Corporate Learning and Events, Team Switzerland
move!
Learning Together, Sharing the Moment

In-House Events and Corporate Learning: A Winning Combination?

Rethinking our in-house events in the age of hybrid work

Corporate learning and fun events don’t go together, right? Wrong! They absolutely do, because learning with and from one another is the most natural way of acquiring new knowledge. Add a little entertainment to the mix, and you’re learning without even knowing it. 

 

With the adoption of our hybrid work model, it was time to think up new ways of making our events truly global and bringing teams together across national borders. The new event formats had to be interactive, entertaining and capable of being held physically, remotely or in hybrid form. We wanted new paradigms that would allow us to get together for shared occasions, unconstrained by national borders. Mission accomplished! We succeeded in creating new events that are huge fun and allow us to learn without feeling like we’re learning. 

 

What follows is a round-up of our favourites – formats that enhance our learning culture while being immensely entertaining. 

Corporate Learning and Events, separator image wall

The imc Learning Festival: From Spanish courses to learning with GIFs

One format we’re especially proud of is our hybrid Learning Festival. Our employees set the programme themselves – in much the same way as a BarCamp. Anyone can give a presentation on a favourite topic, and the attendees are free to pick and choose which sessions to join. Streamed and moderated from our headquarters, the individual sessions run on Microsoft Teams so that employees from across various locations can get together, share ideas and learn from one another. The point is that the members of a team don’t necessarily all have to be physically at the same location in order to meet up. The flexibility provided by the hybrid work model means employees are free to decide whether they want to organize a get-together at a particular location or hold the event in entirely virtual form.  

Corporate Learning and Events, Learning Festival

While a colleague hosted an innovative session on 'Learning with GIFs', Senior business consultant Natalia Gonzalez, offered an interactive online Spanish session that yielded valuable cultural insights, not to mention a few handy Spanish phrases that employees can use on their next holiday abroad. “I love being able to share a little about my Mexican culture, and it was great to see how interested my colleagues were in learning something about other cultures – and how much fun they had doing it”, she says. “I’m already really looking forward to the next Learning Festival.” 

 

This new format is all about sharing knowledge and learning together. It sheds light on new possibilities for informal, festival-style learning.  

Corporate Learning and Events, Senior Business Consultant natalia Gonzalez

Breakfast, lunch or after-work party? Social learning with a new twist

Living and discussing diversity and inclusion in our company is the right thing to do and is extremely important. A few years ago, we started running various special events to mark Diversity Day and raise awareness of these important issues. This year, the organising team went a step further and came up with something extra-special for our Diversity & Inclusion Week. In an event themed ‘imc goes around the world’, each of our offices organised its own unique style of local get-together. 

 

In Freiburg, for example, the team organised a belated traditional ‘May Day hike’, while the London office held a shared breakfast. “Each team member brought along a culinary specialty typical of their national cuisine”, says Ramona Lennerhed, a senior consultant in our London office. “During the meal, each person provided a little background about the dish they had brought along. It was a wonderful opportunity to broaden our understanding of cultural differences and learn about the different personal experiences of our colleagues.”

Corporate Learning and Events, Team London

Our colleagues in Switzerland organized a physical gathering, too, opting for a team lunch. The team in Sibiu, meanwhile, gathered for a shared evening meal, enjoying great food and great company late into the night.  

 

At imc headquarters in Saarbrücken, the crew organised an after-work party, where everyone was invited to bring along culinary delights from different countries. “Even though I’m not actually based in Saarbrücken, I felt right at home and enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with colleagues I wouldn’t normally see in person. And to top it all off, we had all this amazing food. I’d definitely be up for a repeat performance”, says Franziska Filser, an instructional designer from our Freiburg office who happened to be in Saarbrücken at the time. 

Corporate Learning and Events, Office
Corporate Learning and Events, Office

This week of special events was a resounding success, as Julia Heib, an event manager and a member of the organising team, confirms: “The feedback from everyone has been overwhelmingly positive, and it was very obvious during the week that everybody around the globe was getting into the spirit of these events, despite the hybrid model. Every year, more and more colleagues are getting excited about and looking forward to imc’s Diversity & Inclusion programme.” 

 

Our week of special events was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the cultural identities of our people – as a by-product of getting together and having fun. Eating together is, after all, one of the most fundamentally unifying of human experiences.  

Learning Days: The perfect mix of upskilling and teambuilding

Here’s another prime example of how corporate learning can be integrated into a team event: the Learning Days run by our marketing and newsroom team in Saarbrücken. Themed ‘YouLearn’, the Learning Days are where the members of the team undertake professional development on a self-selected topic and then share their learnings with the whole team. This sharing takes place in a fun, informal setting, both during a shared office lunch and at after-work drinks.As well as professional development on self-selected topics, our Learning Days are a welcome opportunity to get the whole team together at the office”, says Kerstin Steffen, Director Brand Strategy. It’s all about learning together and spending time together. 

imc move! communication and collaboration standards

Short and sweet: Our espresso sessions

We also have something for all those of us who prefer virtual events: our imcINSPIRE sessions, aka ‘espresso webinars’. These brief morning sessions offer a daily infusion of new ideas on a whole range of topics, all served up by top-notch speakers. So far, we’ve raised a cup to all kinds of topics – everything from diversity and health management to teambuilding. And like a good espresso, these sessions provide a big hit for minimal input. They are another great example of packaging knowledge transfer in an inspiring event format to create a fun shared learning experience. 

Mission accomplished: Teambuilding and learning in one

So, what’s the verdict? In short: fun, entertaining events and corporate learning are not mutually exclusive. Quite the contrary, in fact. Our mission was to find event formats that enable us to learn with and from one another in a way that is rich in entertainment. Learning should not feel like learning, and we believe our new event formats deliver on this. Even so, we will continue to try out and test various formats, to see which ones we should take further, and what improvements are required. Exciting times! Where will our journey take us next?  

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Contact person

I' ve been working as a permanent member of the imc Marketing & Communication Team since 2021. The mix of creative content creation, social media and online marketing activities excites me the most about my job.

 

My goal is to inspire people with creative and innovative content and to make the imc brand more tangible.

 

My passion besides my job? Travelling a lot and discovering the world. I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions at [email protected]!

Doreen Hartmann imc
Doreen Hartmann
Junior Marketing and Communication Manager
imc brand training
Brand Training:
Understanding a Brand Means Experiencing It

The Power of Emotionally Intelligent Brand Training

How brand training can enhance employee brand loyalty

It takes a lot to build a strong brand. You need fresh and appealing brand visuals, a corporate design that’s modern and to the point, and an identity that’s bold and a little out of the ordinary. And, not least, you need employees who are engaged and totally on board.

 

Your employees influence your brand, both directly and indirectly, and help shape its external impact across all touchpoints, from initial customer contact to the actual product. Ideally, you want each and every employee to be a multiplier, positively representing your brand in dealings with friends and relatives, when out at a restaurant or at a party and, most importantly, on social media.

