How the State of Missouri is Using LinkedIn Learning to Build a ‘21st-Century’ Employee Experience
February 5, 2020
Missouri’s state government is facing something most publicly-funded agencies can relate to – its ambitions are high; its funding for new investment, not-so-much.
That means, the only way they can deliver on their mission of providing exceptional services to Missouri citizens is getting the absolute most out of their team members. And yet, until recently, there was one important area the Missouri government had neglected for years, which is an essential part of maximizing employee productivity – basic skill building.
“There really had been extraordinarily low investment in skill building across the state government,” Missouri COO Drew Erdmann said. “In the 21st century, do you really want to work for an organization that doesn’t invest in its people?”
Without access to skill building, Missouri was not providing an experience that would engage today’s employees. Additionally, it also was not empowering its employees to upskill themselves, meaning instead of constant improvement, the “machine of government was running the same way it was the day before, and the day before that,” according to Erdmann.
That wasn’t going to cut it in today’s rapidly changing world.
“We are overcoming decades of neglect,” Erdmann said. “We needed to do something both symbolically and substantively that would touch the life of every employee in our state government.”
Why Missouri invested in LinkedIn Learning for all state employees: It was “best-in-class.”
In early 2019, to help fill this need, Missouri government leaders began searching for a solution. Already, several Missouri state agencies were using LinkedIn Learning, and were seeing high engagement with the platform.
If the government invested state-wide, they would garner a substantial savings per license. More importantly, Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s 16 Cabinet leaders took a look at the platform’s 15,000-course library and were very impressed.
“It had a great library,” Erdmann said. “And it was available anytime to employees, on desktop or mobile, around their schedule.”
So, in April 2019, Missouri’s state government invested in 50,000 licenses for their entire workforce. To Erdmann, this investment was a statement to their employees – we got the best for you.
“It matters that we can say this is best-in-class,” Erdmann said. “We can honestly tell employees this is as good as you are going to find anywhere. Very rarely can the public sector say they offer the same as the private sector, but we can say it here.”
The results: 1.8 million videos viewed and a stronger culture.
Erdmann was clear – this initiative, to invest in skill building for all employees, didn’t come from HR. Instead, it came from the governor’s office on down, and was “the biggest change in the government” in 2019.
“It’s also part of what we are trying to change in our state government,” Erdmann said, meaning a culture where each employee is empowered and expected to improve. “We are trusting you. Go forth and learn.”
Missouri’s roll out of LinkedIn Learning reflected that. Leaders of each department touted it to their employees, and employee groups were brought in to talk through how to best drive engagement.
Additionally, LinkedIn Learning was embedded into existing in-person trainings, and now department heads are creating their own course playlists for their employees to take. And Missouri leaders also leveraged the custom content feature to add their own content to the platform, driving more employees into LinkedIn Learning.
It worked. Already, more than 26,000 Missouri state employees have used LinkedIn Learning, watching a combined 1.8 million learning videos, totaling 92,000+ hours of learning.
Those numbers mean thousands of state employees have sharpened their skills or learned new ones. And data shows it’s also improved the culture within the state government.
In an employee survey fielded in December of 2019, 54% of Missouri state employees agreed or strongly agreed that the quality of professional development they receive improved year-over-year. That’s key, as study after study has found that the more professionals feel like their employer values their development, the more likely they are to be engaged with their job.
To Erdmann, that’s the real success. Yes, Missouri leaders want employees to upskill and build new competencies. But they also want to build a culture where people feel empowered and committed to serving their fellow citizens.
“I think it matters that we are genuinely able to say we are working to build the skills of every employee in the state,” Erdmann said. “It means we truly are a 21st-century workplace.”