Stefan Jovanovski, human resources manager at A1 Macedonia: Together with our employees we will spend 50 thousand hours learning
The culture of learning is individual approach towards the need to develop, build up and acquire new knowledge. Regardless of our age or position at work, every one of us is responsible for our own continuous learning, explains Jovanovski
50 thousand hours learning in one calendar year - this is the goal of “A1 Macedonia” for their employees aiming to make them happy and fulfilled. Stefan Jovanovski is human resources manager at A1 Macedonia and he says that with the “50K A1 Learning challenge” campaign, each employee shall spend one hour per week learning. - They will not be limited. We will provide conditions for learning at work and outside working environment and studying content will not be limited. Employees interests enrich their personality, make them more competitive for the workplace and prepared for new position. We would like to know who the learning champions are and therefore we will enable all hours to be recorded in one system, says Jovanovski.
Can we define what is culture of learning in companies and what is the essence of it?
- Culture of learning is individual approach towards the need to develop yourself, build-up and acquire new knowledge. Regardless of our age or workplace, every one of us is responsible for our own continuous learning. This is one of the paradigms that we are communicating in the last three years. The initiative for continuous learning is Group’s initiative. This also means changing the approach towards personal development and the mindset of some of our colleagues, i.e. providing guidance or emphasizing the need for continuous check, actualisation of our own knowledge and gaining new. All this is for the purpose of improved performance on the current workplace or preparation for future job. Trends show that certain workplaces in the industry will disappear, need for new ones will occur or new skills will be needed for the current workplaces. Therefore, we all have obligations for continuous learning.
Why this is important for the companies?
- This is important for our company because our industry is very dynamic. Technology and introduction of innovations in our lives and homes require for people working in this field to be ready to implement it at their own workplace, to create good products that will be placed on the market by the company. We are technologically oriented company in which the knowledge is crucial, knowledge creates added value against the other companies with same equipment and similar services. Therefore, it is important for the employees to have such knowledge. In addition, I’ve read in one scientific study that 80 percent of the CEOs of global companies emphasized that the need for new skills is the major challenge they are facing now. From the employees’ perspective, the research shows that learning opportunities became the second most important factor for satisfaction at workplace. This means that at the moment of entering the workplace, newly employed persons are interested about the on the job training practices, promotion opportunities and building up their knowledge. Hence, this is one field in which the company must be prepared to respond.
Is culture of learning privilege only of large companies?
- No, because the trends in the learning process are changing. Earlier, learning usually took place in classrooms, trainings and conferences, learning imposed by the employer where it was important for the company to introduce systems or learning strategy. The microlearning is modern now. This means leaning initiated by the employee. Usually, the employees need to have a structure, to know what they want to learn, to have basic technical skills because learning nowadays happens through different media. But also, the employees need to have relevant information sources from where they will gain new knowledge, and of course they have to decide when and how they will learn. Microlearning is learning where employees use own resources and time when it is appropriate to them. This is completely different from classical learning. This means that the approach towards learning now depends on the employees’ ambitions to learn something when they want and in the manner in which they want in accordance with their ambitions, and not from the employer to a great extent.
It is important for the larger companies to provide continuous learning conditions in all segments. That was the reason for us to introduce new approach towards learning where learning will not be imposed, but the need for changing the employees’ thinking and openness to the need for learning. Our main goal is to challenge the need for learning among the employees, and they to find on their own the resources and channels through which they will gain new knowledge. Of course, we will help them in providing adequate tools for e-learning.
What are the characteristics of happy and satisfied workers in a company?
- Happiness is not a result of only one company activity and depends from several parameters. When we were measuring employees’ satisfaction, the results show that it was cumulative of several factors such as location, workplace conditions, work and private life balance, are flexible working hours and locations possible. Cumulative of these factors contributes for greater or smaller satisfaction at workplace. And, satisfaction and productivity are mutually supportive, of course.
What are the activities taken by A1 Macedonia in this respect?
- In the last month we have planned two campaigns to improve employees’ satisfaction. The first campaign is flexible working hours and flexible working location, with regular working hours of course. We have created opportunity for certain jobs to be done outside the original location. I am not going to say from home, because we have given opportunity for the employee, in agreement with the superior, to be able to work from any location provided that technical conditions are met. They can use this opportunity for two days in the month.
The second campaign is a continuous learning campaign. The aim is to accumulate 50 thousand hours learning for one calendar year. This figure of hours spent in learning should be accumulated by all employees. The name of the campaign is “50K A1 Learning challenge”.
Practically, each employee should spend one hour per week learning. They will not be limited. We will provide learning conditions at work and outside workplace, and there are no limitations to the content learned. Each interest enriches the personality and makes the employees more competitive for the work position or prepares them for another position. All hours will be recorded in one system and we would like to know who the learning champions are, so the company can give the special acknowledgement to them.
Major part of the learning takes place outside formal educational channels. I read articles, watch YouTube videos, access free online platforms or simply read books relevant for my field. Our platform enables all the learning to be recorded along with the learning topic and the minutes spend in this process. We want to be aware of all the learning that is happening to the employees, and only in this way we can learn who are the champions.
What will be the benefits for the company?
- Employees, primarily should focus on leaning that is immediately applicable at workplace and brings improvements visible and clear for both the employee and the company. At the same time, we would not like to prevent and those who wish to gain knowledge applicable in the future, and not immediately, from doing that.
What is your advice on creating sustainable learning culture in a company?
- Creating sustainable culture is related with the change of individual thinking. Learning does not end in school with the formal education. Learning is a life-long process and helps employees to remain competitive on the labour market in turbulent times or in a phase of change, thus enabling sustainability for them and their families.
Original post in MK in fakulteti.mk
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