Summary of Business Not As Usual

Business Not As Usual summary

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COVID-19 has forced organizations everywhere to change their way of working. For L&D, this meant keeping up with the changes but also remaining one step ahead of people’s learning needs. In this episode of the Learning and Development Podcast, the head of L&D, talent and leadership for AXA UK, Sarah Allen, shares what she has learned throughout the turbulent months of the pandemic. Her key take-away: Finding out about people’s day-to-day work challenges and providing targeted support in real time is worth more than a perfectly crafted training workshop.

About the Podcast

The Learning and Development Podcast focuses on challenges and opportunities for L&D professionals. Podcast host David James is chief learning strategist at corporate learning company Looop. Guest Sarah Allen is head of L&D, talent and leadership for AXA UK. 


L&D should refrain from supplying unsolicited content to learners and instead evaluate people’s operational challenges and support requirements.

When the coronavirus crisis hit, the L&D team at AXA UK moved swiftly to assess the needs of leaders and employees under the changed circumstances. Around 90% of employees were suddenly working remotely, and L&D had to come up with ways to help them adapt to the new situation. To find out people’s real needs and challenges, the L&D had daily conversations with stakeholders and began running a monthly survey asking four questions: How do people feel about communication? How connected do employees feel to their teams? What kind of support do they need? And what is their current state of mood?

The data and personal feedback from these surveys enabled L&D to provide targeted support. Instead of asking what people need from L&D or what kind of workshops they want to attend, the L&D team inquired about people’s operational challenges, seeking to understand...

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