good vibes with imc move
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25 years imc AG

imc around the world: Why personal encounters and intercultural exchange are crucial for new work

A very special journey on the occasion of our 25-year anniversary

Rewriting the way we learn for 25 years – A milestone in the history of imc and a reason to celebrate properly. However, we wanted to celebrate more than just our success. We wanted to leverage this occasion to unite our team across the world. Realising our new work model, what we care about the most is our employees. 

 

Bringing the positive brand vibes from our headquarters to all our locations and bringing our employees together is not an easy feat, given that some teams are thousands of miles apart. We still embarked on this journey regardless and realised one thing above all: personal encounters, positive feelings and emotions are crucial for New Work.

 

Come and experience some of the highlights with us! Join our journey from Saarbrücken through Australia to Singapore.  

move article_Onboarding imc

Remote work is not the be all and end all

“100% flexible but not 100% remote.” We declared this our motto at the beginning of the year when our hybrid model was launched. While we pride ourselves in the flexibility we offer to work from home, we still value the connection to the office and to our company highly. Thus, the invitation to our company’s anniversary is a welcome occasion to look back at these past 25 years together and celebrate them.   

 

For our European teams, our headquarters in Saarbrücken were an ideal destination, offering a perfect place for exchange, networking and celebrations. Especially after the corona pandemic, we wanted to seize this opportunity to bring many of our teams together again. For many employees, it was the first time they met (again) after more than two years.  

 

They were beyond excited. Being able to meet colleagues from other locations in person literally caused euphoria. “What a party!” Alison West, Strategic Pre-Sales Consultant, exclaimed. “We were looking forward to this event, and it did not disappoint. Being able to put a face to the names we were very familiar with lifted the atmosphere to new heights. It was very noticeable how much everyone appreciated the opportunity to spend time together. I’m already looking forward to the next event.” 

 

At the end of the day, the overriding conclusion was: Remote work makes many things easier, but personal encounters are invaluable.

imc 25 year party

Good vibes only – Welcome down under

During our visit of our Melbourne location, we could not help but acknowledge just how important it is to come together on site, spend breaks together and hold in-person meetings in the conference room. Sven R. Becker, Member of the Executive Board, and Kerstin Steffen, Director Brand Strategy, personally embarked on a journey down under with the mission to spark intercultural exchange. The result? Two weeks packed with a wealth of experiences: personal encounters, inspiring discussions, intercultural exchange, workshops and team building.  

 

With so many positives, it was not easy picking out the highlights. While the office redesign was incredibly exciting, the Team Day created around the company anniversary lifted spirits to new heights. 

Jordan Wolley, Pre-Sales Consultant, shares the team’s take on the visit: “Sven and Kerstin joining our team in Australia gave us a huge energy boost! Taking on board the knowledge and the experiences they shared, we are determined to show the world what imc Australia is all about and the role we play in bringing the best learning technologies in the world to our market. I can’t wait for our next opportunity to work together!”  

 

Intercultural exchange is crucial for new work

Overflowing with positive energy and inspired by new ideas and learning experiences, Kerstin and Sven left for the next stop of their journey: Singapore. At our Asian location, the visit focused on branding, team building, networking and cultural exchange.  

 

After the visit, Sven R. Becker concluded: “While travelling to the different locations we were reminded that maintaining intercultural contacts is of great importance to us as an international organisation. When it comes down to it, that’s exactly what we are: we share the same desires and goals.”  

 

Kerstin Steffen adds with emphasis: “Organisational development and especially new work also require intercultural skills, as well as respect for people and their culture. That is why the exchange between our countries was particularly important. It is fundamental for our business success. We must leverage our diversity and find common ground to achieve the best results possible.” 

 

Now, the success story does not end there. Further activities have already been planned in Singapore to enable even more successful collaboration as a team. We can’t wait to tell you more about it! 

imc move colleagues in austraila
team singapour having diner

Our conclusion: Personal encounters and positive emotions are invaluable

Our visit to Singapore marks the end of our tour of the imc locations for this year. What did we get out of it? We utilised these past weeks and months to go beyond celebrating our 25-year company history with our teams across the world – we built bridges together.  

 

The insights we gained will be collated and analysed to help us realise positive changes. “From a personal and cultural perspective, this journey was immensely enriching,” Kerstin Steffen sums up the visits to Melbourne and Singapore. “Digitalisation is a great enabler for many things in our global environment. It virtually removes boundaries between countries and time zones. Yet, when changes are implemented – as is the case with new work – personal encounters, positive feelings and emotions are crucial for active change design. This is why I am extremely grateful that the local teams were open to this exchange. We learned a lot from each other.”  

Photo of Kerstin Steffen
Yet, when changes are implemented – as is the case with new work – personal encounters, positive feelings and emotions are crucial for active change design.
Kerstin Steffen
Director Brand Strategy

While imc is looking back on a fabulous and exciting journey, there is still a lot to do. We are now embarking on the next 25 years of our success story with great inspiration, new ideas and huge motivation.  

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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
An Engaging
Learning Experience
How to engage your workforce

Creating the Perfect Learning Experience for a Remote or Hybrid Workforce

Times have changed for L&D - while many large organisations were already putting resources into digital transformation, our workforce is now more dispersed, with hybrid and remote working looking like it’s here to stay even post-Covid.

 

Alongside these trends, we have ubiquitous access to more information through ever-faster Internet and mobile devices, while top talent expect to be supported in their professional development - otherwise, they will move on.

 

What remains the same are people and their motivations. People are fundamental to any company, and what drives a company forward and helps it to stay afloat in a competitive market is an engaged, well-informed and adaptable workforce.

 

Here we look at how to facilitate the personal and professional development of top talent by creating the perfect learning experience for a remote or hybrid workforce, so that training can become a key competitive advantage.

Technology and a Learning Ecosystem

Keeping your workforce at the forefront of your industry requires regular formal training, but also informal and rapid knowledge sharing between employees and departments.

 

The ability to respond quickly to new products, services, industry guidance and competitive environments through learning will give any company a competitive edge, but this can be diminished when working remotely.

 

Whether we’re training face-to-face, digitally or virtually, the fundamentals have remained the same for a very long time; we’re socially motivated learners who need context, reinforcement and practice to acquire new skills. We don’t respond well to formless, monotone, poorly presented content, and we don’t retain information as effectively when we’re not engaged. Making your learning journey engaging, enticing and efficient is where technology can come in.

 

Technology has revolutionised how we design and deliver learning experiences. Today, learners expect a digital training experience that’s accessible, flexible and engaging.

 

They’re used to platforms such as Netflix that neatly package and categorise content for them, and offer a library and playlists with a user-friendly interface.

 

 

There are a wide variety of digital and online tools that can help learners have a positive learning experience. These are especially useful when it comes to mandatory training, such as for legal or industry compliance, which employees know they need to undertake but may not necessarily be enthusiastic about.

 

It doesn’t matter how engaging and talented your experts may be, if the platforms and tools you’re using to host a learning journey aren’t up to scratch then your learner will find it difficult to focus.

 

When seamlessly integrated, there are 3 key L&D tools that can help you create the perfect learning experience even when your teams are disparate. These are the LMS, LXP, and rapid content authoring tools - let’s examine each in turn.

What is a Learning Management System?

A Learning Management System (LMS) maintains, tracks and records a learner's journey, including analysing their comprehension of subject matter and completion of learning events. An LMS will help L&D managers track an individual's or a group’s progress through training by serving as a system of record and audit, and pinpointing where they may need additional help or support.

 

There are several types of Learning Management System which meet various needs and budgets, including open source software, deployed or Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. An open source solution is free at the point of access and has a committed online community that will update it regularly, rolling out improvements and add-ons for all to use. It can be a good option for companies with tight budgets who desire something to enhance their learning experience without breaking the bank. However, it can be a security risk without expert set-up and support, and can often be plain and uninspiring out of the box, requiring a great deal of design and customisation - all of which comes at a cost of course.

 

A hosted or Software as a Service (SaaS) system runs on someone else's server, is set up by a provider and may offer a more customised solution compared to open source software. These systems are usually quite ready to use out of the box.

 

A deployed LMS solution is set up on computers within your premises, which has its pros and cons. There are greater up-front costs to install the LMS software on-site, but it may save you more money in the long run. This might be a good choice in highly regulated industries and when you have the in-house technical expertise to maintain it.

