Winner: OCN London Inspiring Learning for All - SME
Winner: Open University Business School Supporting Business and Organisational Goals - SME

Bristol Energy’s Learning at Work Week inspired learning and supported their business goals. The aim for the week was to develop greater collaboration between colleagues. This responded to feedback and surveys of colleagues that showed they wanted to be better connected and have stronger inter-team working and sharing of knowledge. One of the company’s value is collaboration which recognises the importance of cooperation to produce effective outcomes that benefits the organisation and ultimately its customers. And, as the company grows, there is a need to build a clear ethos of team spirit to encourage shared ownership of Bristol Energy’s goals and vision.

A Learning at Work Week committee was set up with a colleague from each area of the business. An important consideration for the week was enabling Customer Care and Operations staff to connect to others across the business and have chances to collaborate too. Shift work, varied lunch patterns and the need to take emails and calls during core hours means that staff in these teams have reduced access to development opportunities when work volumes are high.

The Bristol Energy development team worked closely with Customer Care and Operations management to look at the potential time constraints. They designed activities that could be flexible and done at any time during the week and scheduled events when the maximum amount of people would be free to attend such as in the evening.

Activities included daily lunch & learns on topics such as circus skills, social styles, the Bristol City Council shareholder model, languages and coding. Colleagues could take part in an evening history walk, a treasure hunt and an interactive network of colleagues, as well share their stories online. The business needs colleagues to have Excel skills, so colleagues were paired up with mentors through an Excel network to help them develop their skills.

To address feedback that some colleagues found reading emails and attending company-wide meetings difficult due to work volumes,  Bristol Energy used more physical and visual communications. The office collaboration space was turned into a Learning at Work Week space to promote all the workshops and messages for the week. Posters were placed in areas of high foot fall.  A special website, team meetings and internal social media were also used to promote activities.

To measure the impact, Bristol Energy used a mixture of data from forms to photos of colleagues meeting for the first time. The evaluation shows that there had been a large increase in colleagues participating from the previous year. Sixty percent of attendees at activities were from the Customer Care and Operations teams, showing that tailoring the week to reflect these teams particular needs had worked. People appreciated the chance to collaborate, learn more about each other and the business. Colleagues have been encouraged to proactively look for opportunities to work with other teams across the business, which will support the business in increased efficiency, productivity and improved motivation.