Stay curious and grow. This sentence perfectly sums up Deutsche Telekom’s approach to “learning”. We have the power to decide what and how we want to learn, and which direction to take. Deutsche Telekom offers a wide range of courses as the basis for enjoyable learning and personal development.
One element of this strategy is the “Learning from Experts” initiative, also known as LEX. Launched in 2017, the in-house community now has more than 19,000 members in 19 countries, providing more than 200,000 employees worldwide with access to a bottomless pool of knowledge. The initiative aims to share this knowledge and encourage informal learning.
Shakil Awan created the learning platform, winner of this year’s “Telekom Team Award”, an international in-house award for outstanding team achievements.
What makes “Learning from Experts” so unique?
Shakil: There are several features that set it apart. The basic concept, that “everyone is an expert and can share their knowledge,” is ingeniously simple. Anyone can get involved with LEX. Any individual can decide to offer or attend a learning session. LEX is accessible to everyone via the in-house social network; no-one is excluded. Feedback from the community helps to regulate demand, initiate new topics, and ensure high-quality content.
Which topics are covered by LEX? Are there any unusual or intriguing topics that have caught your eye?
Shakil: The LEX portfolio covers every conceivable subject, including a wide range of conventional, everyday work and productivity themes such as MS Office programs and virtual collaboration tools (Webex, Miro, Sharepoint),
It also includes regular sessions on specialist techniques such as Design Thinking and agile working. With growing numbers of Deutsche Telekom units switching to an agile structure, these topics are in high demand.
With more and more of us working from home, not only because of the pandemic, there is also an abundance of off-business topics. From after-work boxing and salsa to laughter yoga, just about anything goes with LEX. The LEX calendar of events is every bit as colorful and diverse as our workforce.
Is there anything in the repertoire to support new recruits through the induction process?
Shakil: Of course there is the formal onboarding procedure which prepares new recruits for the challenges ahead in the period leading up to their first day at work and accompanies them through their first few weeks with the Group. LEX complements this beautifully, because it is the perfect platform for networking and familiarization with the Group’s extensive range of interests. If you are looking for an expert in a particular topic, you can find them with our searchable list or join one of the expert chats.
How does LEX fit with the Group’s learning culture?
Shakil: We want learning to become an everyday experience. Courses should be accessible around the clock so that they can be readily combined with everyday working life. This is the key to ensuring the continuous development of our employees and future-proofing the Group. We set out to create an environment which would encourage everyone to make time for learning and the exchange of knowledge. The success of this approach is reflected in the fact that LEX is now our largest in-house community.
What is your vision for LEX? Where would you like to see LEX develop in the future?
Shakil: Just as learning is a lifelong process, so too is LEX continually evolving. Our philosophy is that we are always open to new ideas and perspectives. I can imagine making part of our internal social network accessible to the public so that knowledge-thirsty outsiders can join in the learning. Perhaps networking will take us into new dimensions.
One area we are already working on and hoping to develop further is our LEX Alumni Club, which is open to former employees. In this way, the cumulative knowledge acquired over many years can be passed on to the next generation.
We are keen to expand further, especially at a global level, with more sessions and participants from our international companies. This in turn will foster even more intercultural learning.
Thank you Shakil for these insights. Considering how far you have come since launching a small employee-initiated project in 2017, I have no doubt we will see many more exciting things from you over the next few years.