Foster + Partners: Designing innovative learning through digital solutions
29 September 2021
Foster + Partners is one of the most renowned and innovative architecture and integrated design studios in the world, responsible for outstanding architecture projects including the Gherkin and the Reichstag.
In the architecture and design industry, learning is considered a key way to beat the competition, making knowledge and training a keystone in Foster + Partners’ business process, culture and overall success. All architects must complete 35 hours of CPD training to maintain RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) accreditation and Foster + Partners must also track new industry trends, tools and ways of working.
Keeping up with a fast-paced industry and understanding new disciplines such as BIM (Building Information Modelling) was the challenge. The wealth of knowledge that Foster + Partners did already possess was also unstructured and dispersed across the organisation, causing difficulties in recognising skills gaps.
As such, the team needed a centralised system to capture this knowledge and help staff learn anywhere, anytime, adopting the necessary new professional skills to maintain their RIBA accreditation and improve employees’ personal development.
More than simply introducing a learning platform, Foster + Partners wanted to ensure a high adoption rate and full engagement with the system. Foster + Partners’ learning and development programme was transformed to make it something their employees wanted to do. To do this, Foster + Partners needed a LMS which could be implemented and adopted quickly, but also offered flexibility to keep up with the ever-changing industry standards. The system had to be easily tailored to reflect the Foster + Partners brand, making it intuitive and simple but matching the company’s design pedigree. The platform also needed to put the focus on the user experience with a maximum of three clicks for users to reach the content they wanted.
Centralised and increased knowledge. With the new LMS, training and expertise from across the organisation are now available on one simple platform which can be accessed anywhere through any device. Employees have access to more than 300 hours of CPD events and content items to complete their mandatory CPD hour requirements and help maintain their accreditation. Beyond just technical skills, users can now also access personal, professional, technological and role-specific development training. Previously, there was no training for personal development.
Higher employee engagement. The Cornerstone platform has had an impressive 90% adoption rate and facilitated a marked increase in training workshops uptake, with completion rates jumping from 312 to 2,122 in a 12-month period. Attendance at CPD courses has also greatly increased from 289 to 603 attendees. This in part has resulted from the highly intuitive and personalised user interface, with the creation of over 200 customised pages and most content being available in just three clicks.
Ensured talent readiness. Employees who have not completed certain training can be identified on a reporting dashboard and remedied quickly. In the same way, this enables the easy identification of any potential skills gaps to help futureproof the success of the business.
Improved cost effectiveness. The ability to better understand and predict where to invest resources has also streamlined processes and lowered administration costs for the Learning & Development team. This has also improved reporting to justify these investments on a business level to the executive suite.
Boosted company profitability. The capacity to quickly identify any training or skills gaps also means that new initiatives such as BIM can be adopted and taken advantage of fast, improving the commercial competitiveness of the organisation.
Improved employer branding. Foster + Partners has achieved Top Employer status from the Top Employers Institute for the first time this year.