OSB Group, due to the pandemic, have shifted from an office-based people development team to one that offers all of learning online via virtual classrooms. The team ran a fully virtual Learning at Work Week, and by doing so showcased how well virtual learning could be delivered in the future.

The People Development team’s focus for the week was to give their colleagues in the UK and India the tools they needed to help ‘lead themselves out of lockdown’ with a distinct focus on wellbeing. With colleagues in India facing another wave of Covid-19 and actively seeking opportunities to manage their mental health, the team offered courses for employees that specifically focused on helping each other and themselves. 

Many of OSB Group’s colleagues are key workers who are based in the office and branches where they support customers. The team was keen to ensure that they could take part in Learning at Work Week like their colleagues working remotely, and developed a number of activities they could do when they took a break.

The programme included a ‘Day in the life of a manager’ which offered an immersive, dynamic experience for anyone wondering if management is for them. Using a ‘choose your own adventure’ approach, colleagues could decide how the character in the story progresses in the new management role. This was built by trainers who were self-taught on brand new software. 

A ‘lead yourself out of lockdown’ session helped colleagues working at home learn routines and habits that they may need to adapt before returning to the office. It supported learners to map out their journey and conversations they may need to have with their managers to ensure a successful return. 

Colleagues were also given the opportunity to create Vision Boards and Wellness Plans to empower them to look to the future and practice great habits that supported mental health.  

OSB Group also focused on supporting its local communities as part of its new company value ‘Stewardship’. Colleagues requested support to help the business’ deaf customers, so Learning at Work Week included British Sign Language Training which was put into practice successfully in a branch only a few days later. 

As part of the promotion, a timetable was sent to every colleague with a one-click booking process for early sign ups. A daily ‘what’s on’ email reminded everyone how to get involved. 

The week received a high level of satisfaction with over 95% of colleagues saying they were satisfied. A lessons learned session and feedback from colleagues has led to internal courses being available regularly including Leading Yourself out of Lockdown and a digital pathway so employees can continue to develop their British Sign Language skills. Colleagues are more aware of the different avenues for development and have a new appreciation of the power of virtual learning.  

Going forward the organisation will be fully hybrid with people working from home regularly. This will need new development and learning requirements and opportunities.  The experience gained from running a virtual Learning at Work Week will inform and support this new way of working and help lead the company into the future.