Here at Unicorn HQ we have a favourite quote: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Originally attributed to Benjamin Franklin, it’s not just a tag line, it’s become something of a mantra to live by…
In the rapidly changing world of digital technology, we’ve got smart-device overload. Nowadays, the possibilities for deploying learning are just about endless, as people’s unrestricted access to the latest tech means almost complete ubiquity of smart phones, tablets and portable computers. Whilst this fact presents new and exciting possibilities for changing the ways we deliver and consume learning, the basic principles that underpin the learning experience remain for the most part unchanged. What Mr Franklin aptly hit upon in his quote of which we are so fond is the idea that in order to catalyse real behavioural (or ‘real life’) change, the learning experience must be both memorable and immersive.
Enhancing knowledge retention and designing learning interventions that reinforce and give practical context goes beyond simply making courses compatible with the latest operating systems, devices and browsers. Instead, we need to go deeper into the psychological process that underpins learning and shift our understanding of the learning problem from a simple question of delivery to something more fundamental.
The Psychology Bit
Taking into account the brain’s capacity to absorb, retain and actively recall information, the challenge we consistently face is to find ways to deliver learning that percolates beyond the superficial layers of a person’s memory and taps into the longer term psyche. We know with the move away from traditional, PC-based linear training towards something more dynamic, that learning requirements are changing. Rather than ‘box-ticking’, organisations increasingly recognise the need to deliver learning that goes deeper to yield real behavioural change.
In order to achieve this, learning solutions must tailor educational experiences to navigate the potential pitfalls of the learning process without causing cognitive overload, or allowing learners to simply forget what they have been taught. In order to achieve this, it’s important to deliver learning experiences in digestible chunks, with follow-up and reinforcement that means learners are then encouraged to use and consolidate the learning soon after the original intervention. In the context of compliance training, this approach begins to reposition learning not simply as an annual necessity, but rather as something embedded in the regular activities of learners.
Getting Ahead of the Curve
Here at Unicorn, we believe that one such way to deliver learning that sticks is through the use of mobile Apps.
The average iPhone user unlocks their phone an average of 80 times per day. -Business Insider
Portable technology is increasingly synonymous with modern life – presenting a unique opportunity to deploy learning content straight to a user’s pocket wherever they may be. By understanding these ‘mobile moments’, we have the opportunity to form the framework for including mobile applications into wider learning strategy. Rather than looking to deploy full learning content to mobile, a more effective proposition is to focus Apps on learning reinforcement using microbites of engaging content – short videos, polls, quizzes, check-lists – with simple gamification elements, nudges and prompts to encourage regular revisits.
Apps then become a key element in a blended solution. Whilst a person might still be expected to complete a mandatory 30-minute course on a particular subject, the added functionality of an App means that we’re now able to add in extra layers to the learning experience.
When we start to reimagine learning as non-linear, we open up opportunities to draw in other psychological principles: whether the challenge and reward balance; social collaboration and knowledge sharing, or ‘just in time’ content that gives users the ability to reference bitesized supplementary learning content for reference in everyday situations. As products of modern society, we are already part-programmed to rely on Apps and other forms of mobile interactions in our day-to-day lives –social networking, news, or even the simple use of a fitness or alarm App. If learning and development professionals can leverage mobile technology as a powerful additional channel through which to deliver timely, relevant learning content, then we are already going some way towards combatting the forgetting curve and making sure that learning sticks.
Our partnership with world class games studio, Amuzo, means that we are already seeing the benefits of extrapolating the ‘sticky’ elements of game and app design into wider learning programmes. Once the underpinning psychological principles involved in gaming are understood, the potential for the scope and context of their application is limitless. Read more about apps in learning here.
As another year of the industry’s most prestigious awards rolls round, we are delighted to announce that Unicorn has been shortlisted in two categories: Learning Technologies Supplier of the Year and Best Enterprise Platform Implementation.
“The Learning Technologies Awards celebrate excellence in learning technology and e-learning and have been running for ten years. There are multiple awards categories with gold, silver and bronze awards presented at a gala evening in London.”
Best Enterprise Platform Implementation:
Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank with Unicorn Training
Having shared their experiences at our last Client Forum, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank once again channelled their vision, challenges and achievements into a strong submission that examines their L&D journey with Unicorn. Recognising the hard work and passion of HR-leads Stuart Snowden and Beccy Gilpin, the shortlist for best platform implementation is testament to just how much progress has been made to transform internal learning processes within CYB.