 

This all sounds nice, but how to achieve it? The answer is brand training. Many of our customers have been asking us about it, so we’ve decided to take a closer look, using ourselves as guinea pigs. In this article, we describe our own new brand training course, the rules we followed in devising it, and why we believe it is a worthwhile investment.

imc brand training welcome

Rule #1: Brand Engagement + Education = Brandification

When it comes to the values behind a company’s brand, the first step is for everyone in the company to get back to the basics. What are the brand’s origins? What are the principles that underpin it? What is the company’s purpose? By learning about these things, learners become aware that everyone in the company can play a part in realizing the values and goals of their brand. And because brands change over time, the learning needs to be ongoing.

 

imc is no exception. We have changed a lot over the years – and will continue to do so. As well as relaunching our brand, we want to achieve greater momentum on issues like new work, diversity and inclusion, and our own transformation. Consequently, the objective of our new brand training course is to communicate this culture shift and the underlying values in a way that is readily accessible so that we can instil in our employees a strong emotional attachment to our brand.

 

Learning objectives set out the areas and levels where change is to happen (understanding, thinking, action, etc), so it is important to define them right at the start of the brand training process.

imc brand training welcome tablet

imc Brand Training

Rule #2: Genuine attachment transforms initial attraction into a full-blown relationship

A company’s fundamental values and culture are reflected in virtually everything it does and therefore need to be understood and actively supported by its employees. New hires, in particular, must be able to rapidly internalise what their new employer’s brand means and stands for. They applied for the job out of an initial attraction to the brand, and it is now up to the company to build that attraction into a genuine relationship.

 

A successful onboarding journey is vital to this because onboarding is the first step towards brand loyalty. For this reason, companies should proactively offer onboarding experiences that are consistent with and support their brand promises.

 

That’s why the completed brand training course at imc was specifically developed for our new onboarding journey and designed to fit into our onboarding storytelling. It also works as a stand-alone training course for established imc employees.

imc brand training

imc Brand Training

To ensure that new employees find it easy to get started and engage with our brand training, we have made it an integral part of our onboarding process. We have also incorporated it into our learning management system (LMS). To reach as many learners as possible, brand training must be easy to engage with, not take up too much time, and be accessible from any location and device.

Rule #3: Turn likes into love with emotional branding

Emotional branding is very powerful. It’s the art of connecting with people by tapping into their feelings. But how do you translate this emotional aspect into online training? One very effective approach is to use elements of branding that have high recognition – such as logos, brand visuals or mascots. You can generate very strong emotional appeal by incorporating these elements into storytelling as a way of communicating your brand message.

 

We (almost) always follow our own advice, so we chose storytelling for our own brand training course. The narrator is our mascot, Max.

storytelling icon

Storytelling:

Storytelling is a communication method that uses narratives to convey information. It is widely used in knowledge management, child and adult education, journalism, psychotherapy, marketing, PR and advertising.

Max looks a little like a ghost and emerges from the dot on the “i” of imc. He starts out very pale but gradually takes on more colour as the learner progresses through the course and learns more about the imc brand.

imc mascot max

imc Mascot Max

Max features in every module of the imc brand training course. For example, in one module, he reads from a book telling the story of the company’s founder, Professor August-Wilhelm Scheer. As the course progresses, the mascot pops up to provide background on various points or quizzes the learner on content they have just covered.

Rule #4: The right implementation is everything

In our case, the right tool for creating the brand training course was Articulate Rise. It allowed the team to get involved and help shape the course right from the outset. The necessary expertise in didactics and form was provided by our inhouse instructional designer Oliver Steinhilber. “Brand training courses are very much in demand from our customers at the moment,” he says. “Everyone’s looking at learning on topics like onboarding, change and new work, and the people responsible for it in HR, marketing and internal communications want to make sure their learning content is authentic and has emotional appeal.”

authoring tools imc Express and content studio

The Right Tool:

To be sure you’re using the right tool for creating your training course, it’s best to talk to an instructional designer first. Articulate Rise is a sophisticated software application that has a reasonably steep learning curve. For less experienced users, authoring tools like imc Express provide a quicker and easier way of getting started on generating content.

Why invest in emotionally intelligent brand training?

Simple: because brand training content with emotional appeal makes it easier for employees to identify with the brand. This sense of identification improves employee motivation and therefore has a direct effect on their day-to-day work. By using brand training content that has emotional appeal, a company can also create brand ambassadors from among its own ranks – employees who will champion the company brand to both internal and external audiences.

 

Deep understanding of shared company values and genuine buy-in to the company culture lead to better communication and collaboration, as imc Director of Brand Strategy Kerstin Steffen explains: “Brand training is effective if afterwards everyone feels confident they have chosen the right employer, and all learners feel positive and excited. Effective brand training turns employees into role models who are happy to be ambassadors for the company spirit and brand message.”

Photo of Kerstin Steffen
Everyone should finish the course understanding what makes us who we are here at imc and what values we identify with – as well as what kind of cooperation and collaboration we embody and expect.
Kerstin Steffen
Director Brand Strategy
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Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Mental Health imc
move!
Improving the Wellbeing of Our Employees

New initiatives for (Mental) Health and Happiness at imc

Because if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything

The Roman poet Juvenal had it right with “mens sana in corpore sano", a proverb commonly translated as “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. In other words: our mental wellbeing and physical health are closely intertwined. And these days, both are sorely tested as we strive to reconcile the chaos and competing demands of our professional and personal lives. Increasingly, stress and overload seem to be baked in, and our health is the poorer for it.

 

Here at imc, we believe this needs to change. As part of our transition to hybrid working, we decided we wanted to offer support to all employees when they need it. We wanted to tilt the overall balance more towards health.

 

So, what tools did we come across in our mission to improve the health of our employees? And what other offerings did we choose in order to further enhance employee wellbeing and satisfaction? Read on and find out in this, our latest move! article.

move article_Onboarding imc

“Everything alright?” Why the wellbeing of our employees is so important

Whether it’s hectic schedules, demanding work commitments, or social crises, there are many sources of stress and strain in our personal and professional lives. And everyone responds differently. While some of us cope with – or even thrive on – these demands, others can feel overwhelmed.

 

“Not that it took a pandemic for us to know that the wellbeing of our employees is very important to us, but now, with the introduction of our hybrid work model, everyone has the ability to structure their working day around their personal needs and commitment,”’ says HR manager Jennifer Wilhelm. “The aim of this newly won flexibility is to help improve work-life balance and reduce stress levels.”

 

But we’re not content to stop just there. We want to take it a step further and offer a range of health benefits that actively promote job satisfaction, motivation, and mental health here at imc. In doing this, what we want is for our employees to enjoy working at imc and be able to achieve their potential, both professionally and personally, without it costing them their wellbeing.

Supporting mental health within the company

Promoting health is an important part of the imc culture and is something the company’s Executive Board takes very seriously, as board member Dr. Wolfram Jost explains: “For all of us here, the last few years have posed new challenges for our health generally, and in many cases, for our mental health in particular. We want to do all we can to support our imc family, so we decided to add voiio and My7Steps to our package of employee benefits.”

Der Vorstand der imc AG
We want to do all we can to support our imc family, so we decided to add voiio and My7Steps to our package of employee benefits.
Dr. Wolfram Jost
Member of the Board
imc AG

My7Steps is for anyone who needs short-term support for difficult life situations or personal crises. It puts people in need of help in touch with qualified psychological counsellors.

 

The second platform, voiio, gives employees access to online support for all life situations and phases. Its comprehensive offering deals with self-care, pregnancy and childbirth, relationships, jobs, caring for family members, finance, and much more, so people looking for help are sure to find what they need.