 

Historically, the LMS can be unintuitive, unattractive and complex for the user, making it difficult to navigate and read or watch the learning content. In some cases, a badly designed LMS can create more of a hurdle to learning than the content itself.

The best LMS, such as what can be found within imc’s Learning Suite, create an easy to use learning journey though, so that learning can be an engaging activity rather than a chore.

 

An LMS is often seen as a solution for top-down training mandated (or at least encouraged by) the employer. It’s not really designed for self-motivated learners to explore new learning opportunities. This is where a Learning Experience Platform can come in…

What is a Learning Experience Platform?

A Learning Experience Platform (LXP) is the Netflix of the learning technology world. A quality learning experience is designed to entice, encourage and excite learners to consume the content. It’s for self-motivated learning to develop their personal and professional knowledge and skills, which in turn will usually bear fruit for the employer too.

 

The LXP is designed to be more intuitive to use than the LMS, and utilised effectively, it should provide contextualised, relevant and custom content from multiple sources in order to cater for different learning styles and preferences.

 

It’s a diverse learning ecosystem of multimedia content exploration.

 

LXPs enable you to create a personalised experience that can curate and recommend the best content for each person.

 

We were talking earlier about how hard it can be to motivate people to undertake essential, mandatory training, such as compliance. Well, an expertly executed LXP should make learning feel fun and easy for your learner, yes really - fun, and in turn, hopefully, it will help employees to feel supported and valued, and help to create a culture of learning within an organisation.

 

Think of the difference between using Netflix or scrolling a government site, what one would you prefer to use? The more at ease and enthused your learners feel in their learning environment the better their journey will be.

 

The imc Learning Suite combines the best of both an LMS and LXP - giving L&D teams what they need to deliver and track training, and giving employees a place to explore learning opportunities for personal and professional development.

What are rapid content authoring tools and how can they help me create quality training content?

Rapid content authoring tools are a form of software that enables experts to create and package learning content using various forms of media. It means your experts or training managers can create new content, make changes and send updates to learners quickly and easily. The working landscape is ever evolving, especially in post-covid times with hybrid working becoming the norm, and tools such as rapid content authoring empower companies to respond swiftly to changes and stay relevant.

 

Adopting content authoring tools can enhance your digital transformation journey as a company, empowering experts and learning and development professionals to create adaptive engaging content promptly.

 

Rapid content authoring tools can help you:

  • Repurpose existing content quickly
  • Keep development costs low
  • Respond swiftly to new products, services, market or environmental changes
  • Update and upscale content quickly
  • Deliver knowledge in easy-to-digest chunks
  • Share content with learners on any device

 

Content-authoring tools include software Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, Lectora and Camtasia. However, you might have in-house subject matter experts willing and ready to create and share their experience and expertise if they can avoid the learning curve of software used by professional instructional designers.

 

imc Express enables the quick creation of elearning materials that are rich, engaging and multimedia, but without that learning curve.

What is a healthy learning ecosystem?

A learning ecosystem comprises the elements that make up your user's learning journey and environment including the tools, platforms and technologies. Just like the natural ecosystem, the more diverse the learning environment, the more effective the learning will be.

 

A complete, well-integrated Learning Suite can enhance not only your learners' experience but your subject matter experts' effectiveness too, enabling them to build engaging content and communicate quickly and efficiently to drive knowledge sharing.

 

A complete learning experience

Technology helps learners have a positive learning experience, especially when it comes to compulsory training where they may lack the motivation to complete.

 

Learners today expect training to be engaging, entertaining and diverse in format. This is especially true as remote and hybrid working is on the rise and our workforce becomes more distributed.

 

People are looking for social connection, a platform that is instinctive to use and easy to digest content that they can absorb and experience digitally or virtually. The latest and best in learning technology can help us achieve all of this.

 

 

 

Want to learn more about leveraging the latest technology to create the perfect learning experience for a remote or hybrid workforce? Contact us here at imc Learning.

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Create the Perfect
Learning Experience

Examples of a Good Learning Experience

Here we offer examples of a good learning experience from a handful of our projects.

 

It’s always a shame when training is rolled out without due consideration for learner engagement. This is one of the reasons that e-learning has a bad reputation - it’s too often seen as a ‘Click next’, box-ticking exercise that employees want to get through ASAP then get on with their day.

 

High quality, engaging e-learning helps to ensure that learners absorb, retain and implement new knowledge and skills, bringing about long-term behaviour change and improved performance.

 

Delivering a good learning experience can also help to create a culture of learning where employees then go seeking out personal and professional development opportunities that will benefit the whole organisation.

 

So on to some examples of where our e-learning solutions, including custom content and learning management systems (LMS), have enabled training to deliver real impact…

Not just good – a Meisterpiece: LMS and blended learning for Jägermeister

Jägermeister has around 1000 direct employees, plus a large network of resellers and external distribution partners around the world, making a large number of people requiring training.

 

At the same time, a coherent and strong brand image that all employees identify with is a top priority for Jägermeister, so the learner experience was considered crucial.

 

They decided to use the imc Learning Suite for their training platform because the well thought out extended enterprise scenario, in combination with the clear module structure, convinced them that we were a good fit for their needs.

Following testing and roll-out, users were especially taken with how the e-learning content triggered an emotional response. The consensus among the employees: Once you log in to Meister Academy, the training courses don’t feel like learning.

 

The direct integration of LinkedIn Learning courses was also received very favourably, as it gives employees an even greater choice of courses.

 

Philipp Terstesse, Manager Global Trade Marketing at Jägermeister, gave the following summary:

 

Our goal was to create a learning experience that takes a new approach and motivates learners. The learner and employee experience were extremely important to us.

 

We firmly believe that our digital ambitions go a long way towards shaping the future of our brand. We are thrilled to have a strong partner in imc who will stay by our side as we embark on this journey into the future together.

 

Read more about our work creating an LMS and blended learning for Jägermeister.

Comprehensive onboarding and learning experience for The Green Climate Fund

Established within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), this organisation based in South Korea was set up to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.

 

At the time of writing, The Green Climate Fund (GSF) had raised $10.8B USD to support 200 projects and avoid 2.1B tonnes of CO2 pollution.

 

The fund wanted a comprehensive onboarding and training solution providing an understanding of GCF's climate focus, shared values, governance, policies and practices, all underpinned by a learning experience framework and strategy.

We worked closely with GSF to create their Learning Experience Framework - a continuous model of learning and development that embeds opportunities of meaningful experience, exposure and education.

 

This was followed by 20 hours of Digital Orientation Modules, focusing on four core types of digital learning approaches to meet the diversity of needs we discovered throughout our research:

  • Scenario-based training
  • Storytelling
  • Problem-based learning
  • FAQs and resources

As a result of this e-learning, we were able to measure a reduction in human operational and procedural error, while embedding confidence and competence among new employees.

 

imc and the Green Climate Fund were recognised as Platinum winners in the 2021 LearnX awards. Client feedback was also extremely positive - George Zedginidze, Head of Knowledge and Change Management at the Green Climate Fund said:

 

We at the GCF are elated to be partnered with imc! Their professionalism and flexibility has made this project what it is today. We are especially thrilled with the imc team, whose time, effort, and abilities have made this partnership a success.

 

Read more about this onboarding and learning experience project for GCF.

Motivation for an unloved topic: compliance training for Audi

Trainees are usually unenthusiastic about the idea of compliance training even before it begins - to say the least. So Audi wanted to create unusual compliance training, delivered in a way where the necessary knowledge is clearly conveyed to them and they have fun along the way.

Welcome to Fraud City. The city “eats” its residents – skin, hair and all. We hope you’re up to it. Enter at your own risk.

 

Not your usual intro to compliance training! This entire web-based training (WBT) course involved motion design and adopted the style of “Sin City”. It takes the brave participant to a corrupt city full of dangers and suspect colleagues – accompanied by Detective Fraudless.

 

The employee navigates through the training course with the criteria for identifying cases of fraud being revealed along the way. So are behavioural patterns that call for special attention.

 

Audi demonstrated great courage with this unconventional concept – and reaped the rewards: The elaborate and polarising concept leaves a lasting impression, creating a buzz among almost all employees.

 

Laura Schumacher of the Audi Compliance Department told us:

 

Compliance training is always a tricky subject. For this WBT though, we received very favourable feedback from our employees!

