Ruben Verelst on #Learning&sharing at TriFinance
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room”
Ruben Verelst, who has been working at TriFinance for almost 9 years, is one of the faces of the TriFinance #TypicallyYou recruitment campaign. His focus point for the campaign is #Learning&sharing. Here is Ruben’s advice for organizations to increase knowledge sharing amongst their employees:
Ruben, first of all, why are the topics of knowledge sharing and learning culture so #TypicallyYou?
Knowledge sharing is one of the bedrocks of our company. At TriFinance, we have – amongst a lot of other initiatives – a well-developed mentoring system. TriFinance mentors guide and counsel colleagues to perform better on the job and increase their expertise on certain topics.
Explaining how things are done is a great opportunity for both the colleague and the mentor. It is obvious for the one who receives guidance, but it is also very instructive for the mentors as they receive questions they did not think about. So, they are challenged on the 'why'. Therefore, knowledge sharing is a great exercise for our soft skills (every person needs to be approached in a different way) and our hard skills (we get an even better understanding of what we are teaching about). Seeing a colleague perform a task I explained and noticing that he or she understands it and can put it in the bigger picture is a great experience for me.
Could you share your personal knowledge sharing best practices?
Provide context and take enough time. Start by explaining the ‘why’ and give context so that the connections with other topics become apparent. Take for example a step in the closing process or a KPI report. As an instructor you can either opt for the quick and dirty approach, often chosen due to limited time available, or the investment approach. The quick and dirty option limits your explanations to highlighting the (manual) actions that are needed to complete the report, the bare minimum. The investment approach goes beyond and takes your apprentice on a journey explaining how the input came about, who is involved, the WHY of the report and the impact it might have on the organization. Clearly the latter approach takes more time and effort for both parties as you provide the overall context, the importance or impact of this step/report. However, people will more easily remember it in this way and will be able to function independently a lot faster.
Afterwards (e.g. during the next closing) let your colleagues go through the process by themselves. Challenge them if they run into issues and try to feed just enough information to them that they can find the solution on their own. People will more easily remember in this way. Make sure to provide constructive feedback and to explain and repeat. Humor is a good way to break the ice and create confidence between you and your apprentice.
“Start by explaining the ‘why’ and give the broader context”
How do you yourself contribute to TriFinance’s learning culture?
I participate in our TriFinance book club where colleagues get the opportunity to read books on a variety of topics, share their findings and challenge the audience. My choice went to ‘Weapons of Math Destruction’, explaining that decisions that affect our lives are increasingly being made by mathematical models.
As a TriFinance mentor I am currently mentoring 5 colleagues (Hadrien, Stephen, Jérôme, Tiziana and Maarten). Some of these colleagues are new at TriFinance and it is always a great opportunity for me to get them better acquainted with the way TriFinance works, how the client works, and of course with the job content.
How do you yourself contribute to TriFinance’s knowledge management?
I am active in the TriFinance workgroup for Insurance where we currently focus on IFRS 17. In this workgroup we are preparing a knowledge circle (i.e. information sharing session) to give our colleagues a better view on what we need to know about this new International Financial Reporting standard. The workgroup is also working on manuals and process descriptions.
Besides that, I am active in the Radar Team Data Governance. A Radar Team at TriFinance is a knowledge gathering workgroup where we upgrade our technical expertise. We currently focus on the GDPR regulations on which we will give an insightful knowledge circle on 24/5, the day before the deadline.
Lastly, what is the main take-away you want to share regarding a learning culture?
As a company you should provide a stage. Give people the freedom to take initiative and talk about their passions. TriFinance enables people to write their own story and to share their knowledge without imposing a predefined format. Colleagues have the opportunity to introduce their ideas to others in the manner they opt to be the best whereas TriFinance will act as a facilitator and will assist in creating the necessary buzz.