 

That all sounds good in theory, but what do imc’s employees think of these offerings, and are they even using them? We asked around, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

 

Zrinka Prša, a junior software developer at imc, had this to say about her initial experience of the courses offered by voiio: “When I found out about it, I was particularly taken with the mindfulness courses. Most of them are held early in the morning or later in the evening, which is great because they don’t take up much time, and I can try them before or after work. I can use them for an early-morning energy boost to start my day feeling focused, and at the end of the day I can use them to de-stress and unwind.”

Mental Health imc

Communications manager Nadine Kreutz is also a voiio fan. She uses it to help build a little physical movement into her day. “Like a lot of people, probably, I don’t get as much exercise as I should, particularly exercise for strengthening and mobilising my back. And I have zero interest in pre-recorded workouts of the kind found on YouTube, etc. So, I jumped at the chance to sign up for a few online back exercise programs on voiio, where the trainers model the exercises live and can even provide personal feedback on your technique, if you want. The sessions are only 15 minutes long, so you can easily fit them into your routine, whether you’re in the office or at home.”

Photo of Nadine Kreutz
The sessions are only 15 minutes long, so you can easily fit them into your routine, whether you’re in the office or at home.
Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
imc AG

imc employees as champions of improved health and wellbeing

The increasing focus on mental health at imc is also due in no small measure to the efforts of our employees themselves. Within our organisation, there has sprung up a small grassroots movement of individuals who are proactively championing and re-imagining health and wellbeing and helping to develop creative new approaches. Learning strategy consultant Katharina Kunz, for example, offers regular mini yoga sessions that have been very well received by her colleagues.

 

“I think we sometimes forget how beneficial a few minutes of calm breathing and conscious movement can be when we are feeling stressed and unfocused”, Katharina says. “That’s why I offer my Focus&Flow sessions. They don’t require any equipment, and they provide regular opportunities for fellow imc employees to consciously take time out to work on their health. And, of course, yoga is more fun in a group.”

Mental Health imc

The importance of mental health and work-life balance has also been highlighted in team-specific sessions. Product marketing manager Carlotta Pudelek welcomes this development. “I’m very pleased to see that imc is discussing this subject so openly and encouraging employees in need to accept help. In work contexts in particular, many people are reluctant to talk about mental health. And yet issues with mental health are so common, and talking about them in the open can be such a big help to those affected.”

 

All these initiatives are supported by our brand ambassador programme, where members are invited to get involved and promote employee health in the new “imc Care” pillar.

Mental Health imc

Watch this space: Health Weeks

Because health is paramount at imc, we want to go further than these two offerings and proactively raise awareness of (mental) health. We don’t want to give too much away just yet, but it’s safe to say there will be an imc Health Week featuring various special formats dedicated to health and wellbeing.

The line-up includes everything from keynote addresses to sports sessions, to information resources featuring all manner of practical tips, so there’s plenty for all of us to look forward to. We sincerely hope everyone will get on board with this and invest in their long-term wellbeing.

 

And on that note: take care of yourselves and stay healthy!

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Contact person

I' ve been working as a permanent member of the imc Marketing & Communication Team since 2021. The mix of creative content creation, social media and online marketing activities excites me the most about my job.

 

My goal is to inspire people with creative and innovative content and to make the imc brand more tangible.

 

My passion besides my job? Travelling a lot and discovering the world. I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions at [email protected]!

Doreen Hartmann imc
Doreen Hartmann
Junior Marketing and Communication Manager
imc Learning Days
move!
It’s all about Communication & Collaboration

New Work: Communication and Collaboration as Keys to Success

Why internal communication is fast becoming a core element of our hybrid work model here at imc

Hybrid working has transformed how people at imc interact with one another. While some employees prefer to work in the office on certain days, others prefer to work remotely from home – in some cases from a different country or even a different time zone. And as people head out the office door, those chance encounters at the water cooler and shared coffee breaks start to fall by the wayside. We still want to share and connect with one another of course – we just need new ways of making that happen.  

 

High time, then, to put in place some global communication and collaboration standards to ensure that the collaboration continues to work successfully. This latest move! article presents the formats we’ve come up for this and outlines the specials that the individual locations have already developed. 

move article_Onboarding imc

The golden rules for successful communication and collaboration

Our task was to review existing strategies and create new interaction formats to put our hybrid work model on a global and more professional footing while preserving our open corporate culture.  

It was clear that the success of the hybrid work model hinged in part on the introduction of harmonised (quality) standards as the basis for day-to-day communication and collaboration.  

 

We set to work developing global standards that would facilitate further creative forms of collaboration and hence opportunities for sharing and exchange. The result? Our Communication & Collaboration Guidelines. The guidelines contain ground rules for communication, hints on meeting netiquette, social media playbooks and recommended best practices. Their purpose is to guide us in our day-to-day shared work and dealings with one another. The guidelines also set globally applicable quantitative and qualitative standards for communication and collaboration at imc.  

Inspirational speakers discuss hot topics: Our imcINSPIRE sessions

As well as standards, we wanted to create formats that both bring imc employees together and create real added value.  

    

And so were born our imcINSPIRE sessions – short, punchy learning nuggets that employees can do in the time it takes to have a coffee. The sessions cover a wide range of fascinating topics, so there’s something for every imc employee. So far, we’ve had nuggets by the internal IT people on the proper use of commonly used collaboration tools like MS Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive, plus all manner of sessions on subjects ranging from diversity and personal branding to effective time management to team building. Based on the positive feedback from our colleagues, we will definitely continue to use and develop these sorts of formats.  

imc move! communication and collaboration standards

Welcome to imcUNITE

The standards and guidelines were all well and good, but there was something else that no effective internal collaboration system can be without: an informal communication channel for all employees. We had already set up a channel for this purpose, but hardly anyone knew about it, let alone used it, so we gave it a complete revamp and breathed new life into it. The result is imcUNITE. 

 

Our aim with this internal MS Teams channel is to bolster informal communication at imc so as to break up team silos and build an active imc community where everyone supports each other. The idea is that it should be quick and easy for all imc employees to keep up to date with current internal news and developments. Of course, the channel needs to be fun, too, which is why the relevant community managers regularly run a range of engaging formats and interactive specials, such as Christmas quizzes and GIF challenges.  

imc move! communication and collaboration standards

Team Switzerland: When office day becomes a major highlight

Our colleagues in Zurich head into the office every Tuesday in a shining example of how “office day” can go from a normal working day to the highlight of the week. Being on site offers valuable opportunities for informal chats with workmates during breaks. On office days, employees are encouraged to keep off-site meetings to a minimum so that they can benefit from on-site exchange and team building.  

 

The icing on the cake is the shared team lunch, which, at the express wish of the team, is always held at a nearby restaurant. “Working at the office, you’re much more in tune with what’s going on than if you’re at home,” says Vildan Ljatifi, a sales consultant in the Zurich office. “Everyone looks forward to office day because it’s the perfect antidote to working from home.”  

imc move! communication and collaboration standards

Kaffeeklatsch Ausssie-style

What better way to spend your lunchbreak on a fine day than indulging in coffee and cake with your colleagues at your favourite local cafe? This quintessentially German of pastimes has, it seems, caught on with our Australian team, who have instituted regular Coffee & Cake Meetings.  

