Article: What's the key to AdNovum's success in learning? A closer look at their HR Head's approach


What's the key to AdNovum's success in learning? A closer look at their HR Head's approach

According to Susann Burki, the adoption of blended learning enables us to extend the accessibility of our Learning & Development programs worldwide, concurrently nurturing significant cross-cultural learning within every workshop.
What's the key to AdNovum's success in learning? A closer look at their HR Head's approach

The traditional notion of a linear career trajectory with static skill sets is becoming obsolete. Instead, adaptability, agility, and continuous learning have emerged as indispensable attributes for both individuals and organisations to thrive. Learning and development (L&D) serve as the cornerstone for navigating this dynamic environment. Without ongoing learning initiatives, individuals risk falling behind in acquiring the skills needed to remain relevant in their fields. 

Similarly, organisations that neglect L&D initiatives find themselves ill-prepared to innovate, compete, and respond to changing market dynamics effectively. In essence, the future of work is synonymous with the future of learning. Moreover, the rapid pace of technological innovation means that job roles and requirements are constantly evolving. As automation and artificial intelligence reshape industries, certain tasks become automated, while new opportunities emerge. 

This necessitates a continuous cycle of upskilling and reskilling to ensure that the workforce remains capable of performing in-demand roles and leveraging emerging technologies. Furthermore, fostering a culture of learning and development not only enhances individual employability but also contributes to organisational growth and resilience. 

Susann Burki, Head of People at AdNovum Singapore believes that employees who are empowered to expand their skill sets and pursue professional development are more engaged, motivated, and loyal. They bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the table, driving creativity and problem-solving within the organisation. Therefore, the symbiotic relationship between learning and development and the future of work is undeniable. 

In an exclusive interview with People Matters, she shared as the landscape continues to evolve, organisations must prioritise L&D initiatives to equip their workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary to adapt, innovate, and succeed in the increasingly dynamic global marketplace. 

Excerpts from the interview:  

In today's workplace landscape, fostering an inclusive culture is paramount. How do you go about developing inclusive cultures that promote genuine connections and a sense of belonging for all employees?

In today’s dynamic workplace landscape, fostering an inclusive culture is not just a buzzword or trend, but a strategic imperative for organisational success and sustainable growth.  Building genuine connections and cultivating a sense of belonging among employees is key to unlocking their full potential and driving sustainable growth. The diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of inclusive team foster creativity, and innovation. This leads to smarter problem-solving, improved products & services and faster adaptation. All is essential to us as we always strive for the best solution to create lasting business value for our customers.

Our commitment to inclusion extends far beyond a single initiative. We leverage a multifaceted approach that prioritises key pillars:

  • Psychological Safety and Positive Failure Culture: We champion a safe space for learning and growth. By regularly sharing failure stories and promoting open discussions, we increase the social acceptance of mistakes and build trust within teams – essential ingredients for high performance and groundbreaking ideas.
  • Equality, Equity, and Inclusion in Action: Our People team champions these principles in our policies and workflows, the bedrock of a strong diverse culture. We maintain an agile mindset, constantly monitoring and adapting our policies to ensure effectiveness. For example, we offer flexible work arrangements that cater to diverse needs, such as employees planning for retirement, part-time working parents and individuals with varying schedules. 
  • Investing in People - Learning & Development and Cultural Intelligence: We believe in empowering every Adnovian to contribute to an inclusive environment. Our dedication to emotional intelligence, cross-cultural intelligence, and ongoing learning and development fosters empathy, understanding, and the ability to adapt to a diverse workforce. This can include training on unconscious bias, cultural competency programs, and mentorship opportunities that connect employees from different backgrounds.
  • Transparency and Trust The Guiding Stars: Building trust is paramount. We ensure transparency in everything we do, fostering an open culture where feedback is valued. Regular employee surveys gauge satisfaction, and salary benchmarking range transparency empowers employees with full visibility of their career paths. This commitment to open communication applies across all locations and departments.

With your background in coaching, how do you leverage techniques to drive success in HR leadership and create positive and inclusive workspaces?

I consider myself not just an HR leader but a partner to the business. I am passionate about inspiring others to build workplaces where everyone thrives, keeping my door open to any employees that have questions or concerns. 

My coaching background has enabled me to forge genuine connections and cultivate a culture of diversity and inclusion that goes beyond policies. For me, it’s about creating a sense of belonging where everyone can reach their full potential.  

Coaching and mentoring plays a big role in the day-to-day life within Adnovum. We have extensive career mentoring Programs and experienced coaches globally who offer internal 1:1 as well as team coaching.

