Gearing up for Learning at Work Week? 44’s Nick Robbins reveals his top tips to make sure your organisation’s learning journey continues throughout the year.

Over recent weeks, many of our clients have been firming up their plans to deliver amazing learning and development opportunities for their employees during Learning at Work Week, which is held between 5-11 October.

New learning opportunities

Like many of 2020’s events, Learning at Work Week was pushed back to October from its usual date in May due to you-know-what. Now many companies are finding innovative virtual solutions to deliver engaging sessions and learning opportunities.

This is an awareness week – which means the best way to approach it is to pack a bunch of great activities into the week that showcase your offering, communicate it widely and proudly, and then keep up that comms to ensure that people get to 11 October and realise that their learning journey can continue throughout the year.

In that sense, what’s better than Learning at Work Week? Why, Learning at Work Year-round of course!

Keeping the Learning at Work Week fire burning year-round

That’s certainly the case here at 44 Communications, where we’re on a constant mission to collaboratively learn and improve.

Like many of you, we’ve had to adapt to our changing working patterns and situations, but it hasn’t dampened our almost insatiable thirst for knowledge.

Here are our top-tips to making learning at work part of your BAU, and how to capitalise on the success and awareness boost of your Learning at Work Week activities.

1. Speak to people from outside your industry

A great way to inspire your creative thinking and expand your learning horizons is to go beyond your bubble. Look, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be keeping an eye on developments in your own industry, but that should be a given.

Instead look for learning opportunities by gathering the expertise from ‘outsiders’. In fact, that was the inspiration for our podcast series Beyond IC, where we picked out internal communications lessons from roles as varied as a politics professor and even a theatre director.

While the days of bringing an expert into your office to deliver a session might be on pause, it’s easier than ever to dial them into a Zoom or Microsoft Teams call and share their lessons that way.

And don’t forget, it works both ways. Don’t be afraid to offer your services to others. Learning is a two-way street and you’ll hone your own craft if you’re the one hosting the session!

2. Learn, apply, retry

One of the key challenges with any learning exercise is how it’s then applied to your work. We’ve all sat through sessions or read articles that make us think: ‘That sounds great… in theory’, and then struggled to enact any of its recommendations or changes.

The key to this is to worry less about something not working, and more about what we can learn from the process of trying. Cultural change like this won’t happen overnight, so try implementing a small change for a week, then getting together as a team to talk about how it went. Keep it if it worked, ditch it if it didn’t. Just remember to try something else based on your lessons learned.

It’s an ouroboros-like pattern of learning, applying, retrying, which you might find addictive! A good place to start is with culture hacks, small, iterative changes that can be applied immediately.

3. Encourage it!

Learning at Work Week is a great opportunity to showcase that learning can be an enjoyable and beneficial process for colleagues.

Think about how you’re communicating learning opportunities throughout the year. Do people feel able to come forward with their own proposals, or are barriers put up that provide sticking points to progress? Are people engaging with the opportunities available to them?

Now’s the perfect time to think about how you’ll be communicating learning opportunities for your employees once Learning at Work Week has finished. Remember, learning is for life, not just for Learning at Work Week.

If you want to chat about more top tips for communicating your L&D offering within your company, drop us a line.