Kim is a Learning & Development Manager at Getty Images, the global leader in visual communications. As part of a small L&D team helping to make over 1,800 employees’ jobs easier, she manages the company’s onboarding programme, ensuring that every person who joins the business has the best possible start. Kim is also the co-presenter of Learning Now TV, a live-streamed internet TV channel bringing inspirational interviews, advice and guidance to the L&D community. On Twitter she’s @KimSGeorge and describes herself as a list-writing language and grammar geek, social butterfly, netball fanatic and travel enthusiast.
In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?
The need for learning and development to add more value, prove its relevance, and to take a more influential role in wider business issues and decisions. I think there is so much more L&D teams can do to support their organisations that isn’t necessarily linked to typical developmental initiatives – things like communication, promotion, networking, branding – and all this would help raise our profile and prove we have the skills to help achieve greater business impact. We L&Ders know how to develop valuable relationships; we understand how people think, work and use tools to get stuff done; and we find solutions. I think the key is to focus on how we’re in performance and to promote how we can enable people to perform better in a whole variety of ways.
Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?
I’m lucky that, each month, I’m exposed to leaders in our field and the latest ideas through my co-hosting Learning Now TV. The people LNTV features – from all areas of L&D, HR and organisational development – are so inspiring and real, and focus on really practical and relevant topics so it’s a great way to stay up-to-date and gain new ideas. I’ve found Lisa Minogue-White on learning eco-systems and Henry Stewart on celebrating failure particularly thought-provoking. Other people I like to follow online or catch up with at conferences are Andrew Jacobs (for sound, rational advice), Melissa Milloway (for learning design tips) and Gemma Critchley (for storytelling inspiration).
What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?
I’m most excited for wearables – I love a gadget, especially if it’s teamed with an app! My Jawbone UP wristband has changed the way I move and sleep so if something similar could influence the way I learn, think or approach tasks, particularly in a working environment and in a team context, that would be really interesting.
What “game changers” would you like to see and why?
I’d really like more people to realise that learning doesn’t have to be an actual event or anything that feels like a chore. It’s something that takes place nearly all the time without us realising and can be something natural, easy to find time for and which complements what they do at work. I always encourage new people at Getty Images to set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day for their own personal development – once it’s in their calendar, it’s easier to stick to and can result in so much valuable thinking and reflection time, a new idea or just time out from the day-to-day. I’d like to see people appreciating learning and not writing it off as something they did at school or something tedious that takes them away from their job.
What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2020?
In five years’ time, I hope learning and development will be recognised as having more relevance and value, and play a bigger role in wider business decisions. I’d like the link between learning/upskilling and moral/motivation to be more widely recognised and to have more weight when budgets are being considered rather than training being the first thing to be cut.
What advice would you give your 21 year old self?
Woah…there is too much advice to give! In a career sense, it would be not to panic about leaving university and getting my first job. It may not feel like it but time is on your side so go to China and teach English for six months without worrying about whether it’s the right thing to do. Then, ignore the pressure to get a job and instead go travelling for more than just five months! Moving to London and getting your first job will be fine; relax and don’t put too much pressure on yourself