 

Read more about this fun and engaging compliance training for Audi.

Want to learn more?

You can see more examples of a good learning experience within the case study section of our website. Can we help you to transform training within your organisation by creating an engaging learner experience?

 

Contact us here at imc.

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Gijs Daemen
Gijs Daemen
Global Marketing Manager
Training Digitisation
Leveraging the knowledge of your people

Training Digitisation – Leverage knowledge sharing among your people

Here we look at the important topics of knowledge sharing and training digitisation, with tips on how to leverage the experience of your employees to improve performance and future-proof your business.

 

For many businesses, especially those within the knowledge-based economy, existing employees are their greatest asset. Staff turnover is expensive for any business. Studies show that the direct cost of replacement is over £30,000 on average to replace an employee earning over £25,000 per annum. However, more detrimental is often the indirect cost that comes with losing valuable knowledge and experience - something that is far harder to measure.

 

Facilitating and encouraging knowledge sharing across your organisation can be an extremely effective way to both enhance productivity within your existing teams and mitigate the brain drain that comes with staff turnover.

 

While your L&D department can roll out training programmes in a planned and centralised manner, a culture of knowledge sharing and a toolkit that makes it easy means that information can be shared at the speed of need (‘Just in Time Learning’) and when it’s convenient for subject matter experts to do so.

Knowledge Sharing Definition

Knowledge sharing is the exchange of information, skills and experience between individuals or across groups. When expertise is shared by an experienced person, it allows further people to benefit from that experience in order to boost their own performance and that of their peers, potentially strengthening an entire organisation.

 

Much knowledge sharing occurs naturally and accidentally through day to day interactions and conversations - those ‘water-cooler’ moments that characterise informal learning or tacit knowledge. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused (or at least accelerated) the transition to a hybrid or fully-remote work environment, making the accidental water-cooler conversation much less likely for many.

 

That informal kind of knowledge transfer is a social activity that is often hard to describe and organise - it comes with nuance, intuition and the free-flow of ideas.

 

However, explicit knowledge is something that can be more planned for and organised, so that specific information can be codified and made available to others.

 

The main attributes of explicit knowledge sharing are:

 

  • Describable - the subject matter expert must be able to clearly articulate the information and experience they want to share
  • Visible - the recipient must be made aware that the learning materials exist
  • Accessible - the recipient must be able to open and consume the content where and when they need it
  • Organised - the recipient must be able to navigate learning materials so that they can be consumed in a structured manner without confusion or information overload
  • Complete - the education or training content should fit into a wider organisational context, signpost further related information where needed, and clarify any distinction between self-published, employee-generated content and the more top-down learning materials created by an L&D team.

 

Knowledge Sharing Benefits

When you have in-house expertise, you’ll want existing and future employees to be able to access it and enhance their own performance as a result. Knowledge sharing benefits can grow exponentially across a large organisation, spawning new ideas and strengthening the collective brain.

 

With a culture of knowledge sharing and providing the tools for digitising content, along with the structures to support it, a company can gain a great deal of competitive advantage. Some of the many benefits of knowledge sharing include:

 

GUARDING AGAINST 'BRAIN-DRAIN'

If important knowledge is shared frequently and in a well-organised manner, the loss and disruption caused by a key employee leaving is greatly reduced. Information shared by the leaver can be made available to their peers and / or successor, in addition to the general onboarding and training materials.

SUCCESSION PLANNING

While guarding against brain drain is about making the organisation resilient to employee departures by being agile in a reactive situation, succession planning is about looking ahead to (perhaps even scheduling) departures and promotions. This includes the process of knowledge transfer that will need to take place during that transition.

 

Starting in Spring 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic, employees voluntarily leaving their jobs en-masse in many countries - most notably the US - was a trend dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’ by organisational psychologist Dr Anthony Klotz.

 

The pandemic caused employees in many countries to rethink their work-life balance and many countries, including the likes of the UK, Australia and Canada as well as the US, saw resignations increase, in addition to the millions of forced redundancies.

 

Regardless of Covid-19, millions of ‘baby boomers’ - those born between 1946 and 1964 - are now hitting retirement age. This large cohort of the population holds vast amounts of information and experience to share with their Generation X, Millennial and Gen Z successors.

INTRA AND INTER-GROUP COMMUNICATION & COORDINATION

Two of the great frustrations among business leaders are duplication of effort across teams that wastes resources and a lack of communication that prevents learning from previous mistakes.

 

With greater insight into what other groups are doing or have done in the past - good and bad, knowledge sharing helps time and resources to be used more effectively.

TRUST BUILDING

When individuals hoard information (albeit unintentionally most of the time), trust among peers is diminished. Providing employees with knowledge building tools, such as the ability to quickly and easily create and share digital training materials, more employees will feel supported by each other and that they are working collaboratively as part of a genuine team.

MANAGEMENT SUPPORT

Employees often feel that they are not being listened to, which can lead to discontent and potentially resignations as a result. Rather than only experience top-down training that can feel disconnected from their real-like working environment, knowledge sharing tools and processes can help employees at every level to create learning materials that help to provide management support and information gathering.

 

This can then influence subsequent onboarding and training materials created by management and L&D teams, making them more contextually relevant.

70:20:10 LEARNING

The 70:20:10 learning methodology proposes that, on average, 70% of workplace learning is done ‘on the job’, while 20% is done through the sharing of knowledge between peers and only 10% is through formal, top-down onboarding and training.

 

That 20% part in the middle goes both ways - not only does the recipient benefit from information shared by the expert (making the 70% on the job part feel better supported) but the action of sharing knowledge can actually strengthen even the expert’s understanding of a subject.

 

Studies such as this one detailed in the Applied Cognitive Psychology journal show that learning by teaching others is extremely effective because it enhances the pathways of knowledge retrieval.

Training Digitisation & Knowledge Sharing Tools

Digitising training makes it possible to store and share information with an unlimited number of employees, even across territories, virtually instantly. A good, modern elearning content authoring tool makes it easy for any of your employees - regardless of their technical skills - to share knowledge digitally.

 

Such an authoring tool, like imc Express, can immediately benefit colleagues in any location via the cloud, while this form of training digitisation makes more knowledge available for future recruits too.

 

This is about employee-generated training content, and each person will have their own preferences around the style and media they feel most comfortable using for knowledge sharing.

 

Therefore, you’ll want to make sure your authoring tool enables content creation and sharing though any combination of:

 

  • Text
  • Audio
  • Video (including subtitling)
  • Images
  • Interactive elements

 

There should be little to no learning curve when it comes to an elearning authoring tool for employee-generated training software. It should be easy to access on any device, easy to use, and make the sharing of materials a fast and simple process.

 

It should also provide visual elements out of the box to make that training eye-catching and engaging by default so that your people can be proud of the materials they create - without needing to work at it.

 

For over 20 years, we’ve worked with some of the world’s leading brands, such as Audi, BASF, Sky, Deloitte and Vodafone, supporting their training needs with elearning solutions.

 

This experience has enabled us to create an elearning toolkit that makes it easy for them to digitise training content and make it accessible across multiple locations, countries and even languages.

 

If you’d like to learn more about how our solutions could enhance training digitisation and knowledge sharing within your organisation, feel free to contact us for an informal chat about your needs and goals.

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The Future
of Learning Platforms
Panel talk: Fosway Group, Learning Light and imc

Panel Talk: Fosway Group, Learning Light and imc

The Future of Learning Platforms

As businesses emerged from lockdown and social distancing measures in many parts of the world, elearning experts from imc, Fosway and Learning Light got together remotely to discuss the post-pandemic future of learning platforms in 2022 and beyond.

 

Key topics discussed include:

 

  • LMS, LXP, NGDLE, Suites…?
  • Headless LMS
  • Concrete Advice for the Learning Platform Buyer
  • Learning Designer to Performance Consultant

 

Hosted by Alison West, Pre-Sales Consultant of imc Learning in London, the panel of experts discussing these topics consisted of:

Fiona Leteney

Senior Analyst at Fosway Group, who has worked in the learning technology market for over two decades, and brings a wealth of insights from customers, vendors and the market.

David Patterson

Lead eLearning Consultant at Learning Light, who has been influential in the world of elearning and learning technologies for over a decade.

Sven Becker

Executive Board Member at imc, with over a decade’s experience from the vendor’s perspective.

LMS, LXP, NGDLE, Suites…?

