These days, the Learning & Development industry is undergoing a considerable change. Digital tools and online offers are on the rise and HR departments face new challenges as well as new possibilities when it comes to employee and leadership development. One of these new possibilities is Promote, a learning transfer platform offering the chance to sustainably manage learning transfer and development programs which go far beyond a single training-shot.
We asked Remko Verheul – Global Head of HR at Travix International and previous Program Director of the Swarovski Academy – about his experience with the new platform and his forecast for the L&D industry.
What was your first thought when you heard about the learning transfer platform Promote?
I was very positive and there are a couple of reasons why. One – Travix is very much of a tech-savvy and internet-savvy, web-based organisation so tools like Promote fit very well into our organisation. For example our Performancemanagement system is online and we also have an app for expense management. So the platform fits with the environment.
Two – It gave me – and the program, more importantly – the opportunity to move away from a one-shot investment into a mid-term or long-term trail which was also intended to be. I certainly believe that this is one of the reasons that the program or the trail itself had been successful because it ensured that people had preparation sessions and after sessions, follow-up discussions or preparation discussions. So it was a good platform to channel all this pre and after investments of the training days itself.
When you presented the tool and it’s functionality to the participants and to the board: What was their reaction? Was there a high need of explanation or was it kind of a self-runner?
It wasn’t a self-runner in the first instance. I took the decision all by myself, I didn’t really involve people in that because I was convinced that it could help and I saw how it works, that’s one. Then I sent around the video – which is easy to understand and very engaging – and the key instructions. This was the base and from there we started to work with the platform. And what I heard from people is that it’s easy to use and that they did use it, also from the managers who were supporting their participants in the trail itself – that was good. And as I said, it fits within our culture and our environment. The average age here is 32. This is a young company, people have loads of apps on their smartphones and they do everything online. So coming with something old-fashioned is no option at all.
And for you as an HR professional: Which benefits does Promote provide for you?
A couple of things. One – people come prepared and informed to a program. Two – It gives me a very easy ability and opportunity to monitor what’s going on. It’s the opportunity to see who is actively involved and who is not actively involved. If you would do things in the more…let’s say old-fashioned way you would kind of have to guess to find out how everything works out and who is just there because he/she has been sent or who is there because he/she really wants to develop. If you can see it you can also steer on it. And Promote creates an environment which is far more sustainable than just a training-shot.
A concern of HR managers could be that a learning transfer platform is nothing but more work and effort when it comes to training programs. What would you answer them?
– laughs – Well, I don’t think it’s a lot of work. Not at all. Obviously, I understand that the guys at MDI did a lot of work to set up the program. But besides of that, once it’s running it’s not at all a lot of work. I mean, like I said before, in this organisation we are a 100% internet company. Maybe in some other organisations you would organise trainings to implement a new tool. We implement new tools by switching on the button and run. So no work, I disagree with that.
How did the participants react on the platform? What did they say, how was their engagement?
What I noticed on the platform is that there were three groups when you look at the engagement. One group which is probably about 50% – maybe a little bit more – was actively using the platform multiple times during and after the program. So that’s the biggest bulb but not extreme majority. Then there was a second group who acted upon kind of invitation or reminder. They had to be engaged but then they followed. And then there was a third group who didn’t do anything at all. In our case, roughly, that group was 10-15% of the participants. I guess you always have them. Now it’s visible. And you asked before about the value of the platform, this is one. And you also see who the engaged people are.
What was your personal highlight moment with Promote during the whole learning process?
What I liked most is when I saw it’s kind of flying on itself. And you did see people actively posting things by themselves and doing things – then I got the feeling, okay, it’s no longer my platform, but they see it as their platform. That was the personal highlight for me.
The second highlight for me was that I could observe the level of preparation and participation of people. I just liked that because it tells me something about how willing people are to develop and how much they do to develop.
In the end: What do you think about digital tools like Promote in general? Is this the future of L&D?
Having a look on the training industry, I think the platform is a tremendous step forward. I know that there are a lot of good and experienced trainers. But to do a little bit of black and white and to polarize: That’s more the old model. For the new model I see much more coming from digital tools and online platforms. And as a company offering training you need to get ready and be ready for that. That also means a change of business model. In the past days 100% of the sales came in via sold training days. I guess in five to ten years that old model will be no longer the case.
So you need to be in that change. For working with Promote in the future it might be interesting where to link with other content suppliers. There are for example universities who post their lectures online. There is so much content in the web which can be valuable part of a training and of developments. I still believe there is room and there will be always room for “classroom trainings”… or maybe let’s say classroom development or group development. But if you position yourself as an organisation which is on track of the new things it becomes a competitive advantage.
About Remko Verheul
Remko Verheul is Senior talent & development director with 15 years of international experience in developing and implementing talent and development practices with strong business and human capital impact.
- Core competencies: management / executive development, talent management, international / global HR, succession planning and recruiting
- 2013 – today: Global Head of HR (Travix International)
- 2011 – 2013: Program Director Swarovski Academy (Swarovski)
- 2009 – 2011: Head of Global Talent Management (Swarovski)
- 2007 – 2009: Corporate Senior HR Manager (Swarovski)
- Previous employers: GMAC-RFC, Adidas, Vroom Consultancy
About the Travix program executed with Promote
- Leadership Program: Travix Leaders Trail
- Targets: Developing tomorrow´s leaders, increasing day-to-day performance of the managers and their direct reports, building our mantra = we grow talent
- Transfer measures: Promote Learning Transfer Platform, Self Leadership lunches, team activities, interviews with board members