With a long weekend ahead of me I left the office to catch the next London bound train en-route to the Home Counties.
Organisations should be digitally competent and agile. Photo credit: PA
I had planned an overdue catch up with my old pub quiz clan ‘Quizteam Aguilera’ and after that a late-night cinema showing with a friend.
“We are sorry to announce the 17:28 Southern service from Brighton to London Victoria has been cancelled…”
The service after that had also been cancelled meaning a 45-minute wait for the next direct train. A quick Twitter search confirmed a large sinkhole had appeared on the main line. Commuters’ sighs filled the station creating a united, inharmonious groan of dissatisfaction.
Digital interventions at point of need
Having bought my ticket via the Trainline app, I reverted to its timetabling function, found an alternative but indirect service and sprinted to the departure platform.
Staring at the August rain as it struck the carriage window, I wondered if I would hit the Tube in time to catch my connecting train at Marylebone. I cross-referenced stations with the London Underground app and its “live times.”
I had various options, the quickest being to alight at East Croydon, take a train to Victoria (as planned) and cut across London via Oxford Circus. It was going to be a close shave. Using the Trainline’s handy live tracker I noted the arrival times and platform to cross to thanks to a quick Google search, which provided a station floor plan.
With an hour to kill I messaged the pub quiz clan via our Whatsapp group to explain I’d be with them a little later than planneda and that I had booked a table at a much-loved Italian restaurant. (Thankfully La Cantina Del Vino had an online booking widget on their website given I was in a quiet carriage and couldn’t call…) Whatsapp confirmed they’d all read the message and various emoticons were sent by way of reply J
Knowing I’d now be tight for time after dinner, I booked two tickets via the Cineworld app and tweeted my friend to confirm we were set for the late-night screening of the new Bourne; no queues, no delays.
Still 45 minutes to spare.
Simplified online processes
I tweaked my weekly Sainsbury’s shop by accessing my previous orders and added some apples, porridge oats and eye make-up remover. I checked-out, confirmed online payment delivery, scheduled Sunday morning to receive an automated email.
Bunting! I needed to spruce the garden for a family BBQ next weekend and eBay was my shining light! The app had recently received a facelift improving the user-experience, so the search facility and filtering tool were more intuitive. “Bunting AND gingham” produced a number of results – a few options for Buy-It-Now, which I took advantage of. With enough bunting to decorate a medium-sized P&O cruise ship I paid online via PayPal linked to my eBay account, and noted the estimated delivery date.
A quick check on Trainline and I was scheduled to arrive before my connection. In readiness for the loss of signal on the Underground I primed my Duolingo app (a fantastic online language-learning platform), donned my headphones and muted my mic; me llamo Hayley y vivo en Inglaterra…
I power walked up Marylebone’s steps – I lost count at 64, but my FitBit had it covered, headed for platform three and embraced the final stretch of my journey. With jelly legs, short breathe and a slight dizziness I found a seat, opened the Books app on my phone and continued my read of Short Stories in Spanish for Beginners…
I’m sure the story of my journey doesn’t sound alien. Firstly, multiple train cancellations are par for the course when you live in the South and secondly, the functionality of the smartphone is comparable to the triumph of the popular 1891 Swiss Army knife.
There’s no doubting the emergence of smartphone apps, social tools and mobile-enabled sites have transformed our behaviours with ubiquitous access to anything and everything.
Our lives are hyper-connected to each other by multiple personal networks, information is available at the touch of a button and the financial transactions we make are quick, secure and often completed on-the-go.
We expect nothing less day-to-day, so why should we expect anything less from our employers?
Organisations should be digitally competent, agile and aligned with today’s digital age to meet the expectations we have established as consumers.
I anticipate receiving an automated email with login details to begin my onboarding prior to starting my new job, not a paper-based handbook to read on my first day.
I expect an induction to the company intranet and social networking tools, ideally with an engagement leader board to create some friendly competition among my new colleagues.
I want my training delivered online – be it the obligatory Health and Safety drill, essential systems and capability training or financial compliance course. I don’t want face-to-face training or at worse the traditional blend of face-to-face and technology enhanced learning (the 3:50pm sleep-induced quiz) that dominated the early 00’s; often selected regardless of whether it was an optimal solution.
Putting digital at the heart of learning
I don’t want to seem too privileged or demanding… BUT I expect the systems I use to be responsive across all devices and integrated to streamline time and effort with simple processes for using them aligned across the business.
I also expect my work objectives and L&D to be logged effectively using an integrated LMS/LRS with further learning opportunities established from online diagnostics-driven assessments.
High-horse? Perhaps, but that’s how I ride and any organisation that wants to stay relevant is going to have to ride the same road to meet me.
The digital business: transformed
Our behaviours and approaches to life have evolved. My train journey would have been very different fifteen years ago and yet despite this advancement in technology so many businesses haven’t begun to transform their structures, processes and models to meet this human demand.
VPN connections to aid remote working, online financial systems, digital calendars and e-communication tools count as essential baby steps – comparable tools and platforms to that of Skype, PayPal, Google Calendar and Twitter or Whatsapp.
As digital transformation begins to rise in large, global organisations it is imperative that digital learning is instilled to improve overall understanding. Everyday businesses are competing with their consumers’ digital lives and employees’ high expectations; the two often need to run in parallel.
Offering digital learning interventions at point of need helps staff buy-in to a forward-thinking brand – highly engaged, driven and committed – meaning they do their jobs better. As a consumer I have bought into brands such as Trainline, Cineworld and eBay because they deliver an interactive, engaging and seamless end-user experience – meaning I am committed to using their service.
Companies using digital in their learning blend provide continual improvement and performance support to employees over a reduced period of time, in-turn delivering faster speed to competency at a fraction of the cost.
Digital learning also contributes to behavioural change within the workplace, a transition that occurs as part of the digital transformation; reflective of the journey we have experienced as consumers.
Behavioural change is driven by effective design and technology that engages staff with digital learning experiences to influence, embed and sustain behaviour change within the workplace. Increasing overall digital literacy should be a key investment for organisations wanting to drive the digital transformation of their business and economy for the world of tomorrow.
About the author
Hayley Maisey is the Marketing Manager at Brightwave Group.