Case study: Self-directed learning at EY

As changing workplaces require employees to reskill multiple times, we hear how four firms are creating agile learners

EY’s research into its employees found that 84% of managers prefer self-directed to prescribed learning, and that 75% were happy to invest their personal time to undertake self-directed learning.

So in July 2018 the professional services firm launched an intelligent learning technology that identifies who employees are, their interests and needs, and where they last left a learning activity so they can pick it up later. It provides personalised content and mobile access on any device at any time.

“The future is less emphasis on formal discrete learning events and more focus on agility, adaptability, integration and learning that directly supports workplace performance,” says EY director of talent development Patricia McEvoy. “Ring-fenced learning time is in short supply so bite-sized accessible content is critical; such as short videos, articles and case studies.

“We are seeing the demise of the learner as a passive recipient and the rise of the learner as an intelligent consumer who expects fast, convenient and tech-enabled learning. Therefore learning resources must be easy to find and navigate, relevant, and immediately applicable to the learner’s current experience.”

EY is working on bringing in more exciting resources for its learners such as virtual on-demand skills coaching and mentoring. And it’s looking to upskill its workforce in areas such as software engineering and data analytics.

New degree apprenticeships in digital and technology have been set up to enable this, while other opportunities include a programme called EY Badges, which enables employees to earn digital credentials in skills that differentiate them in the market such as data visualisation, AI, data transformation and information strategy. More EY Badges are currently under development.

“Our vision is to be the leader in self-directed learning in professional services,” adds McEvoy. “We meet the evolving needs of our clients by meeting people’s desires for mobility, variety and flexibility in the way they build their capabilities to be fit for the future working world.

“We empower and enable our people to ‘pull’ learning when they need it, how they need it, and at a time when they have problems to solve, so they can apply learning in the context of their projects. This will make learning at EY more effective, faster and more efficient.”

Check back tomorrow and over the coming days for more case studies on organisations embracing agile L&D

Further reading

Making learning and development agile