getAbstract is a perfect complement to existing learning tools. The provider’s openness toward other learning partners allows us to combine relevant learning resources rather than using them in isolation.
abrdn former Standard Life Aberdeen is a leading investment firm headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland. The company has offices in 46 locations worldwide and employs around 6,000 people. The company came into existence following the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017.
Since the merger, the Global Talent & Organizational Development team has set five priorities, taking into account feedback from colleagues across the business: to create a stronger and more diverse talent pipeline; to build individual and collective leadership capabilities; to provide learning for all employees; to build a world-class company culture; and to foster an industry-leading employer brand.
Peter Yarrow, abrdn's Global Head of Learning & Proposition, recognized that when going through a sustained period of change, it was essential to provide relevant development support.
How getAbstract helped
Although the need for learning was evident, an internal survey at abrdn revealed that most employees can’t find the time for learning at work. “As we are going through this intense transformation,” Yarrow explains, “we need to make sure that learning resources are available at the point of need. People don’t always have the time to attend formal courses – it’s the same problem the world over.” According to Yarrow, getAbstract has made a significant contribution to overcoming this common learning barrier: “getAbstract certainly supports our goal of making learning ‘easy, attractive, social and timely.’ The learning platform enables us to provide easy access to bite-sized learning and to bring external perspectives into the organization.”
Content covering a range of topics, including career and personal development, resilience and well-being, and effective teams, along with curated and condensed business knowledge from books, articles and video talks, has proven to be particularly valuable in supporting the company’s strategic development goals.
For Yarrow, what makes getAbstract stand out is the way in which it delivers knowledge to learners: “In the past, companies would just put learning resources on a shelf and wait for people to access them. Yet my experience tells me that this doesn’t work that way. People need to be gently nudged or prompted to do something they wouldn’t have done before, and we have seen some really strong results from taking that type of approach.” A case in point is the learning campaign "The Leading Edge," which highlights monthly topics relevant to all employees. Each month, employees receive customized reading recommendations chosen by getAbstract learning consultants. According to an internal survey, 87% of users found the content of "The Leading Edge" useful and relevant. Yarrow credits getAbstract's ability to provide engaging content in the form of curated reading lists of book, article and video-talk summaries as a key component of its success." Moreover, employees can access additional expert knowledge from the getAbstract library and curated channels through company-wide learning platforms.
Yarrow attributes getAbstract’s success as a learning tool to its seamless integration into existing learning platforms: “getAbstract is as a perfect complement to existing learning tools. The provider’s openness toward other learning partners allows us to combine relevant learning resources rather than using them in isolation.”
Demand for up-to-date knowledge and expertise is especially high in times of rapid transformation. During the whirlwind year of 2018, getAbstract usage at abrdn increased by a staggering 70% – another indication for Yarrow that the company’s busy employees consider the platform’s content both useful and interesting.
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