As 2017 draws to a close, I wanted to reflect on the year’s highlights and share with you some of the opportunities we have identified for the next 12 months.
A willingness to adopt learning technology as part of the mix
After 20 years working in this space, we definitely feel that 2017 has been a tipping point. We are getting more enquiries from organisations of all sizes who want to explore a ‘digital-first’ approach. We’re not suggesting that everyone is tearing everything up and starting again, but we have noticed a definite shift towards digital solutions taking centre stage rather than being an afterthought.
More and more clients have asked us to advise on strategy and help them create bespoke roadmaps for people development. Using our experience, we’ve been able to help client’s highlight duplicate and inefficient administration processes, track and generate reports on sometimes difficult performance indicators such as classroom attendance and identify staff with long overdue training requirements. This has frequently led to significant savings in either budgets or time – both of which are pretty valuable.
Overall, we’re delighted that more clients are coming round to our way of thinking. When you use our ‘automate-first’ mantra, you save time, money and gain the headspace to think strategically about your organisation. A long-standing client recently said to us: “Care Academy is a bit like a mobile phone, it’s hard to imagine how we ever got anything done before we had one.” This says it all!
Closer partnerships with clients
We’ve always considered ourselves to be partners rather than just suppliers because we have an emotional, technical and financial investment with every client. This approach has served us well, but this year it has really paid dividends. Clients are engaging with more of our services, particularly Care Academy and we’ve been getting more detailed feedback on improvements we can make. Thanks to this close working relationship, we now have real-time compliance data and dedicated CQC inspection reports. Input from clients has helped us get these features just right, which is a win-win for everyone. We plan to do more of this during 2018.
Outcomes and evidence
Regulators, senior managers and other stakeholders increasingly focus on results and tangible evidence of how training impacts an organisation’s performance. In response, we’ve created a range of reports to help clients interpret the big data behind Care Academy. This provides real insight into what’s working and what’s not. Clients learn to identify essential inputs and processes, track performance over time and demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement and sustainability. This type of approach builds the foundations for successful leadership and management and provides evidence when needed – together we deliver positive outcomes for all. Helping our clients prepare for inspections has been a rewarding experience and something we’re very good at – we intend to do much more of this next year. Watch this space!
Online qualifications and the desire to deliver more in-house
2017 saw registrations to our online qualifications at an all-time high. While clients have always loved our approach, we are often asked if we can ‘do more’ – such as more qualifications, higher levels (4 & 5) with embedded competency skills and even apprenticeships. At the same time, we are seeing more clients wanting to have more input and control over their course development with some looking to bring delivery in-house. The main stumbling block for many, has been a lack of time, resources and skills to fully realise this approach. Well we now have the answer.
After much planning and discussion with awarding organisation Skillsfirst, we have developed a unique approach that combines our learning technologies with a client’s in-house resources, leveraging the strengths of each.
In brief, this collaborative approach supports and trains in-house managers to become part of our extended assessment team. We provide both formal and informal assessor training, enabling in-house managers to upskill and become fully qualified assessors. This means clients can then create and deliver a wider range of training, courses and qualifications, save money and provide existing staff with valuable career development opportunities. We plan to use this approach to deliver the new RQF qualifications due to be launched in January 2018.
Client recommendations are on the increase
The best marketing is always word-of-mouth and we’re delighted to say that this year, we’ve received more client recommendations than ever before. For us, this is a signal that we’re valued and trusted partners and we are always grateful when our clients refer our services to others. We hope this says more about us than any words could write.
So, thank you to our valued clients for their continued support and if we sound like the sort of partner you’d like to have on your team in 2018, then please get in touch.