ANZ Banking Group is rethinking what it expects the technology learning platforms it uses internally to be capable of delivering as it “doubles down” on digital skills development across internal domains.
Chief design officer Opher Yom-Tov told a Trans-Tasman Business Circle event last week that ANZ has “doubled down” on digital literacy upskilling of all staff during the pandemic.
Yom-Tov said his own team of 170 designers across ANZ initiated “a pretty exciting learning program”, and had managed to secure a “reasonably respectful budget” for it, despite fears the budget would be reduced.
“It was all fully approved and we've gone ahead with it,” he said. “I've [also] seen that happen in the other domains at ANZ.”
Asked what ANZ looked for in a technology learning partner, Yom-Tov revealed this is an active area of internal discussion and evaluation.
“We're actually going through that process at the moment, so it's actually very timely,” he said.
“The first is there are a lot of learning platforms frankly that seem to try to mimic 18th Century education. They're incredibly dry, some of them are still around and they are the ones that are often inside large enterprises because enterprises have been around for a while and a lot of these were built almost pre-web.”
Yom-Tov said ANZ is taking training clues from “organisations that have grown up in ‘new tech’”.
“[They] are presenting their content in as rich a way as possible, both the frame of the content - like the way that it's delivered - and then the quality of the content,” he said.
The standard of freely accessible online learning resources meant the bank had an opportunity to raise its game.
“These days, you can probably cobble together a reasonably OK homegrown course just by bingeing on YouTube,” Yom-Tov said.
“[So we’re looking] at organisations that actually take the time to invest and curate in world class content that demonstrates that they really care about the subject matter and that they think very heavily about how adults actually learn, rather than throwing the textbook at you.
“We've all been through push learning or 'sage on the stage' learning where they're pontificating, versus where you genuinely feel like you've got the 'guide on the side'.
“At the end of the day, it's got to be fun. The content should actually be quite beautifully presented, it should be thoughtful, it should be paced, and then there should be a way of enabling learning by doing, so there's a bit of theory and then mechanisms for practice.”
Defining skills 'mastery'
ANZ brought on Yom-Tov back in 2017 as part of an effort to ensure the bank’s digital transformation efforts were well-designed with users’ needs in mind.
Within design, he sees five fundamental disciplines: design research about customers, service design, UX design, UI design and content design.
“For each one of those [disciplines] we looked at what are the skills that [staff] need,” he said.
“We identified 25 skills that collectively those designers need, and they range from leadership and business acumen all the way through to user-centered design, accessibility, visual design etc.
“And for each one of those we then defined levels of mastery and tried to describe as accurately as we could, what does novice, proficient, expert and ‘Yoda’ [level mastery] look like?”
As part of this “codification” of skills, Yom-Tov sought the help of former colleagues that are now sat in the design practices of some of the world’s largest organisations.
“We're a discipline that has slowly matured into the business environment and is slowly getting a lot of legitimacy, but we don't have the same body of documented skills that the world of engineering has and so we've actually had to write some of that ourselves,” he said.
“So I reached out to my ex-colleagues who are running design at Microsoft, IBM, Ford and Google to try to see what they've done.
“People have been very generous and so we brought a lot of that into ANZ and we've kind of crafted our own description of skills, which we're very proud of.”
Yom-Tov’s team called this the “career journey handbook”. He has grand plans to open source it, but is testing its application on his own team first.
“We are road-testing our own skills development program … with the objective of then evolving all of this and then putting it back into the public domain,” he said.
“We want to signal that not only is learning important to us internally, but we actually want to share this with the global design community.”
Yom-Tov also said there had been interest in replicating definitions of skills mastery in other parts of the bank, including in IT.
“Some of my peers, for example our CIO, has picked up our framework and our teams are now working together to build out something quite similar,” he said.
That opened potentially broader opportunities for ANZ, given it could wind up with “a consistent framework around how we think about skills and mastery - even describing very clearly what we mean by our levels of mastery - that [is] universal across the organisation”.
“A common language around these things is really important,” Yom-Tov said.