Making use of coaching techniques and skills has a tremendous positive effect on our relationships at work. Some of my favourite techniques are:

Active listening is a foundational skill not just for every coach, it is the basis for effective communication and building strong relationships in professional and personal settings. 

Using metaphors as a tool can be a powerful and effective way to communicate complex ideas, facilitate understanding, in addition encouraging self-discovery and promoting positive change. 

Championing can be used in various ways, whether advocating for diversity and inclusion, supporting a product or service, or championing an individual's potential. Seeing people in their fullest potential and relate to them in that way strengthens the relationship and supports the growth of the individual.

Inquiries refer to the use of questions and queries to facilitate exploration, understanding, and self-discovery. It is an effective technique to empower individuals to reflect, gain insights, and make informed decisions. 

What are some common challenges you've encountered when implementing HR and L&D initiatives in complex multinational and multicultural settings, and how have you overcome them?

The work landscape has evolved over the past few years, presenting a myriad of different challenges in the implementation of L&D initiatives. Building cohesive teams in multicultural environments can be challenging due to different perspectives and learning needs & styles. 

I always found an experimental learning approach quite effective, here by the learner is lead through different stages of learning: Experiencing, Reflecting, Conceptualising and Experimenting. Following this approach people with diverse learning preferences and backgrounds have a fulfilling and effective learning experience. 

At Adnovum, we firmly believe that investing in the professional development of our sharp and passionate minds is crucial. We offer an extensive range of in-house and external training offerings, to ensure diverse learning needs are met and individual professional development is supported. Our experienced in-house trainers allow us to remain agile and adapt training programs to meet evolving needs and preferences swiftly, ensuring our L&D offerings stay relevant and cater to the specific skill sets and knowledge gaps identified within our teams. 

Another key element of our strategy is blended learning. This approach allows us to make our L&D offerings accessible globally while fostering valuable cross-cultural learning within each workshop. Participants from different locations and backgrounds interact and collaborate, enriching the experience for everyone. For example, we offer global training programs in leadership, collaboration, communication, technical excellence, and business acumen, accessible to all teammates across our global network. These blended learning programs not only equip employees with valuable skills but also foster cultural understanding and collaboration within our diverse teams.

We recognise that cultural expectations and work environments can vary greatly across our global locations. To ensure the effectiveness of our L&D initiatives, we prioritise continuous assessment and adaptation. We actively solicit feedback from participants and stakeholders, conduct regular evaluations of program effectiveness and make agile adjustments to programs as needed. This commitment to continuous improvement keeps our L&D programs relevant, impactful, and adaptable to the ever-evolving needs of our global workforce.

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In today's digital age, how do you leverage technology and data-driven insights to create more inclusive talent acquisition strategies and ensure diverse candidate pipelines?

The use of technology in hiring processes has become increasingly frequent in recent years. At Adnovum, we are able to identify potential biases in the recruitment process utilising data analytics, allowing us to proactively address and eliminate them.  This not only enhances the fairness of our hiring practices, but also contributes to the creation of a diverse talent pool. 

Beyond the initial screening, technology like AI allows us to reach a broader and more diverse audience through targeted online platforms and social media channels. By leveraging these tools, we extend our outreach efforts, ensuring our talent acquisition strategies resonate with a wider range of candidates – a crucial step in building a diverse workforce.

While technology is a powerful tool, it is not the only solution. We invest in training and development programs to equip our interview panels with the skills and knowledge to recognise and overcome subconscious bias. This combined approach strengthens our commitment to inclusive hiring practices and building a truly diverse team.

Looking ahead, what do you envision as the future of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, and what steps can organisations take to stay ahead of the curve? 

As we continue to navigate the evolving landscape of DEI in the workplace, I envision that we will be able to harvest the full potential of a diverse team by creating a truly inclusive work environment that is based on equity and belonging.

To achieve that and stay ahead of the curve two important factors are essential: 

Agility when it comes to initiatives and policies. DEI is a constantly evolving field and we continue to learn every day. We must have a clear vision in mind, evaluate our initiatives and policies constantly, be bold in implementing new ones and decisive if adjustments are required.

Commitment of the organisation as entity AND commitment of every individual. Organisations need to go beyond surface-level initiatives to truly integrate inclusion into their core values. Within Adnovum we know that we only succeed if we can unfold the full potential of our diverse collective by living inclusivity and creating belonging.  This commitment is embodied in our value of "One Adnovum," a philosophy that transcends mere words and has become the very culture we experience and cultivate daily. I witnessed this firsthand upon joining the company and have seen it in action ever since.

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Topics: Diversity, Learning & Development, #InternationalWomensDay, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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