Commended - Findcourses.co.uk Impact Award for Innovation in Learning and Development


HCR’s usual approach had been to deliver learning in 60-minute online sessions as a more accessible approach to the traditional class-room format of the pre-pandemic age. However, this was creating a passive approach to learning. The Learning and Development team had observed a trend in attendance rather than engagement and presenteeism instead of affecting change. They decided that a shift was needed to change the learning culture and move away from ‘generic’ training towards curating and delivering a more accessible, agile approach. The team set out to offer more relevant learning to colleagues from a variety of sources and satisfy the diversity of learning styles by enabling access to learning at the point of need using short, sharp messaging. The idea was to tap into colleagues’ existing behaviour of using travel and lunch time to listen to podcasts and watch videos and make an incremental change towards ‘taking learning outside of the classroom’. 

The activities were split into three sections linked together with a daily theme. Each morning an ‘espresso shot’ of learning was sent to all 850 colleagues by email in the form of an infographic which also introduced the day’s theme. The aim was to show that learning doesn’t have to be onerous or restricted to the classroom. The second section was a lunchtime session delivered by existing suppliers, which was recorded to make it accessible for everyone. The day was rounded off with a 10 to 15 minute ‘masterclass’ with links to resources curated to the theme, including Ted Talks, online articles and websites, podcasts and quizzes. This was emailed to colleagues at 3pm and designed to take the same time as making and drinking a cuppa.

The Learning and Development team used a variety of channels to publicise the week and events. The Managing Partner cascaded the events through the senior leadership team meetings. The intranet was used to publish the event purpose and to advertise the timetable with booking links. The team placed flyers and posters in staff rooms and at coffee points. To really get people’s attention, the team took cupcakes and walked with them across all eight offices. This offered opportunities to initiative conversations and talk to people about the events taking place.

The team focused on engaging colleagues, so their involvement was voluntary, and creating a buzz across the firm. There were 101 attendees over the five lunch and learn sessions. It’s given the team the opportunity to engage in robust conversations with colleagues, particularly in management, and find out what learning they need for their roles and the best way to deliver this. The week has shown the team that it is easy to cater for different learning preferences and neurodiversity. By curating and serving up relevant learning, the team have demonstrated they can make it easier for employees to engage, especially if it is made clear how long the learning will take as it helps colleagues to manage their time. The team have included sessions in the firm’s standard curriculum to build on the topics covered. They are going to redesign the Management Development Programme following the overwhelming feedback from managers that showed they prefer a bite-size approach to training.