Alison kicked off the discussion commenting that there is a large and growing list of terminology describing the learning platforms used for education and training today, so asked David to, for those uninitiated in some of these terms, to describe the differences between them.

 

David

The learning management system (LMS) has been around as a term for many many years, probably dating back to the late 1990s.

 

Recently we’ve seen the evolution of the term learning experience platform (LXP), which is interesting as people are trying to present a new take on digital learning. Part of the motivation is that a new such platform is not an LMS, which is more process-focused, whereas the LXP is more content-orientated.

 

However, in David’s view, we are now seeing these two types of platform on the market fuse together, with many LMS providers adding LXP functionality and vice-versa.

 

Does this matter? Well yes - I buyer of these learning technologies will want to have a clear understanding of what these terms mean. So it’s important, and a goal of this discussion, to explain and simplify some of the terms being used today.

 

 

Alison commented to Fiona that at Fosway, they seem to be moving away from terms such as LMS and LXP and using words such as Suites, asking why that is.

 

 

Fiona

Building on what David said, Fosway have also been seeing a merging of the ideas of LMS and LXP. In fact, before the concept of Suites, Fosway had been using the term Next Gen Learning Environment as a term, because they never really saw LXP as a valid term to describe what a system does.

 

In Fosway’s view, LXP is a marketing term, which was launched into the market and everyone latched onto it. This was because buyers wanted to be buying into the latest technology as opposed to a ‘legacy LMS’. At the same time, vendors didn’t want to be seen as a legacy LMS so adopted the term as well.

 

In reality, when talking to a corporate learning platform, when Fosway ask what they mean when they say they are looking for an LXP, the answer is always very different. So, it was a couple of years ago that Fosway started moving away from using the words LMS and LXP and started talking about Suites and ‘Specialists’.

 

For example, if you’re a smaller organisation and you only have budget for one system - that’s when you need a Suite, because that’s going to give you the broader range of functionality that you’re going to need. If you then have the opportunity to dig deeper into a particular area, you then might look at one of the Specialists.

 

Perhaps you’d look at a specialist tool for content curation, or one that focuses on Instructor-Led Training (ILT). Perhaps you’d add these in, and some vendors facilitate this, whitelisted, to add depth of specialism.

 

That’s why Fosway use the term Suite for not only learning systems, but across HR technology as well.

 

So, Suites for broad capability, with Specialists usually focusing on just one area.

 

 

Alison then put the same question to Sven to gain the platform provider’s perspective.

 

 

Sven

This difference these days is that there is no longer a clear orientation driven by the customer. imc traditionally built systems that were relatively process-driven as David had mentioned.

 

The idea of ‘Learning Experience’ was seen as a commodity - normal for imc’s solutions. Learning Experience is a concept, not a system, so to create a good learning experience, you need to look at the concepts from the learner’s perspective.

 

An important shift is to look ahead, years into the future, when creating an LMS, NGLP (Next Generation Learning Platform) or whatever you want to call it. It isn’t just about post-covid planning - that’s an obvious example, but it should have been part of the thinking long before that and must look beyond the immediacy of pandemic and post-pandemic requirements.

 

What is the user’s working environment? For many, it revolves around a mobile world and great systems are considering the needs of users who need a mobile-first learning system.

 

It’s not just about “does this look good on both a desktop and a mobile” - what is the environment of both types of user? Does the mobile user have different sound restrictions because they might be learning on a busy train for example?

 

To broaden the conceptual thinking even further on the part of the vendor, we need to think about the complete Employee Experience and how does learning dovetail with that. After all, learning experience is just part of the employee experience.

 

 

So, for those feeling overwhelmed by all the terminology still around and the level of choice and complexity involved in the buying process, how should the buyer deal with that overwhelm?

 

 

David

“Listen to someone like Fiona or myself!” People at the likes of Fosway and Learning Light spend their time listening to the business needs of organisations and developing an understanding of their learning requirements.

 

From that, a consultant can uncover the types of learning technology that the buyer will need. Sven made a good point that learning experience is really a concept, rather than a system, and that’s an important takeaway. There will, though, always be technology that facilitates that - and some doing it better than others.

 

Learning Suite is a useful term as well - and the best suites are getting bigger and more capable than ever before. Therefore, it’s important as the client to establish in advance what your learning outcomes are, what the learner journeys are, and what the data is that you’re going to need to understand to underpin your learning and bring back to the wider organisation.

Headless LMS

So, what is the headless LMS and how is it different from integration of deep content?

 

David

The concept of the headless LMS has emerged based on the world of content marketing. It springs from the idea of the headless CMS (content management system).

 

What those systems do is push content out across every channel. The ‘head’ used to be the website, but that has been kind of cut off. The CMS now is presenting content through social media channels, productivity suites, websites and even VR.

 

Several learning platform vendors have looked at this trend and said “Yes - this is a valid concept for learning as well”.

 

This is an evolution, not a revolution, as some companies such as imc have been pushing out highly evolved APIs and deep links into learning platforms and integrated content. The headless LMS is simply the next step on this journey, putting the player into the system.

 

So, the player will start to appear within Microsoft Teams, Slack, your CRM or your CMS, and the learning will then be instantly available to your learners at the very moment they need it. Incredibly rich data will then come back into the core learning platform / suite and really enhance your overall business analytics as well.

 

 

Fiona

There are two requirements that tend to focus corporate engagement with Fosway. Often, large organisations are managing multiple learning platforms and are looking for a single point of access to avoid or eliminate confusion.

 

On the other hand, some companies want to facilitate access to learning wherever the learners happen to be at any point in time, and to then feed back into the learning system.

 

This highlights the need for integration. Back at the start of the pandemic, 84% of business leaders were saying “Now more than ever, we need to integrate the learning systems with our business applications, such as MS Teams or Slack”.

 

Fosway brought together a dozen corporate leaders for a roundtable discussion of this issue, and found among them a lot of frustration with the complexity involved in making integration happen. Yes, APIs exist, but it’s rarely as simple an exercise as they were sold on.

 

Like David said, the headless LMS is an important concept that is starting to improve this, and learning systems like imc are helping in ensuring that data is flowing through the whole tech ecosystem. This includes the learning ecosystem of course, but also the HR systems and the wider business ecosystems out there.

 

The more we can get that data flowing through the whole ecosystem, the better our business decision making can be, and it’s that need for integration that’s coming through loud and clear from corporates.

 

 

Sven

It’s important to note that headless LMS is not just the next marketing term - headless is a complex monster!

 

Sometimes vendors say “it’s OK, we have open APIs, everything is easy” but then the customer finds that this isn’t true. API management is one of the most complex areas of IT. This is why we have to talk about things like RPA - Robotic Process Automation - to help with API management.

 

Again, headless is a concept, not a technology, and it’s about how we structure our learning ecosystem. The learning ecosystem is a culture thing, not a technology thing.

 

This is all about the flow of work - “how can we bring content to our people more easily?”.

 

For example, way back in 2009, Deloitte published a study where they had looked at the modern learner. They found that even then, on average people were looking at their smartphone 9 times per hour to check if there was a new message.

 

So we are driven by the ‘pull’ of information. The current standard learning management system is not ready for this - you have to log in, go to your course, open the right bit of learning etc - but that’s just not how we interact with information today.

 

If we know that people are checking their phones anyway, why don’t we push information in that direction, such as a reminder about key points from last week’s instructor-led training for example - when and where it might be helpful and appropriate.

 

Where this will become more important over the next 5 years is in the greater adoption of IoT - the Internet of Things.

 

We already have Internet enabled fridges. A fridge is able to ‘buy’ milk. In the same way, if we can see that a member of the team is on the train on their way to see a client, why not send them a push notification with three key points to remember about that client for example?

 

This is learning in the flow of work - it’s context-based and it’s what we mean by headless. If we think purely in ‘portal’ terms, whether it’s LMS, LXP or whatever, where you have to go and log in, we’re creating a specific access point for learning and that just won’t be the future.

 

Learning should be ubiquitous, around us all the time, and the culture should be driven by the learners themselves and how they work.

 

Sometimes, customers come to imc and say “give us all the APIs and let’s integrate everything” but we try to say “wait, let’s look at what we need, let’s look at the culture you are trying to create”.

Concrete Advice for the Learning Platform Buyer

So, for those looking to ensure their elearning system is future-ready and future-proof, what concrete advice can you give to a learning platform buyer in the post-covid world?