 

The idea of these outings is that getting together in a relaxed setting over coffee and tasty treats from the desserts cabinet is a great way to foster informal interaction and dialogue outside of work. “Obviously, it’s also a way of connecting with our company’s German heritage and its ‘coffee and cake’ tradition,” says Tyson Priddle, Director Digital Learning, Australia.   

 

move! communication and collaboration

Upskilling and team building with learning days

Team spirit and collaboration are also the name of the game at our headquarters in Saarbrücken. The marketing & newsroom team, for example, holds regular “Youlearn” learning days that provide professional development on self-selected topics. They are also a welcome opportunity to get the whole team together at the office. With everyone in one place, it’s so much easier to disseminate new knowledge – and chat over a shared lunch.

imc move! communication and collaboration standards

More soon – stay tuned!

As you can see, people at all our individual locations have been working hard to create more opportunities for face-to-face collaboration and interaction. There’s a lot more to be done of course, and we’re pleased to say other teams have already signalled plans to institute their own little rituals and head back into the office more regularly, COVID restrictions permitting. We can’t wait to see what amazing ideas and creative forms of collaboration will take root to keep our imc sense of togetherness alive despite the distance that separates us. Stay tuned! 

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Contact person

I' ve been working as a permanent member of the imc Marketing & Communication Team since 2021. The mix of creative content creation, social media and online marketing activities excites me the most about my job.

 

My goal is to inspire people with creative and innovative content and to make the imc brand more tangible.

 

My passion besides my job? Travelling a lot and discovering the world. I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions at [email protected]!

Doreen Hartmann imc
Doreen Hartmann
Junior Marketing and Communication Manager
move article_Onboarding imc
move!
Turning onboarding into an experience

Welcome on board - the new imc onboarding journey

How imc is leveraging new work to create a new culture for welcoming new team members

No more boring onboarding processes! The pandemic has left its mark, and we embarked on a holistic new work approach. Now, it’s time to rethink our onboarding journey as well.

 

As a digital learning provider committed to creating digital learning experiences, this was a challenge: We had to set a high standard. While we already proved ourselves in many (onboarding) projects,we now had to design and implement a successful process at imc.

 

Challenge accepted. Hybrid, global and unique – these characteristics were a must for the onboarding journey we wanted to create while integrating gamification elements and, of course, our Learning Suite.

Well, and it should be fun. Quite the wish list.

 

At the same time, we wanted to move away from pathetic handbooks, boring guidelines, and isolated solutions for individual locations. Having an onboarding journey that inspires and motivates while turning our brand and our brand values into an experience to complement our global processes was important to us.

 

In our latest move! article, we took a look behind the scenes of the new onboarding programme and present several exclusive highlights.

move article_Onboarding imc

A different take on onboarding

We all know that exhilarating joy we feel when signing a new employment contract. The days leading up to that first day of work are usually marked by anticipation and excitement.

 

We were determined to hold onto these positive vibes. Using a hybrid approach was also a key factor. “While the imc team loves digitisation, we strongly believe in human communication. Thus, the journey should not be exclusively digital,” says Kerstin Steffen, Director Brand Strategy at imc.

 

Claire Raistrick, HR Manager and member of the Onboarding Project Team even goes a step further and sums up the grand objectives: “At imc, we believe that onboarding is an art. Each new employee contributes their uniqueness, as well as huge potential for performance and success. At imc, we create an environment that allows employees to reach their potential. Loosing the energy of a productive employee is a lost opportunity. Loosing a new employee through poor onboarding is criminal.”

Claire Raistrick
Loosing the energy of a productive employee is a lost opportunity. Loosing a new employee through poor onboarding is criminal.
Claire Raistrick
Senior Human Resources Manager
imc information multimedia communication AG

Seizing the new opportunity: Welcome to imc!

What exactly can our new recruits expect? “Today, this super-sweet – and personal – welcome message from my team arrived in the post. What a fantastic gesture! Thank you!” Vanessa Steinmann had left this comment on LinkedIn. It is but one of many examples.

 

At imc, we are confident that welcoming new team members already starts with pre-boarding. That is why we post out a personal greeting and invite our new recruits to our brand-new pre-boarding cockpit. A win-win situation: The new recruit can get a feel for our Learning Suite and start exploring everything they need for a successful start – from welcome videos to our cultural playbook. In addition, our BizQuiz is great fun while playfully offering valuable introductory information on all aspects of imc. Of course, Onboarding Buddy Smarty is always on hand to support the onboarding mission.

move article_Onboarding imc

Time for surprises

We came up with a number of specials to ensure that everything goes smooth in the first few days and weeks. The custom-created Welcome Boxes unleashed waves of enthusiasm, delighting both our existing and new team members. Jan Stauder, IT Engineer at imc, claims that everyone loved the fruit-jelly foxes resembling the “smart fox”, a popular German cartoon character. When Claudia Michels started her new role as Corporate Designer, she was over the moon to receive the imc coffee mug and clover seeds with the message stating, “We grow together.”

Our new brand training is yet another highlight in our onboarding programme. We already created this for several customers. Now, it has become a key component for our own journey. The objective: Going beyond understanding the corporate brand and diving into a full experience. In this gamified course, our mascot Smarty takes the new colleague by the hand to discover imc brand identity together.

move article_Onboarding imc

Entertainment and networking: Our Welcome Days

How do you beat this? We went another step further with our hybrid Welcome Days. Our Welcome Days are THE networking events for all new imc team members. For two days, everyone seizes the opportunity to meet imc leadership personalities, and gain insights into the product portfolio.

 

“We wanted to make sure that entertainment and networking are not neglected,” says Desiree Stroh, HR Manager and Welcome Days Host. “You can participate in activities like bingo, quizzes or the virtual photo box, that provide technical content while also offering variety and fun. These onboarding moments should make new colleagues feel that they made the right choice in joining imc and giving them memories of their first steps they can look back on with a smile.” Jennifer Wilhelm, HR Manager and Welcome Days Organiser, emphasises just how important it is to get newbies on board, create memories and form connections with them that will stay with them for a long time on their journey with imc.

move article_Onboarding imc

Orientation phase: Check!

We wanted our onboarding journey to continue beyond the first few weeks after welcoming our new imc family members. “Work in progress” is the motto under which we are still developing additional creative ideas to turn this phase into yet another experience.

Mission completed

After six months, it’s “mission completed”. A reason to celebrate. For all of us. And best of all: The journey continues. A range of events and campaigns like our brand ambassador programme or our diversity and inclusion initiative encourage employees to get involved and network, even when working in a hybrid system.

 

Are we proud of our new onboarding journey? Absolutely! Is it perfect? No. That’s why we are aiming for continuous improvement. Leveraging our employees’ help to shape things is one of the fundamental principles of our new work model. That is why we are inviting our team leaders and colleagues to get involved and help shape these new processes.

 

We must say though: After two months, the feedback we received makes it clear that it is all worth it – and that is great encouragement for us to step it up a bit more. Let us surprise you!

