Posted: 10 February 2021

Last Thursday (4th February), was Time to Talk, a national day dedicated to raising the awareness of mental health issues in the workplace and throwing a spotlight on the importance of keeping in touch with employees to make sure they are OK.  If ever there was a year that Time to Talk should be observed, then it is this year and Renata (our GM) spent some of the day catching up with Ashorne team members across the business.

Let’s face it, we all crave the day we can sit in a meeting room to debate strategy, learn new skills and brainstorm new ideas but we’ve also all managed to adapt to new ways of working in the last 12 months.  At Ashorne Hill, we’ve been growing people for 60 years. Not only in our dedicated learning environment which is perfect for face-to-face training but also through our team of learning and development experts who have created a series of great off-the-shelf digital training modules.  We asked our two key sales directors to share their thoughts and tips for the future of training and team morale.  Who do you think wins the battle?

Sharon Stilgoe – Client Learning Director: Digital training is here to stay

“Over the last 12 months the shift towards digital ways of working and processes has been phenomenal.  Before Covid-19, my diary would be full of face-to-face meetings and conference calls, all of that has been replaced with video calls.  As a business, Ashorne Hill already offered a blended learning programme that effectively combined digital training with face-to-face mentoring across all of our programmes.  Covid-19 meant we had to quickly pivot towards a digital only product, giving our key clients the flexibility and agility to continue to develop their new graduate intakes with effective and bite-sized modular programmes.  Our new Digital First Graduate Training Programme was launched last year and the 10 individual themes can either be taken straight off the shelf or customised to a client’s individual needs.  We’ve had great success with this approach and I strongly believe this type of programme is here to stay.  Graduates can work on the move, from mobile to desktop and clients can see full reports to evaluate how their graduates are progressing through the themes.  We have similar programmes for First Time Managers and Manager of Managers which are key programmes for businesses that have been forced to restructure during the pandemic and may have new junior team members in roles that require a bit more seniority.  The businesses that invest in these new managers and give them the tools and confidence to lead their teams will emerge from this pandemic in a much better place than those who leave team members with new responsibilities solely learning on the job.  Developing team members also boosts their motivation.

But blended training will return. John (our MD) has a saying that ‘Zoom and Teams have their place, but nothing beats face-to-face’ and he isn’t wrong.  You can’t get a sense of the mood or feeling of an employee when over a video call.  It has been well documented that Zoom fatigue set in with many people some months ago and we are desperate for some face-to-face time.  None more so than graduates and new managers who will learn more whilst being mentored by a colleague and enjoying face-to-face time with them”.

You can find out more about Sharon’s digital first training programmes by clicking here.

Sarah Ellis – National Sales & Marketing Account Manager: Need to motivate the team?  Team building is the way to go.

“Once it is safe to meet up again, we are expecting a surge of enquiries from companies who need to get their team together.  Some businesses have ditched the traditional office environment for home working, some have increased flexibility in remote working.  Others now have the whole UK as a talent pool and it is not unusual to see someone in Manchester employed by a London-based company where being in the office every day is no longer a necessity.

However much companies have transformed their working processes during the last 12 months, getting the team together, taking them on the company journey, plotting out the future strategy and thanking them for their support during the last year will be essential to keep up motivation and engagement.  This could be in the form of a day meeting, an overnight meeting with entertainment thrown in or a team building session to integrate any new members into the team too.  We’re really lucky at Ashorne Hill to be based in a central UK location in Warwickshire, meaning if you need to bring people together from across the UK, we’re slap bang in the middle for everyone and we have acres of grounds that are perfect for team building.

Even when it comes to training colleagues, digital programmes have been great to continue to develop new recruits and upskill people into new roles, but not all training can take place digitally.  Some companies will be desperate to roll out new compliance, health and safety training and courses that can only be done face-to-face with a facilitator.  What is still unsure is when this type of training will start to return.  With plenty of safety measures in place, we are in a strong position to start welcoming people back from April and can’t wait to see you all again”.

For information on Sarah’s team building packages click here.