HR Leader logo
Stay connected.   Subscribe  to our newsletter

Nyrissa Filetti in conversation with The HR Leader about her L&D journey and the future

By Jack Campbell | |8 minute read
Nyrissa Filetti in conversation with The HR Leader about her L&D journey and the future

Nyrissa Filetti, head of people and culture at MLC School, joined The HR Leader to discuss learning and development (L&D), the Round Square concept and how her experiences can assist others in similar roles.

Shandel McAuliffe, editor at HR Leader: “Nyrissa, why have you chosen to work in L&D and what do you enjoy about your role?”

Ms Filetti: “I see myself as one of the most passionate people in the area, because I love my curiosity of learning and helping others.”


“The industry is absolutely booming right now. I think we all know some of the challenges that organisations and the world have faced over the last year and a half. What it's really been able to do is raise the value and the contribution [of L&D]. Organisations and individuals are not just thinking of learning and development as nice to have, they're actually expecting it,” she said.

Editor: “Did you know back in high school that this is the sort of thing that you wanted to be doing? How did you get to where you are today?”

Ms Filetti: “I somewhat fell into it.”

She added: “I knew that I didn't know what role I wanted to go into. I had my suspicions that roles and careers wouldn't look like what they did then for me when I was ready to start a career. Some of the areas that are just being explored now … you look at building a capability and toolkit rather than an endpoint.”

Editor: “What do you think the essential ingredients are for an organisation in order for L&D to be a success? In today's working world, what do they need to be doing to bring it to life?”

Ms Filetti: “I think it's really critical to actually determine what the outcome or what the end goal [of L&D] might be. I know there's a lot more work. I love to look at Agile practises or project methodology and make sure that before you start working or jump into a solution that you don't jump to conclusions as to the right approach.”

“So collaboratively defining what the outcomes might be or the objectives is great. And then human-centred design is another really good approach. So that's actually a methodology where, again, you don't look at what the business might want or what you might think might be the solution, but you work together to come up with an outcome,” she said.

She added: “I definitely think that co-creation is a good word in that methodology, ‘creating’ change with others to help them to get the outcome.”

Editor: “What do you think are some of the key ways learning will be delivered in the future?”

Ms Filetti: “I have some ideas based on the trends that I'm seeing and have experienced, and certainly this idea of quick to production and everyone being connected to digital devices.”

“So, I've certainly seen the idea of quick DIY, do it yourself, videos being really successful. And I guess if I relate back to my previous point that you can actually get the employees being a part of the solution and doing quick videos themselves. So, it's got, a dual benefit that's high production, low cost, quick outcome, but it engages the people who need to, or would be benefited by the experience of sharing their ideas and being connected.”

She added: “It's also great because it gives people a personable contact, which we've seen deteriorate over the last two years.”

“I think in regards to learning being delivered in the future, it'd be great where we say that it might be around systemic practises. I know that a lot of people might traditionally look at learning as being training that you attend at an event. [But] employees more than ever are looking for experiences and don't have time. So, if we can create experiences, even if they aren't that formalised, you're going to achieve a better outcome.”

Editor: “The Round Square concept: I know that it's used in the education sector, but I'm wondering how maybe those principles can be applied to other industries?”

Ms Filetti: “There's a microenvironment and there's the bigger world and nearly this virtuous or greater purpose sometimes in organisations. And it's a really growing topic or area in both attracting [and] retaining staff. And also, we're seeing a lot of people come into the industry and also posting on LinkedIn that this culture and future awareness and importance now is certainly growing.”

“One of those is a concept called Round Square, where experts get together from a global context and get to talk about best practises in learning, what's happening, and they also follow a framework and a set of principles as well.”

She added: “But the great thing that I really love about this is, what I was mentioning before, around attracting and retaining staff or individuals, because this sense of purpose is absolutely critical at the moment.”

“So, what is the differentiator that we are going to have to pull those people in? A lot of this is that employees are expecting it to really resonate with them on a personal level. So, why should I get up in the morning? And we know that it's really detrimental in regards to engagement. So, I'm happy at work because I can see the greater good in what I'm trying to contribute to.”

“I think the Round Square concept brings people [together] with a common ground and a passion around what they do. I'm lucky enough to be in education, a lens to support future leaders and young females in developing themselves. So, I think that concept would resonate in all organisations, especially if you're in learning and development. So, we've got a purpose here to grow other people to make or help them to become better at their jobs.”

“Yes, there's an organisational, financial or efficiency lens that sits behind it. But how do you define your purpose? What is actually important to you? And this actually has another layer behind it in regards to performance development conversation. So, making sure that people feel they're engaged with what they're doing, but are valued by others and that they're getting something from it as well.”

Editor: “What do you hope to see in the next five years to keep your role interesting?”

Ms Filetti: “I would love to see some of the outcomes and the things that we're only starting to experiment with at the moment.”

“So, I know that benefits realisation is coming up with a lot more data. And as I say, this experiment of putting in an intervention and then measuring outcomes, I'd love to get that more finessed. I have no doubt that those things that we've already spoken about, both experiences, providing experiences and using digital technology is just endless.”

“I'm really looking forward to learning some of the new things that people will bring to joining the industry as well. And then blending that with what we've got at the moment.”

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full conversation with Nyrissa Filetti is below.



Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.