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The long way from Learning to Development

How to succeed in reaching the young and the valuable employees and wining their hearts and minds, so they will forever be committed to gain knowledge, evolve in profession and build a strong career inside the companies?

2018-08-14 14:24:43

How to capitalize on their curiosity, how to nurture and cultivate it so they show a real hunger for reaching new knowledge and skills, so useful for companies' development and business growth? And finally, how to involve the technology, mobile and online, avatars or snapchat, in building story-telling, use all the PR and HR tools to speak their language?

A consistent dose of valuable insights on these topics has been offered by a strong list of leaders and managers present at Outsourcing Today's dedicated series of events of 2018, completed this summer with the second edition of OT Learning & Development. This special event which exclusively focuses on maybe one of the most important aspects of the working ecosystem – the learning and development - was organized on June 7th at InterContinental Hotel Bucharest.

The event organized as roundtable brought together the business services professionals to discuss and discover new tools and programs designed to assist businesses in supporting employee development and was organized with the support of: Gold Partners Wipro, Portland Trust, Expo Business Park, Colliers, with the support of ABSL, ANIS, ClujIT.

The discussions during this roundtable have been sustained by a strong panel lineup, with the event's moderator Andrei Romanescu, CEO of VEEAM, along with Teodora Todoran, Head, Training Function – Europe, Wipro Limited, Francine Rosca, Global Head of Employee Learning Experience, HP, Marius Istudora, Marketing Manager, Portland Trust, George Didoiu, Associate Director, Colliers, Daniel Adumitrachioaiei, HRD, CapGemini.

During the event, the topics in the agenda aimed at focusing on the exchange knowledge of relevant trends and research results as well as the presentation of practical experiences gained while developing, designing and testing elements of advanced corporate learning. As we have witnessed in the past years, technology started to emerge in all the aspects of a profession and jo title. The technology also created a plenty of jobs around, especially tech jobs, with titles like app developer, social media director and Uber driver among the ones that didn't exist a decade ago. And the work landscape will continue to evolve, bringing us positions in the next two decades that we can barely imagine now. In this light, the panelists that holds managerial and business leading positions within the companies operating in outsourcing industry as well as in related stakeholder businesses, touched this subject referring to the challenges they trigger on the local scene.

Setting the context of the future work environment

Actually, Andrei Romanescu from VEEAM gave consistence to this provocative subject with local examples: "Learning and Development is a really challenging topic. I can set a context in which jobs didn't exist 10 to 15 years ago, such as employer branding, social media, mobile application developer, data scientist. More, 12 or 13 years ago, there was no IPhone, there was no Facebook platform. Studies show that there will be jobs that will disappear, especially in the transactional and services area such as data operator, machine operators, mail operators. We need to calibrate our expectations regarding our skills to this context, to prepare ourselves now for the future. There will be jobs given odd names such as human-technology integration specialist, telesurgeon, garbage designer, trash engineer, chief productivity officer." Romanescu also referred to the need of existing pool of specialists, leaders and juniors to adjust to the fast changes that are already impacting our jobs. Weird concepts such as mental elasticity, critical thinking, or hard-to-digest acronyms such as STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math), SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics & Cloud) will have to be embraced in the new skill portfolio of the future employee. However, the area of L&D will equally need the people skills, increasingly important in the future tech world.

In this world, the changes already started to emerge in an area that is directly related to the development of business shared services businesses, that of the real estate and the office development and trading segment.

Andrei Romanescu CEO, VEEAM: "The trends of the current and following years underline the importance of people skills and leadership forming. We need to calibrate our expectations regarding our skills to this context, to prepare ourselves now for the future"

George Didoiu, Associate Director at one of the largest real estate consultants in Romania, Colliers, stated that the office of the future will no longer look like an actual office. "The trend is going towards an area where people are encouraged to interact. The feel-like-home office started to emerge in the expectations of clients and the deliverables of developers. More and more companies are looking to office solutions to integrate that kind of area, the relaxing zone with all kind of facilities, with the actual work area.

Adumitrachioaiei, HRD, CapGemini: "Iasi doesn't yet offer enough office spaces at this time. The collaborative office space and work process should prevail over the classical patterns"

The co-working spaces are already present and gaining grounds. The classical close-doors offices will be rare and a strong trend is to include features now present in the hospitality area in the company offices." In the future office, the people will be charmed through all amnesties to feel more and more the need to connect to each other. As the Colliers manager says, in that kind of office, someone should instantly need to feel like interact with other. As a paradox, more and more tech savvy jobs will address solitude activities, as data analyst for example, so that, the office of the future will try to balance this with open spaces and interactive spaces, where people work separately but in the same time, together. The trend is not new, the co-working spaces that started to emerge in all the business areas of large cities in Romania do just like this, bringing together people from different departments and even businesses and facilitate an open environment for them to charm them into collaborating, interacting and exchanging knowledge. "The office market in Romania is not really a pioneer in this area, it has always followed the international trend. The large investments in the office areas especially address the companies operating in IT and technology zone, because here it is where we see the largest turnover regarding the human resources," said George Didoiu.

George Didoiu, Associate Director, Colliers: "The trend is going towards an area where people are encouraged to interact. The feel-like-home office started to emerge in the expectations of clients and the deliverables of developers."

