What & why?
This week we got some great news. Access is now IPA CPD Gold accredited - and we couldn’t be prouder! What this means is that we’ve clearly demonstrated to an industry governing body that the continuous professional development of our team across training, upskilling, wellbeing and more, is very much a part of the Access culture. We have been able to evidence that the abundance of training and shared learning that goes on within the agency is a recognised contributing factor to the success of the business.
As much as it was an agency-wide success, it was a personal highlight for me as I planned, project managed, and wrote a large proportion of our entry and as a team, we committed a significant amount of time to the production of the submission. It was our first attempt at achieving the Gold standard so we were entering uncharted territory and we were unfamiliar with what was considered solid evidence of having a CPD culture. But we worked it out, planned well and got some great advice on structure from the IPA team. And as a result, received some fantastic feedback from the judges.
As any IPA agency will know, recording Continuous Professional Development (CPD) year on year comes as a requirement of the IPA membership so the team are used to logging their training time. However, in order to evidence a contribution towards the company in achieving its business objectives, that needed a new level of detail and a new process to capture everyone’s training efforts. That was stage one. The next task was then identifying the training case studies that best demonstrated CPD success and finally fleshing those out with quotes from colleagues and performance metrics to complete the final draft.
It was important to brief team leaders and get the whole company on board with what we were trying to achieve and ask individuals to think not only about the training that is completed, but also think about the impact that learning has had on their day to day work, their career opportunities or their ability to mentor others. We sought out examples where acquiring new skills had had a positive effect on a project delivery, had given Access the ability to win new kinds of business, achieve new levels of internal efficiencies or where certifications and accreditations have helped to elevate Access’s credibility in the digital arena and win bigger budget projects.
Seeing the abundance of fantastic examples come together throughout the course of the project - it gave us more than we could ever include in the submission. It also made me realise how much goes on relatively unnoticed. We are constantly surrounded by so many motivated people who are passionate about what they do and strive to learn more, both for the benefit of themselves, their work and their team but ultimately the company they work for so it was fantastic to see how much of this is going on at Access.
A large proportion of our 2020 entry was reflecting on training, knowledge sharing and learning completed in lockdown and how well technology, online learning and virtual events came to the fore. Online collaborative tools and our choice of communication channels played a huge part in keeping the teams connected.
An important aspect of our CPD Gold paper was also to recognise the wellbeing initiatives that have become another established aspect of the Access culture, which provided CPD opportunities through workshops and activities to educate around topics such as posture and nutrition in the workplace, mindfulness to combat stress, and techniques to deal with pandemic borne anxiety. The feedback forms from all the internal training events were a major source of content for the CPD Gold paper and encouraging to see how well received and enjoyed the wellbeing initiatives are across the agency.
Past wellbeing sessions in the office helping to promote a healthy mind and body. L: Creating delicious smoothies, R: How to keep active and energised at work.
The end result
What we were pleased to find as part of doing the accreditation is that we didn’t have to search too hard for evidence - it was found right across the agency covering a wide range of skill sets. And it was proof that we’ve been working in the way of a CPD Gold agency for a while now. Being able to quantify or monetise the contribution of training against a project’s performance metrics can be quite a challenge and not always possible as there are always so many factors at play, but very satisfying and motivating when you can! We now have an official record of what the team achieved across 2020, over and above their work wins and day to day triumphs and a really rewarding way to reflect and celebrate the outcomes of that extra training effort.
A small social distanced celebration - we can hopefully celebrate with the whole team soon!
One of 36 IPA agencies to achieve this in 2020, across a particularly strenuous year, we couldn’t be prouder of the end result. We look forward to learning more in our golden year in 2021 and keeping the spirit of CPD at the heart of everything we do.