RELATED CONTENT

New work at imc: Shaping the work culture of tomorrow

In the move! interview, we show what New Work looks like at imc and how a shared working environment is designed with the best possible results for everyone.

move! Backstage at imc

In exciting background articles, event reports and photo galleries, we show you how the working environment at imc is changing.

imc move logo

Contact person

I' ve been working as a permanent member of the imc Marketing & Communication Team since 2021. The mix of creative content creation, social media and online marketing activities excites me the most about my job.

 

My goal is to inspire people with creative and innovative content and to make the imc brand more tangible.

 

My passion besides my job? Travelling a lot and discovering the world. I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions at [email protected]!

Doreen Hartmann imc
Doreen Hartmann
Junior Marketing and Communication Manager
Learning Ecosystems
The learning experience of the future

Learning culture nourishes learning ecosystems

Why learning ecosystems need more time and room

When employees are looking for suitable learning resources, they can often choose from a wide range of contents and formats. This can often make finding learning content that meets the specific requirements time-consuming and inefficient.

Technology can solve this issue. A learning ecosystem links several learning platforms and presents the formats and contents clearly in the learning portal.

 

Many organisations already utilise learning ecosystems, especially larger companies. A learning management system (LMS) often serves as the foundation. This becomes an ecosystem with the integration of additional platforms and tools, such that both internal and external sources feed into search results.

But what good does a solution based on the most advanced technology do, if it is not well received by the learners? User acceptance relies on a corporate or organisational learning culture that is fit for the future.

gamification

“In future, personal and professional development will go hand in hand”

It is not the addition of content that makes a learning ecosystem grow, but its expansion through tools and systems. Fundamentally, that means opening up the LMS and integrating external platforms with external content to create a basis for the development of an ecosystem. Yet, that takes courage!

 

What happens when companies take the leap and hand over control of their learning system? “Responsibility is transferred to the employees,” says Sven R. Becker, Member of the imc Executive Board. “Thus far, the senior management typically dictates corporate learning, which gives it a regulatory character. Yet, experience shows that the company’s success depends on how much learners are involved. A learning culture transformation has to start with the workforce and grow from there. That requires a mindset shift but should be the clear goal.”

adaptive learning

Customised learning paths can be a solution when implementing this, as they help to address personal requirements in a more targeted manner: “In future, personal and professional development will go hand in hand. Different learning systems and achievements must be recorded and stored automatically,” says Andreas Pohl, Director Research and Development at imc. “That facilitates the creation of tailored, custom learner profiles which enable learning across the boundaries of a specific organisation.”

Acceptance and motivation are the first step

“No appointments today – I’m learning.” Is it possible to write that without earning funny looks? Making it possible is a key task for modern companies. Learning and professional development must lose the “necessary evil” or “seminar as a benefit” labels and be anchored as a vital component of corporate culture. One option is to specify professional

The learner must believe that they are learning for themselves and their very own development, not for their company.
Sven R. Becker
Member of the Board
imc

Good content can boost the motivation to actually use a learning ecosystem. Sven R. Becker explains: “One trend that is clearly set to stay is gamification. Yet, that alone is no longer enough to win over the new generation of talents. Engaging activities and formats are needed. Getting the mix right is important. A good, blended learning experience is marked by variety – it offers something different. Great stories are remembered and motivate the learner to continue.”

Employees need time and room for creativity to leverage a learning ecosystem

Companies like Microsoft already utilise learning days, learning time, and learning sabbaticals – with great effect. Similarly, the appointment of learning ambassadors has proven successful for several customers of ours. In the automotive sector, some companies have transformation guides who are trusted by their colleagues, putting them in a position to help create awareness for professional development.

time for learning

Sven R. Becker firmly believes that the strongest ambassador for any measure is the person most critical of it: “If you succeed in changing the view of the strongest opponent, you gain the greatest multiplicator in the company.” Several imc customers have achieved great successes with the learning ambassador model, says Becker.

 

Learning that is independent of location and time constraints also makes it easier to access the system. That is why it should be equally available from mobile devices and from the workplace.

User generated content – Quick and easy, from creation to publication

An ecosystem keeps growing continuously. Authoring tools are a great option for adding content and knowledge straight from the in-house expertise, as they allow any user to share their know-how.

This turns the learner into a purveyor of knowledge. In that role, they assume responsibility within the system – which will also boost their own motivation.

user generated content

The technology already provides for this. All that is left to do is to get the learners’ buy in. While that may seem like a monumental task, these initial key steps will get your company on the right track:

 

  • Take the leap and expand your learning ecosystem
  • Create acceptance for professional development
  • Create a great learning experience with motivating content
  • Offer time for learning
  • Enable employees to help shape the learning experience
  • Not trying is the biggest mistake you can make!
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Learning Ecosystems: A Universe of Learning

If you want to use a learning ecosystem successfully in corporate learning, the technical requirements must be right. Time to shed light on what systems have to fulfil in order to be able to meaningfully map a genuine learning ecosystem.

imc future of work Interview Çiğdem Uzunoğlu

Future of Work: Interview with Çiğdem Uzunoğlu

Competence transfer thanks to digital games? It's possible! In an interview with Çiğdem Uzunoğlu, we explain how computer games and continuing education fit together and how they can be used effectively.

The Future of Work is now

Future of Work is a series of articles and talks for all who want to help shape change and talk about tomorrow's topics today.

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work.

My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations, New Work

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Kerstin Steffen and Kenny Littlepage
move!
Backstage at imc

New work at imc: Shaping the work culture of tomorrow

What the development of a shared working world with the best possible outcomes for employees, customers and the organisation looks like

New work is in. Everyone’s talking about it. There are discussions about flexible working hours, new office concepts or even the 4-day week. All these models focus on one thing: companies want to put employees in the focus and create a working environment in which creativity, self-determination and flexibility are lived.

 

This change is also actively driven forward at imc. We therefore spoke with a New Work pioneer, who is helping to manage the process. In the move! interview, Kerstin Steffen reveals what is meant by performance culture instead of attendance culture, why imc decided against a total change to home office work and what role managers play in all this. 

Kerstin Steffen

Director Brand Strategy and New Work Pioneer

imc move

Hello Kerstin! Thank you for making time. imc has recognised that a new work culture is needed and started the New Work Initiative. When did you start the “transformation phase” and why did you take this step?

Kerstin Steffen: We were tied to our home offices for almost two years because of the corona situation. That already gave us many opportunities for development. Before we embarked on the actual transformation, we were facing the question: “Is it actually reasonable to take a step back, or should we continue pressing ahead?” We made the decision to move to a “100% flexible but not 100% remote” model. The transformation phase serves to smooth the transition to the new official, hybrid work model we will adopt in 2022. We want to offer the teams the opportunity to try out and test things, and to incorporate their experiences into the new work culture.  

Photo of Kerstin Steffen
The model we believe in is 100% flexible but not 100% remote.
Kerstin Steffen
Director Brand Strategy

100% flexible but not 100% remote – What exactly does that mean?

Kerstin Steffen: Simply put, it means that our activities are no longer tied to the office as a matter of principle, but the company affords us the flexibility to decide whether we want to work from home or from the office. You could also describe it as performance over attendance culture. We have no fixed attendance quota, but time in the office should be agreed with the team and the manager, and flexibility must not compromise organisational objectives.

 

While we firmly believe in flexibility, we clearly decided against moving all work to the home office. The relationship and commitment to the company remains very important to us. We want our offices to remain a place of communication and interaction – and that applies to official team meetings as much as personal discussions over a coffee.

