My discussion with Kristina Tsiriotakis from Deciem is one of the most intriguing and exhilarating Learning Uncut conversations I’ve had.

Deciem is also known as The Abnormal Beauty Company – and there is definitely something both abnormal and beautiful about the way learning happens at Deciem.  Founded in 2013 in Toronto, Canada, they’ve been a disruptive player in the global beauty industry.  They set out to change the conversation around beauty and to educate customers so they could make self-informed choices about skin care practices and products.

When the organisation had grown to 700 employees in early 2019 Kristina joined them to set up the learning function.  Now, 14 months later, there are 1000 employees working in what Kristina describes as a people-centric culture.  To develop the organisational learning strategy Kristina started by seeking to understand the culture.  It was quite different to her previous organisation where she had spent 10 years, and she realised that a very different approach was required to learning so that it would resonate with the Deciem culture.

Listen to this episode to hear about how the strategy has been built around reimagining content, campaigns and community.  While the learning experience platform at Deciem is central as the ‘watering hole’ around which people gather to partake in these activities, the secret sauce is engaging with people as whole human beings – making learning human.

Episode Highlights

– Deciem’s approach of educating customers to make self-informed choices about beauty products

– Kristina’s sense-making process of observation and reflection in a diary to help her understand the organisational culture in her early days at Deciem

– Shaping a learning strategy based on the themes that emerged from her exploration of the organisational culture – self-direction, autonomy, inclusivity, co-construction or co-creation, people centric

– Striking a balance between corporate and anti-corporate; seeing and engaging with people as whole humans

– Making a Learning Experience Platform (LXP) a wholistic experience – their ‘North Star, heartbeat, compass and watering hole.’  The relationship the team has with the LXP (their ‘love affair’) and the work they do to sustain it on a daily basis.

– Reimagining content, communication and campaigns

– Examples of some of the campaigns the learning team has run to ‘switch learners on’, and the role of the manger of analytics and engagement

– The lovely analogy of a kitten putting it’s foot on the snow for the first time (not something Aussie listeners would be familiar with!) – how to encourage people to take it a little bit further with online engagement and user generated content

– Kristina’s realisation that she had been tunnel visioned and how hard it is to see how to transform learning if your technology does not serve you in the right way.  Now she sees ‘all the other ways that learning could be approached, cultivated or reflected in an organisation.’

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Full Episode

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Did you see the Emergent Series has launched?

Did you notice three episodes of the new Learning Uncut Emergent series appear in your podcast feed last week?  I’ve invited Laura Overton and Shannon Tipton to join me for another special podcast series to help learning professionals navigate their way through the impact of the pandemic.  The Emergent series explores rapidly changing business models and how Learning and Development can support organisations to adapt.  We are speaking with a mix of learning leaders in organisations and external advisors and partners about the shifts required to ensure learning professionals emerge as relevant and effective.

Episode published to date are:

23 June – Emergent Series Preview – Michelle Ockers, Laura Overton & Shannon Tipton

23 June – Disruption and New Business Models – Brandon Carson & Paul Dunn

25 June – New Business Models for Learning – Jos Arets & Geraldine Voost

Two episodes will be published bi-weekly on Tuesday and Thursday.  Next episode is out on 7 July.


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