Genesis is one of the largest housing associations in the country, with more than 100,000 people living in its homes. eLearning not only saves the housing association vital funds, it plays an integral role in supporting its 1,350 staff. Tashoy Ashley, Head of L&D at Genesis, explains why.
You’re great at engaging your staff with eLearning – what’s your secret?
I got the idea from a CIPD member session, the trick is to try and normalise eLearning, so it’s more similar to the way people engage with eLearning in their everyday life. For example, people access Google, Wikipedia and YouTube to get information and solve problems without really thinking about it – 90% of users with smartphones Google information, and 70% of people in new jobs use Google for information during induction.
How do you gain buy-in for eLearning from your management team?
Our management team are committed to using technology to support skills development alongside a corporate strategy which emphasises the digital age. As such, buy-in is written in across the business, and is also integral to our approach to ‘Smart Working’ (some organisations refer to this as ‘new ways of working’)
How much money has eLearning saved as part of a blended approach to learning, compared to just face-to-face?
All Genesis staff are required to receive safeguarding training, but not all staff work operationally with residents. Just taking 200 of these staff, the saving on online verses taught courses is over £16,000, and that doesn’t include indirect costs.
Apart from money, what are the benefits that you see from using eLearning & learning technologies?
The convenience for staff, especially when many staff are encouraged to work smarter and more flexibly. The money saved is of course a given, but the reduction in travel also decreases our carbon footprint so it’s also a green initiative.
How does learning and development fit into Genesis’ vision for the future ?
The Learning and Organisation Development team at Genesis has only existed in its current make-up for less than a year. This has coincided with a new corporate strategy, and some significant changes in the external political landscape which will impact housing associations and make efficient use of resources all the more important. We are using blended learning as just one strand of a modified 70-20-10 approach to skills development for our 1,349 staff.
In terms of eLearning, the Charity Learning Consortium came highly recommended from our Learning and OD Manager who has worked with them at the National Autistic Society. They provided what we were looking for, and they have good member support.
What’s your greatest challenge for improving the impact of eLearning at work?
Our challenges are not unique, we have some staff who have not engaged with the digital revolution in their personal lives and have not had to use computers in their work roles until very recently, and that can be limiting. But really it gets back to the old level four question about impact evaluation, so to measure its effectiveness, you need a baseline against which to compare it to.
Tashoy Ashley, is the Head of Organisation Development and Learning at Genesis Housing Association.
About Genesis Housing Association
At any one time over 100,000 people live in a Genesis home. It owns and manages approximately 33,000 homes across London, the South East and the East of England. It creates and sustains communities, building and managing homes for social rent, market rent, shared ownership and private sale. It also provides care and support services to over 4,500 people. To find out more about Genesis housing association visit: www.genesisha.org.uk
Third sector organisations can find out how they can save time and money with the Charity Learning Consortium at stand number L18 at Learning Technologies, 3-4 February, London Olympia.
Twitter: @charitylearning @GenesisHousing