Story: Learning at Work Day – national incentive for local benefit 

Business services company Grass Roots put learning in the spotlight on 17 May, 2012 by celebrating Learning at Work Day.


Earlier in the year, Grass Roots had been listed at 56th in the Sunday Times list of top 100 mid-sized companies to work for,  and sustaining and improving on our score is an ongoing part of our company strategy.

The national initiative ‘Learning at Work Day’ was seen as an excellent opportunity to engage in a fun way with employees as part of our overall employee engagement programme.

What we did

Recognising that different people learn in different ways, the organisers of Grass Roots’ day included a range of activities, including job shadowing, company-wide quizzes, various classes and a speaking club event open to all.  Following the national theme of ‘Learning for Growth’, the day was aimed at giving employees the chance to see and take part in activities around personal development and enriching their experience within the organisation.

Job shadowing

Job shadowing was particularly popular, and helped individuals see how different areas and departments work within the business. The skills they learned when shadowing would help them increase their understanding of how their own teams can work better with the other departments.   Even some of our Board members went ‘back to the floor’, including our MD Andy Lister, who spent time in our Contact Centre.

Lisa Asbury, one of our UK-based learning experts, took a trip to Amsterdam to spend time with the Grass Roots events division, Eventcom, and she found that her experience gave her a much better insight into how her role fits with others.

“As a trainer, we pretty much take for granted that at big events the audience will be there, sat in the room, waiting for us to train them.  How they get there is a mystery; so I asked if I could shadow the events team,” she explained.  “It really was an education, and gave me a greater appreciation of the hard work and long hours that go into all the processes involved in getting the audience there, and in giving each person a warm, friendly welcome. Not an easy combination when you have about 1500 people still to register less than an hour before the event starts!

“It was great to meet some of the wider Grass Roots family and see first-hand what they do. The events team works incredibly hard, and I can hand on heart say they made it really good fun! It was a pleasure to be with them for a few days.”

A positive response

There was an excellent response across the company, with everyone involved commenting on how useful they found it – as well as having some fun at the same time.  Because of the positive reaction, Grass Roots has plans to repeat the event on a larger scale next year (23 May 2013).

Grass Roots’ Learning at Work Day was organised by
Tamie Hutchins, Grass Roots’ Head of People Development.

Find out more

Learning at Work (LAW) Week is an annual awareness campaign organised by the Campaign for Learning (CfL) since 1999.  LAW Week promotes and supports workplace learning events across the country, and aims to draw attention to the importance of workplace learning and skills.  It encourages organisations to offer learning to all employees, especially to those that may not participate in current learning opportunities.

To find out more about Learning at Work Week, visit:

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