You established a New Work Pioneers team. Which departments do the team members come from? How do you collaborate?

Kerstin Steffen: The core team of the New Work Pioneers is based at the headquarters in Saarbrücken where the decision to embark on the New Work Initiative was made. We selected the team based on competences and included members from Internal IT, HR as well as Communications. That allows us to bring together the core competences to support process changes within the pillars of people, technology and spaces. Of course, we can add members that contribute other skills as and when we need them.

 

We hold regular meetings at least once a week, where we discuss and prioritise all the topics in our target plan, as well as any issues that arise. At times, the core team is split into smaller project teams. For instance, we maintain regular feedback loops with the managers of our different offices to get everyone involved. It also helps us see where improvements are needed and highlight how we might provide support from the headquarters.

Can you summarise the objectives of the imc New Work Initiative in one sentence?

Kerstin Steffen: The overarching goal is to develop a working world together that generates the best possible outcomes for us as employees, our organisation as well as our customers in the given context and situation. In other words: We love being flexible, but this is tied to the condition that the corporate objectives are met and performance is maintained.  

Julia, Kerstin and Nadine

Would you say this mindset is what makes new work at imc so special? What is the difference between your approach and the total switch to home office work other companies have realised?

Kerstin Steffen: We are a digital brand and stand for learning. Naturally, we want to understand modern formats and establish ourselves as a pioneer. Yet, compared to the key players in the market, we still have some catching up to do. Nevertheless, I would like to emphasise that this was a fantastic step for imc, and that our colleagues and applicants already consider it an absolute benefit. Working together to drive and shape cultural change is also a huge opportunity – and I invite everyone to seize it. We can be fairly sure that this is not a universal prospect offered by all companies, which makes it a USP for us.

 

Personally, I really want to see every single person benefitting from it. That means we also need to be open to constructive criticism and listen to concerns, no matter how excited we are about our ideas and progress.

 

We are all learning together throughout this change process, and our success is dependent on wide-spread acceptance.

What role does remote or virtual (team) leadership play in this transformation?

Kerstin Steffen: It is very much a matter of mindset. We know that team leaders and managers play a key role, because they represent the corporate values and culture to a great extent and infuse the company with these. We adapted the leadership model and developed three new pillars or principles: Lead, Coach and Care. Our managers receive targeted training to develop and enable them to realise these principles and respond to the new circumstances. Based on my experience, I would say traditional management elements should be combined with agile methods. While I’m a huge fan of digitisation, I believe that digital tools are no substitute for personal contact. We consider hybrid formats a great opportunity, but gradual development is key. We are already holding intensive talks and testing various formats.

 

Managers also need to learn to place more trust in their employees and to be more organised themselves. Flexibility also involves walking away from rigid principles and allowing new things. It is important that managers adjust their mindset to support this.

Kerstin and Gijs

What were the biggest challenges? How did you respond to them?

Kerstin Steffen: We are facing challenges every day, and I’m sure that will still be the case after the transformation. We are really looking at an agile learning process – for our leadership as well as things like our hardware, office equipment or seating arrangements. Being spread out across different locations on different continents doesn’t exactly make it easier, but we are welcoming that challenge. We might not be 100% perfect, but we genuinely try to create a new work culture step by step. We are all highly motivated and rather proud to see our first successes taking shape.

 

Internal Communications and HR contribute a lot of the support for the measures. It is important to us that the changes are transparent and successes are visible.

How was the transformation phase communicated to the employees? How can you avoid unsettling employees?

Kerstin Steffen: Communication in itself is always important! Once the decision had been made, we first informed the team leaders and asked them to talk to their teams and relay any unanswered questions to us. We then made a global announcement through the official executive channel in the form of a virtual event and sent out an info email with a recording of the official announcement. In addition, we created points of contact in the intranet where information can be obtained, and key questions are answered. New formats were introduced to provide information as well as encourage employees to participate in the dialogue. Of course, the Transformation Team is always available to answer any questions.

 

Beyond our efforts to inform, each team is invited to help shape the transformation and to identify what is important for the team. We created a global framework. It is now up to each team where they go with that and how they develop it.

Kerstin Steffen

What is the employees’ response to the initial changes? Have you received positive or negative feedback yet?

Kerstin Steffen: The feedback we received was mostly positive, which motivates us to drive the transformation. Naturally, concerns and worries were voiced, but that is to be expected in any change process. It is important to take that seriously and actively offer support. It is easy to get carried away, and we must remind ourselves that it is not only a major change in the organisation, but also a cultural shift. That demands sensitive and responsible support.  

You still want to trial and test various things. What can we look forward to at imc? What else have you planned?

Kerstin Steffen: First of all, we improved our internal communication channels and created new channels to strengthen team spirit. For instance, we started a newsletter that plays a key role in actively providing information and highlight success stories. We want to make small steps visible, initial successes tangible and let employees share in the experience.

 

The new formats we created aim to enhance collaboration and communication. The offer will gradually grow: We will create global guidelines, hold workshops and include smaller learning nuggets.

 

We will also incorporate formats such as social learning, informal learning and user generated content. Our brand ambassadors are also actively helping to shape the transformation. Measures like our BarCamp, Espresso Webinars and Flow & Focus sessions are already well-established and successful. Of course, we will develop these further and make them more professional. As to the strategic aspects, the adaptation of our leadership programme will be crucial, and we are professionalising our operational model.

Thank you for your time, Kerstin! We are excited to see what you have in store for us.

RELATED CONTENT
move! Backstage at imc

In exciting background articles, event reports and photo galleries, we show you how the working environment at imc is changing.

imc move logo

Contact person

I' ve been working as a permanent member of the imc Marketing & Communication Team since 2021. The mix of creative content creation, social media and online marketing activities excites me the most about my job.

 

My goal is to inspire people with creative and innovative content and to make the imc brand more tangible.

 

My passion besides my job? Travelling a lot and discovering the world. I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions at [email protected]!

Doreen Hartmann imc
Doreen Hartmann
Junior Marketing and Communication Manager
move!
Backstage at imc

Shaping New Work together at imc

Take a look behind the scenes with move!

Flexible working models, flat organisational structures and new office concepts - this is already what the new working life looks like in many companies in times of New Work. We at imc have also recognised that it is worth trying out new ways of working. We want to use the opportunities of the modern working world and create something new.

 

In our background report "move!" we therefore take you exclusively behind the scenes at imc. Our goal is to establish a new working culture that focuses on the self-determination and flexibility of our employees. Join us on our journey towards a new working culture and experience the opportunities, challenges and successes from the classic working world to the "new working" of the future.

 

In exciting background articles, event reports and photo galleries, we show what modern working at imc means from now on.

MOVE! – THE NEW WORK REPORT
Experiencing change together

What does New Work really mean?

 

The modern work of tomorrow means first of all initiating and fostering change.

 

We are in a transformation of the working world in which new professions are emerging, rigid hierarchical management styles are being dissolved and a human-centred way of working is being emphasised.

 

New Work describes this transformation of the working world, which focuses on self-determination and agility.

