Felkel: Formal Education is no Longer Sufficient for Employee Development

Felkel: Formal Education is no Longer Sufficient for Employee Development

Foto: Dražen Tomić/Tomich Productions

HT Management Board member Marija Felkel emphasizes the need for constant investing in knowledge and education, and the strongest domestic telecom operator is constantly doing it. She notes that development programs derive from the needs of the business realized through the HT Academy, Technical, and Marketing, enable our employees to inspect the latest trends and achievements in these segments.

Also, Felkel points out the Skillsoft platform, which offers over 7,000 courses from various areas, 46,000 online books, and 65,000 video content. Content includes business skills, soft skills, IT skills, and preparatory certification training. Magenta MOOC (Massive Open Online Cours) is an online learning course involving employees of the entire Deutsche Telekom Group. The courses are interactive and allow for virtual communication between the participants.

In the era of digital transformation, the people are the key. How to transform the organization in the digital era and transform the employees?

The key is to transform the way of thinking. The “old ways,“ or “That’s the way we’ve   always done it” are over. The change cannot be achieved overnight. It is the change of the paradigm in people’s mindset.

What we need is creativity, out of the box thinking and curiosity. If someone does not have attitude towards constant learning, you cannot impose it on them. The company is motivating, supporting and promoting the lifelong learning offering innovative, flexible and fun ways of education, but the responsibility to be open to embrace new knowledge is on us. I dare to say that in Hrvatski Telekom people are well aware of the incremental need of lifelong learning – that imposes an even bigger responsibility on us to offer state of the art educations according to business and employees’ needs.

Besides, organization is transforming as well. Digital era gives us flexibility in learning, but also in the way we work. Various flexible working models and remote work come as a consequence and requirement. We have introduced a pilot program “Friday in slippers” which is actually work from home on the last Friday of the month. We are ready to go with more flexibility, and therefore are supporting the initiative to harmonize current regulation accordingly. Also, strict organizational structure is more and more being replaced by cross-functional project teams.

What type of education does HT offer to employees?

Formal educations are becoming insufficient for employees’ development, and new learning formats are becoming significant.

In Hrvatski Telekom, we have accumulated huge knowledge which has been shared internally through diverse channels. Tailored development programs based on the business needs are coming to life through HT Academy, Technical, and Marketing. They give to our employees an insight into the latest trends and achievements in specific area. Our experts in the role of T Trainer or lecturer at Knowledge on Thursdays share their expertize with employees.

On the job training guided by a mentor, challenging tasks, job rotation in the HT Group, or even internationally, DT Group – became the everyday tools in achieving new skills and competencies.  Of course, professional educations, certifications and soft skills trainings still play significant role in employees’ education.

As a digital company, we are encouraging digital learning through modern online platforms which enables flexibility. This is a popular learning-on-demand – employees access the content when and where they choose to. They can interrupt their learning and continue latter on. The learning becomes fun – with more and more elements of a game.

In Hrvatski Telekom, we are improving our English through Learnlight platform. Skillsoft platform offers more than 7000 courses from different fields – business skills, soft skills, IT, preparation for certifications, etc. Softskill offers 46000 online books and 65000 videos. Something for everybody!

Magenta MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is the online learning platform for the employees of the whole Deutsche Telekom Group. The courses are interactive and enable the communication between the participants.

I would like to emphasize that new ways of learning and development bring us to the fact that employee become responsible for their own development: company gives an opportunity, and it is up to the employee to use it. In a digital company, the knowledge is all around, achievable in every moment – it’s up to us to grab it. That makes us responsible for our own growth.

Formal education like faculty and then MBA is sometimes crucial for getting a job in the corporation. What do you think about it?

Formal education is important, because it gives good basics, teaches you how to learn and gives a new perspective. However, the fact that our industry is changing at an increasing speed influence the change of the formats of educations. The emphasis is on specific competencies and skills needed for the specific jobs, which makes us flexible regarding the formal education. On-the-job training where the employee is learning on the job he is performing guided by a mentor is becoming more important. The knowledge we are looking for is tailor made according to specific business needs.  To conclude, everything depends on the job requirements – sometimes the knowledge is needed, sometimes the specific skill is crucial.

In what period os good to go on MBA education and way? Is there any obstacle for young or older employees to go to MBA regarding career management?

I wouldn’t say any particular time is good. It depends on personal career path and willingness. From the company’s perspective, we are supporting employees who are willing to attend such programs according to defined criteria and business needs.

The age of employee is not among those criteria.

How important is it for HT to show employees the desire for learning and advancement? How do you encourage them?

We haven’t started yesterday; we have been promoting the need of lifelong learning and changing the mindset for years.  Every day, our employees experience how the industry is rapidly changing, and are well aware that if they do not upgrade their knowledge constantly, they are not competent any more to perform their job. Their individual competitiveness decreases. That is reflecting on their potential for grow and development, and on their career, consequently. This is a strong motivator.

On the other hand, employees who show the potential, are becoming the part of our talent pool which opens a door to the career advancement.

The company’s responsibility is to provide simple, flexible and even fun learning solutions that are tailored according to employee’s needs and business requirements. The digital learning plays a great role in this process, but at the end, everything depends on each person and their openness to change.

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