Making and keeping employees strong

Getting better at your job? Moving up? Keeping up-to-date about the latest developments in your field? Training is essential. Also for those who have been employed for some time. “That's why at Colruyt Group IT we are fully committed to continuous learning”, says Stijn Vancraeynest, VAK area manager at Colruyt Group's IT department. “It allows us to increase the craftsmanship of our employees.”

Tags Learning & development

Supporting craftsmanship

At Colruyt Group, we see craftsmanship as more than just being capable of doing your job correctly. People who have the necessary skills, attitude and knowledge are proud of their job and are also inspired by the values of the company. In order to promote the craftsmanship of its employees, Colruyt Group has set up several ‘VAK Teams’. VAK stands for ‘Vaardigheden Attitude en Kennis’ and hence refers to the skills, attitude and knowledge we try to support. Our IT department has several VAK Teams as well. “They address our different IT profiles”, explains Alwin Stroobant (in charge of VAK Team ITIS). “This ranges from colleagues who integrate new IT to those who keep existing IT up and running.” “How we support them?”, Stijn adds. “There are a lot of possibilities. You can, for example, attend a specific training, get coaching or be part of your job community.”

A tailor-made learning path

Alwin: “For each job, we develop a learning path, on the basis of the skills the employee needs. This ranges from specific technical skills to soft skills. Therefore, the content of the training package for a business architect looks completely different from that of a software engineer. We also find it important that our offer is in line with the latest developments, not only within Colruyt Group but also within the professional field. Internal training and coaching are therefore regularly provided by our own IT staff: experts in their field, who know the practical side of the matter like no other. Of course, our colleagues can also follow external training courses.”

“Did you attend a training? That’s not the end of it. After some training courses you will be assigned a personal coach who will provide you with the necessary support. Not just by telling you what to do, but especially by increasing your insight. To boost your soft skills, we call on the Colruyt Group Academy. You will learn, for example, how to communicate respectfully and effectively or how to deal with resistance in change processes.”  

A community for and by IT professionals

Not only training and coaching keeps our craftsmanship up to speed. Employees also receive support in their community. “In such a community we bring together employees with the same job or role,” Stijn explains. “The idea? Learn from each other: sharing expertise, asking questions, giving tips ... Through the experiences of others, you gain insights that you can apply to your own job. An application manager can talk, for example, about the difficulties he is experiencing and a colleague can explain how he solved these issues. That’s also good to know for us, the VAK Team. That way we know what is going on and what the needs are. The training may not be complete, the tooling may not be up-to-date, the process no longer suitable ... And we can make adjustments. “

Alwin: “These communities were created based on our conviction that many questions within an organisation can be solved by the organisation itself. The thing is that employees should be able to find each other. As a VAK Team we try to facilitate this, for example by offering the right platforms. But the most important thing is, of course, that the employees keep the community going.” 

Inspire and help

Alwin: “Communities can be organised in different ways. There are smaller communities that meet regularly. But there are also virtual communities, which is the case for our Java developers. They have a digital platform where they inspire and help each other. They share articles about the latest trends, but also tips and experiences. This allows them to quickly find the right information or specialist.” 

Stijn: “One concrete example: within our IT department a project is ongoing to move to a service-oriented organisation. For all the new roles that are introduced, we either have or are starting up a community. We notice that those who are in a new role, and are still looking to find their way, are benefiting a lot from sharing questions or ideas. The community ensures that the craftsmanship of every member improves much faster than if they had to discover everything for themselves.”

Intensively innovative

The IT world is evolving rapidly and becoming increasingly complex. Alwin: “That's why we closely monitor the latest trends and evolutions. We try to align these with what - today or in the future - may be meaningful for our group. In this way we try to acquire new insights and make sure that we are ready for the challenges of tomorrow.”

“Therefore, we intend to set up additional VAK Teams,” Stijn continues. “We are now also focusing on security and data management, for instance. These topics are so important in our digitising world, that they deserve extra attention. To make sure we keep up with the latest innovations. Or even better: to innovate ourselves!”