Learning at Work Week 2024: Power to Grow

The three core themes of this year’s Learning at Work Week include: Power to Grow, Power to Connect and Power to Engage.
May 15, 2024
This Learning at Work Week, we explore how continuous learning plays a vital role in developing our people and growing our business.

In the first of three blogs in collaboration with various people from across the business, as well as the University of Reading, we explore the importance of promoting lifelong learning – starting with fostering a power to grow, as Tanya Horscroft, Learning & Development Manager at Vail Williams, explains.

Did you know that businesses are 17% more productive when their people get the training they need? Or that companies that have training programmes yield 218% higher income per employee than those without?

According to data from the Office of National Statistics, there are one million more professional jobs in the UK than workers with degrees to fill them.

The answer? Lifelong learning. Indeed, such is the importance of lifelong learning, that the European Commission has a target that at least 60 % of all adults should be participating in training every year by 2030.

Research from the University of Oxford supports this, revealing that lifelong learning will continue to be a core skill for the future workforce.

At Vail Williams, we do this through our Learning & Development Philosophy which allows us to:

  • Promote a compelling, collaborative, and innovative working environment
  • Infuse knowledge throughout the team
  • Improve opportunity for succession
  • Deliver the best advice for our clients.

This strategy arms our people with the power to grow through a host of diverse and personalised learning opportunities which cater to varying skill levels and career paths.

But what do we need to grow as people and in our careers? One of the most important factors is the foundation of positive attitudes and mindsets to learning.

Fostering a growth mindset

People at all levels in our business are encouraged to see challenges as opportunities to learn and improve. Their abilities and growth can be developed through dedication to their role, but also through access to vital training – either in-house or through external providers.

A recent Investors in People Survey carried out with our staff showed that nearly 80% make use of our learning and development opportunities. The majority (95%) also felt that they had opportunities to learn at work, and almost all (97%) felt encouraged to use initiative in their role.

It is this initiative which has seen many of people journey from graduate roles right through to partnership.

We also foster a growth mindset through our APC and apprenticeship programmes, at the end of which result in qualification and Chartership with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Setting realistic goals whilst being alive to constructive feedback

An integral part of having the power to grow, is the ability to recognise the importance of setting realistic goals.

We do this as part of our personal development plans, helping our people to set achievable objectives, ensuring that mentors support their mentees in breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps. This allows a sense of growth, progress and accomplishment along the way.

We also have People Development Managers (PDMs) in place who support our teams alongside a structured annual appraisal, which arms them with the power to grow and embrace lifelong learning whilst within our doors.

Marc Belbin, PDM at Vail Williams, explains: “Individuals take ownership of their own professional development by working closely with their discipline lead, regional managing partner and PDM to design, agree and work on a bespoke personal development plan (PDP). We then support them throughout with help, advice and constructive feedback, to ensure that they can reach their goals.”

Promoting self-reflection

As well as having a PDP, we encourage our people to reflect on their learning experiences, strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth, which builds self-awareness and a deeper understanding of their learning process.

It also allows people to recognise areas for improvement – be it in interpersonal skills or technical knowledge – and plan ways to overcome these through additional training.

Having a learning and development philosophy really does help us to foster a ‘Power to Grow’ mindset which not only sees us optimise our business development potential and deliver on our core values, but also allows us to support better job satisfaction and career development opportunities for our people, whilst remaining competitive and agile.