Learning at Work Week 2018

Written by Holly Hart, Organisation Development Consultant

From 14th – 18th May, King’s ran the first ever Learning at Work Week (LaWW). The week was full of face to face and virtual sessions, covering a wide range of topics; in total almost 200 staff from King’s attended a minimum of one session over the week! But why did we do this? Well, there is science behind the madness…

Humans are naturally inquisitive beings, designed to be lifelong learners. This need to explore is arguably a result of the evolutionary pressure to survive, for example finding food and eating. This has built up an internal reward system in our brains meaning that by exploring and trying new things, the majority of the time we will eventually find some form of reward, perhaps in the form of food, but more likely in the modern day that reward might be a new skills or ability to achieve something previously unobtainable.

However, in this era, it is easy to become so wrapped up in our routines that we forget to indulge our curiosity once in a while. Sometimes, we get stuck in a rut doing the same things with the same outcomes. This can become frustrating but just by doing something new – out of the ordinary even, we can satisfy our curiosity and take advantage of our capacity for learning.

LaWW provided an environment where staff were encouraged to be curious. LaWW was designed to present opportunities that engage, excite and educate participants as well as bringing colleagues together to learn from each other; all facilitated by our very own experts within the King’s Community.

Some of the things staff enjoyed most about the week were “feeling like there was an attitude that you could take time out for your own development” and “coming together with colleagues I would never have met before and learning about how they contribute to King’s”.

Just because LaWW is over, doesn’t mean you can’t continue to satisfy your inquisitiveness! There are loads of ways you can increase your learning and widen your networks; take a look at the Kings internet pages to find out about the latest events all over the University or head to the Organisation Development pages for a list of all the topics we have learning sessions and resources on. And if you want to do something fun and connect with likeminded people, I thoroughly suggest you check out the Staff Experience pages – there are so many opportunities you are bound to find one that floats your boat!

Thank you to everyone in the King’s community that helped contribute to such a successful campaign, I for one cannot wait to do it all over again next year.

What are PDRs and why are they important?

Written by Holly Hart, Organisation Development Consultant, Organisation Development 

The aim of the on-going PDR process is to ensure we have regular, high quality conversations about how we are doing, our goals, and what development, support and advice we need to achieve our goals and objectives.

The formal PDR meeting is an opportunity to have a conversation reflecting on the past year, and recognising our achievements, challenges, development and progress. Based on our reflections on the past year, it’s also the time to make plans for the year ahead, and to set our objectives. Considering how we are performing will help us to identify the best way to approach our personal and professional development over the next year and beyond.

The aim is to have a constructive and motivating conversation which creates clarity about our performance and our objectives.

The outcomes from the conversation are documented on a PDR form, which is used to capture the discussion between the ourselves and the reviewer. To help faculties make sure that each of us has access to the right types of support and development as well as to inform decisions around reward and recognition, PDR forms are made available to line management.

In addition to the annual PDR conversation, we are all encouraged to meet with our reviewers regularly throughout the year. These informal meetings are an opportunity to have open, honest and constructive conversations about performance, development and support. This will help to ensure that there are no surprises at the annual formal PDR meeting, and will also ensure that we are getting the support and advice that we need throughout the year.

There are a number of resources available to support our preparation for the PDR meeting, including the PDR Support webpage which has a short video on preparing for your PDR. Our Principles in Action also gives us a framework to think of our own development, and there are a number of tools to help us consider our development on the internal webpages.

Learning Agility – Why This is Important in Such a Volatile World

Written by Holly Hart, Organisation Development Consultant, Organisation Development 

I think we can all agree that the world we live in today is unpredictable, complex and often ambiguous. The rate at which technology is continuing to develop is almost mind boggling and with that comes uncertainty, especially in the workplace. What will our roles look like in the next 5 years? Will they still exist, or will we need to adjust our career plans drastically?

The answers to these questions remain unknown therefore we need to accept and be comfortable with change. Research suggests the most successful individuals are also the most agile; they have the confidence to weave together pieces of seemingly unrelated information to craft novel, innovative solutions on the spot.

So how do we get comfortable with change and uncertainty? Well, learning agility is the key to unlocking our adaptability. Learning agility is the ability to learn, adapt and apply ourselves in constantly morphing situations; being able to learn something on one situation and apply it in another completely different situation sets us up very well in today’s everchanging world.

Learning agility presents differently depending on the person and the context; according to Korn Ferry International there are 5 dimensions of learning agility:

  1. Mental Agility
  2. People Agility
  3. Change Agility
  4. Results Agility
  5. Self-Awareness Agility

Increasing agility across these 5 dimensions unlocks enduring potential to achieve and succeed in uncertain situations; equipping individuals with the tools and solutions to draw on when faced with new challenges.

So now you know the importance of learning agility, how do you increase your own? There are many resources, journal articles and videos online. This video from Lynda.com will take you through setting goals, creating a learning plan and staying on track to improve your learning agility and get ahead. (N.B. Please note that you will have to log in to Lynda.com with your King’s username and password to access the video).