Learning and development is known across all industries as a powerful tool to boost organisational performance and housing associations are no exception.
The Community Housing Group is a housing association based in Kidderminster, which offers a large range of housing related services to complement their 5,500 plus homes, shops and garages. It understands just how important learning and development is; even in a tough economic environment.
Keen to promote to their employees the importance of learning and development, The Community Housing Group wanted to ensure they grabbed attention, created a buzz and passion for learning and development as well as building departmental bridges, whilst providing the platform to build on their managers’ skills.
Their HR department, which includes Linda Lane, Head of Human Resources, believed that investing in a bespoke, creative management development programme for 60 of their managers, across all of their sites in the Wyre Forest District was the best way forward.
The development brief demanded an innovative approach and whilst they recognised that lecturing still had its place for some organisations they believed to truly kick start excitement and passion, along with a sense of belief in future organisational plans, they needed something special.
After a comprehensive tendering process, Righttrack Consultancy won the contract and produced a four module, ILM approved management programme that was delivered throughout 2007-8. The launch module was an overnight experiential event that required participants to create their own shelters, find food as well completing a number of challenging tasks; capture the baddie was just one of them. After some trepidation, all employees went for it; in all meanings of the phrase.
One of the main reasons Righttrack suggested the upfront experiential event is so that participants could relate the key skills and knowledge learnt in the remaining three classroom-based modules back to a shared experience. An experiential event tends to bring out natural rather than learned behaviours as people are faced with situations out of their comfort zones.
The interactivity didn’t end with the experiential event as each subsequent module consisted of group and individual work, case studies and assignments, all of which help to transfer the learning back to work.
Kasmin Cooney, Righttrack’s Managing Director and The Community Housing Group Project Manager said, “The experiential event really set the tone for the rest of the project. It created a real buzz that not only lasted the duration of the programme but well after the graduation ceremony.”
Linda Lane said, “Since the programme finished we have found that our employees are very pro-development. The choice of development topics are very much influenced by our employees, which are typically generated through feedback exercises, appraisals as well as through an extensive training needs analysis; we create a wish list and try our best to tick everything off.
One of the key differences we have seen since the management programme that Righttrack ran for us is that people across the entire company actually care about whether they receive the training they asked for, which is exactly what we wanted - people to take their skills development seriously.”
Getting a business culture to not only accept the need for learning and development but to truly embrace and believe in its importance is one of the hardest objectives for a HR department, yet The Community Housing Group has achieved just that, which is even more impressive when you consider the range of different people in their organisation.
It is for this reason why they have continued to invest at the same level in 2009, with learning and development programmes being commissioned for many different subjects such as project management, creative facilitation, report writing, finance for non-financial managers and planning skills to name a few.
This positive behaviour and belief in learning and development proves that many UK organisations are still looking to the future and as the G20 summit in London has created a rescue plan of $1 trillion to save the world’s economy, looking forward seems to be the best thing any organisation and HR department can do.
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About Righttrack Consultancy:
Right Track Consultancy Ltd was formed in 1988, and has its head office in Worcestershire. Righttrack is the leading learning and development consultancy that design and deliver innovative and engaging training solutions to organisations all over the world. The range of services that Righttrack provide covers a broad spectrum and includes bespoke and ready-to-run training, sales solutions, ILM qualifications and development programmes, ICAEW programmes, organisational development and coaching.
Righttrack work with clients of all sizes across all industry sectors, including Mercedes Benz, Gucci, Somerfield, BAE Systems, The Forestry Commission and The North East Ambulance Service. More information can be found on www.righttrackconsultancy.co.uk
Gemma Middleton, Marketing Coordinator
Brockhill Court, Brockhill Lane
Redditch, B97 6RB
Tel: 01527 595955
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