Pathways transforms colleague development at Princes

Just under five months ago, we launched Pathways, our online Learning & Development platform, across the global Princes family.

While we had high hopes for the platform, the response we have received from colleagues has been, quite simply, phenomenal.

The numbers speak for themselves.

In the first two weeks, over 700 colleagues had accessed the platform to have a look around. This has since snowballed with more than 2,000 now having used the platform.

In total, there have been 25,572 visits since launch, indicating that many colleagues are returning more than once.

We recently exceeded the 5,000 mark for course enrolments and many of the courses we are providing fill up in less than seven days – in some cases within 24 hours.

The launch of the Pathways platform is the culmination of five years of work – but the events of the last year saw us hugely accelerate our plans.

During those five years, we have progressed from a primarily classroom approach to a more blended approach driven by demand for greater flexibility from colleagues.

This included integrating Mind Tools – an online platform of curated learning content – in 2018, something that grew steadily to over 1000 colleagues using this offering across the group.

Then, on March 18th 2020, as a result of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many colleagues were told they had to work from home.

We knew we had to respond quickly – and we did. In April 2020, we began running training online using ‘LoopUp’ while accelerating our conversations with IT, resulting, in October 2020, a deal to purchase LMS365 which is a Learning Management System.

Linking this with our ‘Our People-Our Princes’ People Excellence Strategy the Pathways approach to learning was born.

We chose Pathways as each colleague is on their own pathway at Princes – some wishing to build a career and some wishing to be really good at their role. Each colleague drives their own Pathway and our responsibility is to create a learning approach which is flexible for all our colleagues.

We also started a concept called ‘Daily Development’, daily emails with links to carefully selected Mind Tools or other platforms giving learners a daily article to read or video to watch related to the challenges they were facing such as working from home or working online.

We started to see our learners engage with us in a way which would not have happened if we were still in the office. They started to give us feedback that we gave them a sense of connection to Princes.

Daily Development grew into a community, with our numbers increasing to over 1200 colleagues using the platform on a regular basis.

If we didn’t publish articles, people chased us to find out where they were.

Then, on March 3, 2021, we launched Pathways globally across Princes with the astonishing results highlighted earlier in this article. The platform is now seeing more than 5,200 visits each month and growing.

Alongside launching Pathways, we have also introduced several other L&D initiatives including:

  • The concept of Development Pathway – pathways of development for those wishing to become a manager right through to board level.  We are working on these pathways to create clear routes for colleagues to develop, supporting their career progression ambitions.
  • A new approach to Compliance training using new e-learning tools – we are receiving very positive responses to this and a far improved completion rate.
  • Pathways Fastrack – Professional Development programmes aimed at colleagues who want to gain professional qualifications. This new approach includes a formal application process, sponsorship from their director and manager and an interview. The process is designed to really test motivation and appetite to progress and therefore offer places to those who are committed to their own development.  We have opened two programmes so far in the UK and the response has been terrific.
  • A new approach to our Apprenticeship programmes at sites seeking to improve the journey for apprentices and their line managers.
  • A new approach to our Graduates which will now include a professional qualification – something we believe is industry-leading.

While we have achieved a lot in a short space of time, we are committed to continuing to drive change to the benefit of colleagues across the Princes Group.

To this end, we have just started the recruitment for a permanent Digital Learning Specialist who will be responsible for helping us to take Pathways to the next level.

We have also received a number of requests from other parts of the business for them to use Pathways to support their departmental training needs.

One of the most exciting developments has been the increased desire for ownership of development across departments and we are having numerous wider conversations to move our learning culture on to the next level.

During Performance and Development Review (PDR) conversations in 2020/21 the number of requests has increased from 6% to 39%. While we still have some way to go this is a big improvement and demonstrates that more conversations about development are taking place.

We look forward to providing further updates as Pathways continues to evolve and play an integral role in Princes’ mission to become an Employer of Choice.

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