Case study: Learning to make an impact at BP
As part of Brightwave's 'What a difference' video series, Nick Shackleton-Jones, Group Head of eLearning (Leadership Development & Talent) at BP, shares how learning technology is making an impact for employees at the global oil and gas company.
Videos in this series
So in terms of projects which have made the biggest impact, I think it’s easier to talk about the ones that you’re most proud of. And that’s obviously a bit of a mistake really, because you should always be thinking about the ones which have made the biggest impact.
There’s a few that we’re working on at the moment – so we’re not 100% confident about the impact but they’ve been designed around having a big impact, so I’m optimistic that I’ll be presenting them at some sort of award ceremony hopefully in the future.
Firstly, in terms of social media, I’ve had a few years worth of experimentation with social media and I think now I’ve got a better sense of what goes wrong and how to get it right.
So we have a pilot social media experiment and a project manager who’s heading that up – a guy called Morton Bond. And the idea is to enable the organisation to share best practice and to share learning.
We’re generating a lot of short form videos in this video sharing environment where people can rate different videos and see things related to some of the challenges that they face. And I’m very excited by that, and the initial response has been very positive. So I see that as a strong direction for us.
I think two other projects, perhaps a bit more conventional in terms of themes; I think diversity and inclusion. We’ve done a lot of filming and we’ve thought very carefully around how we can make a real difference in an area where it’s historically very difficult to make an impact, to make a difference. And so I’m particularly pleased with those.
What we’ve done there is we’ve tried to think differently around diversity and inclusion. Instead of thinking “Let’s create a course,” we’ve looked at the whole learning process, which is typically that somebody goes on a workshop. As a line manager they’d make a commitment at the end of that workshop which often is that they’ll go back and talk to their teams.
So we thought about what we can do to support them in that process. How can we make that an easier or a more engaging conversation to have? So we’ve shot a lot of video drama which we hope will support line managers in opening a conversation around diversity and inclusion. Together with the dramas, some guides, some facilitator’s guides so they won’t feel out of their depth.
The third and final thing is the Discovery BP project where we’ve taken this radically different approach. We’ve said we’re not going to do a course; we’re going to look at a range of resources which will support the needs of our learners and we know what those needs are because we’ve talked to them. And they range across this spectrum, and I think that’s what’s interesting about it.
They range across the care spectrum from things where we know people don’t care so we want to make them care. So if you’re talking about values, every organisation has values, then what’s the best way of really making people care about those values? All the way to the other end where they care deeply, which will be specific information which will help them do their jobs, where we’ve created a resource format which we think will help people to get up to speed very quickly.
So there are three exciting projects in very different ways, each of which we hope will make a big difference.
So the priorities that I have ahead of me probably fall into three categories. At the sort of highest level we’re trying to help support and to drive adoption of BP’s values.
So they are around safety, so we’re working quite closely with the safety community, but they’re also some less sort of tangible things. We’re working on other values such as courage, especially one team.
It sounds abstract, but in a large multinational organisation the work that we do can really help bring people together. Especially what we’re doing in the social media, video sharing space.
And respect, where we’re working, as I mentioned earlier, with the sort of content to really make people more aware of inclusivity and what that means on a day to day basis, to actually be able to see behaviours and to model behaviours which will help drive more of a listening culture, and equally a speaking up culture.
And then finally excellence. Again, we’re working to highlight excellence. I have a kind of honeybee model for learning and development – the future of learning and development. I think we are those honeybees. We have to be very active in the organisation, identifying the good stuff and bringing it back into a central location so that it can be shared.
So at the highest level we’re working on those values. I think at the middle level we’re working to build capability as well. BP’s investing very much in staff and in building up their skills, so we have to work alongside other teams who are delivering face to face training to help build capability.
And finally I think business assurance. So to help provide the level of business assurance that is expected of us, and to do it in a way which is very structured and very consistent.
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