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Education is crucial for active social, cultural, political or economic participation in society – that is why the right to education is enshrined in the fundamental rights of the European Union. Knowledge and education are the foundations for great innovations and essential for a more sustainable future. The more we educate ourselves, the better we can advise our customers. Thus providing added value for them and our society. For these reasons, Schneider Electric places great value on offering its employees various development opportunities. We are very pleased that Franziska Reiners, Learning Solutions Manager for the DACH region, will give us an insight into the many further training opportunities on this very special occasion; International Day of Education 2024.
Please introduce yourself and your role at Schneider Electric!
Hi, I’m Franzi and I work as a Learning Solutions Manager at Schneider Electric in Ratingen. I have been with Schneider Electric for nine years now and have worked in various roles in human resource management. Since 2020 I’ve been involved in the learning field – it’s a very diverse role that I really enjoy. I am responsible for all non-technical training in the DACH region and advise our HR business partners and managers to help build the right competencies within the company.
What do you focus on in your job and what is your superior goal?
Non-technical training covers all topics related to our Future Skills such as digitalization, data, AI, sustainability, agility, as well as traditional topics like successful communication and presentation. It also includes all development measures for our managers and colleagues. Since we have a large sales organization in the DACH region, I am also responsible for upskilling our sales team.
What importance do education and learning have in the work context for you and Schneider Electric?
I think it’s great that learning has always been a priority for Schneider, which is also reflected in our core values. Only when we are curious and believe that we can learn anything, are we prepared for the future. Since the pandemic, we have all felt a significant acceleration of this topic. The world is becoming more digital, and AI is giving it an extra push! Other factors such as demographic change also mean a major shift in required skills for us. This is something all employees should understand in terms of their employability (even outside of Schneider Electric). We provide our employees with numerous resources, e-learnings, coaching, webinars, and live events to build new skills. In the end, however, everyone is responsible for giving learning enough space and time in their daily work. ‘Learning in The Flow of Work’ is the new buzzword for this!
How flexible can employees be in the learning environment?
Ideally, each employee can choose the training that suits them best and complete it flexibly in terms of time and location. We want learning to become a personal goal for our employees and not be solely driven by the company. The dynamic market environment shows us that the lifespan of technical skills is decreasing, so we particularly recommend investing in the Future Skills I mentioned earlier. This way, we can best advise our customers in the long term.
There are many further training opportunities at Schneider Electric, can you give us an example?
In addition to the learning management system, we also offer our employees the so-called OTM – an AI-supported Open Talent Market that offers numerous development opportunities: e.g. mentoring offers, offers for exciting global projects and internal job opportunities. We also utilize a reverse mentoring program specifically designed for future skills.
However, there are also some topics that are mandatory for all employees every year to understand the overarching company goals and ensure the company’s competitiveness. We call these training courses Schneider Essentials; they ensure that we train our employees on the topics of corruption, cybersecurity, and occupational safety, among other things.
Do learning opportunities also go hand in hand with the company’s strategic goals?
Absolutely, every year we get together with global and local management to ensure that development measures align with strategic company goals. Recently our CEO Peter Herweck published the priorities for 2024, these include, for example, the topic of Agility and Speed: “Respond to consistent change while being more efficient”. To achieve this, our employees must master future skills. They drive innovation and create efficiencies, for example using AI.
Can you explain the 3-E model within Schneider Electric’s learning culture?
In addition to the classic ways such as eLearning, webinars, or live training, we also offer units with external trainers that follow up on classic trainings. We call this the “3-E Model”: Education, Exposure and Experience. Classic training courses cover the basic knowledge level here, forming the foundation of education. To anchor this knowledge, one must apply it – here we are referring to exposure. Mentoring, coaching, and job shadowing are, for example, ways to apply newly acquired knowledge. Then you should practice, practice, practice – experience is the key word. This involves, for example, working on a project that particularly challenges the new skills.
Are there learning opportunities that are particularly popular with employees? What offers does the company currently attach great importance to?
We have developed the GROW learning path to support our trainees and dual students right from the start, emphasizing its importance. We believe it is very important to provide important skills that will help employees in everyday working life right from the start. This also includes topics that increase awareness of mental health. Part of the learning path is also a training series about sustainability, the “Sustainability School”. The videos present topics such as climate change and its effects in an understandable manner. Sustainability is in Schneider Electric’s DNA, and we rely on the knowledge and understanding of all our employees to shape a more sustainable present and future.
What do you enjoy most about your job as a Learning Solutions Manager?
I love how varied the job is. I get to work with colleagues from so many different areas, locally and globally, and watch us grow as an organization. Plus, you learn so much yourself when you deal with these future topics!
Finally, what is something that is close to your heart about the topic of learning and education?
I would say: There is nothing you cannot learn! If we all decide to continue to actively learn and be open to new things every day, we will not only help the company grow, but also, first and foremost, grow ourselves.
Thank you for this great insight, Franzi. We wish you and your team some very successful upcoming projects and can only thank you for pushing these topics forward. We really appreciate the large, free training offering at Schneider Electric and are looking forward to learning new things and developing further this year!