SNC-Lavalin: a training strategy reaching for excellence

"We're eager to engage in a more structured overall approach so that we give all our staff members the same training opportunities."

Lyne DESROCHERS

Leadership Development Manager Human Resources Department, SNC-Lavalin

SNC Lavalin

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SNC-Lavalin: a training strategy reaching for excellence

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Founded in 1911, the engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin has, over the years, become a leader in its field in addition to being a major player in the sphere of infrastructure assets and operation and maintenance services. With over 30.000 staff in more than 40 countries, the Canadian group sets great store by improving the career perspectives of its entire staff. Aware that the strength of any organization can be measured by the skills of its staff, in 2013 SNC-Lavalin launched its on-line Academy and opted for e-learning to help managers of all nationalities develop the knowledge and skills they require to reach for excellence.

SNC-Lavalin has operated on the international scene for over half a century, and its payroll has grown significantly over recent years. To help it continue along this road and ensure that its employees keep abreast of the latest knowledge, the firm decided to change its human capital management strategy and opt for a global approach, particularly as regards training. “We’re eager to engage in a more structured overall approach so that we give all our staff members the same training opportunities wherever they are in the world”, explains Lyne Desrochers, leadership development manager in the firm’s human resources department. After launching the SNC-Lavalin Academy in 2013, the group became interested in distance learning and quickly saw how this training method could help free it from geographical and organizational constraints. “We were having trouble coordinating training schedules given that our staff work in different time zones. As well as offering a high level of flexibility, e-learning increases the scope of our training initiatives and allows our staff members to train whenever they see fit”, says Lyne Desrochers.

Extending the learning experience

The grouped turned to CrossKnowledge to provide training programs for its management team. “Our aim was to rapidly create a personalized development aid, in corporate colors, not only for this priority target but also for departments such as HR and finance, and to tap into the multilingual training modules presented in the CrossKnowledge catalogue”, explains Lyne Desrochers. Several topics were of particular interest to the company at this stage: leadership, diversity, change management, and so on. “The first training program we launched is entitled Human Resources Business Partners and uses blended learning to prepare employees who are about to attend group seminars. The program helps them to get the most possible benefit from the seminar, and to explore topics further when it’s over”, continues Lyne Descrochers. Not surprisingly, it was a great success among SNC-Lavalin staff, clocking up an average of over three hours of on-line training per learner. “Users spontaneously asked to access more training content that’s even more closely related to their day-to-day concerns”.

Information-sharing: at the heart of the program

To make the learning experience more enjoyable, SNC-Lavalin made full use of the different learning formats offered by the CrossKnowledge Learning Suite, especially the creation of communities that allow staff to enrich and expand their knowledge. “We encourage our managers to share best practices and ask their peers questions”, explains Lyne Desrochers. This strategy also enables the organization to identify experts who are likely to be able to knit such communities together. To run these community workspaces in a personalized way, program managers are asked to keep the ball rolling via e-mail reminders and videocasts or by launching topic-focused discussions. To ensure the teams are all getting involved, SNC-Lavalin will use analytical and statistical tools to assess the effectiveness of each training initiative. “Statistical indicators will give us the opportunity to fine-tune the number of participants on each training path, the types of staff members most directly concerned by our training topics, the number of certifications, and so on. They’ll help us make the right decisions about our training programs”, says Lyne Desrochers.

Communicating to get people on board

2014 is set to be a turning point at SNC-Lavalin in human capital management terms. “To reach high participation targets, we’re planning to consolidate our in-company communication plan over the coming months”, explains Lyne Desrochers. This strategy, which will be supported by presentational e-mails, is intended to reach out to as many staff members as possible. “We hope that by the end of 2014 login rates will be nudging 60-70%”, she says. It’s an ambitious target that shows once again that the intellectual capital of SNC-Lavalin staff members is a core concern for the organization.

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