Matt Bradley

Matt Bradley: Employee Spotlight

Matt Bradley

Senior Learning & Development Advisor

Las Vegas, NV

Pronouns: he/him

The expertise and coaching offered by Matt Bradley, Senior Learning and Development Advisor, is an invaluable resource for all OpenSesame customers. Matt identifies the most in-demand skills and training programs, leading global teams to sustainable L&D outcomes. He increases the value of existing learning programs and strengthens individuals while viewing every customer interaction as a learning opportunity. ”I’ve never been in that exact conversation before,” Matt said. “Understanding their situation helps me understand and help another company down the line.” What future trends does Matt see coming for L&D? “Employees don’t want to be treated like robots …. we will need more learning that addresses the human condition and what’s going on in the world,” Matt said. “The difference between telling your employee you care and showing them you care is huge. L&D plays a role in it by backing up what leadership is saying.”

Describe your role. 

Technology and entire industries are rapidly changing, and I help organizations adapt by reimagining a growth learning culture. I help OpenSesame customers identify the ideal training program or the next steps in their existing training program. I clarify what knowledge they’ll need to get there. Wherever they are in the process, I advise where there’s room for improvement or how to start from scratch. While I’m always available to talk to customers about their immediate needs, my real goal is to take the time to understand what they are trying to accomplish.

How does your expertise in Learning & Development help your customers? 

I’m always looking at everything from your users’ point of view. I encourage customers to ask questions, get feedback, make changes and flow with the data you’re getting from your learners to make sure it aligns with what they want. Also, when you build an L&D program, the people using it should have a hand in its design. One of the keys to making an employee feel welcome and valued is to ensure they can use their voice without repercussions. Every company should strive to empower employees without the need to hide behind confidentiality. Also, being able to help learners understand the “why” of what we’re going to accomplish, not just “what” we’re going to accomplish. Sometimes I hear people say, “we have to accomplish XYZ” but they’re not looking at the learner. 

How did you get into the field you’re in? 

My degree is in Behavioral Psychology, and I’ve always been passionate about adult learning. I started training as an Applied Behavior Analyst working with children and teens on the autism spectrum. Before working at OpenSesame, I worked for three years in customer support, onboarding and training. Now, with over seven years of employee training experience, my track record includes successful outcomes using revolutionary training and materials. I have consulted, advised, and coached in OpenSesame’s field service and sales through a new economic era, work-from-home onboarding, COVID-19, and social injustice. 

What has been the best part of working in your role? 

Having conversations where learning goes both ways is the best. I love knowledge and understanding exactly what any given L&D professional is going through. I’ve never been in that exact conversation before. Understanding their situation helps me understand and help another company down the line. If we’re not doing some kind of learning on both ends of the conversations we’re having, we’re doing something wrong. Everyone has something to learn from someone else. Also, OpenSesame’s leadership understands that we’re human beings and not just revenue generators behind a screen. Our senior team makes sure we know we’re all here for the same goal, and they tie it directly into what people do each day. 

How do you balance the needs of a customer’s organization and goals with the needs of an individual? 

You have to have a good level of empathy if you’re going to build something someone else will use. Part of the reason we’re currently seeing an issue with retention is that organizations aren’t providing clear avenues for growth. Transferable skills are key. The growth aspect is crucial in retaining employees. Most companies will say there are plenty of opportunities for you to grow – “here and here” – but we need to say, “here’s exactly what that looks like and a roadmap for how you’re going to get there. These are the skills you need to grow. Talk about the destination and the journey. 

What trends do you see in L&D over the next five years? 

I predict a transition away from the traditional focus of learning. A good example is a shift away from soft skills. A lot of customer feedback tells us we need to focus and address what’s going on in the real world. L&D has been a little hesitant to get into that. Mental well-being and psychological safety need to be priorities now; helping employees adjust to the new working world. We’re looking more at ergonomics, mental breaks, and meditation. Employees don’t want to be treated like robots. We will need more learning that addresses the human condition and what’s going on in the world. The difference between telling your employee you care and showing them you care is huge. L&D plays a role in it by backing up what leadership is saying.

How do you identify the in-demand skills? 

A lot of what I tend to focus on are the skills that transcend across industries. I look at everything from a design thinking approach and the learner population. I also help customers use data, but the best data we get is feedback from the learners and stakeholders. Asking for and being open to constructive feedback is essential to an L&D role. Make sure you’re asking the right questions. Instead of saying, “tell us what we’re doing well.”— you should be saying, “tell us where we can improve and make our program better.”

How do you shift a learning culture? 

First, make sure the employees/learners feel they have a voice. When they feel empowered, employees feel their ability to make changes is strong—demonstration of buy-in from the top-down needs to permeate all aspects of the business. Second, you need to actively demonstrate buy-in from leadership, marketing, and management. I always apply design thinking; a concept made popular by Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO. Design thinking to look at things from your users’ perspectives. Ask yourself: “what is this going to look like from a learner’s point of view?” Let’s ask them what they think will be most effective for them, then ask them for feedback, analyze the data and adjust accordingly.  

How has your role and OpenSesame changed since you’ve joined?

I’ve transitioned from an in-person training/presenter to having a fundamental understanding of what successful training looks like when done right. I now share how practical training can improve employee retention. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were trying to make sure the training we were doing was applicable and relevant to the world at that moment. If L&D isn’t paying attention to the things going on in the news or society, it’s easy to disconnect with learners fast. Once you have two or three courses that have no relevance to the person taking them, you lose a lot of power as an L&D professional. 

What enneagram type are you?

3w2. The ability to connect with others is a natural strength of the 3w2. That’s one of the aspects I identify with the most. 

What advice would you give to new OS hires?

Seek wise counsel and always be willing to share and accept feedback.

What is your favorite course in the OS catalog?

 The Happy Secret to Happy Work by Shawn Anchor