Meet The Team: Mark Essam - Training and Development Officer
“We're in quite a fast-paced, changing industry so there'll always be a need for training to keep people up to date with the latest changes, whether that be through webinars or in-house training,” so says Mark Essam, Winn Solicitors' Training and Development Officer.
Mark joined Winns in October 2017, and has since been set the task of further expanding our training and development offering. A sweeping remit, a large part of that role has been to take the reins of the new intranet system-shaping the content and functionality to create an essential space for staff to find the resources that they need.
“Getting the intranet up and running has been one of the key elements of my role so far,” explains Mark. “In order to do that, we've needed to make sure that we have guides for people to follow, that processes are being adhered to, and to make sure training materials were in place.
“What we really want now is for people in the business to let us know what they want the intranet to do, rather than forcing them to sit down and use it. There's some great stuff and useful resources coming very soon, such as the Benefits tab and Request Form, but to make a portal that really works for everyone it's best that they have a real input on what they want to see on there.”
With the intranet starting to take shape, Mark's focus is now shifting towards overhauling the induction and staff development processes.
“Before I arrived there was a good induction process; you came in, you had your induction with HR, but then sat at your desk and got going, that's really all there was. One of the first things I did was to ensure a dedicated induction day was put in place. The next step was to arrange for each department to organise a further schedule, and get some real structure into the training and development side of the company.”
Winns is in the midst of a period of rapid expansion, and as such has taken on close to 70 people over the last six months alone. Another key element of Mark's role then, is to develop our existing staff to ensure that everyone benefits from training and career progression.
“We have employee training practices in place already such as the training contracts apprentices and people looking to become solicitors, but it struck me that there's not very much for current members of staff who want to develop their role in a different way.”
To that end, personal development plans are soon to be brought in to tie in with appraisals. These plans will give staff the chance to set out what they want to achieve in one, five, or even ten years’ time, with the focus on them being working to realise these goals. As the employer, Winns acts as a facilitator for this growth and wishes to be the driving force.
“I'm really pleased with what's been achieved so far in terms of both the intranet and training and development. To be handed the project as a blank slate and told to develop what I think would best benefit the company has been such a fantastic opportunity, but now I'm excited to see what I've put in place really means for staff.”