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Ready for learning?

27 July 2021

The efficiency of courses is still very low. One of the reasons employees do not absorb the knowledge is that they are mentally not ready for it. Randstad Risesmart is now implementing a digital tool that facilitates better planning of employee training - who, when, and which course.

When employees are not in the right mindset, when they are not ready to take on new knowledge and do not feel energised to achieve, training is predestined to fail. Randstad Risesmart now offers an analysis – Growth Mindset Manager - that is based on simple games on the PC or smartphone. Participants can repeat the test as many times as they want. Each participant is given a score, depending on the speed of the reactions and the mistakes made. This score determines whether they are ready for learning.

Mental state is crucial.

The technology behind this analysis was developed by Stijn Quanten. He supports organisations in these development pathways and has garnered a reputation through his work for football clubs such as AC Milan and RC Genk. “Companies create development plans and cram them full of knowledge, tools, and other great stuff, but they do not pinpoint who is going to which course and when. We have established that the mental state of the participants is the deciding factor in the process of digesting, storing and applying this information. We map these matters out. In this, it is important to be aware that this score changes over time. The tool helps organisations to adapt their training plans to each individual employee’s readiness. It means you can divide a group into those who are ready and others who would be better off starting at a later date.”

Bernadette Laermans, career advisor and energy coach at Randstad Risesmart: “It is something I have also experienced, and probably many other people too. Sometimes you are offered a learning pathway, but you can’t remember a thing after a month. I was just not ready, even though I had really looked forward to it. Then the next session worked out fine.”

“It is simply not right to offer the employee new knowledge in the hopes that the employee masters it and applies it in a practical situation. The company’s attitude towards the learning pathway is also very important in this issue”, Stijn Quanten says.

Coach Pascale Van Houte: “Shifting the courses like this shouldn’t be a problem at all in a modern learning environment that is based on blended learning. Employees go ahead and work through the content they can individually manage at a time they are personally ready. This does mean the group sessions and interactive workshops have to be rescheduled.”

Traditional inefficiency

The Randstad Risesmart discussion partners refer to American figures on the efficiency of training. 359 billion is spent every year on courses and competence training in the United States alone. Performance improvement is demonstrated in only 1 out of 4 cases. However, in 1 out of 8 cases, the employee learns a new skill. This shows there is an enormous lack of efficiency in training. “This is a wake-up call for the coaches. We will endeavour to offer part of the solution to this problem”, says Stijn Quanten.

He refers to the mindset theory as formulated by Carol Dweck. He used it as a basis for the development of a tool that can offer a quick analysis of an employee’s readiness for the particular course. Stijn Quanten: “Together, we map out the state of someone’s mindset. This is important in the first phase of learning: encoding new knowledge - impossible if you are not open to new competencies. I interpret the theory on the fixed and growth mindset as a continuum, not a binary system. People are sometimes fixed, so not ready for new knowledge, but at other times they are, to varying degrees.”

Individuals as well as groups

Stijn Quanten and his team provide the analysis, Randstad Risesmart works with the organisation to process all the data and translate it into a schedule for courses and training. To do this, they not only use the employees’ individual scores, but also the group or department dashboards.

Bernadette Laermans: “For companies, this is what’s very interesting. They want to know why the financial department is able to start learning, but the marketing team isn’t yet. It is important for management to understand the mood in the various departments. For example, the arrival of a new supervisor or internal tensions could push the team out of balance and as such, not ready for learning. It is important to restore balance before considering courses and training.”

“I also believe in a short 15-minute test, repeated regularly, because it allows us to follow up on how things are evolving and direct the courses accordingly”, Stijn Quanten says. “Is it a great support for HR directors if it enables them to gather more data and create reports, helping them to help their organisation progress. It also makes them more visible to the executive board. Also, it offers an instant dashboard for the ROI of the courses.”

He points out that employees are also given a report. This shows the openness of the organisation and places some of the responsibility on the staff member.


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