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Samantha Link, part 2 - an interview regarding Learning @ Nomad Week

Following on from “part 1 – an interview regarding Learning @ Nomad Week”. Samantha Link, Global Talent & Development Manager continues her passionate review of Learning@Nomad Week in the second and final part of her interview.

Summarise in one sentence, why do we have Learning @ Nomad Week (L@NW)?

“It is a brilliant way to prioritise and connect all the great stuff we’re learning and doing all year round, and bring it together in a celebration of our progress!”

What is the next event in the Learning @ Nomad Week (L@NW) series?

“Learning @ Xmas (L@X) is a lighter version held in the run up to Christmas; there are less activities in total and they tend to be more light-hearted. Whilst L@NW is focused on the business priorities, our values, and key skills, L@X also gives colleagues an opportunity to show off their non-work talents! Last year we had Indian head massage and Xmas crafts, this year we will cover cybersecurity and the andropause.  We will also include wellbeing topics most relevant to the festive period, which can be a source of stress for many reasons.”


How do colleagues benefit from Learning @ Nomad Week (L@NW)?

“We know from all the feedback, conversations, surveys, 1-1s, project reviews etc, that Nomad is at its best when everyone is connected and working together collaboratively. When people share their knowledge and passion, when they connect with the business goals and our customers, we thrive as a business.

L@NW gives our people an opportunity to interact with each other and with colleagues they might not necessarily work with. It gives them a chance to learn about projects and work going on all around the world. It also turns out it has been an effective prompt for people to reach out and contact each other afterwards when they did not know who to go to previously.”

Name a benefit for your department?

“Two of our Key Performance Indicators in HR are retention and engagement. L@NW has proven a great initiative to highlight all the brilliant things we regularly do to engage, develop, and retain our people, and the series of L@NW events has had a positive impact on both KPIs.

This year especially it generated such interest, from people wanting to run workshops to homeworkers keen to connect with teams in other countries. It has given us another channel to hear what our people want and then involve them in a business-wide initiative.  We used feedback from previous engagement surveys to shape the week, and feedback on the week itself has been phenomenally positive.  New starters found the week fantastic for learning about Nomad and meeting lots of colleagues quickly, albeit virtually.  Other people commented that the week made them realise how much we care about their development and their careers.”

How do sessions focused on mental health, promote conversation?

“Encouraging people to talk about non-work matters and personal experiences allows them to connect on a different level.  HR usually start these sessions, but we ask our Mental Health First Aiders to join and contribute as they can.  All it takes is for one person to share an experience and you can feel the growing empathy and connection, even on a Teams call!

Once you learn what people are going through, or have been through, in their personal lives you can start to understand them better and relate to them more sensitively.  You may better appreciate how they work, their priorities in life, their behaviours, and what support they need to operate at their best. It really helps foster a sense of tolerance and acceptance between colleagues, and while these sessions are completely optional, we are always delighted with how many people from different regions join and thank us afterwards.  Having Nick, our HR Director, always attend these sessions is another clear signal to our people how important these conversations are.  It could be easy to forget, especially working from home with different personal circumstances, the importance of genuine connection with colleagues.”

What can we expect from Learning @ Nomad Week (L@NW) 2021?

“The beauty of L@NW is we can shape it however we like closer to the time, so we’ll use feedback, business updates, and initiatives in place at that point to set the agenda.  We’ll keep it themed around our Values plus wellbeing, and I think the success this year has given us a case for investing more in external sessions as well as working across the business to schedule downtime into sprints and project plans so we can increase live attendance even higher. We have also had a great suggestion already to host sessions either from or about our customers, so watch this space!

Mind you, I didn’t think last year, that for L@NW 2020 we’d be working from home (or living at work, depending on your perspective!), experiencing national lockdowns, home-schooling our kids, and starting every conversation with ‘you’re on mute’, so I’m staying open-minded about what 2021 will bring.”