Growth of employees has become a priority for most organisations today, and growth does not only happen through promotions and pay raises alone. Upskilling of employees is a key area that needs attention in order to keep employees relevant and updated.
Many companies offer certification programmes and e-learning modules to ensure that their employees keep learning continuously. However, Barco, a technology firm that specialises in digital projection and imaging technology has gone a step further. It has come up with an initiative called ‘Learning Tuesdays.’
Started by Barco during the pandemic in 2021, when most of the workforce was working remotely, the programme, unlike what its name may suggest, involves much more than learning.
Peer-to-peer learning: During the pandemic, a very big challenge for most organisations was ensuring collaboration and bonding between remote workers.
Dimple Rawat, director – HR, Barco, explains that the ‘Learning Tuesdays’ initiative is based on peer-to-peer learning. Any one from across teams and departments may select a topic pertaining to their field, and take a learning session on that topic for all participants.
“‘Learning Tuesdays’ has been a blessing for our freshers. During their onboarding process, it helps them understand the culture of Barco and assimilate with others easily”
Dimple Rawat, director – HR, Barco
Cross-functional learning: A session takes place every Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., which is voluntarily attended by employees from across departments. The name of the person taking the session and the topic are decided a week prior to the session. “We line up the mentors for the whole month, in advance,” shares Rawat.
The beauty of this initiative is that anybody can participate in these sessions regardless of their role. “I am in HR but I participated in a session on Metaverse, which really interests me,” reveals Rawat.
Therefore, this programme also boosts cross-functional knowledge sharing.
“The best part is that the sessions are conducted by subject-matter experts. For similar learning sessions, people usually engage external mentors at a cost, but here we offer such rich content for free!” Rawat asserts.
Bonding: The ‘Learning Tuesdays’ initiative also boosts bonding amongst people, as participants gather together and interactions take place. Though many employees at Barco are working from the office now, there are certain employees who are still working remotely, but they join the ‘Learning Tuesdays’ sessions virtually. Since everyone comes together to learn, there are a lot of opportunities to bond, learn and reflect.
In fact, Rawat shares that more than anything else, “‘Learning Tuesdays’ has been a blessing for our freshers. During their onboarding process, it helps them understand the culture of Barco and assimilate with others easily”.
Even during the lockdowns, Barco made 200 hirings and ‘Learning Tuesdays’ was a great platform for the new entrants to interact and learn together with all.
Confidence building: From the mentors’ point of view too, these sessions are rather beneficial. By taking sessions on topics of their interest and choice, they feel more confident while sharing their knowledge and are more involved in the presentation. “It helps the mentors improve their oratory skills and gain more confidence in public speaking,” confirms Rawat.
Empathy: Rawat feels that ‘Learning Tuesdays’ has been a great success for the firm in generating empathy in people as well. “Through these sessions, we also get to know what it takes to carry out the roles people are in. It builds empathy and understanding,” says Rawat.
There was another initiative called ‘Sales Evangelist’, which has been dissolved now. That too helped Barco build empathy amongst employees. Rawat reveals that the programme was started by the CEO himself. A group was formed of which the sales personnel and engineers were a part.
Many a time, it is difficult for the sales professionals to resolve customer issues as it involves technical understanding. In such cases, an engineer’s intervention becomes necessary to resolve the issue. Therefore, as part of this initiative, the engineers travelled onsite to solve customer issues instead of the sales professionals. “It helped the engineers understand the pain points of our sales professionals and feel empathetic towards each other,” Rawat explains.
Barco has various other learning initiatives such as certifications in different areas of engineering, as well as emerging skills, including cybersecurity.