 

David

It really is about starting at and thinking through at the conceptual level. My own work is a lot about building conceptual models and looking at the information flows around that.

 

Worry first about how you want to structure your learning and keep the needs of your learners front of mind at all times. The choice of technology can then come after that and be based on how you want to deliver on those learner needs.

 

 

Fiona

Of course, Covid has meant that we’ve needed to move more of our training online. We’ve been talking a lot about bite size learning and microlearning for sometime, but the highest value training - onboarding and leadership - has traditionally been classroom-based.

 

That kind of training has very quickly been moved online - which was necessary and it’s great that it happened, but we now need to look very carefully from the corporate, vendor and learner perspectives at what that should really look like.

 

20 years ago, we went from classroom-based training to elearning for all the compliance stuff. This took the engagement piece out of the mix along with the trainer, and people started to hate the ‘click Next’ style elearning - rightly so.

 

The risk now is that learners could start to hate more areas of training now that more has been moved online if we don’t get it right. We need to create a safe place of learning where people can join their cohort to collaborate, do joint assignments etc.

 

We need to look carefully at how learning technology can best facilitate this and must not now sit back on our laurels and say - “we got all our training online so all is fine”.

 

 

Learning Designer to Performance Consultant

Sven built on the buyer tips from Fiona and David, offering advice on how L&D approaches elearning…

 

Sven

We might want to look at how learning is structured within the organisation and perhaps move some L&D roles away from just learning design and into being more of a ‘Performance Consultant’.

 

A learning designer always asks “what is the learning outcome of this programme?”. We need to ask ourselves ”What is the business outcome?”.

 

This is often the failure of learning design - we identify a learning outcome but it doesn’t feed into any business outcome.

 

When you move the Learning Designer to become more of a Performance Consultant, you start to create the best of both worlds - learning outcomes that are fully aligned with the business goals.

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Gijs Daemen
Gijs Daemen
Global Marketing Manager
Learning Platforms
What is what?

LMS vs LXP - What's the Difference?

If you are weighing up the pros and cons of an LMS vs LXP or even an integrated solution in a Learning Suite, here we offer an introduction to these concepts.

 

So what’s the difference between a learning management system (LMS) and a Learning Experience Platform (LXP)? It’s all about push vs pull.

 

What is an LMS?

An LMS is a tool for Learning and Development (L&D) managers, and often HR teams, to roll out training and make it available via desktop or mobile devices. It can enable anytime, anywhere learning if learners can access e-learning content online.

 

The LMS is most commonly used for employee onboarding and compliance training, getting new hires up to speed with health and safety, company procedures, product knowledge, and ongoing training that will support the organisation towards its goals.

 

Because this is very much top-down, it’s the Push side of training and is often mandatory as dictated by the company and managers, and perhaps also by law or industry regulators.

 

The benefits of an LMS include:

 

  • The ability of L&D and HR to roll out training content quickly at scale - even to a global workforce
  • A low cost way to update existing training materials when products, services or legislation change
  • The ability to demonstrate completion of mandatory training, assisting regulatory compliance
  • Learner analytics, which will help to identify individuals or groups need additional support.

What is an LXP?

The LXP is a relatively new concept that puts the focus on the learner and their wants in terms of education and training. It enables the exploration of optional learning content away from anything related to mandatory training.

 

The LXP takes into account the fact that different people have different personal and professional goals, with some people actively seeking out new learning opportunities beyond those specified as being essential by the employer.

 

AI and recommendation engines might be used to suggest e-learning content that might be of interest to each individual based on their current role and potential career path and / or their previous learning behaviour. This is similar to how Netflix will suggest TV shows or movies to watch next based on previous viewing behaviours.

 

Suggested content could be within the LXP itself or hosted externally, such as YouTube videos.

 

As the employee is in control of the pace and content of their learning, it is bottom-up and is the Pull side of training - suggested and encouraged, but never mandated.

 

The benefits of an LXP include:

 

  • Making the employee feel valued and supported as an individual, creating a positive learner experience
  • Creating a way for highly motivated employees to better their knowledge and skills, which in turn can benefit the company because talent can flourish
  • Increased employee retention - the LinkedIn Workforce Learning Report of 2022 showed that with better internal mobility support, companies see an average tenure of 5.4 years - nearly double the 2.9 years found at companies that struggle with it
  • Support for the broader digital learning transformation journey - as learner-initiated training will be more enjoyable, it helps the entire organisation become more engaged with e-learning as the primary way of enhancing knowledge and skills. This not only creates a culture of learning, but can add rocket fuel to the long-term digital transformation programme.

LMS, LXP or Learning Suite?

So with so many important attributes within both the LMS and LXP, do you need both? Many organisations do successfully manage two systems with some integration with HR and people management tools, but this can lead to some inefficiency and additional administration time.

The easier and more efficient way to leverage the benefits of an LMS and LXP is to have a single, integrated solution in a Learning Suite.

This modern solution allows L&D and HR teams to collaborate without duplication of effort and administration time, and allows the learner to seamlessly progress from mandatory training to optional learning for personal and professional development.

If you’re looking to create a culture of learning within your organisation to increase employee satisfaction and improve performance, as well as potentially accelerating digital transformation, a Learning Suite is certainly the way to go.

 

The imc Learning Suite is a modern platform based on decades of experience supporting training at some of the world’s best known brands.

It’s highly customisable and brandable, and supports every type of training, from Compliance to AI-supported, Personalised Learning paths.

Because it easily integrates with existing people management and business software, it can slot in with existing technologies - minimising additional admin time to start leveraging its benefits.

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Gijs Daemen
Gijs Daemen
Global Marketing Manager
Job Slot Hero Internal IT
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A Fine Line Between Genius and Madness: A Day in the Life of an IT- System Administrator

A Fine Line Between Genius and Madness: A Day in the Life of an IT- System Administrator

Q: What do you get if you combine technical savvy with the patience of a saint and a willingness to help? A: The perfect system administrator. In other words, someone like Raffael Willems, Head of Internal IT at imc. Not that life in IT is always perfect...

You have to be slightly mad to want to do this job. Apparently, there’s quite a bit more to solving problems in internal IT than just saying “have you tried turning it off and back on again?”

 

Raffael Willems has been Head of Internal IT here at imc for about a year. In this interview, he tells us about his average working day, and why his job requires not just basic curiosity, but patience, good communication skills, and empathy as well.

Raffael Willems, imc

Raffael Willems

Job | Head of Internal IT

Working in | Saarbruecken, Germany

Worked at imc since | 2021

Super power | Patience & willingness to help

Favourite food | Pretty much everything - but good!

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Hi Raffael, thanks for making time to talk to us! You’re the boss of internal IT here at imc. How would you explain to your three-year-old daughter what you do for a living?

Funnily enough, my daughter actually likes to “help” me with my work. When I’m working from home, she loves to type along with me on one of my numerous keyboards. She knows my job has something to do with computers and helping people. The way I explain it to her is that I’m in charge of everything that flashes, goes “beep”, causes trouble, and hinders people in their work.

So, your role as a system administrator is to ensure everyone at imc can do their work?

Pretty much. My job is to make sure everyone else is able to do their job. I’m the one people call when some technical problem or other is causing them grief.

What does that look like on a day-to-day basis? Do you just sit there, waiting for people to call with their problems?

No, no, of course not. While I’m having my first coffee of the morning, I read my emails and Teams messages, look at the ticket system, and check using our monitoring system whether everything’s ok, or whether there’s something needing attention urgently. Then I work through my to-do list for the day – which is not all short-term tasks, by the way.

 

I also have a lot of longer-term projects on the go that require a fair amount of planning. Planning is important because the kinds of changes I initiate affect everyone. If I mess something up, that could very well put 350 people out of action. That’s why good planning and communication with a range of departments are absolutely essential.

What do you like most about your job?

This may sound a little counter-intuitive, but what I like most of all is the creativity. As I said, my job is to try to find solutions that work for everyone, but I also have to make sure they comply with our stringent security and data protection policies. That can often be challenging to reconcile. But certain things, like hardware equipment and security updates, just have to be managed top-down to ensure they’re done properly.

 

I really enjoy working with other people, and the more different they are, the more exciting I find it. I mean, a call from a developer is a very different experience to a call from Marketing. Different people speak completely different languages – figuratively as well as literally. And then there are the many different nationalities and cultures here at imc. That’s quite a change from where I used to work, and I really enjoy it.

