Vlerick prepares USG People frontrunners

Fuelling innovation

Co-creation. That was the condition USG People set when looking for a partner for its training programmes. Ariane van der Kooij: ‘In the past, we organised internal masterclasses and all training was done in-house. However, we felt that there was a growing need for the versatility and expertise of a training institute. The condition was for this to be an interactive process. Something Vlerick was eager to run with.’

USG People is a provider of specialist recruitment services in Europe, focusing on the market sectors of general and specialist temporary staffing, professional secondment and projects, HR services and customer care. The company offers a range of services through a number of independent star brands. Every day, about 90,000 people work at companies and institutions across the European continent, placed by USG People. This makes USG People one of the biggest HR service providers in Europe, active in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France. Last year, USG People posted a turnover of 2.4 billion euros.

Preferred partner

In 2013, the company started looking for a preferred partner to set up and manage a training programme for high potentials, the so-called frontrunners programme. With a transition on the horizon, there was a growing desire to put a number of frontrunners in leading positions. Frontrunners who understand that the world around us is changing rapidly and who want to actively shape these changes. Ariane van der Kooij, Manager Human Capital Development at USG People: ’Co-creation was the main condition when engaging a partner. We didn’t want one-way traffic, but rather, a fruitful interaction between institute and company. That’s the only way to achieve results that meet the needs within the sphere of activity fully. What’s more, needs sometimes change during the programme. It’s important to respond to new realities in the field and to adapt the content of the modules accordingly in a flexible way. In Vlerick, we have found what we were looking for: academic knowledge combined with practical experience, international focus and openness to interact.’

Main goal: innovation

‘In concrete terms, we were looking for a business school with the knowledge to create a talent training programme with the right content and form in line with the strategic targets of USG People. We find ourselves in a transitional phase and would like to go through this as best we can. With the programme by Vlerick, we want to prepare change agents who are able to lead us through the changes with their skills,’ Ariane continues. ‘In April 2014, about twenty frontrunners from middle management followed the programme; in June 2015, a second group started its training. Themes such as Strategy & Finance, Digital Transformation, Personal Leadership and Change are covered during four three-day programmes at Vlerick campuses. The programme is closed with a CEO challenge, with all participants being given one day to draw up advice on a current organisational issue.’

Return on Learning

Training programmes are one thing, actual results quite another. USG People’s hands-on mentality inspired the request for a tool that would allow them to measure the impact of the programme as it were. Under the heading of ‘Return on Learning’, Vlerick developed a special questionnaire linked to the targets the company had set beforehand. Ariane: ‘Based on these questions, Vlerick has mapped the concrete results of the programme. This has shown that our people are considerably better equipped as change agents in theory and as a result, demonstrate more effective behaviour in actual practice. On the whole, we are one hundred percent satisfied with the results. It’s now up to us to actively involve a select number of frontrunners in various current issues and projects. This enables them to implement their knowledge and provide crucial added value for the future of the organisation.’

The Vlerick co-creation toolkit

Learning and development starts with listening and understanding the business, the culture, the people and the challenges. To be able to identify the gaps and opportunities it’s important to gather valuable insights from the executive leadership teams and key people within an organisation. In order to facilitate this process, Vlerick Business School recently developed a co-creation toolkit to help Learning & Development specialists, people in charge of HR and business managers to co-design the learning journey that really matches the organisation’s development needs.

The powerful visual tool consists of a co-creation canvas and card deck. Via a 2 to 3 hour workshop that is facilitated by a L&D specialist from Vlerick Business School managers are invited to co-create their own learning journey by selecting the appropriate learning activities.

Benefits of co-creation?

  • Increased innovation capacity: generate more ideas by tapping into the creative and intellectual skill set of people
  • Increased innovation velocity: within a limited time span you can go from need identification to reviewing innovative ideas and concept
  • Reduced innovation risk: greater confidence in the products and services that result from the co-creation process since people are already familiar with them
  • Increased and consistent flow of qualitative ideas and concepts into your product or service development pipeline
  • Accelerated time to market: the co-creation feedback process weeds out lesser ideas quickly so that only the most promising products and services make it to the next level

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