BACKGROUND ARTICLES, SUCCESS STORIES AND MORE
imc New Work
New Work at imc: Shaping tomorrow's working culture together

In the move! interview, Kerstin Steffen reveals what New Work at imc looks like from now on and how a shared working environment is created with the best possible results for everyone.

move article_Onboarding imc
Welcome on board - the new imc onboarding journey

No more boring onboarding processes! In the move! article we show how we at imc will also create a new welcome culture in the future with New Work.

imc move! communication and collaboration standards
It’s all about Communication & Collaboration

Hybrid working and global teams have fundamentally changed the way we work together at imc. So it's high time for us to ensure global communication and collaboration standards so that collaboration continues to work successfully.

move! Mental Health
New initiatives for (Mental) Health and Happiness at imc

Mental health is more important than ever: we show what new approaches we are adopting to promote contentment and health at imc.

Corporate Learning and Events, Team Switzerland
In-House Events and Corporate Learning: A Winning Combination?

Corporate learning and events don’t go together? Wrong! We have summarised the most inspiring formats with added value for the learning culture.

move! Mental Health
New initiatives for (Mental) Health and Happiness at imc

Mental health is more important than ever: we show what new approaches we are adopting to promote contentment and health at imc.

imc move
imc move logo

Contact person

I' ve been working as a permanent member of the imc Marketing & Communication Team since 2021. The mix of creative content creation, social media and online marketing activities is what excites me most about my job.

 

My goal is to inspire people with creative and innovative content and to make the imc brand more tangible.

 

My passion besides my job? Travelling a lot and discovering the most beautiful places in the world. I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions at [email protected]!

Doreen Hartmann imc
Doreen Hartmann
Junior Marketing and Communication Manager

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Discuss the topic of New Work with us and show us how modern working looks like in your company.

Choose your channel and let's go: like, post, discuss, share and recommend.

Future of Work
Artificial intelligence in the working environment

Can Germany afford to be this sceptical about AI?

An interview with Kristian Schalter, Director Strategy and Digital Transformation at the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA)

“In Germany, the discussion of artificial intelligence (AI) is marked by skepticism. That bothers me.”

In his blog Futurework.online, Kristian Schalter, Director Strategy and Digital Transformation at the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA) draws on his background in political science and economics to discuss how future technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence) are changing our working world. In this interview, he reveals why Germany cannot afford to remain this skeptical about AI in the long term.

imc-future-of-work-Interview Kristian Schalter
Kristian Schalter, Director Strategy and Digital Transformation at the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA)
imc Future of Work Interview AI Kristian Schalter

Hello Mr Schalter, I really appreciate you making time for this interview. In your blog, you are advocating a less skeptical approach to artificial intelligence. Why do think the German mistrust of AI is unjustified?

Kristian Schalter: Artificial intelligence has enormous potential for making our lives better and our work easier. Yet, the discussion in Germany largely revolves around risks. That bothers me. I am not against some healthy skepticism in principle. However, many things are exaggerated – especially when it comes to the future of work. There is a lot of talk about the end of human work, broad automation and large-scale redundancies. This has almost become a tradition with the technological progress in Germany. The way I see it, the biggest risk is that we are falling behind with AI development on an international level, and that the jobs of the future are created elsewhere – not in Germany or even Europe. That would truly be a horrific scenario.

Where would you say that mistrust among the people stems from?

Kristian Schalter: When people read reports about algorithms with a discriminating bias or absolute surveillance in China, mistrust is a natural reaction. We tend to remember negative things better than positive ones. The term “artificial intelligence” certainly doesn’t help, either. Saying “machine learning” would be better. Although that is just one sub-form of AI, it describes what really happens. AI is not positive or negative in itself. It is a means to an end. What that end is, is still up to humans to decide. This makes it even more important to maintain a clear focus on the potential of AI and discuss the opportunities properly. We need to figure out where we really want to go with the development. If we look at fields like healthcare or mobility, it becomes obvious how great the potential is, and how much we can all benefit from it personally. There is no doubt about the things we don’t want. That is why we must be among the world leaders here. Setting international standards – and that includes ethical standards – is only possible from a leadership position.

What tips would you give those who want to know more about AI and experience the latest AI technologies?

Kristian Schalter: For the second part, simply using your smartphone will give you great insights. It contains many AI applications we use every day: in the navigation function, email inbox, web browser, newsfeed, language assistant, movie recommendations and so on. Professionally, I focus on the future of work. Artificial intelligence is already supporting people at work in a myriad of ways. I am particularly impressed with the industrial projects of the Fraunhofer Institute. They are always in tune with the latest trends, and reflect the reality companies experience particularly well.

Could you give an example of how AI would change a specific job?

Kristian Schalter: The most prominent example that is often used would be a radiologist. In many cases, artificial intelligence can analyse X-rays and patient data both faster and with more precision than a human. Rather than making the radiologist redundant, this means they can focus on other aspects of their work – like patient consultations. Pattern recognition is also useful in other fields. One example would be production: Identifying recurrent patterns is a huge issue in quality control.

imc Interview Future of Work AI

"In many cases, artificial intelligence can analyse X-rays and patient data both faster and with more precision than a human."

We all need to acquire new skills. How does the change in job profiles affect that?

Kristian Schalter: Education is the key issue in the digital transformation of the working world. The idea that completing an apprenticeship or graduating with a degree means having acquired the necessary competences for a certain career all the way to retirement is unrealistic. Flexibility and adaptability are the most crucial skills in the modern working world, as job requirements constantly change. While I believe the term “lifelong learning” is overused quite a bit, it perfectly describes what needs to happen: Employees must be willing to gain new knowledge – in every stage of their career. Many still resist that.

Let’s look at it the other way around: Can AI help employees to gain new skills? If yes, how?

Kristian Schalter: Yes, absolutely. After all, the very advantage of intelligent algorithms is that they can give me tailored recommendations based on my personal qualifications. Among other things, this can help with the creation of customised professional development offers. Secondly, AI also provides support on the job. For example, smart glasses that project digital images in the wearer’s field of vision to create an augmented reality aid in the performance of various tasks. There are many opportunities.

How would you imagine an optimal collaboration between a human lecturer and AI – a “robot teacher” so to speak – to convey learning content?

Future of work robot professional development and digital games

Kristian Schalter: Humans have unique skills that no robot in the world can replace. A great teacher has more than technical knowledge. They stand out with their empathy and social competences. I trust we all had that one teacher who was a genius in their field, but never quite cut it in their interactions with the younger generation. Equally, we all had a teacher who was able to create enthusiasm for their subject, and maybe even made a real impact on our development. Praise from a computer will never have the same effect as praise from a human being. Meanwhile, computers are better at processing data, and this can be leveraged for determining a student’s optimal learning speed and the topics they need to catch up on, and for recommending tailored learning content. This opens up great potentials – also in terms of reducing the teachers’ workload. However, we still need to learn how to use those methods effectively as part of the lessons. I would say we are only just getting started with that.

Most people are relieved to hear that AI cannot replace them entirely. Which competences do you think make humans unique and therefore irreplaceable?

Kristian Schalter: We should avoid trying to beat the machines. That will not work. We need to see them as a support system. We will gain more from focusing on our strengths: creativity and emotional competences – the things that set us apart from machines.

A perfect closing remark, Mr Schalter! Thank you very much for this interesting interview.

Visit Futurework.online – it’s worth it!

