Five minutes with: Florence Robinson, people, process and culture coordinator at Webmart

How the B Corp SME prioritises learning and development for its workforce, with limits on cost and resources

Why do you believe that as a small business it’s important to prioritise learning and development (L&D)?

We believe that if we can support the team in learning and development, this will help them not only to progress within their roles and achieve their goals, but as a business we always focus on staff getting what we call intellectual, emotional and financial return from their work. The idea being that prioritising L&D in turn helps team members realise their emotional and financial return, which then helps the business to achieve its goals too.

How does it do so with limits on costs and/or resources, and to what extent are these limited?

We encourage all staff to regularly review their personal development plans with their line manager. This can include paid/formal courses or qualifications, but we are also passionate about in-house knowledge sharing and with such a wealth of expertise within the business, there’s a limitless amount of opportunity to learn from individuals who have ‘on-the-job’ experience.

We regularly encourage cross-team training and collaboration, and everyone has the option to take time out of their week to read and research relevant topics that are of interest to them. We also run company-wide sessions to get the team together to share knowledge and good news as part of our monthly gathering, and we encourage the team to use this new learning and apply it to their roles.

Any advice on how others can do the same?

My advice would be to see L&D as more than just completing formal qualifications – although they can form an important part of it. There are lots of resources freely available online and the knowledge, experience, and skills in our own organisations, is a great place to start when looking at supporting someone to learn and develop.

Encouraging other team members to lead on their area of expertise also helps them develop new training and mentoring skills, which can also be an important part of their development.