Training is too lazy and needs to be held to account, says our new director

Communications consultant Emily Murphy-Wearmouth has joined us as partner to help communications agencies change their approach to learning and development. Her mission is to help agencies be more successful by transforming their learning culture.

Emily has spent the majority of her fifteen-year career managing and developing teams in PR and comms agencies including FleishmanHillard Fishburn, Octopus and Hotwire, and currently works as an independent communications consultant and coach.

“The world of PR is almost unrecognisable compared to when I started out fifteen years ago, but a lot of learning and development is still done in the same ineffective way, with trainers relying on powerpoint slides covered in bullet points.” she said. “In PR we’ve shifted to proving measurable business outcomes instead of asking people to blindly trust that we’re adding some value. It’s time PR trainers did the same.”

Emily’s active, collaborative and social learning experiences are designed to help people acquire knowledge faster and retain it longer through accelerated learning principles. Dull powerpoint slides and lectures are out, replaced by problem-solving, simulations and task-based learning paired with high production values and entertaining content. This goes against the traditional training approach of cramming people’s heads full of information and hoping they will remember it all when they need it.

Emily will focus on Henshall Centre’s new portfolio of blended (digital and real-world) learning experiences, starting with adapted versions of our best-selling workshops including The Effective Account Manager and The Effective Account Director. These are based on extensive research with agencies to discover challenges and skills gaps in the current market, and prioritise subjects that will make the biggest impact. Emily is also refreshing our team of subject matter experts to provide an enhanced offering that helps agencies shape their future.

“Learning in a PR agency is often a tick-box exercise based on job titles and just as often it’s completely ineffective, failing to give people the tools to upskill, reskill and evolve professionally. “Emily commented, “A successful communications agency is constantly evolving, and skimps on personal development at its peril.”

After working with her over the last three years, our learning experience director Liton Ali invited Emily to join us. Liton explained: “When every formal learning hour sacrifices a billable one, agencies need to build learning and development opportunities into everyday work and culture. I’ve seen Emily guide agency people to some major achievements in the three years she’s run workshops at Henshall Centre. Having her as a partner means we can provide a more specialised approach to agency learning.”