 

One thing I particularly appreciate about my work here is that my ideas always fall on fertile ground. There are no wrong answers, and new ideas get listened to and not dismissed out of hand. You can always bounce ideas around and try to come up with creative solutions that work for the greatest number of people.

What personal qualities do you need to be a IT-System Administrator?

Above all else, patience. As an IT- System Admin, you’re constantly dealing with people – communicating and explaining things and, every so often, smoothing ruffled feathers. You have to realize that most people, whatever the company, see IT projects and processes as a necessary evil. People just want things to work properly so they can get on with their job. And that’s totally legitimate, but technology is changing so rapidly that IT is constantly having to adapt.

 

Even so, you can’t just throw a new system at people and expect them to welcome it with open arms and work with it, no questions asked. You have to get the affected departments onboard early on, involve them, be patient, and understand what they need and how they work. Just because a system is a huge hit with Sales doesn’t mean it’s assured of rave reviews in Content, and vice versa.

job slot patience

Hence, as well as patience and good communication skills, you also need empathy. I have to put myself in the other person’s shoes so that I can understand what the problem is and how I can support them. And if things do start getting heated, I need to get alongside those concerned and calm them down.

In day-to-day terms, that means you need to be able to read between the lines. If I can tell from the tone of the e-mail that the writer is extremely annoyed, then I can reach out directly and try to calm things down so that the situation doesn’t escalate. That requires experience and well-honed instincts.

 

Another key personal quality for being a sys admin is the ability to get to grips rapidly with new subject areas. Sometimes there are situations that require fast decisions, so you need to be able to compile and evaluate the relevant information very quickly. I may have no prior knowledge of the problem someone is writing to me about, but I still have to respond quickly with a valid answer. Hence you always need to be keen to learn new things, especially in IT, where rapid technological change is a given.

On a scale of one to ten, how well would you say your training prepared you for your current role?

I’d say seven. During my training as an IT System Electronics Engineer, I was fortunate to have a trainer who always believed in me. He would always say that in my chosen career I was walking a fine line between genius and madness. But he made sure to teach me the things that really matter – and not just the hard skills, but the soft skills as well.

Thanks to him, I developed a certain sense of ambition and learned to stick with things, to complete my tasks reliably and to not be afraid to step into conflict situations where necessary, but without losing my calm. So, a big shout out to Volker Laufer!

What attracted you to the profession of System Administrator. How did you get into it?

My father was a primary school teacher, and he got me interested in computers at a very young age. Back in the 1980s, he wrote his own learning software for Atari and Commodore. And for my mother, who was a self-employed music teacher, he wrote a sheet music learning program in Omicron Basic. Of course, I was always looking over my dad’s shoulder, and when I got my first Windows PC, I learned a lot just by experimenting and trying things out. So, when I got older, I naturally gravitated towards a career involving computers.

 

The fact that I am now working for an e-learning provider is a source of great pride for my parents, because in a sense I’ve brought the family full-circle. I feel the same way, which is why I’m able to identify very closely with imc’s values and products. It’s like I’m getting back to my roots.

imc Job Slot seperator job and career

In what ways does imc differ from most of your previous employers?

Well, there’s the company’s size, of course, but mainly it’s the communication culture. Here, whenever I introduce something new, it takes two weeks tops for everyone to get on board with it, including everyone over in Australia. At my last employer, it would take an eternity, even though they don’t have any locations outside Germany. Here, people talk to each other, share ideas, and read the updates that I post in the blog.

 

But the biggest difference is the mindset. At imc, the attitude to change is more positive than negative. I never have to explain to anyone that IT changes and that they can’t keep doing things the same way they’ve been doing them for the last 15 years. Perhaps that’s due to the greater diversity here, and to the average employee age, which I think is about 38.

The people here also have a relaxed way of dealing with each other – there’s no stuffy business etiquette, just a willingness to help one another. And if you’re going through a tough time personally, that’s ok too. You can talk about it and get support.

Here’s a recent example that says a lot about our culture around mistakes and how we get along with one another. I was working on something that I failed to think through properly, and, as you’d expect, when the admin screws up, it affects the whole company. It wasn’t anything major, but it was still annoying. Pretty soon, one of my colleagues stormed into my office in a rage and had a complete meltdown over it. But that evening, we spoke about it again over a beer or two, and it was fine.

 

Mistakes happen, and people here accept that. Nobody holds that mistake against me, because they all know it wasn’t malicious and because I admitted it immediately and apologised. Plus, they know me as someone who does a good job and is always willing to help.

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You’ve been with us for almost exactly a year now. What’s your reflection on how things have gone?

It might only have been one year, but it feels like ten – and in a really good way! I feel like I’ve been here forever because I’ve already gotten to know so many people and worked on so many projects and systems – I guess what I’m saying is, I feel needed. There is still a lot to do, obviously, and the processes are not quite the way I would like them to be, but we’re getting there.

 

Here at imc, my work is valued, people take the time to thank me, and I feel there’s a very healthy culture around conflict and mistakes. Discussions here are based on reasoned arguments. Rather than rejecting new ideas as a matter of course, the people here embrace change and accept that change also means new technology. That’s because change isn’t just about how you work; it’s also about how your workplace is equipped and what the systems are behind it.

What would you like to change?

I think we could do more to raise imc’s profile as an employer. For example, when I first applied, I knew virtually nothing about the company. Having said that, I was really impressed with the overall application process.

I also really liked the Welcome Days organized by the HR department and the way I was onboarded and welcomed into the fold. I would like to see imc build on this positive applicant experience and inspire more people to join the company – and hence also join my team.

 

 

I’m sure we can manage that. Thank you for sharing these valuable insights. You clearly love your job. Long may that continue!

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IMC CAREER

Would you like to know more about imc as an employer? Then take a look at our career section, maybe there is a suitable position for you.

We are also always happy to receive unsolicited applications!

imc Job Slot: Unique people. Random questions.

Random questions, regularly new faces and jobs – that's the job slot of imc.

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Contact person

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creating unique content and social media are my passion.

 

"One can not not communicate" - Paul Watzlawik.

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

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Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
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Diversity & Inclusion at imc

Diversity and Inclusion at imc: How We Are Continuing to Walk the Talk

From cultural diversity roundtable to tandem programme – Our summer highlights of 2022

Diversity and inclusion is now an integral part of our corporate culture here at imc. Our workdays are generally pretty busy, obviously, but we will always find the time to champion this important issue and generate awareness of our initiatives.

 

We: that’s the imc diversity team. Currently there are 22 of us. To ensure everyone can find what they are looking for, we have structured the diversity programme into three main elements: EmpowHER, a programme to connect and empower women at imc; the Cultural Diversity programme; and our most recent initiative, the Diversity of Interests programme.

 

To ensure that this diversity programme is genuinely accessible to all employees at all locations, we are planning to run most of the sessions and activities in hybrid or fully online form.

3 Pillars D&I Programme

The three pillars of the D&I movement at imc

EmpowerHER: Round two of the InspireHER tandem programme

Last year, the EmpowerHER team launched their passion project, the InspireHER tandem programme. It involved 20 imc women meeting in pairs over an eight-week period to share experiences, ideas and tips, and foster personal growth through mutual reflection and feedback.

 

The launch was a success, and InspireHER was held again this year, with 20 imc women pairing up for regular close dialogue and sharing. The matters discussed are confidential because the aim is to create a safe environment for open and frank exchange, whether on professional or personal topics.

imc Diversity and Inclusion Inspire HER Programme

InspireHER, the tandem programme for women at imc

“The closing session this year was a time of emotion for everyone, but also of laughter as many of us had humorous anecdotes to tell,” says imc communications manager Nadine Kreutz. “We all noticed that we had bonded with each other at a personal – as well as professional – level, and that’s what made these intimate and joyous moments possible.” Nadine and her tandem partner met up every Friday afternoon: “It was always such a wonderful way to end the working week, having a good laugh at ourselves and the things we discovered we had in common.”

How can we learn about and understand cultural diversity in our organisation?

This is the question our Cultural Diversity team asked themselves at the start of the year. A key focus of this year’s Cultural Diversity programme is on how we interact with each other in our day-to-day working lives. What keeps us from communicating with our colleagues from different cultural backgrounds in a natural and open-minded way? In the sessions and discussion groups on these topics, there’s one subject that came up again and again: stereotypes.

