Gapingvoid Culture Design Group Designs Culture of Continuous Learning at AT&T
AT&T CEO Randall Stevenson believes in the importance of learning and development. He sees employee education as a primary catalyst for corporate innovation with employees at the heart of AT&T’s future.
Stevenson expressed the importance of continuous learning for AT&T employees in an interview with the New York Times, “There is a need to retool yourself, and you should not expect to stop. People who do not…will obsolete themselves with the technology.”
To help employees adapt to the changing future, the company launched AT&T University, an ambitious corporate education program. The University’s goal is to help employees get more involved, identify career paths and go through the courses designed to help them grow.
AT&T quickly learned that voluntary learning requires more than a vision and a call to action.
Given the everyday pressure of daily work, employees viewed becoming a continuous learner as burdensome and as a lower priority. As a result, only 6% or 17,000 of AT&T’s 270,000 employees were using AT&T’s learning portal. More so, an astounding 70% of employees admitted that they were unaware that the learning portal existed at all.
Initially, AT&T viewed this challenge as an awareness problem. It turned out to be something deeper.
AT&T Headquarters, Dallas TX
To Design a Culture of Continuous Learning, Gapingvoid Needed to Understand Employee Sentiment
Gapingvoid Culture Design Group was brought on to evaluate the human challenges facing AT&TU. The group was tasked with doubling employee participation in the learning portal.
The team quickly realized that the problem wasn’t one of awareness, it was one of engagement. Simply marketing the program wasn’t going to be enough to drive awareness and participation.
The solution required a more human approach. As such, Gapingvoid needed to understand how employees really felt about learning, their relationship between learning and workload, and further, explore the human dynamics preventing voluntary engagement.
Step 1: Gapingvoid employed Culture Science™ to assess existing beliefs and mindsets that established current cultural norms around learning, work, and professional development. These insights would reveal where and how to connect to people, to change behaviors and to influence a deep desire to engage and learn at scale.
Step 2: Culture is the way to create influence. To do so, AT&T needed new tools. To bring insights to life, Gapingvoid employed Culture Design™- a Management System that drives inspired engagement toward the business’s most urgent priorities, in this case, participation in AT&TU.
As a result, Gapingvoid developed culture-change tools to communicate future motivating states through irresistible narrative, illustrations, animations, infographics, and spatial design.
Step 3: The tools were then socialized at scale in key spaces, channels, and online platforms to communicate a new, promising and relatable story about learning and work.
These assets captivated employee curiosity, stimulated interest in professional development, and helped employees make a personal connection to learning and growth.
AT&T Fosters a New Culture of Continuous Learning
Gapingvoid’s Culture Design approach was warmly welcomed by employees and incredibly effective in establishing new norms and inspiring new behaviors and mindsets.
As a result, engagement with AT&TU grew to over 50,000 employees within 120 days.
By changing the way employees think and talk about work and professional development, employees who opted into the portal soared by 300%. This also created a new and exciting layer to AT&T’s culture that stretched beyond continuous learning.