The Towards Maturity Journey: FirstPort

by | Jun 21, 2019 | Articles, Case Studies, Featured, General, Interviews, Resources

Having clear evidence is a vital starting point in identifying where improvement is needed and backing up your business case for change.  We spoke with Emma Smith, Head of Talent at FirstPort Limited, a residential property management company. She had used the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check in a previous role and has now brought this tool to her new organisation in order to help transform their workplace learning culture.

How did you first hear of Towards Maturity?
It was four or five years ago. I remember reading one of your reports and was blown away by it!

Emma Smith, Head of Talent, FirstPort Limited

How many times have you completed the Learning Health Check?
Three in total.  I used the Health Check within my last role at Camelot as a tool to monitor progress and will continue to use the review in my new role at FirstPort.

How has your L&D function looked in the past?
When I worked at Camelot there was one person running L&D – which was me. I moved the function forward by working across the business with six other people on a stream of work called ‘Learning Culture’. We had a number of agile sessions working to a vision of creating a learning culture within the business.

At FirstPort it’s more traditional. We have a couple of people delivering a number of face-to-face courses and e-learning. We have 3,000 people, managing over 200,000 homes, with a large number of lone workers. We need to think differently if learning is going to stick. I’ve brought in new members of the team who are looking at how we can change the way we can do these things. Some of the current ideas are to introduce more immersive and experiential events; using people’s own experiences to share with others and introducing mobile enabled tools to support such as interactive webinars and podcasts.

“It gave me a sense of optimism and hope by confirming exactly where we were and where we needed to be. It gave us a direction to go in.”

As a HR team, we have introduced four key principles, with the customer at the heart of what we do. Everything we do is:

  1. Aligned to the business strategy – grow the business and be customer obsessed
  2. Data and insight driven; we focus on facts over assumptions and we measure our impact on business performance
  3. Customer obsessed; we continuously improve and make things simpler for our customers
  4. Delivered with the business; the colleague experience is owned by everyone, we work hand in hand with the business to make FirstPort a great place to work.

When you first completed the survey, how did it help you?
It gave me a sense of optimism and hope by confirming exactly where we were and where we needed to be. It gave us a direction to go in. Over the years at Camelot, the score increased showing that we were succeeding with the improvements with our learning and development strategies.

Did you use the Health Check as a case for leadership buy-in?
I used some of the stats to show what other companies were doing and the direction businesses were going in.

How did the Health Check help you with decisions you have made?
It did, and still does, give me a clear direction.  That’s why we have the four principles as mentioned earlier. Towards Maturity talks about the new learning organisation and the way the businesses get the best from people.  It’s about working with the business.  It’s about using data and insights to inform what we do.  I actually use the Health Check as our core principles for what we do and it gives me the sense of hope as well as ideas of what we can achieve.

What advice would you give to somebody taking the Learning Health Check for the first time?
Share the results with people in your network. I’ve got my best ideas from talking to peers across different businesses and industries. It also confirms that you are not alone, we are all on a similar journey and can help each other improve the view of Learning & Development across organisations.

To begin the next steps of your learning journey, complete the Learning Health Check today at towardsmaturity.org/healthcheck

 

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