Diversity, cultural diversity

This prompted the Cultural Diversity team to look at ways of overcoming various stereotypes here at imc. For each of our company’s locations, they planned sessions dedicated specifically to cultural stereotypes. We still have one of these sessions to go before the end of October. It’s themed “Typically German”.

 

The Cultural Diversity programme kicked off in Australia with a session titled “Get to know more about ... Australia!” Samantha Mathews, business development manager at imc in Melbourne, led this session with warmth and disarming self-irony.

 

It pretty soon became clear that the Germans among us often find the laid-back Australian way of doing business rather off-putting. The fact that in Australia, meetings often start with informal chit-chat surprised the audience. "We consider it normal and even polite to ask people about weekend plans " Explains Samantha, "It's not uncommon for me to know what my clients do in their spare time, if they are married or if they have children."

Desk with family picture

This brought an ironic smile to the lips of most of the German colleagues present. After all, here in Germany, we generally start our meetings on time with the agenda and then get straight down to business. Or do we? We’ll have to wait until our session on Germany to see whether there’s any substance to this cultural stereotype.

Operation Christmas Child

This year’s programme featured the launch of our most recent diversity initiative. Called Diversity of Interests, its purpose is to celebrate the diverse qualities, knowledge, interests and talents of our people, focusing on personal interests outside of work, such as volunteer work, social engagement, club memberships and unusual hobbies.

 

For example, this year Julia Heib, internal Communications- und Event at imc, will be introducing imc to a project that has been dear to her heart for many years. “With ‘Operation Christmas Child’, everyone has the chance to give the gift of Christmas to a child in need,” Julia explains. “This appeal has been a part of my family’s Christmas tradition for years. I get my children involved, and we have a nice time together, packing the gift boxes. I’d like to introduce the appeal to the entire imc organisation and get lots of people involved. And our Diversity of Interests initiative is the perfect vehicle for just that.”

The aim of the initiative over the next few years is to provide a platform where our people can share what’s important to them personally and find collaborators, kindred spirits and supporters for projects that go beyond their day-to-day working life. The idea is that this initiative will give rise to further initiatives or talent pools which then feed into employees’ day-to-day work or specific imc projects. A win-win all round.

 

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Contact

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
move health
move!
A Whole Month Dedicated to Health

Preventive Wellbeing for a Healthy Workplace

imc Cares: Health Awareness Month at imc

Time to talk about health! Here at imc, August was all about preventive wellbeing and mindfulness. We all know the importance of mental and physical health, but that doesn’t seem to stop us from losing sight of what’s truly good for us and forgetting to look after ourselves. So, we decided it was time to try something different.  

 

Everyone at imc was invited to spend a month exploring various options and offerings for staying active and looking after their own (mental) health and wellbeing. These included a wide range of inspiring talks as well as various activities that promote active and healthy lifestyles. It was an amazing month, so we’ve put together this recap of the main highlights and feedback. 

health breaker

Good health in the workplace is more than just a nice-to-have

Health and wellbeing are about our mental state – how we’re feeling, and how well we are able to cope with our working day. That’s why we believe it’s important to work on our mental health and wellbeing in the workplace on a regular basis – and not just when we’re having problems. So important, in fact, that in August we launched a comprehensive health awareness initiative. That’s in addition to the recently introduced online platforms voiio and My Seven Steps and regular health tips and recommendations. 

 

imc HR manager Sarah Pitzius explains why this month meant so much to us: “My colleagues and I in HR felt it was important to put the spotlight on the health of our employees and health in general. The idea of having a wide range of formats was so that each employee could select live sessions with external providers of their own choosing and hence find out about the kinds of services available, so that they could take advantage of helpful offerings like yoga sessions or workshops and talk with other employees about health issues.” 

Short and sweet: Ideas and tips from experts from around the globe

To focus in greater detail on topics like work-life balance, stress management and dealing with challenges, we invited both external speakers and members of our ambassador crew to give virtual live presentations. These experts from around the globe shared their knowledge and spoke from personal experience in a series of brief online sessions, giving the participants handy hints and ideas to try out for themselves.  

 

Tyson Priddle was among the participating brand ambassadors. He explains why mental health is something worth investing in: “Thanks to my own personal experience and many conversations I’ve had with friends and acquaintances, I’m passionate about (mental) health. I believe that education and fostering open and honest dialogue about mental and emotional wellbeing are essential to maintaining good health.” And on the subject of health at work: “Given that we spend such a lot of time at work, we really need to get better at supporting each other and looking out for early signs that team members or colleagues might be experiencing difficulties.” 

 

One of the external speakers said something highly memorable that sums this up rather well. He said we should all have the courage to ask our colleagues: “How are you? How are you, really?”. 

How are you? How are you, really?

Stay fit! Keeping fit and active at work

We all find it a struggle at times to fit regular exercise into our daily routine, so the addition of voiio to our employee benefits programme here at imc several months ago has been a big help. For August, we instituted a shared active lunchbreak to raise awareness of this platform’s benefits and many offerings. These include brief active movement sessions, which is how we all came to spend 15 minutes of our lunchbreaks doing neck and back exercises. 

 

Also beneficial to our health are the “Flow & Focus” yoga sessions run by sales consultant Katharina Kunz. These sessions are held at regular intervals throughout the year, but in August Katharina delivered them every Wednesday – an employee coaching employees. “Sometimes we forget how beneficial a few minutes of controlled breathing and mindful movement can be when we are feeling stressed and unfocused,” Katharina says. “My aim with the ‘Flow & Focus’ sessions is to help my colleagues with this and enable them to consciously build this important time out into their schedules.” 

 

There was also a mini smoothie bar, organised by one of our employees. Our lunchtimes were all the better for her homemade rock melon-and-pineapple and spinach-and-celery smoothies. Delicious and bursting with goodness.  

move! Mental Health
Smoothies

Collective help through local initiatives

While it’s important to look after our own health, we also need to be prepared for situations where bad things happen, causing others to become dependent on us for help.  

One such situation, which may be thrust upon any one of us at any time, is when we are called on to provide first aid. Here, proper training is key to being able to respond swiftly in a medical emergency. That’s why we organised a first aid course at our headquarters – so that anyone who wanted to could brush up on their skills.  

 

Sometimes saving a life is a collective effort. Donating blood is a case in point, and so, in Melbourne and on the other side of the planet in Saarbrücken, our teams made time in their schedules to attend one of the blood donation slots on offer.  

First Aid

And the verdict? Let’s do it again!

For HR manager Jennifer Wilhelm, Health Awareness Month was a resounding success: “Our efforts have borne fruit. We have seen a marked increase in user numbers on voiio. And the feedback from the teams has been very positive, particularly the feedback on the workshop formats, so we will definitely be organising these sorts of special events again.” 

 

Our aim going forward is to keep health and preventive wellbeing on the agenda. This won’t be a one-off campaign. We want to keep these important issues at front of mind with our employees, and to that end we plan to initiate various campaigns in the future. We are working towards this awareness goal with our Inspire sessions and with various infographics containing useful tips and recommendations. We are also looking at new leadership programmes to get our leadership personnel on board and help make them more mindful of these important issues.  

Jennifer Wilhelm
And the feedback from the teams has been very positive, particularly the feedback on the workshop formats, so we will definitely be organising these sorts of special events again.
Jennifer Wilhelm
Human Resources Manager
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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]!

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Doreen Hartmann
Junior Marketing and Communication Manager
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The rise of Mr. Hilarious – From a small garage start-up to Managing Director at imc Austria

The rise of Mr. Hilarious – From a small garage start-up to Managing Director at imc

No. We’re not talking a Hollywood script for a new Vince Vaughn comedy. We’re telling the story of a Managing Director at imc. He reveals his most important task, and what work-life balance means to him today.

“Full of shenanigans” – that’s a beautiful phrase, right? It’s the first thing that came to mind when I first spoke to Oliver Nussbaum. It sums him up perfectly, as if the phrase was coined especially for him. You will soon understand why.

 

Olli is a Managing Director of imc Austria. In the late 1990s, he started an e-learning company – while dropping out of university and long before anyone had even heard of e-learning. When imc AG bought his company in 2008, he was kept on the payroll. In 2012, he became Managing Director of imc Austria, a role he now shares with his colleague Marc Müller.

