- Insight & internal stories
10 days a year dedicated to personal development – staff training at iCon
Ten days a year for personal development and the strict instruction to use them all – that’s the norm at innogy Consulting and goes to show just how highly we rate staff training. The training days can be selected entirely individually – be it to deepen one’s knowledge of the energy sector, improve communications skills or gather tips for day-to-day consulting work. The goal is always personal development. Our staff training portfolio is very diverse with a lot of variety, something that I personally really appreciate. As a result, I have already been able to get a lot out of it in terms of my personal and professional development. For instance, this year alone I already made use of the following training days: Logical Thought and Formulation According to the “Pyramid Principle”, Rhetoric & Dialect as well as Project Leadership. I find the abundance of practical exercises especially helpful, as well as the way we actively reflect on how we can actually use the contents of the seminar when working on a project. We are often asked in advance to bring along current topics from the projects we are working on. This is a great way to link theory and practice.
Individual further training programme
We are free to choose which sessions we want to attend ourselves, with the agreement of our superiors. There are generally three types of seminar to choose from:
- Classic classroom seminars
- Spotlight seminars
- Online seminars
The classic classroom seminars may sound like dry theory, but in reality they are very interactive and based on our needs. Topics are highly varied – including specialist sessions on energy economics, social skills and communication or general consulting skills. Spotlight seminars are also very helpful, especially in terms of tips for making our lives as consultants easier – including advice on achieving “inbox zero”, an empty inbox. Online seminars can be completed with a high level of flexibility – either at our desks, in the lunch break or from home. We use the platforms Lynda and edX to access individual, self-guided further training options.
The special thing about iCon is that if we are interested in or require training in a specific area, we can suggest external training sessions which iCon will then usually help support and finance. Language courses as well as master’s programmes, MBAs or PhDs are also supported, provided they represent a benefit for both sides.
Feedback to boost growth
Further development is a core component of our culture and way of working at iCon. There is a focus on how and in what direction we want to develop as consultants. For this reason, regular feedback sessions are held alongside the seminars with the manager in charge. We do this every two weeks within the projects themselves, and every three months we get a detailed written evaluation. These are both designed to promote individual strengths as well as recognise weak points and break them down step by step. In this vein, each consultant is assigned an appropriate role within the projects to specifically develop his or her weak points. So we are regularly taken out of our comfort zone. That might not always be pleasant at first. But the feedback sessions are very constructive in nature, meaning that I could personally take a lot away from them – and not just in terms of professional development, either.
Learning from and with one another
Many of the seminars are held by experienced iCon consultants. This means that we can build on our internal network at the same time and meet new colleagues from other divisions. What’s more, any consultant can simply suggest a certain topic that he or she knows well or sees a need for and then independently develop a seminar to cover it. This is a great way for everyone to make an individual contribution and learn something new themselves in the process. And the development of individual training sessions and seminars isn’t just limited to internal use at innogy Consulting. I myself prepared and held a talk on the “Strategy and Orientation of innogy” through one of my old professors at university. I received direct internal support for this project, which I though was excellent, and it was a nice change from everyday consulting. All employees have the chance to expand their horizons in line with their interests in this way.
Alongside my own personal experiences, I also wanted to add a few insights into staff training possibilities from the point of view of the company. So I talked to my colleague Pia Sielemann from HR.
Why is staff training so important for innogy Consulting?
It’s simply a part of our culture. A consulting firm always aims to further develop its employees; after all, the knowledge and skills of our team form the basis of our consulting services. For us, there is the added dimension of training the management elite of tomorrow. To do so, the consultants need a very diverse, well-developed skill set, which is built on through seminars and staff training in addition to learning on the job.
What is special about the staff training opportunities at innogy Consulting?
We put importance on giving our consultants the right content and the right seminars for their individual needs. Communication between consultant, superior and HR is extremely important for this, so that in the end both sides can benefit from the staff training options and generate added value – both on a personal and professional level.
Are there plans for new staff training options at innogy Consulting?
We see ourselves as a “learning organisation” and continue to develop ourselves to that effect. That’s why our HR team is trying to actively integrate the topic of staff training into the consultants’ everyday activities, for instance using new media, so that training sessions and seminars become a permanent fixture. We are also constantly reviewing our portfolio, picking up new trends – both in terms of content and format – and trying to offer as diverse and topical options as possible.