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How AND Digital ran a remarkable Learning at Work Week 2018

7 June 2018 | Kerrie Chatfield | About a 5 minute read
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What comes to mind when you’re told it’s Learning at Work Week? Do you picture sitting behind a desk, a teacher at the front of the room and an exam at the end of the day? Or maybe you imagine learning a new skill or way of working? Learning means something different to everyone and that’s ok – in fact it’s great. Being given the opportunity to learn is something that most of us take advantage of whilst we’re at school, but actually being in a environment that encourages you to be creative, daring and explore all of your interests is a real privilege and one that we are extremely lucky to receive at such a high standard in the UK. But learning does not need to only take place at school or in a club, it can take place anywhere, including at work. This is the essence of Learning at Work Week.

Why do we participate in Learning at Work Week?

The Campaign for Learning are the organisation who run various learning events each year, including LAWW. Their mission is to ‘champion lifetime learning’ and encourage the entire nation to become active learners, who then in turn are more likely to be happier, healthier, wealthier and even live longer. We at AND Digital want this lifestyle for our ANDi’s, and therefore we choose to participate in this branded learning initiative every year. We already have a dedicated Learning and Development team called the Academy, who work hard to deliver a great onboarding experience and workshops to enhance our skills and knowledge. The Academy also look after learning events, and this year it was part of my role to ensure that LAWW inspired learning across the entire company, engaged our people throughout the week and created innovative new ideas.

Our culture

Often, how a company approaches learning is dependant on its culture and at AND, we are proud of our fun but conscientious approach. We work hard to delight our clients, but we also truly value our people and highlight this often. We use LAWW as an opportunity to reinforce how strongly we are committed to people development and their engagement. So whereas for many companies, LAWW is a chance to rebrand or refresh, for us, I wanted LAWW to showcase our talents. Each club was allocated a day of the week to be their focus day, a day that its members could run sessions on topics that interested them, or that they think would be beneficial for others to learn more about. There were no set rules on the session style or time, instead it was deliberately left up to the individual to decide if they wanted to run a face to face session, write a blog or deliver a lightning talk. We like to give our ANDi’s the flexibility to make their own decisions and contribute in a way that suits them and their personality.

Harnessing internal talent

The response to this idea was overwhelming and I was so pleased that so many people wanted to get involved. It’s a true reflection of how creative and collaborative our employees are. We ran sessions throughout the week based on the following categories: Tech, agile, digital, professional skills and fun (because learning can be fun too!) The topics of these sessions varied from an ‘Introduction to Photography’, ‘What is Mobify?’ to ‘Women in Leadership’. I personally went along to every session and was amazed, it was obvious how passionate each person was on their topic and how much effort had gone into the preparation.

Utilising technology

The vast spectrum of topics on offer was outstanding and the schedule on show was a delight to the viewer. We created a funky looking Google site to display the LAWW schedule and hold the slides and recordings afterwards too. As a lot of our people are on client site and therefore probably unable to attend in person, it’s important that the material is made available to them afterwards. I also thought it was important to create a Google site so that we had something to remember the week by, as so often emails and Slack messages get lost in the masses of communications we send every day. We now have a colourful and clear site in which both last year and this year’s content is available as a resource in a central location. Plus I learnt tons whilst creating it, so learning at work was present from the very start!

The use of competitions

As part of LAWW, we also ran competitions as an incentive for employees to engage in the week. We had the King of upskilling win an Amazon voucher and five winners of the best session of the day win two tickets to the official party of London Tech Week, (and for our Manchester based winner they won a £25 Netflix voucher, which I was slightly jealous of!) We used competitions to show off our culture as a fun organisation and wanted to reiterate the message that we are eager for our ANDi’s to continuously learn and develop.

Collaboration

We were also lucky that LAWW coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week and we used this as a great opportunity to combine two great campaigns. It allowed me personally to work with another colleague who focuses on wellbeing, which was an eyeopener into a different area, which expanded my knowledge in the topic. Together we shared communications on both initiatives before and during the week and I think having them combined has raised awareness for Mental Health and how much we as an organisation care about it.

Celebrating our success and looking ahead

Of course nothing runs without a glitch and we had a few learning curves – which is fine, because that too is a learning experience and is after all, what the entire week is all about! LAWW 2019 is a long way away, but I’m already excited to start the planning process and implement new ideas and introduce even more new ways of learning. It takes a lot of time, effort and more than its fair share of space on my to-do list, but at the end of the week when everyone is buzzing from all the learning and thanking you for your hard work – it makes it all worthwhile. LAWW is important to our culture, linked to our business goals and our values to share, wonder and delight – AND therefore, for AND Digital we are lifetime learners.

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