Marius Istudora, Marketing Manager, Portland Trust added that the companies are currently understanding the advantages of such offices." The final solution has to be based on a consensus of the client needs and the creativity of developer. We create what the tenants need. As demanded features, the companies ask for natural light, fresh air, natural elements inserted in the structure and the office design, green spaces and even a palette of certain colors. The current office design space is defined by the created sensations and the energy that it provides."
Regarding the cities that started to emerge as well as technology hubs, as Iasi, Daniel Adumitrachioaiei, HRD, CapGemini states that the city doesn't offer enough office spaces at this time. "The collaborative office space and work process should prevail over the classical patterns," the manager says.
Marius Istudora, Marketing Manager, Portland Trust: "The final solution has to be based on a consensus of the client needs and the creativity of developer. We create what the tenants need"
How to become people savvy?

Setting a balanced working environment, a proper context for communication inside the working teams and among departments. These are the provocative goals when the subject refers to customer engagement and making people committed to the company values and business objectives. Teodora Todoran, Head, Training Function – Europe, Wipro Limited, explained: "The things related to the interaction with the customer must be firstly solved within the working teams of a company., the real people working inside the company. It has all to do with internal interaction. We need to address the development of a healthy working environment defined by balance and suitable for people interaction. It is also interesting to analyze the employees' real interest to develop, their skills, technical or soft, how much interest they show regarding working tools. We need to related to a punctual and well positioned interest in the large context of a certain job, task or activity. I think the paramount need of companies and business leaders is to switch the paradigm from what we think they need and what they really need for their job. We have to validate the requests through one another."

By 2019, as Andrei Romanescu shows, there are expected four generations working in the same time in a company and the efforts should address each generation in their own way. The trends of the current and following years underline the importance of people skills and leadership forming. In this context, the differentiation of coaching from mentoring has to be done. As the Wipro manager shows, the trainer should base on the coaching. "As trainer, you should know that the audience is the focus, not the other way around. As we access a lot of information due to technology, the knowledge transfer is done through technology in a great amount these days. So this can help the trainer in disseminating the knowledge and make it applicable on a certain situation." As Teodora Todoran showed, nowadays, the employees are not willing to spend hours or a full day involved in the training sessions, and the technology can shorten the path. "A trainer that will not use technology in delivering the knowledge, will become soon obsolete. He can create the curiosity for its course through technology, prior the training session, while during the hours assigned for training, the trainer can involve the audience in exercises, practical cases and exclusively applications of the course, "the Wipro manager says.

Teodora Todoran, Head, Training Function – Europe, Wipro Limited: "We need to address the development of a healthy working environment defined by balance and suitable for people interaction"
But how to trigger the curiosity of the employee or an audience? Especially in the academic environment, as its representatives often complains, the students seem to lack the joy of curiosity and learning beyond the required. The young generations simply don't want to learn something new or beyond the curricula. This problem also occurs in several eLearning courses when the employee or the course user has only to read the materials and acknowledge it through simple clicks. The submit' s button of the eLearning course completes a process that doesn't necessarily - and often doesn't – translate into a knowledge transfer process. The advice offered by the professionals in the companies is to bring the information beyond the online and mobile, to make people interact more and trigger the feedback over the courses. Once the course taker is engaged in analyzing and self-assigned conclusions over the course, he might find useful and interesting to "not just click" and to learn from the provided experience of learning.
Changing the paradigm of learning
The discussions in the panel of OT Learning and Development's roundtable underlined the necessity of providing the learning and the knowledge transfer when the necessity occurs, customized and applicable on each type of job and professional individuality. As Francine Rosca, Global Head of Employee Learning Experience, HP stated during the discussions, if the technical trainings can benefit from a schedule and timeline, the trainings that involve more exhaustive and complex information require a different approach in developing, offering and analyzing them. "We should focus not on eLearning consumption, but on the applicability of punctual features of the courses, to address a specific need, through customized programs adjusted according to tasks and employee's individuality. It has to result into a transfer of knowledge into practice," Francine Rosca stated.

The HP manager underlined the importance of concepts such as goal mindset. "There is a strong need with benefits in the company's future for encouraging the employees to invest time in learning. Within the job, the employee can be so focused on delivering the tasks he is asked that the resources of time and efforts for learning and professional development are forgotten or are perceived as nice to have. The goal mindset concept comes to facilitate this and has been integrated together with our leadership tools. All the managers in the company are aware of these concepts," Francine Rosca explained. According to the HP manager, a major issue in approaching the learning process while also performing as employee in a company is the fear of failure and errors. "The process of learning has a large component of learning from mistakes. One needs to assume the risk of failure in order to evolve while the employee needs to be assured and reassured that the failure is a tool to learn, not to be punished," the HP manager adds.

Francine Rosca, Global Head of Employee Learning Experience, HP: "We should focus not on eLearning overall consumption, but on the applicability of punctual features of the courses, to address a specific need, through customized programs adjusted according to tasks and employee's individuality. It has to result into a transfer of knowledge into practice"

Also, concepts such as critical thinking and design thinking are concepts applied by HP company, as Francine Rosca states. The company leadership, as she states, offered a very clear direction of these concepts towards creating innovation in the company. "This innovation automatically targeted all the company's processes, from product development, models, customer engagement and HR. Design thinking applies when the innovation is combined with the human features, involving the necessity of human skills. Design thinking means empathizing with the customer, understanding customer behavior and reactions, needs and demands," Francine Rosca stated. As she explained, one the customer's emotions and behavior patterns are fully understood, the final and proper solution can be delimitated from all the others. "The so called extreme users or customers can express the needs and deliver the proper solution, apart from the traditional ones which only validates the already used processes," the HP manager explained.

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