During the pandemic, employees discovered a new set of challenges, because a large part of the previous support system disappeared. Where they would normally have been surrounded by colleagues and managers to offer help, they were now working from home. Grace Liu, HR Director Global Learning & Development at Delaval, noticed this shift and initiated an employee wellbeing program to offer support. She is passionate about encouraging people to learn and offering useful tools to maintain and ideally improve their happiness. Delaval partnered with Relevance to create 90-minute Boostcamp sessions. The program supports employees’ wellbeing through connection and self-reflection. After two years of successful implementation, Grace looks back on the merits of the program with Camiel Gielkens, Relevance’s CEO.
“What challenges does Delaval face?”, wonders Camiel. Grace identifies two different aspects of key challenges at Delaval, and essentially for every worldwide organization. Wellbeing was always high on their agenda, but the way of supporting employees changed tremendously the past few years. Firstly, the learning method has shifted from collective learning in a classroom to individual and digital learning. Besides challenges, this development brings opportunities. Grace: “The workforce is invited to step into new ways of learning. Instead of sitting in the traditional classroom, learning is now digital and self-paced.” Contrary to what some might expect, Grace thinks this makes learning more social. Especially in a multinational organization as Delaval, virtual learning enables colleagues from all over the world to get to know each other and share their experiences. >
The learning solution
Learning mindset as a result
< Subsequently, this virtual and multicultural learning method requires more self-reflection. Grace explains the importance of reflecting after an online learning interaction with others. “We think about questions as: ‘How do I digest what I have received from others? How do I combine this with my own core qualities and leadership style?’”. Because of the changed learning method, individual learners need to synchronize what they have learned.
Secondly, next to learning methods, learning skills are shifting too. Delaval wants to address new and different topics, such as hybrid working. Grace emphasizes the prerequisite of diversity and inclusivity, especially online: “How do I, as a manager, stay connected and available for employees in a hybrid work environment?”. Camiel: “That requires a lot of different ways of learning, with a lot more tools and variation.” For that reason, businesses are reimagining the business model and organization structure. “This is crucial, since we need to anticipate on and prepare ourselves for changes and disruptions, instead of being surprised by them,” Grace says. “In doing so, self-awareness is key. We ask ourselves what kind of awareness we have. What kind of leader am I? How can I engage my team into this digital information?”
Self-reflection poses the all too familiar question: are we good enough? Do we still have the energy to deliver and reach our goals, and perhaps reach beyond? Delaval did the same. The organization wanted to support the wellbeing of their employees, especially during the challenges that emerged during the pandemic. They organized sessions with nine topics, where participants could pick and choose which to follow, including: ‘manage your work-life balance’, ‘strengthen your resilience in changing times’ and ‘develop a positive mindset’.
"We wanted to show people we are here to help and they are not alone."
Grace: “The goal was to help employees become aware of their own wellbeing and providing tools and different support systems.” Camiel elaborates: “We saw it was not easy for people to deal with the pandemic. There were high levels of stress and uncertainty. We wanted to create a program to show employees we are here to help. To show them they are not alone. Through the 90-minute Boostcamp sessions, we aimed to connect people and decrease stress in a very accessible way.”
This was the reason, Delaval and Relevance hosted sessions of 90 minutes. Grace explains this gives participants enough time to feel comfortable to open up, feel the connection and get to know others who are facing similar challenges and learn something, without taking up too much of their time and making it feel like an obligation. Another way of making the sessions feel more causal was the self-registration process. Everybody was welcome to join, without manager approval or additional costs. This made participating easier.
Over the past two years, nearly 700 people took part in 90-minute Boostcamp Sessions. Employees say they feel encouraged, inspired and energized after participating. They enjoy connecting with people from all over the world. During the Boostcamp Sessions, they find comfort in knowing they are not alone, while simultaneously becoming aware of differences and overlaps throughout various countries and cultures. This requires a safe, inclusive environment. With these sessions, Delaval aims to support inclusivity and diversity throughout their organization. Camiel: “The program helps to create a learning and growth mindset. How to deal with emotions, difficult situations and new ways of working. With the 90-minute Boostcamp Sessions, we create a new awareness. People start to think about these topics and become more curious. Eventually, they understand the need and use of these programs better. In that sense these programs cultivate that learning mindset. As an organization, you build a platform for future leadership programs and learning interventions.”
The 90-minute Boostcamp Sessions have definitely contributed to the improved employee wellbeing and satisfaction, Grace tells us. Would she do anything differently? “No”, she says jokingly. “The program was perfect! But I would love to make learning in Delaval more personal in future. For our leadership program we offered nine different topics. I wish we could make learning even more bite-sized and personalized. To offer more creativity and flexibility.” Camiel agrees: “Making learning more personal and also in the moment of need!”