 

In this interview, he shares how his understanding of work-life balance and career success has changed over the years, what he considers his most important task, and what really drives him up the wall.

Oliver Nussbaum, imc

Oliver Nussbaum

Job | Managing Director imc Austria

Working in | Graz, Austria

Worked at imc since | 2008

Super power | Enthusiasm

Favourite food | Piccata Milanese

Job Slot office life, seperator

Hello Olli! Thank you for taking the time. What exactly does Managing Director mean? Can you explain your role in one sentence?

One sentence? OK: I know a little bit of everything, but nothing in-depth.

Respect! That was short and sharp. Can you explain it a bit further?

My job is to ensure that things run smoothly. Essentially, it is my responsibility to create a working environment for our employees that provides them with everything they need while also making them satisfied and keen to come to work. I clear their path as much as possible and remove obstacles so they can focus on their actual job. People want jobs that meet these four criteria: a great work atmosphere, interesting tasks, flexible working hours and adequate remunerations.

 

In recent years, priorities have shifted, and money has become less important. Of course, pay has to be fair. Yet, few will stay in a job if it falls short on the other factors – if the work atmosphere is poor, the employer is inflexible, or tasks are repetitive and boring.

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Let’s talk flexibility. In 2022, imc introduced a flexible working time model under the motto: “100% flexible but not 100% remote.” How are you realising that in Austria?

Here in Austria, our team comprises 27 members. Most of us come to the office at least once or twice a week. We hold all our important team meetings on a Monday, and we all come in that day. The other four days are flexible. Some come in almost every day, others really only do on a Monday.

 

We were absolutely certain that we wanted to remain flexible after corona – especially when we saw that productivity shot up by almost 30% when we were forced to work from home! I keep a close eye on working hours to avoid overtime, and I strive to keep fluctuation close to zero. What you need to consider is that after 5, 10 or even 15 years with the company, the wealth of knowledge a team member accumulates is so profound that it becomes almost impossible to replace them.

This is why it is so important for me to create employee satisfaction, so that both our new and our long-time employees say: I love working here!

Sounds like a very relaxed approach. Many a traditionalist might even accuse you of not actually working.

Well, no. One glance at our output puts paid to that suggestion. Of course, I do place a lot of trust in my employees, and I put them first – as a person. However, I can only offer that flexibility if our corporate objectives are met. I expect absolute honesty, team spirit and a willingness to take responsibility. We are a team and think as a team. If one link in this chain becomes a burden on others, I will remove it sooner rather than later.

A person who compromises the collective effort, refuses to take responsibility for their work or offloads their tasks onto others will not have a future with us. I communicate this very clearly from day one to ensure everyone knows the script.

What exactly do you mean by honesty?

Honesty really is something I deeply care about. I am always totally honest to myself and others. The opinions I hold are not always that popular. Some will dislike that. However, I also don’t have an issue with others giving it to me straight. As a Managing Director, I need to be able to handle that. It is part of my job, and I would rather people let their frustration out on me than on my team. Our hierarchies are very flat. We don’t just preach an open-door policy because it’s cool. Everyone knows that they can come to me with any issue whatsoever. And they do.

 

To get back to your question: Honesty already starts during recruitment. I communicate our flat hierarchies very clearly from the outset. The last thing I would want is new team members getting the wrong idea about promotion opportunities and the like. Our structure naturally limits traditional progression through the ranks. Where we are not limited is in constantly offering new and exciting client projects and novel products like the imc Express authoring tool we developed in Austria.

 

Now, I also expect openness and honesty towards and from our clients, and I expect dealings to be on an equal footing. I cannot promise or sell anything our clients don’t need. It really is that simple.

imc Job Slot seperator job and career

Let’s talk about you and your career. How did you train for this role? What was your career path?

After finishing high school, I went to university to study business management. But I successfully dropped out after a few years. Nonetheless, that time was very valuable to me. For instance, during my semester abroad in Colorado, USA, I studied computer design. This was in the mid-1990s. Back then, you could hardly even find a PC in Europe.

 

I learned a lot about graphic design and got into intermediate and small film production. That sparked the idea to create my own learning videos. Thus, I got together with my former partner to start an e-learning company. The thing is, in the German-speaking region, nobody really knew what e-learning was supposed to be, and nobody understood what we were trying to do.

That was a really exciting time. It was huge fun. We had a proper garage start-up. We hired a room right above the employee shop of a Siemens branch. So, you could walk into the building and buy a washing machine with your computer-based training.

 

As the company grew, I took on different responsibilities. I handled sales, for example. At some point, my studies got in the way, so I dropped them to give all my focus to the company. We grew to 25 employees across the DACH region, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, that is, before selling the company to imc in 2008. That was a massive change for me personally. All of a sudden, I went from being an entrepreneur to an employee. That said, I think more like an entrepreneur now than I ever did before!

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What characteristics do you think a Managing Director needs to bring to the table?

Above all, you need great social skills and empathy, and be a good judge of character. You also need to know what really matters. You cannot waste time with micromanagement. You need to delegate. A good Managing Director must be able to hire people who can do things better than them – without any hint of fear. I consider that a key competence.

 

On the other hand, you also need to have experience in the business and the environment. You also need to be open-minded, draw on a broad knowledgebase, and have at least some understanding of pretty much any issue – enough to enable you to judge how important or urgent these issues are, and how your market and your customers think.

 

In a nutshell, there are three things I consider crucial: First of all, social skills. That includes the ability to hire the right people. Secondly, a healthy approach to delegation. Thirdly, keeping an eye on the big picture without losing focus.

How would you define professional success?

My definition has changed many times over the years. During different stages of my life, professional success meant something different to me. In the beginning, I always wanted more: more customers, more revenue, more employees. I wanted to see the company take the big stage. The sale to imc seemed like a perfect fit for that ambition.

 

Today, I primarily define success by how satisfied my employees and how happy my customers are. I no longer need to be the centre of attention. I’m happy for others to take the credit. For me personally, status symbols and other financial aspects are now taking a backseat. Work-life balance has become a bit of a buzzword, but the “life” part is very important to me. In the past, I lived to work. I have become a lot more relaxed. It has been a few years since I put in a Christmas shift.

 

I also think that success means not taking things personally and developing a certain detachment while preserving your capacity for an emotional response. Taking breaks, trying to see the positives in anything, being able to laugh at things. The Dalai Lama said something along the lines of: “I love it when people laugh, because that is when they have new ideas.” My goal is to spend the rest of my working life in a way that allows me to retire but makes me want to come to work, simply because I enjoy it.

Let’s also talk about negatives. What really gets your hackles up?

I cannot stand deliberate incompetence. We briefly touched on taking responsibility earlier. What really drives me up the wall and – to me – is very much a sign of incompetence is when people deliberately approach something with tunnel vision.

When they refuse to look to the left or right and claim “I wasn’t told to do that” or “It never said that in the requirements specs.” It’s not a healthy mindset. If you are responsible for a project, you really have to take responsibility. You have to make sure that it works. Of course, you can and should consult specialists – but ultimately, you are responsible. Responsibility is not something you can dump on someone else.

 

Another thing I take great issue with is unfounded accusations. I think I made it very clear that anyone can come and tell me what they think. I don’t want them to mince their words, but I do expect these opinions to be plausible and have a basis.

To be quite honest, I also drive people around me nuts. I come late to meeting, I talk too much, I’m not perfect. But let’s carry on.

To round things off – Tell us about a funny experience you had at imc.

There’s been more than a few! This client contacted us with an issue, and we were struggling to really grasp what was going on. So, we asked her to send us a screenshot of the error message. Now, she took a slightly complicated approach: She opened a screenshot image in the editor, took a photograph of that and send us that photo. It showed the wall behind the computer, adorned with an image of a naked man. Of course, we all had a good laugh about that.

Some of the other stories I’d rather tell over a beer and off the record...

 

 

That might be the right thing to do. Thank you very much for this interesting and very entertaining interview, Olli!

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IMC CAREER

Would you like to know more about imc as an employer? Then take a look at our career section, maybe there is a suitable position for you.

We are also always happy to receive unsolicited applications!

imc Job Slot: Unique people. Random questions.

Random questions, regularly new faces and jobs – that's the job slot of imc.

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Contact person

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creating unique content and social media are my passion.

 

"One can not not communicate" - Paul Watzlawik.

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

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Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager