Even though we’re all glad to be saying goodbye to 2020, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, when we take the time to look back, despite all the “downs” that have happened this year, we were lucky enough to experience a whole lot of “ups”, too!
2020 was a year of milestones and celebration for Cognota in many ways. From big product releases to welcoming new members of the team, we got a lot done this year. And, despite lockdowns and working from home, we had some fun along the way too!
Here’s a look back at how 2020 went for Cognota:
Building our Product
Thanks to our incredible product and engineering teams, Cognota has gone from strength to strength this year. We released a lot of exciting new developments!
We rolled out our Training Intake platform in June and it’s been amazing to hear the feedback from users so far. The software is available for a no strings attached, 14 day free trial.
The one-of-a-kind solution enables L&D to provide their business partners with standardized forms in a dedicated portal to ensure you capture essential information on training requests, manage the approval process, and get a centralized view of training needs of your business.
In November this year, we proudly introduced our new Project Planning feature. Now, L&D managers and project owners can easily:
- Prioritize projects
- Ensure team alignment
- Manage the entire training lifecycle
- Collaborate seamlessly
- Centralize project planning in one place
And all from right within Cognota!
And lots more…
While those are the highlights, we frequently released other updates throughout the year to improve the user experience and flexibility of Cognota. We’re always listening closely to our users to make these improvements and add new features and we look forward to many more exciting updates in the year ahead!
Working with new partners
We feel very lucky to have the incredible clients and partners that we do. This year, we created some new relationships and we’re really looking forward to working together to create value for our partners and clients in 2021.
Our Content Partners
Throughout the year, we also worked with thought leaders in the industry to bring our subscribers valuable, relevant, and useful content. Our webinars (which are all available on demand here) featured topics such as:
- Agile Learning
- L&D trends
- Working with SMEs
- The future of learning
- Virtual training tips
- Training Intake
- Instructional design project management
We also worked with content partners to begin our “Ask the Expert” series, providing top tips on L&D topics from the most experienced and accomplished experts in the industry.
Growing Our Team
Our team grew a lot in 2020. But since a lot of members joined the team while we were working from home, many of us haven’t even had the chance to meet in person yet!
So, it was really important that we found ways to make our new colleagues feel as welcome and comfortable as possible, just like we would do in the office.
We welcomed new team members with Zoom calls, introduced ourselves, asked some questions, and injected a little bit of fun into the introduction.
Luckily, we were well placed to welcome new team members virtually because we worked hard for a smooth transition to remote work.
When we took the decision to start working remotely back in March, none of us could have predicted that it would continue for this long. As of the end of 2020, we’re still working from home and will continue to do so until it’s safe to be back in the office once again.
While there are challenges to working remotely, we were keen to make the transition as smooth as possible, right from the start.
Like many remote teams, Zoom became a go-to tool for our virtual meetings. We also put in place some extra team meetings to keep in touch and keep each other up to date. It was a great way to encourage frequent communication and keep the lines open between teams and colleagues.
We already used Slack when in the office, but it’s importance was highlighted while we worked remotely. Not just for work-related chats, but to keep our company culture alive, too.
Here are just a few of the ways we used Slack to keep the fun times going remotely:
- Virtual Coffee Breaks – team members were randomly assigned for virtual coffee breaks. It was a great opportunity to connect with colleagues in teams
- Virtual Trivia – right within Slack, team members compete in quick trivia rounds and anagram games on the daily. Sometimes competition runs high, but it’s all in good fun!
- The #Fun Channel – we regularly used a channel on Slack called #Fun for casual chats, sharing photos, and lots more.
Looking after ourselves and each other
As conversation around mental health in the workplace becomes more commonplace, it was heightened more than ever in 2020 while we worked from home and dealt with so much change and uncertainty.
In September, we were delighted to welcome Jeff Riesley, founder of the Sales Health Alliance, to talk about mental health in the workplace. The goal was to help teams start what is often considered to be a challenging conversation to have and lay the foundation for a more supportive conversation going forward.
The session was incredibly valuable and we were so grateful to Jeff for sharing his insights and helping us to widen our perspective on this important topic.
To make sure every team member had some time dedicated to taking a break from work and relax, Cognota introduced You Day. On two separate days in 2020, we all took the day to switch off the screens and do whatever makes us happy, whether it was spending time with family, going for a long walk, binging a new Netflix series, or reading a book. It’s an initiative that we care about deeply and plan to continue!
Our Culture Committee always works hard to come up with new and fun ways for the team to connect and unwind together. Remote work may have made that more challenging, but it certainly didn’t put a stop to our Culture Committee events and initiatives!
- Team Building Events – since we couldn’t grab a drink after work together, we created some after hours events that the whole team could enjoy together. These included a digital game of Jeopardy, a remote scavenger hunt, a game of Bingo, and special Halloween events.
- “How To-uesdays” – during these lunch and learns, volunteers would opt to share a special skill with their colleagues. We learned how to cook delicious recipes, took acting lessons, and learned all about longboarding to name just a few.
- Virtual Show & Tells – every Friday we host a Show & Tell session and the topics and themes have varied wildly over the course of the year. From ghost stories to pet day, Show & Tell has been a massive success and a great way to kick back together.
- Holiday Party 2020 – With the challenges 2020 brought, we knew we wanted to do something really special for our remote holiday celebrations this year. First, we enlisted the help of our talented colleague, Huri, to create some personalized gifts for each team member.
Next, it was time to party! During the virtual celebration, we held our first annual “Learny Award,” recognizing the team member who best embodied each of our company values. We can’t wait to hopefully award them in person at next year’s holiday party!
After that, the fun really started as we welcomed magician Michael Bourada to amaze us with his tricks and illusions – along with a few willing volunteers in the virtual audience! It was a total blast and a fantastic way to wrap up the year together.
Events & Awards
Last, but not least, we were honoured to receive three awards in the Brandon Hall Excellence in Technology Awards 2020:
- Gold – Best Advance in Unique Learning Technology
- Silver – Best Advance in Emerging Learning Technology
- Silver – Best Advance in Technology Innovation for the Remote Workforce
As you can see, there was lots to be thankful for and to celebrate in 2020, but we’re so excited to be diving into the New Year. Here’s to more great things to come in 2021!