AI in corporate learning

There are many concerns about artificial intelligence (AI). But especially in corporate learning, AI can be a great help. We take up some questions around the topic of AI and go into them in more detail.

[E-Learning Punk] Virtual Classroom Preview

AI Learning: "Jingle Bots, Jingle Bots..."

Many large organisations are already taking advantage of the positive effect of games on learners when it comes to the professional development of their employees. We have taken a closer look at the most common types of games for you.

The Future of Work is now

Future of Work is a series of articles and talks for all who want to help shape change and talk about tomorrow's topics today.

Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work.

My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations, New Work

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Future of Work
Digital Games in Professional Development

Computer Games in Professional Development

An interview with Çiğdem Uzunoğlu, Managing Director of the Foundation for Digital Games Culture

“Games have helped to shape the development of AI applications”

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu has been Managing Director of the Foundation for Digital Games Culture since February 2018. In this interview, we asked the games expert, how computer games and professional development go together, and which competences can best be conveyed with digital games. We also wanted to know, which changes game fans can expect thanks to the enormous technological advancement relating to AI.

imc-future-of-work-Interview Çiğdem Uzunoğlu
Çiğdem Uzunoğlu, Managing Director of the Foundation for Digital Games Culture
imc-future-of-work-Games-and professional development

Hello Ms Uzunoğlu, thank you for making time for this interview on (serious) games. We are particularly excited to hear your answer to our first question. Do you have a favourite computer game?

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu: No, I have no absolute favourite game. One of the games I really enjoy playing right now is Supertype. It is both simple and fascinating. Players can train their physics skills and abstraction capability by solving small riddles.

That sounds entertaining but also demanding. The foundation you’re managing aims to highlight economic, cultural and social potentials of digital games as sophisticated as this one. A rather extensive and ambitious goal? What specifically is behind that mission?

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu: What is behind games? Groundbreaking content, design approaches and technologies for the digital age. Yet, these games components are barely developed for applications outside of the games industry. Our foundation wants to change that. We believe in a society that leverages games to shape digitisation, employs gamification to find new approaches to problem solving, and understands digital games as enrichment of its cultural identity. On that note, we consider ourselves a bridge between the games industry, society and other parts of the economy. We highlight opportunities for collaboration, and create new connections between players from different fields. That is why we also describe our work as a cross-over approach.

What would you say makes a computer game valuable?

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu: Games are cultural goods. In principle, every game has a certain underlying value. It is always a cultural product created by certain persons under certain circumstances. Commercial productions are primarily concerned with the games being fun, fascinating and engaging – the same criteria that mark successful books or movies. Of course, there are games that create awareness of relevant issues, or aim to convey specific content. That also applies to serious games. Yet, even an abstract game without a clear message can have artistic value.

Future of work interview

"Commercial productions are primarily concerned with the games being fun, fascinating and engaging – the same criteria that mark successful books or movies. "

Do you think certain competences are best learned in a game rather than by other means?

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu: In general, games teach us to deal with frustration and failure. In the long term, you can only be successful if you are able to learn from your mistakes. Most games are based on some sort of system. This makes them particular suitable for getting across relationships. You learn to grasp the consequences of your actions. You understand how individual changes affect a bigger process. According to a recent study by PwC, HR managers who already use serious games utilise these primarily for training soft and hard skills, as well as their employees’ cognitive skills. Digital games are also used more intensively in training and professional development. The interactive aspect helps to convey complex learning material and solidify knowledge.

Where do you see possibilities and opportunities for companies for imparting competences with a game-based approach?

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu: For many people, games open the door to the digital world. So, when it comes to digital topics, gamification and serious games allow you to pick up from where their daily life begins. According to PwC, more than half of the HR managers using serious games see a clear benefit from these games. The same applies to colleagues and superiors who hold that the fun factor helps to understand and manage work processes. Everyone can progress at their own pace, which also removes any fear of real consequences. At the same time, results are easy to analyse and compare. That is why HR professionals see the greatest potential for serious games in the training process.

Can computer games challenge themselves? How can computer games sensitise for moderating the use of digital games?

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu: Games that question their own content have been around for a while. For instance, the German game “Spec Ops: The Line” deconstructs the image of the heroic soldier and the just war. Meanwhile, at the end of Metal Gear Solid 2, the protagonist faces the fact that their reality is only a simulation and that they should switch off their console. Apart from such content-related conflicts, there are also certain mechanisms that indicate that a game might have been played for too long: game characters getting tired or text overlays.

Let’s move on to the scientific topic of the year: artificial intelligence. AI has a major impact on digital formats and solutions. How do you see technology changing the gaming sector? What is your assessment of that technology in principle?

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu: Artificial intelligence has always played a crucial role in games. After all, we are competing against the computer unless we have a human opponent. Thus, the games industry has helped to shape the development of AI. Especially when extensive animated game worlds are produced, complex AI systems are working in the background which react to our interactions. Some games also allow us to build relationships with characters that are controlled by the computer. These relationships will change depending on our actions in the game. AI systems in the background make this possible.

Which AI-based serious games do you know? Where are these successfully utilised?

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu: For most games, AI is a key component of a bigger creation, just like graphic and audio design. Naturally, the same holds true for serious games. Digital games respond to our actions or inputs based on algorithms. These are AI systems, albeit weak ones. The main drivers for innovation are found in the large entertainment games segment. A while ago, “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor” based on The Lord of the Rings caused a great sensation. In this game, AI opponents learn from every battle and adjust to the players’ behaviour. You could say they “remember” past encounters.

What future trends do you see for AI-based computer games?

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu: Especially in the major international games productions, the trend goes towards the creation of even more realistic worlds inhabited by almost lifelike characters. Of course, if you want a character to appear more real and behave more intuitively to the player’s behaviour, you need more sophisticated AI systems. So ultimately, it is about leveraging AI to create virtual characters exhibiting plausible reactions to ourselves.

imc-future-of-work-Games-and-professional development

"So ultimately, it is about leveraging AI to create virtual characters exhibiting plausible reactions to ourselves."

Do you think there are limits to the use of AI in computer games? What would those limits be?

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu: Generally speaking, limits are dictated by the current state of the art and the budget. That is why continuous funding for games on a national level is crucial for the German games industry, especially with regard to the last aspect mentioned. German developer studios can only keep up with the international competition if they have sufficient financial means. That applies to AI specifically, but also to games production in general.

We are curious about your foundation’s upcoming projects. Which one are you most excited about?

Çiğdem Uzunoğlu: First of all, we initiated a new event series on cultural aspects of games this year as the next instalment of “Quartett der Spielekultur,” which is supported by the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media. We also launched GamesTalente, a nationwide sponsorship programme for teenagers, together with Bildung & Begabung (“education and talent”), the national centre for the advancement of young talent. In line with our objective to build bridges, we will guide representatives of various foundations and a group of educators through this year’s Gamescom trade fair, and introduce them to the particularities of the industry. Several other projects – some with national reach – with renowned partners like the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” (EVZ Foundation) are in the application stage. Naturally, I am greatly anticipating feedback and responses to these.

Thank you very much for the exciting interview, Ms Uzunoğlu! We will keep a keen eye on your planned projects, and wish you every success with all your ambitions!

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I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work.

My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations, New Work

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager