to make sure they keep up to date with the latest thinking and that we really instil a growth mindset into our people. At the end of the day if we want people to think and work differently, to grow and achieve with us then we have to provide the right environment for them to grow. We have to recognise the importance of investing in our most important asset; our people.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”

Alvin Toffler

When we interviewed Rachel for the role we gave her some ambitious targets for the personal and professional growth of our people. We said we wanted her to think of this next role like a case study in how to create the most productive, engaging and enjoyable culture of learning within our business. We said we want her to be standing up in 2 years time and telling others how she made Eco Outdoor the best place to work. That’s no small task.

But at the end of the day we’re all using the same technology, we’re all playing in the same market, utilising the same media and the same marketing systems. Product and people are our competitive advantage and we need to focus on building and maintaining a people culture of growth mindsets that helps people progress their careers in alignment with the growth of our business. Because at the end of the day, even the best laid plans fall short with no one on the front line to deliver the goods. As Peter Drucker says ‘Culture will eat strategy for breakfast’ any day of the week.

CFO to CEO: What happens if we invest in our people and then they leave us?

CEO to CFO: What happens if we don’t, and they stay?

Welcome Rachel. We’re stoked you’ve joined the team.

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