Learning in corporate groups means the balancing act between centralized education controlling and individualized continuing education offerings. In this interview, we talk to Digital Learning Expert Anke Wygold about how Masterplan client E.ON masters this balancing act, which metrics can be used to measure learning success, and what it means to be a learning organization.
Masterplan: Hi Anke, what role does learning play in your company?
Anke Wygold: Learning is an absolute focus topic at E.ON. A vibrant learning culture is a crucial success factor for implementing our corporate strategy, which focuses on digitalization, growth and sustainability.
In this regard, learning is a key competitive factor and ultimately an important success factor for acquiring and retaining good talent. We also see this in job interviews: Applicants are increasingly actively asking what they can expect in terms of internal learning and development opportunities at our company.
How do you find out what learning solutions work and how do you evaluate the success of your internal learning initiatives?
What we systematically measure is learning time across all learning offerings. From our LMS to Masterplan to offline seminars, we record how many training hours were completed. At the moment, this primarily relates to formal offerings. For other learning formats, such as "Lunch&Learn", "Kolleg:innen train Kolleg:innen" or "Working out Loud", learning times are not currently recorded.
The average learning time per employee is then evaluated for the measured offerings, with the goal of continually improving this metric. In addition, engagement is an important topic.
The convincing completion rate was also a decisive factor in E.ON's decision to use Masterplan. We are considering tracking corresponding key figures in this area even more intensively in the future.
Apart from learning time and engagement, what other metrics play a role in measuring learning effects?
We regularly conduct an employee survey with a selection of 10,000 to 15,000 colleagues. This is more about evaluation: How satisfied are we with the learning opportunities, do the formats and content strike a chord?
How are learning goals defined for individual employees?
At the beginning of the year, we hold annual goal discussions, which also include a personal development plan. It is in this plan where specific development and learning goals are agreed upon.
The manager and the employee could agree, for example, that the employee will take a further training course to become a Scrum Master, which will then be completed. Ideally, it would also be decided at the same time which projects in everyday work would follow the course and which other tasks would build on this.
In the half-yearly interim meeting, it is then determined whether everything has gone as planned and whether the learning transfer has really taken place. These elements are to become obligatory in our regular feedback meetings.
And how is awareness of the respective roles in the learning process raised?
We are currently working on a company-wide corresponding up-skilling, which has the following objectives: First, to communicate to employees that learning also means personal responsibility and how they can define learning goals themselves. Second, to enable managers in ensuring that learning is transferred and to regularly address learning progress in feedback discussions.
Learning time, commitment, learning transfer – how are learning goals and learning effects systematically recorded at a large corporation like E.ON?
In the future, a central system will route all learning opportunities at E.ON and be linked to a digitized skills management system. This will enable us to match learning opportunities with organizational needs. This way, we can centrally map where we want to go, which skills we require for this, and which learning opportunities teach these skills.
We takeaway: Learning is prioritized at E.ON. What do you think are the key factors for a successful learning culture?
Three things are crucial:
- Commitment to prioritizing learning on the part of top management
- Appreciation of learning in the company
- Time to learn for employees
The time factor is always a critical issue. It is important that employees are given the time to learn and are able to learn at their own pace. Digital learning solutions, such as Masterplan, are crucial here, as they allow learning in the company to be organized flexibly on an individual basis.
In order to remain competitive, learning must ultimately always be an integral part of the corporate strategy and as such must be exemplified and valued by the upper and middle management and employees, alike.
Without this self-image, it is not possible, and our masterplan is to become a learning organization.
Anke Wygold, thank you very much for the interview!