Educating ourselves to educate others
Throughout my career as a specialist in learning and development, I have contributed to large change management initiatives. So, when I was approached to support Cundall’s Zero Carbon Design 2030 initiative in early 2021, I knew our goal to make every design zero carbon by 2030 would be both exciting and challenging.
The first step we took was to discuss what success would look like when we achieved this goal. How did we want our employees to feel? What would they need to know? What would they need to be doing?
By establishing these behaviours early, we were able to clearly identify that we needed every person at every level contributing to how we would achieve this goal and what support and learning resources they would need along the way.
It was clear from the beginning that this change would need to be done differently – using a bottom-up approach. This would empower teams to develop a plan for the path they would take to reach the goal, they would also need to assess their current skills and knowledge level and identify the training and resources they required to close their competency gaps and ensure they succeed with their plans.
As we approach the second year of the ZCD2030 initiative, we have seen that learning requirements vary a great deal across our global workforce. Some people are requesting technical training and the development of new software, while others see more value in personal skills development focused on customer engagement and how to communicate the zero-carbon journey. By empowering our people to identify their own learning needs, it has given them the space to spend more time reflecting on their plans to achieve zero carbon on their projects and really assess what they need instead of us creating a one size fits all solution.
The biggest challenge we have faced is sourcing technical training. Currently there is limited content available externally because, while many businesses have committed to some form of net zero carbon, no one else has yet gone this far in working out how they will achieve it. There’s no blueprint for how this can be done, and after investigating it became clear that our own subject matter experts were the best people for the job.
However, while it’s brilliant that we already have people in house with the knowledge we need, it also means that there will be a slight delay in upskilling all our people, because we now need to develop and deliver the training internally.
Since commencing this journey, I have been amazed at how much I am continually learning – from the other core team members, my advocate group and from the wider teams. Seeing the passion that everyone has for this goal brings me energy with each conversation I have; it has also given me the chance to connect people together, which increases knowledge sharing opportunities at various levels and across all disciplines.
This continuous sharing of knowledge and learning is the reason I love my job. I believe that if every person can come to work and learn something new each day or have their current thinking challenged, more innovation can occur, and ultimately, we will make a difference.
I am looking forward to continuing this journey to zero carbon and being inspired by my colleagues globally!
Louise Worth is a member of Cundall’s Zero Carbon Design Core Team.