Wilson James

Commended - NCFE and Campaign for Learning Impact Award for Creating Digital Futures


Following the identification of a data skills gap, Wilson James set out to foster a collaborative environment, encouraging everyone to get involved and learn how to use data as a business tool regardless of their experience or expertise.
The company’s objective for Learning at Work Week was to inspire others to become more confident in using and interpreting data particularly through the introduction and launch of their data analytics solution – the Wilson James Business Cloud (WJBC). The WJBC supports data-driven decision-making through real-time reporting and analytics, which allows teams to unlock valuable opportunities for performance optimisation.
The company also wanted to highlight the benefits of automation, including ‘power automation’ and ‘robotic process automation’ to streamline tasks, boost efficiency and reduce error. 

The Learning at Work Week team at Wilson James worked collaboratively with partners both internal and external to the company to maximise the impact and reach of the week for the benefit of the organisation, industry and beyond. Partners included the business improvement function, the communications team, apprenticeship service providers, the Data Literacy Academy, external networks and significant client sites.  

With business improvement colleagues, the team developed a series of interactive and virtual events including the ‘Daily Data Detective Challenge’ which was designed to demystify data and create an exciting buzz about developing data skills. Every colleague at all levels was invited to follow the link to the dataset in the challenge and analyse the data to crack the code. The challenges were engaging and contemporary, covering topics from Netflix, Pokemon and World Happiness to the 1982 World Cup. A prize incentive encouraged even reluctant colleagues to take part.  

The challenges were the highlight of the week and got colleagues talking, creating a sense of fun around using data to inform decision-making. They boosted engagement in the wider series of educational and interactive webinars covering personal development, digital apprenticeships, interpreting and sharing data, and the launch of the WJBC. 

The activities were designed to appeal to colleagues’ various learning preferences, experience levels and accessibility requirements in support of the company’s EDI strategy. The week provided a safe space to explore data in a fun, non-threatening way, and identify ways to make daily work simpler and support wider business objectives. 

The team used multiple channels to promote the week to the company’s 5000 employees including intranet tools, communication platforms and social media. A fun, appealing tone and a dash of humour was used in communications alongside different imagery, words and opportunities to appeal to a diverse audience. 

Special chat rooms were created to promote interaction between colleagues, which came alive with the daily data detective challenges.  

Colleagues described the live sessions as ‘enlightening’, ‘thought-provoking’, ‘awakening’ and ‘invaluable’. There was a 68% increase in attendance and eleven new enquiries about digital apprenticeships. With the launch of the WJBC, colleagues have been empowered to directly access data, and with the wider events have gained understanding of the importance of data and embarking on a journey of how to think and act in a data-informed way. There has been a positive shift in promoting the company’s digital culture through communication and engagement with the wider community. There has been a noticeable ‘pull’ towards the the employee portal which has helped to signal the wider organisational objectives and reduce reliance on paper-based communications.  

Moving forwards, the team intend to develop the approach with further collaborations with site leaders to provide a wider programme of local activities. They aim to further boost external networks and continue to offer thought-leadership through guest speakers and events and boost workforce capability in areas where it is needed most.