Living in a high performance culture, retaining and recruiting high performance employees demand effective learning and development processes. The Learning and Development Philosophy describes methods, educational principles and ideas all employees in TORM must subscribe to. Read about Torm’s work in this respect in cooperation with Green-Jakobsen.

Interview med Tommy Olofsen, Vice President, Corporate Marine HR, Torm A/S

Together with Green-Jakobsen Torm has been working on the preparation of a new Learning and Development Philosophy and strategy. Can you explain some of the new thoughts and ideas behind this work?

We need to have a structure on the way we lead and develop our employees and organisation and this process has been managed in compliance with principles we believe will do this job in an effective manner.

It is especially important that leaders of the organisation share a common perception of how our organisation learns and develops

In this respect it is especially important that leaders of the organisation share a common perception of how our organisation learns and develops. They must in other words help live the principles stipulated in the learning and development philosophy. Subsequently we have therefore done three things:

1) Torm management has elaborated a Torm Leadership Philosophy on how they believe Torm has to lead and on business principles we wish to apply, and in order to comply with this seen from a learning and development perspective we have…

2) developed a Torm Learning and Development Philosophy highlighting how this process has to be managed in compliance with the Torm Leadership Philosophy. Based on these 2 philosophies we are now in the process of…

3) preparing a Torm Learning and Development Strategy, which highlights the ‘instruments’ (training programmes, competency management, feedback processes etc.) we wish to apply in order to achieve a strong learning and development culture

The Learning and Development Philosophy describes the way we work with learning and developement in TORM

The leadership philosophy helps us describe how we can bring our business strategy into real life and stipulates the importance of company innovation and performance. Both areas demands constant and effective learning and development processes.

But as a prerequisite to support the leadership philosophy we had to find out how our leaders support this process, which is where the learning and development philosophy comes into the picture. We need our leaders and employees to understand the principles of good learning and development, their roles and responsibility and the quality levels we require – no more no less.

Over the years Torm has worked with learning principles seen in a complex business and a diverse organisation where specialised knowledge is required in a number of fields. The Learning and Development Philosophy describes the way we work with learning and development in TORM.

The TORM learning and development philosophy stipulates that all employees have a responsibility towards the learning and development of self and others

Living in a high performance culture, retaining and recruiting high performance employees demand effective learning and development processes. The Learning and Development Philosophy describes methods, educational principles and ideas all employees in TORM must subscribe to. Through the process we have discovered the value of not just limiting ourselves to the seafarers, but also including the land based employees and office staff. The next step is to have the learning and development strategy in place, and we are presently applying the finishing touches on this together with Green-Jakobsen.

In a time of crises and a need for prioritising various investments, why do you believe that it is important to invest in the development of a learning and development philosophy?

This is a right investment because it is essential to ensure that you know something about the competencies in the organisation: how can you monitor, develop and utilise these, who does what, when and how etc. It is important to make a valid basis for your decisions. If you only react according to “the flavour of the day” and just listen to the buzzwords that come and go, your investments lack a target.

It is matter of finding the best methods for your organisation and employees and make sure they are integrated in your work. It is not right to believe that you learn the most from classroom teaching. Much of the best learning happens on-the-job. A learning and development process starts by describing where we want to go and how this will add value to the company. All initiatives must have a cost and quality focus.

“To evaluate the value added of our learning and development processes, we measure on three parameters:

  • Economical Added Value – Do we decrease our expenses or increase our earnings? 
  • Organisational Added Value – Do we improve the way the company manages the job, work processes and tasks? 
  • Employee Added Value – Do we improve the competencies and working conditions of our employees?” 

Torm Learning and Development Philosophy

 

How do you implement the strategy and how do you ensure that the ideas laid down in these papers are being “absorbed” by the individual employee?

This is a wide question, and I must begin with the four cornerstones in our strategy, which are:

Customer: Putting customers first and their needs in focus
Quality: Quality in Everything we do
Cost: Delivery of high quality work in a cost efficient manner
Safety, Environment & CSR: Act responsibly

There is a need for a platform for working towards the goals of this strategy and here we have the learning and development philosophy. A number of staff has participated in its development and it is targeted to those who teach or train others, i.e. the HR people and the leaders. It is not equally interesting for every employee. We must first train and develop our HR department and the leaders.

Based on the learning and development philosophy we have to prepare a learning strategy defining important and effective, formalised, focused and integrated learning and development activities. All these programmes are instruments to support and implement the strategy in compliance with the learning and development philosophy.

In this respect we divide that into three phases:

1. The learning you get when you are introduced to your job before you start
2. The learning you get when you are starting to perform your job: you start to develop systems, methods, you adjust to changed demands, etc.
3. The learning that develops you towards transition to another job: promotion, job rotation, adjustment to new systems, policies, etc.

For these three phases there will be a number of learning and development activities designed in compliance with our learning and development philosophy. As an example the Torm learning and development philosophy stipulates that all employees have a responsibility towards the learning and development of self and others. A learning and development activity or programme therefore also has to take into consideration how e.g. the crew on board or at the office can support a training process.

The important combination in the learning development is to link the leaders who understand where an effort is required and have the competencies to define and develop the contents of the training with the experts who know how real training is generated.

“The focus is learning and development of both the employee and the organization. We evaluate what activities will enable us to achieve business success.

We believe that the best learning happens in different situations – this to be understood as:

  • 70% of all development should occur on-the-job
  • 20% from relationships, networking and feedback
  • 10% from formal training opportunities

On-the-job training has to be managed in a structured and professional manner. We expect all employees to be both trainers and trainees responsible for own and others’ learning.”

Torm Learning and Development Philosophy

 

Can you describe the development process of preparing the learing philosophy and strategy in conjunction with Green-Jakobsen?

Green-Jakobsen has worked with Torm for many years and they know our company and organisation very well. GJ has developed training concepts for both our management and employees and they have been our discussion and development partner on a lot of subjects through the years. This means that they are familiar with Torm’s requirements and at the same time they understand what learning is and what it means in our environment.

Green-Jakobsen understands what learning is and what it means in our environment

Furthermore, Green-Jakobsen have a focus on the fact that learning can be both structured and unstructured – we subscribe to the 70-20-10 learning and development philosophy as described above – and they have given us an important input as to how we can apply and develop this philosophy within our organisation.

In 4 years’ time what are you hoping will be the result of this work and what will have happened to the seafarer competencies?

Well, first of all I believe it is common knowledge that ships cannot be run from behind a desk and a computer screen and that procedures, rules and regulations cannot control what takes place on board the ships.

I hope that we have entirely dismissed the compliance culture and met the challenges of interaction between sea and shore based employees...

I hope that we have entirely dismissed the compliance culture, met the challenges of interaction between sea and shore based employees and gained more trust and confidence between them. Moreover, I hope that we have further developed the respect and tolerance between land and sea based staff and the understanding of our collective responsibilities and competencies.

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Janne Haugland
Janne Haugland
Communications and HR Manager
Copenhagen

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