The TLD customer day – “a great taster session”

Lyndon Wingrove

On 31st March we held our first customer open day of 2015. The day was focussed on two key topics: intelligent outsourcing and programme management in the morning, and organisational health in the afternoon. These open days are not just about showcasing what TLD can do, but rather about giving our customers something valuable to take away that will help them back in their own businesses.

Our managing director, Rachel Kay, explains why she thinks this particular open day was so important to both TLD and our customers:

“For any organisation working in the ‘services’ sector it is important to develop strong customer relationships in order to get closer to the needs of our customers,” she says. “This helps us ensure we are designing and developing solutions which are going to help our customers achieve their business challenges. 

“Our event on 31 March was a true ’learning’ event for both our invited customers and the TLD team. I personally learnt more about our customers’ challenges around managing their budgets, the impact on learning strategies for their different sectors, and how we all realised that the issue around our employees’ mental health is a key subject in the fast-paced business environment we’re all working in. “      

Session one – intelligent outsourcing and programme management

The first session was hosted by TLD’s Head of Managed Service, Danny Roberts. Danny took everyone through three key tools, or techniques, that he designed in order to help people assess whether they need to outsource L&D, and how much needs to be outsourced (and when).

The attendees were split into three smaller groups and encouraged to discuss the tools amongst themselves in terms of how and why they would apply them to their own organisations. The really interesting thing about this part of the day is how people from seemingly very different industries and organisations were able to find common ground in terms of the challenges they face, and this led to some really great discussions, some of which even carried over into lunch.

Fran Wallott, one of the attendees, who is an L&D consultant at the London Stock Exchange, said, “The morning session was interesting as it provided some useful tools and got everyone thinking about their L&D strategy, how it fitted with the wider business strategy and the effectiveness of strategy planning.”

Malcolm Postlethwaite, of British Gypsum, found it useful being able to interact with people from a range of different sectors:

“It was great to work with other people from outside of manufacturing and share our approaches and challenges in L&D,” he said. “As is often the case, we all had essentially the same challenges! The interactive nature of the day gave me excellent hands-on experience in some of the tools & techniques available, and has certainly opened my eyes to new opportunities to enhance L&D in my team and organisation.”

Session two – organisational health           

Mental and emotional wellbeing in the workplace is a huge issue at the moment across all industries, and is a big factor for L&D departments and organisations to think about moving forward. In fact, it’s a big factor for any businesses who want to get the best out of their staff and make sure those valuable employees are not suffering needlessly.

We split the afternoon into four ‘mini sessions,’ then split the attendees into four groups and rotated them around each of the sessions. The idea was to give them a taste of various elements that could impact people’s wellbeing in the workplace, including mindfulness, recognising emotions in yourself and others, understanding stress at work, and a look at how our physical working environment affects us.

Coach and facilitator Sarah Rudder, who specialises in mental health issues in the workplace and helped us run a session around stress, explained what the thinking was behind her session and why the topic of organisational health is so important:

“I wanted to challenge people’s perception that stress is the bad guy in our lives, and I wanted to get them to recognise and work with their body’s natural rhythms,” she said. “I encouraged people to take a break at least every 90 minutes and to recognise that they would be more productive this way than if they just try to power on through the day like a marathon.
 
“Organisational health is important because the way we’re working these days isn’t working for us at all – people are losing their passion, productivity and health because we’ve lost the ability to look after ourselves and create boundaries. As Arianna Huffington says in her book, Thrive: we need to recognise that success is not only measured by power and money, but also by wellbeing.”

In the mindfulness session we even had the attendees juggling and meditating, although not simultaneously of course! The idea was to highlight how rarely people actually take even five minutes out of their day to just do nothing – not checking emails or social media, not thinking about the past or the future, but just focussing on that moment. It was a very powerful session which seemed to really hit home with many of the attendees.

“I’ve been putting mindfulness into practice today,” said Postlethwaite. “And I can now nearly juggle!”

“The afternoon was good fun,” said Wallott. “It was a great taster session, while helping us explore a current issue (organisational health) from different angles. Setting up four mini sessions and rotating people through them was a great idea.”

Until next time…

As always, we had a lot of fun with the customer day, and this certainly won’t be the last one we put on.

Sadly, however, not everything on the day went completely to plan, as our managing director Rachel Kay will testify to:

“Whilst I did learn more about mindfulness and how it can positively impact your wellbeing, my attempt at learning to juggle in one of the sessions didn’t prove quite as successful!”

If you want to learn more about what happened on the day, or you are interested in joining the next one, please get in touch. We look forward to seeing you at the next event!

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