It is also a well-deserved nod to the committed work of our project team, and Clydesdale’s Relationship Manager, Sarah Smith.
The introduction of myLearning has made a considerable impact on all employees, enabling the Bank to offer personal development opportunities to our employees whilst using a robust, innovative platform that is easy to use providing an excellent employee experience.
– Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank
Beccy Gilpin, Learning Channels Manager said: “Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank are delighted to be short-listed for this award. It recognises the hard work and commitment from our internal project team and the partnership and co-operation between the Bank and Unicorn Training to deliver a fantastic new learning platform for the Bank”.
Learning Technologies Supplier of the Year: Unicorn Training
Having enjoyed a busy year that has seen Unicorn acquire casual games studio, Amuzo, we are also thrilled to have made the cut for Learning Technologies Supplier of the Year. Our submission in this category considers our dual role as training and regulatory experts in the Financial Services space, and leaders in innovative learning design that strives to leverage the latest available technologies in the solutions we deliver to our valued clients.
“In these exciting times for eLearning, Unicorn is making an important contribution to transforming standards of behaviour and customer service in the financial sector,” says Peter Phillips, Unicorn Training CEO. “In this submission we sought to illustrate how Unicorn has been able to lead our clients towards more effective, innovative learning solutions including Apps, personalised learning, collaboration and gamification, while at the same time recognising their abiding needs for high quality, secure, consistent, managed compliance solutions”.
We look forward to entering the next round of judging for these categories, and would like to congratulate our peers, partners and all those who made the shortlists in this year’s highly competitive awards!
We can’t quite believe it’s been nearly four months since our last Client Forum, but we’re delighted to announce that we’ll be back this October for another one!
Having run these events bi-annually for the past four years, we’ve learnt a fair bit about what makes a successful forum, and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming both old and new faces to this next exclusive date.
The Autumn Forum is a unique opportunity to explore our solutions in more depth, and learn how other HR, L&D and Risk Management professionals across a number of sectors are leveraging digital technology to solve their learning challenges.
With a rage of sessions covering platform functionality, content and industry discussion, the day aims to showcase real client case studies – giving attendees an insight into practical ways to approach their company learning. Instead of offering the kind of lofty general discussion that we often see from learning and development events, the Autumn Forum aims to demystify some of the industry’s latest ‘buzzwords’, and offer delegates practical insight into how to start incorporating new trends into their own L&D journeys.
This Autumn, the Unicorn Client Forum will take place on Tuesday 4th October in the heart of Canary Wharf, and will be brought to you in partnership with our apps studio, Amuzo. The day will be split into main room welcome and keynote sessions, and registration-only breakouts that will give attendees access to specialist slots run by our experts.
More information coming soon. If you have a specific query relating to the Unicorn Forum, please contact your Relationship Manager, or the Unicorn Marketing Department. This is an invite-only event.
Downing street is upping the pressure on ministers to begin implementing plans to leave the EU, it was reported this week.
Accusing Liam Fox – one of three cabinet ministers put in charge of overseeing Britain’s withdrawal from the EU – of ‘playing games’, Theresa May has made her position on government in-fighting clear. Such comments come as City sources claim that Britain’s exit from the EU is already looking likely to take place at least a year after first envisaged.
With government insiders talking of ‘chaos’ amongst the two new departments involved in overseeing Brexit, some believe that initial timelines are already well out of scope, and could be delayed even further if action is not taken soon. Indeed, murmurs about undermining public confidence have already started to surface from Tory backbench Eurosceptics.
However, Number 10 has dismissed talk of hesitation or departmental disarray as nonsensical, with Theresa May sending a clear message to press and public alike that Brexit is very much still ‘full steam ahead’. As things currently stand, the government looks set to trigger Article 50 – which will formally start the process for Britain’s departure from the EU – at the start of 2017. A Downing Street source said: ‘Everyone has a view on Article 50 and timetables. The Prime Minister has set up departments to implement Brexit and they need to get their ducks in a row – but we are looking at early next year. That is what the Prime Minister has told leaders of other EU countries. There is no indication that it is going to go further than that. We know that Brexit means Brexit and that we have to get on with it. It is full steam ahead.’
How this sits with senior banking figures – many of whom at June’s Annual Retail Banking Conference said they ‘welcomed the government’s decision not to invoke Article 50 with immediate effect – is still to be seen.
