Daniel, SimScale’s Learning and Development Specialist
Daniel started his SimScale journey 5 years ago. It was his first time entering the corporate world as a working student, supporting with HR administration as well as some recruiting activities. After his studies, he then transitioned into a full-time HR Administrator, where he stayed for 4 years. Realizing that the administrational part of Human Resources was not where he saw himself long-term, he paid more attention to his interest in continuous learning & development and deepened his expertise and knowledge outside of work. As a curious person by nature, his desire to want to help other team members during their learning process expanded even more. Therefore, around 2 years ago he decided that becoming a Learning and Development Specialist was the path he wanted to pursue. Daniel had already taken several courses on the science of learning during his time in college. In mid-2020, he decided to expand his knowledge and learn the fundamentals of corporate learning and development. Within one year he learned the fundamentals of learning and development and finally, 1 year ago, SimScale allowed him to transition into his new role as a Learning and Development Specialist.
2022: A Year Filled with Many Learning Opportunities
Before Daniel transitioned into his new role, SimScale didn’t have many offerings when it came to learning and development. Therefore, 2022 has been all about building a foundation and creating more growth opportunities for our team members.
Initiating L&D at SimScale
In order to kick our learning and development efforts off, Daniel spoke with all of our team leads to conduct a training needs analysis. A training need analysis aims to analyze the current status in terms of knowledge and skills within a team. It reveals the strengths and shortcomings and enables us to act on the most important learning projects. . For the first time at SimScale, we dedicated our time to the learning and development needs of our team members, met them regularly, and as a follow-up planned this properly.
One of the many insights from the training need analysis was: some employees struggle to learn German after work. Therefore, we decided to introduce several initiatives that will support our employees to learn German. We started to offer in-house German classes again. SimScalers are now able to learn in the office and during work — a German teacher comes twice a week to our office to teach German. For those who can’t participate in the in-house classes, we rolled out a reimbursement policy. Anyone who finishes a German class with an external school provider will get most of the costs reimbursed. Our employees now have several options to improve their German, if they want to.
Executing Our Plan
The first aspect of a personal development cycle is to check where we stand and after that, it’s all about executing. Daniel started with our engineering department and spoke with many individuals from various teams to help them create individualized learning plans. The purpose behind these learning plans is that the employee sets the goal and decides where the journey will go. The L&D Specialist’s role is to support them with 1) finding the right learning format (whether it’s a workshop, book, e-learning, training, or any other of their chosen format) and 2) keeping their learning plan in mind as it makes their goals more transparent, achievable, and the outcome more successful. You start with the current situation, set yourself a learning goal, select the best learning format, and find a way to apply or measure the output (e.g. a certificate or working on a related project). Without a proper plan, learning tends to be more of a secondary activity that people choose to focus on whenever they have the time. Although learning and development activities mostly start on an individual level, we are proud to see that many of them have further continued as company initiatives and are now a crucial part of how we develop our team further.
In addition to continuous conversations Daniel has with each team member, we incorporate the idea of learning and development quite early on by having L&D check-ins with each new team member joining SimScale. After all, the entire phase of onboarding is dedicated to learning: you don’t know everything and are not as familiar with the organization’s structure, processes, or teams. Therefore, the main focus during the onboarding is learning and we want to see how our team members are doing. Oftentimes, onboardings are not structured very well. In order for us to show our new starters that we want to set them up for success, we meet regularly to see where they stand but to also let them know that learning doesn’t stop after onboarding.
Besides offering individual learning conversations and a broad format of learning options, we also started developing and visualizing career paths for several teams. It is important to us that nobody feels like they get stuck in their role and responsibilities but rather have the ability to know very transparently what their options are and where their journey at SimScale can go. Many people know about a horizontal career journey, but there are many more opportunities. This can be switching to an entirely different department and or progressing further and becoming an expert in their role. For Learning and Development, it means that we support our employees to grow into new roles, offer training, and most importantly help them achieve their developmental goals. The goal is to support our team regularly and actively during this transition and with their desire to grow with the company.
Driving Company Initiatives and Evaluating Them
In Q3 of 2022, we started to work on competency matrixes in collaboration with different supervisors. A competency matrix outlines the 5-10 key competencies in a role — competencies are what make the difference between someone who is really successful in a role and someone who may not perform as well in comparison. This matrix will guide our team members in recognizing what the most important competencies for their desired role are and what it takes to develop their skills further. The goal is not to keep it vague, but really make it clear with measurable competencies and show the difference between a beginner, an experienced team member, and an expert.
We created a longer evaluation form that measures various learning dimensions. We measure if our team members are satisfied, if they learn anything, and whether it’s applicable to their day-to-day responsibilities. In the end, we don’t just offer learning measurements, but we also want to see if the time, effort, and money are invested well.
A Successful End to 2022
As we are moving towards the end of 2022, we can proudly look back at all of our accomplishments around how learning and development have become crucial parts of our company culture and mindset.
At the moment, Daniel is in the process of helping to organize a sales training. So far, we’ve offered in 2022 several training sessions in sales: knowledge sharing, a price negotiation training, and this time the focus is going to be on cold calling training. In addition to that, another huge project will be the implementation of our mentoring program that we just kicked off by getting an idea of who is interested in participating. It is another great option in learning and development where an experienced person learns with a mentee and shares their experience, insider knowledge, etc. Ideally, the mentee sets a goal for themselves, and both mentor and mentee work on this goal.
Our Future L&D Activities
Our goal is that SimScale will be a self-learning organization, where it doesn’t matter what you want to learn — SimScale will support you. Nobody but the team member decides what they want to learn, are encouraged, and we will provide all of the resources.
If you want to learn something at SimScale, we will find a way to make this happen. Udemy, an online video-on-demand learning provider, was just a tiny step during this big process. We also offer online training with trainers and workshops in person or online. Meanwhile, we offer different language courses, and hundreds of thousands of e-learning courses that SimScale will reimburse. Our plan is to offer the same with books. In the end, our main goal is to support everyone regardless of their desires.
Stay tuned for more insights into SimScale and see what the team has been up to on our @lifeatsimscale Instagram feed. Want to start your own SimScale story? Make sure to keep an eye on our careers page for possible openings!