Meet RCSA’s Learning and Development Manager, Cheryll Seslija

Tell me a bit about yourself; what is it about learning and development that keeps you hungry?

I have a curiosity about people and what makes people tick which sparked my interest to explore why people do what they do. Why do some achieve better outcomes over others? What is the mindset of high performers? What are the types of environments and cultures that set up individuals to do well? I wanted to find out about anything that was scientifically trialled and tested about human behaviour.

Before joining RCSA I spent a decade in the aviation sector and enjoyed the industry and the connections I formed with people. My desire to help people led me to a HR role in a major law firm. This role increased my curiosity in the impact organisations can have through the professional development opportunities they offer their staff.

From there I chased the opportunity of a learning and development role and accepted the challenge of moving into a new industry altogether in order to be able to help people adapt and thrive, embrace opportunities to grow and change behaviours in real-time and in context.

Talk me through your career and how it led you to learning and development? What is L&D like in the staffing and recruitment sector?

In the recruitment and staffing industry, learning and development can be either sink or swim.

Some of the most successful industry role models at some point have swam in the deep end, maybe regularly, but they have figured out how to prosper through the support of their own organisations or (heck!) themselves. Regardless of whether the opportunities are small to begin with, when an individual is given support to develop their skills to take ownership of a process it can change people’s lives.

What I love about L&D in the recruitment and staffing sector is that our members recognise that learning is not all about sitting in a formal setting. RCSA offers learning which helps people recognise and embrace opportunities to grow and change. Whether it’s through a collab or a roundtable discussion, or even being part of the many working groups RCSA hosts, each opportunity shifts peoples mindsets and behaviours and, collectively, we develop in support of a larger goal – the professionalism of our people.

Can you describe a time where you saw a clear gap in the sector and how you (or in collaboration with others), addressed it for the better?

Under the leadership of RCSA’s CEO, Charles Cameron, our team was able to fill a gap in the development of best practice by hosting professional development opportunities across employment practice, advising members on all aspects of employment, industrial and workplace health and safety law, and sharing new information for members to adhere to. We now cover a minimum of 25 webinars annually, learning opportunities where members gain increased and trusted advice from industry role models and subject matter experts.

Whether it be a leader telling the story of how they reached their career milestones or an industry panel of experts sharing how they have been successful in their work, each opportunity aims to internalise the behaviours that learners hear about and can look to replicate in their own role.

Considering RCSA, what sort of pathways to professionalism have you helped to implement and what sorts of impact this has had on your employers/employees.

L&D from a distance during the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped the experience for members and their future expectations beyond this unusual year. From mid-March 2020 the RCSA team have worked from home and, throughout this, our mindset has been collective. We have used the opportunity to look under the hood into how we can continue to support our valued members through this extraordinary time.

Throughout March to June we peaked our online webinar capacity, enabling 40+ online webinars (we typically run between 25 to 30 webinars annually) and, I must say, the digital maturity of members’ willingness to learn was sky high.

As the L&D team found digital avenues to support members through this extraordinary time, RCSA saw significant spikes in overall member attendance and engagement.

Rather than cut talent development opportunities, our team found ways to convert face-to-face learning to virtual experiences. Members became part of a collective and were able to health-check their own business practices against industry learnings and individuals felt a sense of belonging during anxious times.

What is your vision for the future of learning and development for the sector?

I would love to see each individual member adopt a learner’s mindset, as cognitively each of us gets a kick from learning new things. At RCSA we aim for each new learning opportunity to set the standards for best practice and the ethical behaviours of recruitment and staffing professionals.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given that could help members with their everyday business?

Manage the uncertainties by amplifying the certainties.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m still learning.

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