ANZ is one of Australia’s leading financial institutions with operations in 36 countries across Australasia, the Pacific, UK, Europe, America and India.
Our core businesses provide Retail, Commercial & Corporate, Institutional and Wealth banking services globally, and are supported by global HR, Finance, Risk, Audit, Technology and Operations functions.
Operating across different markets segments and in so many different geographies presents numerous challenges, particularly when it comes to driving consistency in how we develop critical workforce skills. We employ a ‘hub and spoke’ learning operating model with a central group function driving the organisational learning strategy and global core and strategic capability requirements, with country and business embedded learning teams supporting business unit, local and ad-hoc learning needs.
Our ambition at ANZ is to create a learning organisation, and we know that people managers play a critical role in creating an environment within which a learning culture thrives. However, our organisational indicators show we have a ‘permafrost’ layer that is creating a barrier to achieving our ambition.
So what exactly is the ‘permafrost’ layer that we are referring to? It’s the layer of middle management that has the greatest people management involvement, and is expected to be both a people leader and a ‘doer’ simultaneously.
Our engagement survey data shows this middle management layer is the least engaged segment of our workforce. That they feel the least loved, valued, guided and supported, and experience the highest level of organisational pressure to perform and deliver – from above and below. This layer also tends to be where top-down communications appear to get blocked.
The learning landscape is rapidly changing. We know all our employees are time poor and looking for more bite-sized, just-in-time and flexible learning.
In the past we have incorporated specific line manager activities into our course designs to provide clarity on what support is required from them and how and when it is needed. Not unsurprisingly, these are often the activities that don’t get completed, preventing the learner from optimising their learning experience, and impacting on their ability to apply the learning.
In an environment that is increasingly fast-paced and fluid, our people managers feel more ill-prepared than ever to meet the increasing demands on how they support their people with their development needs. How do people managers find the time to develop their own capability whilst also being more nimble / flexible in the way they create an environment that supports the new ways of working and learning for their people?
- What role should a manager play in supporting the learning journey of their people?
- How do we engage people managers to ‘warm them up’ to playing this role?
- What skills (new/different) does a people manager require to play this role? How can they develop those skills?
Notes & Ideas
- Is Yours a Learning Organization? by Harvard Business Review
- Learning Employees take charge by Deloitte University Press
Julie Owens – Senior Mgr Banking Capabilities& Irene Dietrich – Manager, Governance Essentials & ChannelsatANZ