Richard Wellins Ph.D.

  • Talent Management Advisor, Researcher and Author
  • Association for Talent Development (ATD) and HR.COM

Profile

Richard Wellins has focused his entire career on the relationship between leadership effectiveness and organizational performance. He currently works as a research advisor for EY, ATD and HR.COM.

An Interview with Richard

The biggest challenge for L&D at the present time is to maintain a focus on continued learning. In many ways it is a ripe opportunity to offer professional, technical and leadership development on a virtual/remote basis for those who are employed or even on temporary layoff. In past economic downturns, L&D budgets were the first to be reduced and the last to come back. This is also a challenge because things will return to normal and L&D functions ought to be planning to ramp up again quickly. The other advantage of virtual learning, if it is interactive, is that in provides employees an opportunity to connect and dialogue with others.

One of the biggest ways to motivate employees to learn during these volatile times (and, for that matter any other time) is to personalize your learning offerings. Allow employees an opportunity to gauge what training they need against their own capability profiles and then allow them to access relevant training. Personalization of learning is more effective and more engaging.

I think one of the best ways for L&D to get learners involved during these times is to rely more heavily on social learning. I am hearing that those at home both on a layoff basis or because of workplace restrictions are lonely. Most of us our social creatures. Be sure virtual learning is interactive. And, look at forming learning communities were employees have the opportunity to interact and learn from one another.

Fostering collaboration among remote teams will likely be a challenge. There are a number of virtual collaboration tools (e.g Google hangout and SLACK) that can be helpful. And, while software applications can help facilitate collaboration, it is only part of the solution. Many employees may need some training to better understanding on how to use virtual platforms.And, it is a good time to refresh employees on the elements of a good meeting. Many of these elements are the same for live or virtual meetings and are often ignored. At a more micro-level, it is harder to read the emotions and feeling of others, especially if interactions are not video supported. Again, train employees to look for non-verbal clues and to be sure they frequently check for understanding and how others are feeling during the course of any virtual interactions. In essence, make an extra effort to make virtual interactions more human!

About Richard Wellins Ph.D.:

Richard Wellins has focused his entire career on the relationship between leadership effectiveness and organizational performance. He currently works as a research advisor for EY, ATD and HR.COM. His prior roles included a 35-year career at Development Dimensions International (DDI), Research Psychologist for US Department of Defense, and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Connecticut State University. He earned his Ph.D. in industrial/social psychology from the American University.

Rich is the author of five books on leadership including the most recently published Your First Leadership Job. He was a lead author on three recent large-scale research reports including the Global Leadership Forecast (with DDI, EY and The Conference Board), Common Ground and Divergent Views (with DDI and The Conference Board) and The DNA of Human Capital: 2019 Trends Report (with HR.COM).

He speaks around the world and his research has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BBC, CNBC, and The New York Times as well as numerous global news outlets and professional publications.