This week, we start a new series of Conversations@BLS with different team members to understand what makes them tick, and what drives some of the practices and culture behind the agency.

First up, we talk to Lee Kuok Ming, Group CEO, to ask why he decided to personally head up a series of training sessions using LINKEDIN Learning at the agency.

Hi Kuok Ming. Can you tell us more about the LinkedIn Learning Series you started at BLS?

I have always wanted to make learning an integral part of the life at BLS. However, I found it very difficult to implement, mainly because it is challenging to develop learning materials across so many different areas of expertise.

Fortunately, about a year ago, our parent holding group MISSION subscribed to LinkedIn Learning for all MISSION agency staff. This was a fantastic opportunity to tap into a rich resource of learning materials.

The LinkedIn Learning Series was therefore started to employ the wealth of training materials available on LinkedIn Learning to make learning more fun and interactive for all BLS staff.

The idea was to combine 2 elements – 1) the course material from LinkedIn Learning and 2) the actual work experience from different BLS staff.

In every session, using a chapter of a LinkedIn Learning course as the base material, we gather online to review the course material for about 15-30 mins and then we share our experience on the topic. The discussions range from how we might use the learnt course material for our work, raise questions about it or share case studies about relevant work we did in BLS or elsewhere.

What was the catalyst that made you start them?

Boredom! While LinkedIn Learning is a wonderful resource, going through the material was, for me, personally extremely boring. I found myself zoning out watching those videos.

The other trigger was the low utilization rate across the entire group. So, this seemed like a missed opportunity. I wanted to see if there was a way to make LinkedIn Learning more interesting.

What did you hope to achieve, and do you think you’ve succeeded?

Yes and no. Yes, because time spent by BLS staff on LinkedIn Learning has shot up manyfold. Attendance at the sessions, which is purely voluntary, is also very high.

No, because it is still about 1 hour of learning per staff per month.

Have I instilled a learning spirit at BLS? Probably not, or not yet.

Are staff exploring LinkedIn Learning independently, I see some evidence of it, but it could be more widespread.

How long have you been running these sessions?

About 6 months.

What are some of the challenges and most rewarding aspects with these sessions?

Work gets in the way, even if it is just an hour a week. Some staff miss these sessions because of project commitments. It is most rewarding when staff share their stories, ask questions or contribute to the discussion in any way.

How do you think the team has benefited from the series?

Through the LinkedIn Learning videos they get directed to more learning resources and through the sharing, they get to better understand the experience of various team members, and who to reach out to when they need help.

What’s next?

More ways to learn, more interesting ways to employ LinkedIn Learning. Ideas from anyone reading this are most welcome. We are still experimenting and hope to incorporate learnings from others.