Social learning often makes you think of social media, like twitter (other social media platforms are available). However, the social aspect is often lost. As one Director described, ‘It’s like a group of people standing on boxes shouting their opinions into a void’. Often this digital format produces a ready collection of retweets and ‘likes’ but not many discussion points. Bringing social media in house can often result in high expenditure and low interaction. To kick start our in house social learning we went with the super low cost and no tech version – a chalkboard!
The L&D team I’m part of started out with an aim to share some really great quotes. The type HR professionals like to collect about change and learning. Something more inspiring or informative than the usual cliché meme’s like: ‘You don’t have to be crazy to work but….’ The aim was to encourage people to see every day as a day they could learn something new, alter their thinking slightly or see a situation in a different light. Really great quotes have enough wisdom in them to make you re-consider your views whilst still fitting onto a child’s size chalkboard. The level of interaction we receive from people passing by has been quite extraordinary.
The people walking past the quote board are a mixture of colleagues from all over the business walking past. They take time to read it, smile to themselves or chuckle. Maybe even laugh out loud (or LOL) if it’s a cheeky one for a Friday special. Some of them start a conversation, either with us or with the people they are walking with. Some have told me that they actually change their routes around the building specifically to check out the day’s quote. One colleague who passed the board on the way to make a drink, brought us a treasured book of his that included quotes from a political figure. A recent quote about how people defend, rather than try and change, their long ingrained dysfunctions caused much debate around whether some of those are positive character traits rather than flaws.
Sharing some of our favourite quotes like this has reached more people with only a little effort on our part and is improving levels of interaction, engagement and, hopefully, inspiring a few people along the way.
Sometimes it can be tough to pick a quote that is inspirational yet doesn’t make light of another’s reaction to an experience. For example, on the day when we had an announcement signalling change we went with the quote ‘The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance’ Alan Watts.
We started off with a new quote every couple of days but now people look forward to a new quote every day. All that chalk rubbing has had one negative impact though, we are on our 3rd chalk board due to usage!
One of my favourites to leave you with, it really makes me think about the legacy I want to be known for ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in’ - Anon
Lyndsey Bowley is a Learning and Development Manager at Boots UK Ltd.