You learn while you live is a saying that reached its full potential in the era of modern education, which is non-linear compared to previous forms. Formal education nowadays represents a foundation to be built upon, especially when it comes to professional education.
Klika recognized the significance of professional education, and in 2022, the company introduced the Learning&Development Program. We talked about the L&D platform, its significance and future plans with Zlatan Jovanović, Learning&Development Associate at Klika, who was actively involved from the beginning in setting up this educational platform.
Can you briefly describe the idea behind the Learning&Development Program at Klika? What’s the main goal of the platform?
Knowledge exchange in different ways has always been a very important part of life at Klika. You can count on the support of your teammates for any kind of learning experience. It is something I witnessed firsthand myself in the first months of working at Klika. All people were incredibly accommodating and generously shared their knowledge, and I adapted pretty quickly. The company’s fast growth in the past two years created the need for setting up processes that would enable it to function at a larger scale. Despite the increasing number of employees, the Klika Learning&Development Program aims to remain faithful to the initial idea of learning at Klika, regardless of the challenges attached to scaling this cultural aspect into a growing community. The goal of the comprehensive educational system is to help employees develop and advance in all areas related to their success in the workplace.
What were the biggest challenges while outlining something that is supposed to cover a very broad spectrum of knowledge and professions?
Setting up any new process in a growing organization is a complex task. The more comprehensive the process, the bigger the challenge. Klika L&D is meant for all employees and their knowledge and professions differ widely. There is a need to create a program that will be complex enough to meet the different needs of different people profiles, but also robust enough for efficient implementation and long-term sustainability. Achieving such a balance was the main challenge.
We approached the setup of Learning&Development very thoroughly. First, we conducted an all-around survey within the company to gather information on the needs of all employees using quantitative and qualitative methods. We also mapped out all good existing practices to incorporate them in a more or less modified form into L&D. The next step was implementing the program in stages, whereby we continuously conduct evaluations and collect feedback to this day.
Learning&Development consists of three main segments: Technology Experts, 360 Professionals and Wellbeing. What domain knowledge and skills do they cover?
Technology Experts is the area that deals with the primary skills required to perform in a certain role. We first think of these skills when we want to define, for example, what it is that an engineer does. Whether we are talking about mobile development, cloud applications or embedded systems, the goal under Technology Experts is to offer the necessary resources to people to improve their skills and enable them to become experts in their job.
360 Professionals covers all the skills that additionally facilitate work performance. They are often referred to as soft skills or interpersonal skills. Under this segment, we aim to address all the things that will help Klika employees navigate organization of tasks, relationships with colleagues and clients, team management, and so on.
The Wellbeing segment addresses mental health in the workplace. In the wake of the pandemic, this topic finally got the attention it deserved in the business world. Klika recognized its significance and we decided to devote an entire segment of our L&D Program to address mental health challenges.
We continuously implement different initiatives through these three segments to be able to respond to the needs of employees.
An exceptionally important aspect of the L&D Program is the Klika Heroes initiative. It’s a mechanism for developing and identifying experts at Klika who become valuable resources of knowledge for their colleagues. What does the concept look like and what are the requirements to become a Klika hero?
Klika Heroes is an initiative that enables engineers to establish a mentorship program with the assistance of the L&D Department with the main goal to improve professional knowledge by connecting mentors and mentees within Klika. What makes the process unique is that it offers an opportunity for both, those that are mentored and those who mentor. Both roles come with certain responsibilities and commitments. All employees who want to be a part of this program are welcome to apply. All they need to do is familiarize themselves with the different mentorship modules and select the one that suits them best.
Sessions and workshops within the L&D Program started in November and December. How did the participants initially respond? Which workshop was the most popular?
We are proud to say that the response has been very positive so far with people showing lots of interest. We had to repeat closed workshops limited in size more than once due to lots of applicants. The same happened with the Workshop on Public Speaking held by Ivor Tokić and Hatidža Hadžimuhamedović at both Klika hubs, in Banja Luka and in Sarajevo. Our open port sessions open to all employees did not lag behind in popularity, especially the one called Stress in the Workplace that was held by Employee Experience Manager Ana Perić.
Strengthening leadership skills in employees in lead positions is a special area that is highlighted throughout the Klika Leadership Academy. What does the Academy include?
The Klika Leadership Academy is a specialized educational program that focuses on our colleagues in leadership roles. Its goal is to facilitate the transition for employees who just took over a leadership role and to strengthen those who are already in a leadership position. All in all, it’s about strengthening the skillset that we can generally call leadership skills. It’s a three-year program that requires significant resources and time and it includes numerous activities.
Now that a solid basis has been set up, L&D is probably going to be enhanced in line with the needs and knowledge of employees. Will it take place periodically and how will it be defined?
There is an immense amount of in-house knowledge and expertise in different domains that serve as a basis for all above-mentioned initiatives we develop. Besides that, we also rely on external resources, mostly in the form of guest lecturers and agencies that participate in our current initiatives, and we plan to keep it that way as part of all our future activities. In addition, we also regularly support employee trips to conferences and external workshops. It is important to mention that we continuously collaborate with several faculties. Even though knowledge-sharing within the company is the core essence, we think external expertise is also important to additionally strengthen and deepen our in-house expertise. It's important to know that L&D is not taking place in a vacuum. There is always something interesting going on. For example, in a way, this magazine also shows that Klika is a company open to the industry.
Even though the L&D Program is a platform for employees, is there a possibility that some of its segments are a good fit for those just starting out in the IT industry through KLIKA PRAKSA?
KLIKA PRAKSA is a learning and development process based on hands-on experience. The interns work on a real-life project closely collaborating with experts at Klika. Currently, we are preparing for the upcoming cycle of KLIKA PRAKSA and we plan to add some activities from the L&D Program.
What will the L&D Program focus on for the rest of 2023?
In 2023, we will continue with workshops and sessions targeting the three main L&D segments. We already had a few 360 Professionals and Wellbeing workshops, and we are working on a few Technology Experts workshops, as well as certain other activities. More and more colleagues are joining the Klika Heroes initiative and it actively continues its course in 2023. Klika Leadership Academy is also in full swing. The introductory modules and activities have already been completed and we will share more about it in one of the upcoming magazine issues. We regularly monitor, evaluate and modify all our activities and we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we had a great start.