In Britain, Monday 14 May marked the start of Learning at Work Week 2018, a national initiative organised by the UK charity The Campaign for Learning. As an event that highlights the benefits of learning and development in the workplace, it's something Wilmington very much embraces.
The Campaign for Learning defines learning as “a process of active engagement with experience”. A highly effective way to learn something is from someone in your workplace who already has that experience; it’s often called ‘collaborative learning’ and it’s most powerful when people engage in networks where they co-create, collaborate and share knowledge with others.
Collaboration, one of the four Wilmington values, is very much in evidence at Lunch & Learn, an employee-managed initiative that encourages workplace learning at the company’s London head office.
Collaborative learning is alive and well in Aldgate
At the start of 2018, HR Director Tony Bainbridge, supported by Learning & Development Officer Ellie Moore, introduced a programme of weekly Lunch & Learn sessions at Wilmington’s head office in London. Each Thursday, colleagues are invited to come together for an hour to learn something new, while enjoying a free lunch. The aim is to leverage the great internal know-how that exists across the Wilmington community and to encourage people to build their networks.
The sessions this year have included social styles, Excel skills, email management, presentation skills, as well as specialist insights on some of the markets we serve. Wherever in Wilmington colleagues work, if in London they’re invited to join in, something that Ellie is keen to emphasise:
“The case for lifelong learning is well established. According to The Campaign for Learning, we are likely to be healthier, happier and longer living if we are active learners. Collaborative Learning aligns so well with our Wilmington values, and we should all embrace the networked age and the opportunities it provides when we learn from each other. If people can’t make it here, then we encourage them to hold sessions in their local offices.”
… using Wilmington’s own digital learning technology
Ellie's plan also includes replaying Lunch & Learn sessions as webinars so that people who aren’t London-based can enjoy the benefit of their colleagues’ knowledge when it suits them. This is very much in line with the aims of Wilmington’s recently launched Vision 2020: People should be able to benefit from “personalised knowledge whenever and wherever they need it.”
Wilmington has made significant investments in digital technology, including Totara, the Learning Management System being rolled out for clients; Tony and Ellie intend to use the same technology internally for colleagues’ benefit, with the Lunch & Learn content becoming available on Totara in the near future.
By the end of July 2018, Ellie is aiming to have reached a milestone of 500 attendees at the Lunch & Learn sessions; so far, she’s already welcomed more than 400 people, and she’s confident of attracting more in the coming weeks. Colleagues are also encouraged to submit suggestions for new topics, increasing the involvement of the Wilmington community in what is proving to be a very popular initiative!
Below: Colleagues listen to a panel at a Lunch & Learn session on International Women's Day