Interview with Sonia Cesario, trainer,
expert for Soufflearning @ Euroform RFS
[?]: Dear Ms Cesario, you are in the pool of experts for the training method called Soufflearning and we would like to know what you think about this new experience.
So my first question to you is:
What is your personal affinity with learning and training in the workplace?
Why are you interested in this method?
Sonia Cesario [SC]: My personal access to workplace-based training is shaped by empathy, communication and expertise, which has allowed me to develop a really relaxed atmosphere in discussions with those involved. This also improved employee self-motivation, so I believe they really felt ‘involved’ and ‘supported’ from the very moment that they started to want to improve their performance and their capabilities. These situations simply result in good learning results with a direct impact on working processes within the company.
The Soufflearning method grabbed my interest inasmuch as it is clearly different from traditional training formats, with which I am also involved, where employees take part in external seminars outside the company.
I find both observation in the field and the feedback discussion interesting, as they encourage self-training sequences within the workplace which are attuned to the specific needs and characteristics of the company and the employees and allow direct application of the skills acquired within an everyday working environment.
[?]: And which elements of Soufflearning were really new for you?
[SC]: There were two elements which were completely new to me:
Firstly, the observation in the “field”, i.e. directly in the workplace. This allowed me, for example, to perceive and evaluate how the employee interacts with various customers, to what extent he is able to cope in difficult situations and how well he works in a team. And I could then qualify the employees while they went about their everyday work.
Secondly, the dialogue meeting which took place with the employee straight after the observation period and focussed on direct personal feedback on his capabilities and potential for improvement.
[?]: Did you manage to achieve the flexibility needed for the training?
[SC]: Yes, I found it easy to meet the requirement for flexibility virtually within the training process. The employers in particular really appreciated this as it allowed company interests, workflows and any days off sick or on leave to be taken into consideration.
[?]: How did you gain the trust of the employer?
Did s/he support the training activities?
[SC]: I gained the employer’s trust through empathy, a great deal of communication and the skills learned over time. This generated a relaxed, cooperative atmosphere in all contact with the employer from the beginning on.
The employer immediately showed a positive attitude towards the training system, mainly because this method allows inhouse training to be adapted to the company’s actual needs.
At the end of the training sequence, the employer also expressed his satisfaction openly – with respect to the method and the way the training progressed, because the results achieved within just a short space of time had clearly improved the company’s impact, employee behaviour and customer satisfaction.
[?]: Did the employees achieve tangible results from the training? Were they able to gradually improve their skills as a result of the training and feedback or did participants have a tendency to slip back into their old habits?
[SC]: During the training sessions in the workplace and the self-teaching phases, the employees learned to reflect on themselves and concentrate on specific aspects of their work in order to improve their own skills and capabilities and thus become more professional.
Employees had the opportunity to correct behaviour patterns and change attitudes, some of which were not particularly professional, they had unconsciously adopted within their work. They found the conference phase involving feedback, suggestions and the working steps I had formulated particularly useful, as the problem often lay not in recognising and understanding, but in identifying a solution.
One employee complained that he had made good progress on handling lots of difficult situations as a result of training, but still previously caught himself making the same old mistakes again.
[?]: Thank you very much, Ms Cesario, for talking to us!
[SC]: Don’t mention it! Any time![Thomas von der Fecht, netz NRW e.V. posed the questions]