The EmployAgility Ambassador Pilot: what did we do? What did we learn?
Updated: May 19
At the beginning of this year leaders, managers and HR professionals from 4 companies took part in the EmployAgility Ambassador Training Pilot and became the first certified EmployAgility Ambassadors in Switzerland and Germany.
Read on to find out what we did and what we found out in the process.
As a reminder EmployAGILITY represents no less than a paradigm shift in the way we talk about employability. The traditional conversations about specific skills and qualifications someone will need in 5 years’ time to remain employable usually raise more questions than they answer and can cause a great deal of angst. Added to that they often take place – way too late – during redundancy conversations and outplacement coaching.
With EmployAgility companies have a simple framework supported by an online app that can help their leaders and HR professional feel confident addressing the subject. Confident enough so that they can use the EmployAgility Framework to support employees to build the confidence and ability they need to flexibly shape their working lives to adapt and thrive in changing circumstances. And this at any age and stage of the employee lifecycle as part of the ongoing personal development process within a company - with the focus on being flexible and liberating the available talent within the organisation.
“EmployAgility is the willingness and ability to flexibly shape our working lives to adapt to changing circumstances and thrive in them – at any age and stage of our lives.”
The idea of the pilot was to test what information and how much preparation is necessary to equip leaders and HR professionals sufficient well for them to confidently use the EmployAgility Framework within their organisations.
Last year we held a Design Thinking Workshop sponsored by SwissMem with representatives from different SwissMem organisations to get a handle on the topic and design a pilot course that would enable companies to upskill their managers and HR teams on this topic and be able to scale up EmployAgility internally.
Finally in January this year we started with the pilot. 11 people from 4 companies spent 10 hours in virtual classroom setting exploring their own EmployAgility, some of the research and psychology behind it, the different aspects from Lifelong Learning, Networking and Collaboration to Well-being and Career Agility and preparing to have real-life conversations with colleagues in their company.
An important part of this preparation was how to broach the subject with people without triggering concern: to present it as an opportunity to increase personal agility and value rather than a way of securing their job.
I couldn’t have asked for a better group! Motivated, experienced managers and HR professionals who actively engaged and were openly curious from the get-go. The pilot was not only effective it also gave me renewed energy to keep going with this cause.
The minimum requirement to certify as an EmployAgility Ambassador was to guide 2 colleagues through the process of using the EmployAgility app to reflect and then discussing the results and developing a practical action plan for increasing their employability in small step. However, some of the Ambassadors felt so confident they decided right away to use the EmployAgility approach in a group session – as part of a team retreat or as a separate dedicated session. This approach proved to be an excellent way of reducing the barriers and introducing an element of peer-coaching which showed participants that other people are facing similar dilemas and situations as they do.
Nice. But did the people on the receiving end feel the same way?
Everyone that partook in the pilot confirmed that their Ambassador led them competently through the process. So, it looks like the Ambassadors really did do a great job. In addition, all participants confirmed that they identified, and some already took, action they can take to improve their personal employability. That’s over 40 people who have reflected on and discussed the topic and realized they can and should be doing things to maintain their employability.
The vast majority of the participating employees gave the feedback that it was a personally valuable experience for them.
As one Ambassador put it
EmployAgility inspires action! ...A very nice approach, which allows to deal carefully with a topic, which very often triggers fears among the coachees
What did we learn?
The first key learning is that the combination is essential: Using the EmployAgility App for self-reflection up front in combination with the opportunity in a safe space to talk to someone about the results and the recommendations contained in the report, find focus and take action makes it a very effective intervention. Just trying to have the conversation without the EmployAgility App is too daunting and the risk of broaching this delicate subject in a way that makes people defensive or worried too high. Just letting people use the EmployAgility App on their own with no follow up risks people being overwhelmed with possibilities and finally filing the report away without taking an real-world action.
Ambassadors also discovered that it’s a way to show appreciation to the employee and give them a feeling of orientation and perspective putting them in the driving seat for which many participants expressed their gratitude.
We also discussed at length the need to integrate the topic of EmployAgility into ongoing initiatives for Learning, Diversity and Workforce planning and as part of the personal development cycle. Ideas included regular “Box Stops” to check in with employees every few years or including it as part of leadership training. The feeling was unanimous that being able to competently accompany people develop their career agility is a competence that future leaders need.
What we experienced was a simultaneous upskilling of the managers and HR professionals that took part – added a new string to their bow – and activation of the employees who participated with practical, down-to-earth support for taking more control of making their own career paths more agile.
In addition, we got great feedback and suggestions from the Ambassadors for improving the content of the pilot and the materials given to the Ambassadors to use within their companies. This was one of the aims of the pilot. For example, two Ambassadors created their own slide decks based on the material and adapting it to their corporate style – which was useful for their colleagues and bringing the message across authentically.
We also reviewed different ways of bringing the topic into the organisation with a positive, development framing focused on a resource-oriented approach and started the discussion about how to adapt the delivery approach depending on the industry and role of the person concerned, blue or white collar, senior or more junior, experienced or less experienced person. For me it was encouraging to see that because the framework is simple, and yet based on solid research, it can be adapted and is itself an agile tool!
The sample size in each company for the pilot was not sufficiently large to enable us to evaluate the insights that can be gained by looking at the data anonymously to give insights at an organizational level. This data can bring insights that help shape new norms in the company around work and employability - and as we continue the journey and scale up with the companies that's something further to discover.
The majority of the Ambassadors said they’d be interested in staying in touch with each other and sharing experiences as this topic continues to grow in importance and develop. So we’re starting an EmployAgility Ambassador Community for certified Ambassadors to share experience, ask questions and get support from us and from each other as peers.
What happens now?
Now it’s about finding ways to embed this approach in the organisations and make it scalable - perhaps with a train-the-trainer approach for people leaders - perhaps with an internal pool of certified Ambassadors. And it's about growing the community of leaders and HR professionals who can use this approach to confidently help the people in their teams.
The next round of EmployAgility Ambassador Training will start in September 2022. Currently it looks like we'll have a group in English and one group in German. If you'd like to be a part of it let us know firstname.lastname@example.org
Or get in touch with me @ email@example.com Tel: +41 79 745 9644