Leading global staff training provider WELL used a tasty recipe of quick thinking and digital technology to deliver bespoke development courses for fast-growing digital business City Pantry during lockdown.
Within a week of the national lockdown being announced in March, WELL Training switched plans for classroom-based management and leadership training for 40 staff from the London-based digital firm to move to an entirely digital programme.
Having originally planned for face to face learning, WELL Training used digital video technology throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to lead City Pantry colleagues through learning programmes tailored to support their career progression.
Working closely with human resources leaders and people officers at City Pantry, WELL Training delivered training from April until October through a dedicated programme named Recipe For Success, in tribute to the company’s growth story.
Fintech success City Pantry, which is owned by food delivery leader Just Eat, delivers against its mission statement “to make working lives better”. It has adapted in the COVID-19 pandemic to offer customers “tasty meals” delivered to their workplace or home from more than 600 top restaurants.
WELL, which has its headquarters in Queen Street, Wolverhampton, was able to draw upon the experience it has built up over several years of training staff around the world using video technology to guide the City Pantry participants successfully through courses.
The Recipe For Success programme was split into two bespoke levels, totalling 14 three-hour sessions of training delivered by Well, to meet the needs of different audiences, both named as part of the catering theme.
Chef Special saw 20 strategic leaders and managers complete eight sessions of three hours. Some of the topics covered included authentic leadership, mental health, strategic thinking and planning, as well as leading through change.
Meanwhile, Main Course, for 20 aspiring leaders, included a further six sessions. This group’s syllabus highlights included resilience and well-being, stakeholder management, time management and prioritisation.
Lianne Russell, Director of Teaching Learning and Assessment, (pictured above) who led the programme for WELL Training, worked closely with colleagues at City Pantry in shaping the programme.
Lianne said: “It was designed to give leaders and managers a better learning experience. As a business we had been working over several years to use digital platforms to enhance the learning experience, fully utilising Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype.
“The Covid-19 lockdown catalysed our move to facilitating learning exclusively through digital platforms. We have always provided a learning experience which was interactive, engaging and fun, and the real challenge was to ensure that this educational ethos was maintained, and even enhanced using digital technologies.”
Lianne said the training group were motivated and responsive to the opportunity to develop. In addition to the group sessions the staff had the opportunity to take up one to one coaching sessions to give them the opportunity to explore their learning and apply it to their daily practice.
She said: “The course participants were fully engaged in the learning. City Pantry is a vibrant, fast paced organisation where the staff are fully committed to their roles and their own personal development. City Pantry have gone from being a small start-up to a national company of 90 or more staff. They are having to transform their business at some pace. Bought by Just Eat, they have retained their uniqueness as City Pantry.
“The course participants were working from home rather than in the office in London when we went under full lockdown. The enthusiasm within the group was strong because they recognised we were offering a high-quality learning experience despite the challenging circumstances.
“There was also positivity for City Pantry’s decision to invest in colleague development when many other companies were reducing their training budgets due to the financial impact of lockdown.
“I consciously created opportunities for learning in small groups. It was important that we created a learning environment where participants felt safe to explore the themes being taught, but also a safe space to talk about how they were coping with lockdown and the challenges which it presented.
“In advance, we had talked with City Pantry colleagues about the outcomes for these sessions. We agreed it needed to be as engaging as possible, so they were learning and having fun. Technology does not stop that. It stops the physical interaction. We found lots of ways to make online engagement as enjoyable and accessible as possible.”
The courses have proved so successful that WELL Training and City Pantry plan to run new courses in the new year.
Lianne said: “I had some really positive feedback from the senior management team. The course helped them in understanding the best ways forward for City Pantry given the challenges they faced with Covid.”
Rosie Hyam, People Associate at City Pantry, said the course had been a success. Rosie said: “WELL Training has formed an exceptionally good relationship with City Pantry, where we have been able to benefit from ongoing, strong relationships to maximise the impact of the training.
“Recipe For Success has given people something to look forward to during lockdown. Lianne was working with people in their homes and they needed to feel comfortable and engaged to learn in a different way to the classroom. Throughout the course there was a sense of rapport and credibility.
“This course has given us a platform to build upon, to bring future development opportunities which will help City Pantry to succeed.”
Based in London, City Pantry partners with “the best restaurants and caterers” to take food to offices and remote teams through contact-free deliveries. Clients include employees working for Google, Amazon and Spotify.
Launched in 2010, WELL Training have grown their reputation as a leading partner for apprenticeships, as well as training in leadership, management coaching, mentoring, learning and staff development.
They have worked with a range of clients across public and private sector both in the UK and with recent expansion into Europe, the USA, Middle East and Asia.