We do welcome the government’s decision not to invoke article 50 for now, as we do need time to plan for a stable and orderly transition for the banking sector. –Noreen Doyle, Chair BBA
Invoking article 50 will simply accelerate decisions that might otherwise have taken a decade. –Justin Bisseker, Pan-European Banks Analyst Schroders
With reports of playground power struggles between the so-called ‘three Brexiteers’ – Dr Fox, Mr Johnson and the Secretary for Exiting the EU, David Davis – Whitehall officials have apparently been braced for tension. In a leaked letter to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox effectively demanded the break-up of the Foreign Office in order to pass certain key responsibilities to his new department. Mrs May was swift to react to Mr Fox’s demands, wading in from her holiday in Switzerland to quash any rumour of such a shakeup and telling Mr Fox to ‘stop playing games’ and get on with the job in hand.
Naturally, such bickering has done little for the public’s perception of the key government figures trusted with the delicate and lengthy task of facilitating our departure from the EU.
On Tuesday it was also reported that Euro-sceptic Tories are already starting to fear that the government is shying away from its commitment to get Britain out of the EU – heading instead for what has been widely referred to as ‘Brexit Lite’. Plans are now thought to be in the pipeline for two cross-party groups to pressure the government into committing to a strict, public timeline for leaving. However, ministers are keen to be see to be erring on the side of caution for good reason, insisting that the potentially extended timeline is the best interests for allowing comprehensive negotiations before the departure is formalised.
As far as more clues to post-Brexit conditions, each week seems to bring new developments. Last weekend, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the billions of pounds of funding that currently comes from the EU to support farmers, scientists and other projects will now be provided by the Treasury. Estimated at a cost of close to £6billion a year, the Treasury is set to guarantee continued funding for EU-backed schemes signed before this year’s Autumn Statement – meaning relative business as usual for a number of areas previously expected to take a hit.
Indeed, confidence certainly seems to be on the up since an initially hesitant period in the immediate wake of June’s referendum. Perhaps it is testament to national confidence that, for now at least, Britain is not allowing a political shock to become an economic one.
Read more about Brexit and the recent Westminster ‘doom-mongering’ here.
“Something must be done to break the inertia of the UK banking public”, said the BBC yesterday in its report on the latest activity from the Competition and Markets Authority’s latest plans for retail banking.
Following what is reported to have been a two-year investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded that not enough is being done to pressurise banks into offering significantly cheaper or better services to customers. Indeed, only 4% of UK businesses and 3% of individuals currently switch their bank in any one year. As a result of these findings, the BBC yesterday said that, “some very big changes are now in the pipeline for the way people use their bank accounts and the way banks charge their customers”.
In essence, banking’s ‘big five’ (RBS, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Santander) plus the Nationwide building society each have their own significant, but crucially captive markets. “The older and larger banks, which still account for the large majority of the retail banking market, do not have to work hard enough to win and retain customers and it is difficult for new and smaller providers to attract customers,” said the CMA. Thus its latest initiative will look not only to make switching easier, but also aims to encourage customers to look elsewhere for a better deal that will ultimately save them money and offer other benefits – especially if they are likely to go overdrawn.
The topic of overdrafts has itself been a spotlight issue for The CMA throughout its investigations, as it now orders banks to put a hard cap on just how much they can charge customers for going into the red. Historically, this is an area that has caused controversy as banks have been allowed to charge more or less what they like for unauthorised overdraft use. In fact, in 2009 the Office of Fair Trading (now part of the CMA) failed in its legal challenge to overthrow the right of banks to set their own charges as they saw fit.
Forcing banks to cap and declare their overdraft charges does not, of course, go so far as to suggest that a monthly limit on overdraft fees and charges should be set by a regulator, but it will at least make things clearer for customers. “Many personal customers, in particular overdraft users, could make significant savings by switching to a different current account,” says the CMA. It aims to bring this particular change into force by September next year.
Open Banking and the push for further CMA reform
In a bid to stimulate greater competition – and improve options for customers – The CMA is pushing for an industry-wide adoption of what is being referred to as ‘open banking’. In principle, open banking would see the financial technology industry strive to develop a computer application that would allow customers to manage accounts that may be across multiple banks through one central interface.
In recent years, we’ve seen vendor-specific banking apps pop up all over the place, but these only offer management of accounts held with that particular bank. This new, ‘all purpose’ app should also – so The CMA says – allow authorised intermediaries to provide a kind of ‘price and service comparison’, so that customers are able to check their existing provider(s) against others in the market at large, and thus potentially find other providers that are better suited to their specific saving and spending needs.
