Business Transformation

Turning down the volume on workplace noise

BHG webinar (1)

We’ve been talking a lot recently about the overwhelm that goes hand-in-hand with workplace noise. When employees just want to find the information they need to do their jobs, they quickly get frustrated when they’re constantly being bombarded with distractions or content that’s just plain irrelevant.

Last week, we joined forces with Brandon Hall Group to host a webinar about strategies for learning in a distracted world. We had lots of great feedback and conversations in the chat, so we wanted to recap some of the highlights for anyone who missed out on the live session, which was hosted by:

Watch the webinar recap here: 


So, what can you do to keep your people engaged and focused on what matters, and not distracted by everything else?


Why so much noise?


Let’s start with an uncomfortable truth: L&D is a huge contributor to workplace noise. Despite our best efforts to get the right content to the right people at the right time, we’re not always getting it right. Over a third of organisations surveyed in Brandon Hall Group’s 2023 LMS Voice of the Customer report say that they have multiple learning management systems, with 8% saying they have more than five.

But this comes at a cost - both financial and in terms of business impact. With more platforms come more content, and ultimately more noise. 

It’s about more than just technology, though. Today’s businesses are also dealing with a huge variety of priorities. In Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Outlook 2024 report, the top priorities for businesses right now are career development (with 96% of respondents saying it’s important or critical to success), leadership development (96%) and employee experience (93%).

Businesses are trying to achieve many things at once - but these valiant efforts come with a lot of communications, a lot of strategies, a lot of shifting tactics and a lot of noise.


How learning culture impacts noise

During the webinar, we asked attendees to tell us the strongest element of their workplace learning culture, with over a quarter of respondents naming continuous learning as their strong point. Many teams are confident that their learning culture supports the ability to consistently learn and develop, which helps keep employees engaged and motivated.

However, in terms of the weakest element, over a third of attendees say that organisation-wide collaboration is the biggest challenge. And what happens when communication and collaboration are less than smooth? That’s right: noise.

Interestingly, we discovered that leadership buy-in is equally as likely to be considered the main strength and main weakness across businesses. Leadership support helps ensure alignment across the business, whereas a lack of buy-in can lead to confused learning initiatives that don’t align with overall business goals, contributing to a common misconception that L&D simply exists to tick boxes and not to make a real impact.

But we know there's no quick fix when it comes to creating a learning culture. In the words of Steve:

"Building a learning culture is like turning an oil tanker. There's no magic bullet. You have to start with the overarching vision, then you can figure out where you need to go with it and the ultimate purpose of learning in your business."


How to turn down the noise

turn off

While it might seem like ‘the noise problem’ is inescapable, the good news is that there are things L&D can do to help cut through the noise and strip back the constant information overload without sacrificing business goals. In fact, less unnecessary, irrelevant noise can have a significant impact on operational efficiency, freeing everyone up to simply do what they’re paid to do.

5app academies were created with this exact problem in mind. Instead of expecting employees to trawl through all the content they could possibly need for every part of their jobs (think about all those competing business priorities), we help you connect the dots for them to put everything they need in one place.

The Greystar story

In the webinar, Steve shared the Greystar Learning Academies story, so do check out the recording to see it in his words! In particular, he focused on the 2022 launch of the academies, which were fully tailored and scalable to Greystar’s changing business needs. 

With academies, Greystar is able to quickly structure and organise content in a way that makes sense for each audience. Busy leaders can whizz through their leadership content on demand, while the global marketing team can access all of their brand materials and marketing assets in one place.

Since the launch of academies, monthly active engagement increased by a huge 91% across Greystar, demonstrating the value of putting streamlined content at employees’ fingertips.


The final word

If you’re ready to start turning down the noise for a more focused, engaged workforce, we have five simple tips to keep you on track:

  1. Make sure your learning culture is fit for purpose
    Learning culture has a major impact on business noise. When you’re assessing the noise level in your organisation, think about how your current learning culture (and general business culture) is affecting communications.
  2. Aligning to the goals of your organisation is essential
    Building learning goals that align with your overarching business goals helps you cut through the noise to focus on content and activities that will move the needle, helping you cement L&D as a vital contributor to business success.
  3. Data-informed measurement makes the world of difference
    It’s time to embrace your data! Digging into the numbers will show you which content is driving clicks and engagement, what people are searching for and how they’re getting to the information they need. This will help you discover which content needs to be in easy reach and what is simply contributing to the noise.
  4. Prioritise learner experience
    Build your learning programme around the learner experience - but bear in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. With 5app academies, you can create a different experience for every group of learners, ensuring they get quick and easy access to exactly what they need.
  5. Technology needs to work with you, not against you
    Maybe it’s time to accept that your learning platform (or platforms!) is actively holding you back from reducing business noise. Is it surfacing too much irrelevant content? Does it require too many clicks? Is it hard to find the most up-to-date information? If so, it could be time for a rethink.

Watch the full webinar

Missed out on the live session? We’ve got you covered - check out the recording for more insights from Brandon Hall Group and more exclusive tips and tricks for cutting through workplace noise from Steve Thompson.






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