Learning isn’t always formal…

Recently, I have found myself having a number of similar conversations, both in and outside of work. The general theme being that the person I’m speaking to sees training as a formal training course. Worryingly, if they have not been part of any training in this format, they struggle to see that they have received any training or learning input, which, putting my HR hat on, could affect the individual’s engagement levels with their employer as a result.


I want to begin by stating that am not anti-course. I personally still believe there is a place for traditional training courses as one of a range of options available to individuals wishing to develop themselves. From personal experience, as well as feedback shared from others, they can be a great opportunity to share knowledge and promote learning. That said, learning is a much broader activity; when we are considering our learning or development needs, we need to consider what are the best options to fulfil our need(s). Within risual, we have implemented the SFIA framework this year; a key theme through almost all of the responsibility levels is to drive our own development. This has led to our employees thinking about not only the areas they wish to (or need to) develop, but also the best means to achieve this.


risual have challenged our teams to find training resources appropriate to our roles. Naturally we still see a large number of Microsoft certifications being studied for and achieved (after all, we need to maintain our technical competencies) as well as Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) self-studied courses (for which we proctor our own exams in-house) to enhance our skills in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Our teams have also been looking at free resources such as ACAS and The Open University’s OpenLearn, as well as qualifications and CPD courses relating to our professional specialisms, which may or may not have a cost attached.


We have a number of avid readers within the business, and they have championed the use of self-development books such as the Challenger Sale (Matthew Dixon) and Grit (Angela Duckworth). We’re now finding our teams are actively engaging with a wide range of books, and sharing their learning with others. It’s not only books – we have a wealth of information available at our finger tips in the form of blog posts, articles, reports and white papers, podcasts, and vlogs, to name but a few. risual are also encouraging employees to further add to the content available by sharing their own content to help enlighten others – if you would like to find out more, why not take a look at some of the blogs our employees have written, or listen to some of the podcasts we have recorded.


Experiential learning is also a fantastic means of gaining new skills and experience. Each year our employees are invited to attend Mothership Week, time out from their day job to receive business updates, participate in charity work, and take part in a range of wellbeing workshops. Part of the Mothership Week programme is two hours of collaborative working; employees can choose another department or team to work with to understand better what they do. As well as increasing their knowledge of the business, we have found this also supports an appreciation for the work of other teams, and plays a significant part in more effective collaboration. This year, we have also seen a notable uptake in mentoring relationships within the business, with this approach set to continue to grow. It has been interesting to see the relationships that form and how employees have used mentors in all areas, and at all levels, within the business to support their development in certain areas.


As we approach the end of the year, and begin to plan ahead for a successful 2019, many of us will be reviewing our development plans. I hope that by sharing how we view learning within risual, it will help you to think broadly about how you can utilise a range of different approaches to support your own development.

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