When I am asked what is my job by SAP Labs Bulgaria, I say that I am responsible for Learning & Development in our location and usually my next sentence is “I love my job”.
Surely I like the company, its mission and the work I do itself, but the greatest reason why I enjoy coming to work every day are the people at SAP and the atmosphere and spirit created by all of us.
I can tell you many stories about passionate and dedicated colleagues who are the reason for our education initiatives with many Bulgarian schools & universities. Or I can tell you many stories about caring colleagues who find meaning in helping and engaging in plenty of our social activities.
But today I want to tell you about our internal trainer community – these are around 40 engaged experts and great people who deliver trainings regularly for all SAP colleagues in Sofia.
When I joined the Lab back in 2009 my mentor (Viktor Kehayov) and I were meeting managers and experts to discuss the benefits of sharing knowledge and experience internally and thus helping everyone in the location grow.
Very soon we had a list of topics and experts who were eager to share their expertise. And since than we have built a strong community of internal trainers – some of them visit Train-the-Trainer sessions in other SAP locations and afterwards multiply the content locally, others design and develop their content from scratch. Finally, everyone who has proven to be an expert in some technical or soft skill topic is welcome to join and teach.
In my opinion often companies neglect the knowledge, experience and potential they already have in house. Of course we value external expertise and we need knowledge from outside for specific topics, but we clearly see and experience the benefits of establishing and developing an internal community of trainers.
So, what are the three leading benefits?
- You have already the best teachers. You just need to find and enable them.
Your experts know best the products, tools, the connections and dependences as well as the stakeholders and SAP culture itself. They are the people who live all these every day. They have already gone through problems that may occur and therefore have useful tips and tricks and the best recipe to solve the challenge.
- You give your experts the chance to find meaning and fulfillment
In our internal social media channel we have a rubric called “Trainers Unplugged” where I publish interviews with our internal trainers on regular basis. My goal is to introduce the people behind the training topics. In those interviews I am curious to know what drives them to invest time for training preparation and delivery because they teach in addition to their regular job responsibilities (and by the way only people who have delivered trainings know how much effort and energy is needed to do it).
I receive different answers but there is one motivator that is common for all: “I find meaning in giving my knowledge and experience and thus helping the colleagues grow and become better at their everyday job”.
Our Product Management experts who deliver their topic in tandem replayed: “It is really motivating to put people in creative environment and see them at the end of the training leaving much confident in their role and with lots of ideas to implement”.
One of our Linux experts said “Through teaching I get much more than I give”.
- Everyone grows and your organization grows
I love this quote: “If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.” And I would add to it: Know your strengths and invest in your strengths to become not just good, but great, unique and recognizable. A great way to achieve it is to teach others what you are good at. Then you will dig really deep.
In addition you will develop other skills. One of our Security Experts said “Delivering trainings is one of the best ways to develop your communication and presentation skills”.
Don’t get me wrong – surely, sometimes you need external view. But first, assess the situation and look inside with open eyes and open mind and you will see immense opportunities and potential.
I am proud with the Learning Culture we have. And I realize that this is possible also thanks to our Management that supports fully and encourages the colleagues to engage as trainers, mentors and coaches.
Besides our internal learning culture there are many great stories about our dedicated, engaged and cool colleagues who are the reason for all our education activities also outside the company. We hope to see you playing quiz on our event booth or sitting in our lectures in schools and universities or participating in our education activities.