The CMA hopes that this will encourage customers to move money around – either to avoid upcoming overdraft charges, or to gain higher interest on more generous accounts.
And how soon will all this happen? The CMA’s final report, published yesterday, is just the latest in a very long line of official inquiries into the banking industry that have been held over the past 20 years. With a myriad of proposals on the table, all aimed at improving the customer experience in the retail banking arena, it is hard to say for sure which of these will be carried forward – and indeed when we might see them enforced. However, with plans around competition, overdraft caps and open banking now finalised and published, we’re told that official implementation dates range from the beginning of 2017 to the autumn of 2018. Watch this space!
For more information, visit the BBC business website here.
Last week the BBC reported that last year saw nearly six million instances of cyber crime in England and Wales.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), cyber is fast-becoming the most common type of crime – with 3.8 million fraud offences and 2 million instances of computer misuse recorded between March 2015 and 2016. It also noted that the majority of these were linked to some kind of bank account fraud, meaning that as ever banks remain at the forefront of issues of cyber security.
“In today’s climate, 70% of all fraud is cyber-related”, said Arancha Sanchez (CISO, Santander) at last month’s BBA Annual Retail Banking conference, where she expressed a belief that banks have a clear duty not only to protect themselves, but also to educate and assist their customer base. “Although at present, only half of firms consider cyber security to be a priority for them.”
“The widespread use of computers, laptops and smart-phones to facilitate fraud has changed [the way we perceive crime]”, said Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondent. “[The ONS found] we are more likely to be a victim of fraud than any other type of crime, with one in 10 adults defrauded in the past 12 months.”
“Fraud and cyber offences are not a new threat and the government has been working to get ahead of the game, committing to spend £1.9bn on cybersecurity and cybercrime over the next five years.” –Policing Minister Brandon Lewis
Indeed, of the reported two million instances of computer misuse, 1.4million involved the device in question becoming infected with a malicious virus, with the remainder related to “unauthorised access to personal information” – such as hacking. As technology continues to advance, and banks seek to provide seamless, cross-platform solutions to their customer base, it is crucial that cyber awareness is given adequate attention. “Consumers need confidence in banks, and banks need confidence in customers, said Donald Toon, Director of Economic Crime Command NCA; “Cyber Security is about Tech, Processes AND People.”
“Boards need to be able to heavily tasked with promoting a culture of cyber confidence. There isn’t a silver bullet when it comes to cyber security; and it’s a Chief Exec problem not just an IT one.” –Arancha Sanchez, CISO, Santander
Every day at Unicorn we help other companies achieve their organisational aims through implementing learning that embeds desired behaviours, practices and cultures amongst staff while also helping them meet their regulatory, legal and compliance needs.
But we can only do that successfully if our own behaviours and practices within Unicorn are also reflecting the company culture that has made us, well, us.
So how do we make sure the family ethic that has helped Unicorn grow to 90+ staff across our Bournemouth and London offices over the past few years is complemented by continually building a high performance culture internally too?
Enter Todd Eden and the LeadNow programme…
“As we grew we wanted to make sure we didn’t fall into the classic growth traps such as disconnected directors, employees feeling disempowered, inter-team tension, communication levels reduced, etc,” explains Jackie Kennedy, Unicorn Training COO.
“We needed a solution that would help us to avoid these and take us to the next level. We felt our great ‘family feel’ was getting stretched. Leadership capability in all areas and at all levels is critical to growth, and we needed a solution that was both engaging and impactful.”
The LeadNow programme is enabling Unicorn team members to lead themselves, one another and groups.
Over the course of a two-day event, team members discover…
- how coaching can help day-to-day
- the importance of understanding others
- how they lead themselves
- they understand their values and beliefs more deeply
- how to affect their attitudes,
- how to better relate to colleagues, clients and everyone else they meet
Jackie continues: “Todd initially worked with a group of 20 Unicorn directors, line managers, and team members on a two-day workshop, which was followed up six months later with a one-day leadership-in-action revitaliser.
“However, we quickly realised this unique event would benefit everyone in the business and we now intend to put all employees through this programme in the coming months.”
Each subject is explored via stimulating presentations, experiential learnings, individual reflection and socialisation; enabling each participant to develop their own personal views. The structure is simple – after an introduction to leadership there are three modules – 1) leading self, 2) leading others and 3) leading groups, followed by a planning session.
