Learning and development are a core part of our culture here at Agent. We place a huge focus on our growth, as a business, as a team and as individuals.
Last week (May 16th – 22nd) marked Learning at Work Week, an annual event aimed to build learning cultures at work. Learning and development should be an important part of every business, whether it’s formal training, optional workshops, mentoring, or just reading up on something you’re interested in, learning helps us to adapt to the ever-changing times, continue to do brilliant work and be the best that we can be!
But learning at work isn’t just a week for us. As we already incorporate learning into our everyday working lives, we wanted to share a few examples of just how we do that at Agent.
Promoting a learning culture.
Learning something new is one of life’s most rewarding and motivating experiences. You may have seen us mention our dedicated weekly learning and development time, which every Agent is encouraged to take advantage of. With this time, which equates to around 50 hours per year, our team have the freedom each week to learn something new or develop a skill they’re interested in.
Learning doesn’t always need to be things we need for our role, either. It can be knowledge that will help us get the most out of ourselves. Whether that’s developing a skill, such as public speaking, learning a whole new discipline like video editing or new software, or taking time to research more productive ways of doing our everyday tasks.
It’s of the most effective things we’ve done to improve the happiness and development of our team at Agent – and we intend to keep it up!
Learning from each other.
Too often we associate learning with formal training, but some of the biggest learning opportunities come from organic situations. They involve learning not from structured workshops or formal training time, but from others.
One of the main benefits of being an integrated agency is that we boast a wealth of diverse experience and talents under one, well… two, roofs. We’re surrounded by people who have a broad range of skills to offer; so, whether it’s Campaigns learning from Creative, or Partnerships learning from Digital, there’s so much scope to round our skills as well as gauge a better understanding of each other’s roles.
Another learning initiative we run is BABS (Briefing at Breakfast Sessions). We introduced BABS a few years back as a learning opportunity for the team, through the method of sharing knowledge. In each session, it gives a team member the chance to present a topic they’re passionate about to the whole company – we’ve seen presentations around a huge range of topics including Eid, women of the Civil Rights Movement, reflection as a form of self-care and so many more diverse topics.
Encouraging mental health awareness and diversity training.
While technical skills and industry-related knowledge are highly important to our work, it’s equally important that as people, we learn ways we can help and support those around us.
We’ve always positioned team health and wellbeing as a priority at Agent, which is showcased through the culture we’ve adopted, along with the various workshops and training sessions we enrol the team onto.
It’s so important for businesses to introduce regular mental health and diversity training for their teams as it offers several benefits, not only for individuals, but the organisation. Just a few ways we find our regular training sessions helpful are:
– They help address any stressors before they impact the team’s morale and overall wellbeing.
– It helps to normalise mental health related illnesses for the team and ultimately reduces the stigma, both of the illness itself, and around seeking help.
– It improves company culture. When people feel like their wellbeing matters, they become more invested and are happier at work.
– Training helps our team become more aware of what can help or harm the wellbeing of themselves and others, whether that’s at work or home.
– We can take the knowledge we learn and transfer this to the work we do with our clients.
Investing in innovation.
Innovation and learning go hand in hand. Innovation in the workplace relates to the process of developing or introducing something new, and with all things new comes a period of adapting and learning.
We’re strong believers in adopting an innovative workplace, whether that’s by investing in new software that enables us to work more effectively, implementing new job roles and specialisms to adapt to our clients’ needs, or making changes to our working structure that allows us to be more proactive, we’re always looking at new ways we can develop Agent and continue to grow.
Innovation challenges us to think differently, which can directly impact and promote growth. If you avoid trying new things, you could be missing out on opportunities. We’re always keen to try something new to see what works best for us.
As a brand and communications agency with a list of brilliant clients, the more we develop, the more our clients can develop, too. When we make changes for good, we can translate these to our partners, bring them on the journey and encourage them to work similarly, creating a ripple effect of positive change that has all come from learning.
Becoming a member of an organisation.
Joining a professional board or organisation is a great way to expand your professional network and open the door to professional learning and development opportunities. Whether you have a leadership position or are on the board of a cause you’re passionate about, they all offer ample opportunities to gain transferrable skills and experience.
Many of our Agents have taken up board positions at organisations that they care about. While the causes of the organisations differ, they all share the view that the opportunity has provided them with the chance to learn through collaboration and communication with like-minded people.
The bottom line is, learning and development in the workplace should never stop. Regardless of past achievements and your present level of expertise, there is always room to grow, and your future depends on your ability to keep learning!