Hywel Dda UHB’s Learning and Development team aimed to build a learning culture at a time of significant change, managing the covid crisis, and onboarding hundreds of new employees each month. This required an innovative approach which led to testing a new platform for Learning at Work Week.
The team recognised the need to provide more learning and development opportunities which were outside of clinical and medical training. To put this in place quickly and respond to need, the team had to find out the immediate development requirements of staff and which delivery tools would be best.
Hywel Dda is a largely rural Health Board based in West Wales. For a small training team, delivering face to face training across a wide area is not sustainable. The approach also needed to consider that some staff don’t use or have access to computers during their work time, so are unable to join training online. Others, due to the nature of their roles, do not have access to NHS email.
After assessing accessibility, it was decided a webinar system would be the best way to deliver learning. Using a webinar system meant that colleagues had the choice to register using their personal email and/or work email and, as it didn’t need specialist software, they could use their phone and preferred internet browser to access the sessions. The webinar system also offered the advantage of automatically providing data analytics, reducing administration time.
It was also important colleagues could see that any learning on offer wouldn’t take them away from their important jobs for too long but would still have an impact. It was decided that ‘bite-size’ sessions would be best.
During Learning at Work Week, six brand-new 30-60 minute sessions were delivered alongside sessions for Equality and Diversity Awareness Week. The six new sessions were run at different times so that colleagues on different shifts, and those who had flexible work patterns such as parents and carers, could attend.
The team invited subject matter experts from across the Health Board to deliver the sessions. The topics were chosen to test interest in ICT training and gauge interest in developing soft skills.
The Digital Learning Team delivered basic Microsoft Teams training and demonstrated Office 365 apps that could help colleagues with workload. One of the Health Board psychologists delivered a session on how to spot and deal with burnout, as well as promoting the staff wellbeing service. The Health Board’s culture team delivered a conflict resolution session, giving people tips and tools to make a difference in work. Managers were invited to learn how to create effective development plans for themselves and their staff.
To promote Learning at Work Week the team created an interactive electronic flyer with links to the registration for all workshops. This was circulated through email and organisational networks. Plus, a special Learning at Work Week Teams background with a QR code linked to the flyer was created as another way to reach people across all services. Learning at Work Week was also advertised on the staff Facebook page and through the global email system.
The week resulted in 314 colleagues attending the six workshops. By using a webinar platform with data analytics, the team could identify which marketing activity was most effective (global email) and least effective (Facebook page). The conversion rate from registration to attendance (60-80%), was higher than would be usually expected when compared to external benchmarks (40-60%). This suggests that the platform, topics and timings were largely relevant to the audience – with ICT sessions especially so, having a consistently high conversation rate of 80-81%. The volume of registrations was also measured and gave an indication of areas of interest to the workforce. The most popular was dealing with conflict.
Using further feedback from attendees, the team found that 98% of people recommended continued use of the webinar platform; the ratings of the content were high, and colleagues wanted to hear more about ICT sessions. The length of the sessions – 30 to 60 minutes – was welcomed by everyone, including the twilight session which attracted a lot of colleagues on shifts. The data showed that colleagues joined from various hospital locations and from home using hand held devices such as personal phones. The team was also able to explore which topics appealed to different staffing groups e.g., nursing and midwifery.
Now the team know that the webinar platform is an effective tool, they have designed more webinar sessions. To address digital exclusion and help colleagues use new applications, the team are developing more ICT training. The webinar approach has already been successfully used to raise awareness of the health board’s brand new six-month induction programme for hiring managers, with over 500 people accessing the sessions within the first few weeks of launch.
Learning at Work Week provided an ideal opportunity for the team to showcase internal talents and launch the learning and development service to a sizeable workforce. By trialing a new approach, they now know that they have a platform that widens access to those who would otherwise miss out.