Here is some of the feedback from our impressed Unicorn’s so far…
“An awesome workshop that I would recommend to anyone.”
“Thank-you for an amazing two days. I’ve realised some huge aspects I need to work on with self-awareness / reflection and look forward to building on that!”
“I wasn’t expecting it, but it was a life changing event.”
Team members have reported that they can talk more freely and are better connected with themselves and other team members. Difficult conversations became easier, and the change in behaviours of the participants has rubbed off on their colleagues too.
Jackie concludes: “We’ve just had really great feedback and everyone enjoyed the experience and learnt a lot about themselves. Todd has this flow of activities, which build trust and depth of self-awareness. He’s also really skilled at weaving in the specific goals we had requested. A thoroughly recommended event, well, experience really!”
As an award-winning provider of L&D and compliance solutions for the UK’s ever-changing financial services industry, Unicorn’s talents combine 28 years’ learning knowhow with superb creativity, reliability and security endorsed by numerous large organisations and professional bodies.
For more information about LeadNow visit www.leadnow.net
In this month’s T-C News, we ask four months into the new accountability regime for banks, how did the industry handle its arrival and what’s next?
The article addresses:
- how adjusting to the new accountability regime has been
- what challenges have arisen, things that needed extra attention and how they were dealt with
- preparing for the Certification Regime and training for the Conduct Rules ahead of the March 2017 deadline
- how the Senior Manager and Certification regimes have helped streamline policies and processes, especially around T&C.
“ As far as evidencing competency is concerned, CPD alone doesn’t cut it.” – Philippa Grocott, Partner, FSTP.
At Unicorn we are always committed to finding the next generation of talent. Here, Bournemouth University student Jenade shares her 6-week experience working as a Marketing Assistant.
Six weeks ago I started my placement at Unicorn Training Group Ltd and it has been nothing like I ever expected. I thought I was well equipped for the real working world, being a Communications and Media undergraduate from Bournemouth University. However, my time at Unicorn has shown me that books and lectures only take you part of the way.
Unicorn staff are lovely and had a genuine interest in my career path. Everyone has smiles for miles, as if that wasn’t enough I felt so welcomed to find out the role was specially tailored to suit me. Working as an Internal Marketing Assistant was interestingly varied and advanced well from my course teachings.
Unicorn is a rapidly progressing business, this however, can impact how communications are spread, as it becomes harder to keep track of who knows what. I met with Jackie Kennedy (COO) and we thought the introduction of a quarterly internal magazine would help to keep all staff in the loop.
Despite my nerves and reservations, Unicorn were enthusiastic and trusted me with the big responsibility of producing the first edition of the magazine- Connected +. My role was to ensure that all staff in both the Bournemouth and London branch are informed of news they may be unaware of. By featuring articles from a wide spectrum of the business, we hope Connected + will transcend the city borders to bring the Unicorn family together.
Being in a busy and dynamic environment, it was important to be flexible and adaptable especially when working around staff schedules and workloads. I spent the majority of my time working with the HR and Training Team but there was always a friendly and passionate Unicorn around the corner.
Although, Connected+ was my main focus, I was given the opportunity to take part in exciting events that I’ve never done before. Such as the UCL Airport simulation game testing (thank you Peter Phillips, Jackie Kennedy, Gemma Blackaller and Team 5!). With fresh insight into the Induction programme, I was encouraged to evaluate the current process and identify areas for improvements. During this time, Abi Pears (Marketing Manger) also encouraged me to review some of the Unicorn platforms including the website, blogs and social media footprint.
When the sunshine finally reached Bournemouth, I didn’t ever feel like I was missing out, especially with treats like these to look forward to:
Unfortunately, we hit some bumps along the way and we weren’t able to Launch the magazine during my time here but all our hard work won’t go to waste and I have no doubt that we will see the finished product sooner than you think. Don’t fear, if I have missed you out (I’m sorry!) Connected+ is ongoing project that anyone can get involved in so feel free to send Shaun Hickman a message to be a part of the Autumn Issue.
Joining Unicorn has been an instrumental part of my personal development and I only wish I had the time to meet everyone during my time here. This placement encouraged me to come out of my comfort zone and challenged my capabilities in range of topics. It has improved my confidence and developed my experience in writing and editing as well as marketing and graphic design.
Finally, I’d just like to give a big Unicorn thank you to everyone that have made my experience one to remember!