Our Blockbuster Moment: How The Digital Revolution is Changing the Employee Experience

Tobias J. Washington Director, Learning Experience, Design & Technology, CHRISTUS Health

Tobias J. Washington Director, Learning Experience, Design & Technology, CHRISTUS HealthTobias J. Washington Director, Learning Experience, Design & Technology, CHRISTUS Health

One of my fondest memories growing up was those Friday night visit to our local Blockbuster video store.  I recall as soon as you entered the store you immediately begin to gaze upon the wall to wall movies. Usually, these stores were large and appealed to interest of all kinds. However, as we know, the digital revolution offered us a different experience and the idea of going to a physical store to consume content literally almost overnight became a thing of the past.  I remembered thinking at that time my kids will miss out, but to my surprise, I see the light in their eyes when I ask if they would like to order a movie tonight.  They run to the nearest computer or grab the nearest mobile device begin searching flighting just like my brother and I did for which movie to order.  I have offered several times to drive to the nearest red box and look at review the movies, they always reply that’s ok dad we can find them all the movies right here, and we will tell you where to go pick it up.  It was at this moment I had what I called my blockbuster moment.

I began to realize consumer expectations had changed in what seemed overnight. The Digital giant's companies such as Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, and Uber had impacted disrupted our traditional favorites like a blockbuster, and taxi industry, and set a new norm for consumer experiences. It was now time for corporate leaders to match our consumer(employees) expectations of a modern work experience. More precisely, at this moment I realized the learning team I led was stuck in 1982 just like blockbuster.  We were busy doing it the old way, building 400 page manuals and our customers are searching on Google, and forcing customers to attend our physical store (classes) they didn’t need and search through meaningless eLearning courses in our online store (LMS); which as most companies of the 80’s we were so extremely proud of, and meanwhile others learners were creating their personal YouTube channels and asking the neighbors to help. Just like blockbuster, our doors were still open, but customers were moving on. The only thing corporate learning had going for itself was that our services were required for compliance purposes and sometimes a good marketing tool for recruits, but I’m sure our net promoter score was negative if we attempted measured it. I began to research what are the digital giants doing well at the moment, and how could we replicate this experience in corporate learning.

"We permitted ourselves to walk away from things that are dead technologies today, like our learning management system and to be open to non-traditional methods of doing business, and continuous innovation"

Let’s start with obvious, Netflix originally offered a digital way to order movies and removed the constraints with their return when you want concept, but you still had to plan and order at least a day before you wanted to watch the movie. Then we saw their competitor Redbox leverage most of the Netflix concept; however, you could still select your content digitally and pick up within minutes. I also noticed Netflix continued to innovate and began offering streaming services with on-demand access to content. Others like Hulu came along to Hulu and challenging the traditional cable TV experience providing next-day access to the most popular shows. I learned these business models proved consumers appreciated the ability to call up content at in the moment of need, and though I loved blockbuster experience I too appreciated being able to deice when what I wanted to consume with minimal constraints. Of course, we have to study digital giant, Amazon, a digital marketplace who for the most part does not produce any product, but offers a shopping experience beyond comparison for nearly 12 million products. Amazon continues to learn from its consumer's shopping trends and purchasing decisions to personalized your shopping experience and generate repeat consumers.  Finally, Uber disrupted a market that seemed untouchable for decades by simply offering mobile convenience and on-demand access to transportation.  These are great examples of micro changes that created macro consumer disruption.   Ultimately, what could we learn from this digital transformations and apply to the learning experience?Talent Development

Our blockbuster moment was April 2016 and challenged my team to them partner with me and create a digital learning ecosystem that would match the demands of our consumers(learners).  First, we permitted ourselves to walk away from things that are dead technologies today, like our learning management system and to be open to non-traditional methods of doing business, and continuous innovation.  We then a took what we learned the other digital disruptors and created our digital learning guiding principles.

Our guiding principles were:

• Beyond the LMS
• Digital First
• Standard technical language
• One Entry Point
• Strong Focus on Experience and Analytics

We are currently implementing technologies that will allow us to adapt to the digital evolution of developing talent and invite others to take the journey with us.  Stay tuned we will continue to share what we glean along the way.

CHRISTUS Health Talent Development Ecosystem:

Weekly Brief

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