Leveraging a Talent Acquisition Development Program with Evelyne Van Vosselen

May 17, 2023

In this episode of the Talent Sandbox podcast, join us as we delve into the transformative power of learning and development in talent acquisition.Our guest, Evelyne Van Vosselen, an esteemed HR, and organisational development expert who we are very fortunate to have working with Talent Sandbox, will shed light on how learning and development can serve as a strategic enabler of TA initiatives. Discover the vital role of onboarding, personalised training solutions, and captivating learner experiences in attracting and nurturing top talent. Gain practical insights and actionable strategies to optimise your organisation's learning and development programs, ensuring they become a driving force for success. Don't miss out on this enlightening conversation that will empower you to unleash the full potential of learning as a catalyst for TA excellence.

People in the podcast:Evelyne Van Vosselenon LinkedIn.Read the transcript:Emma Jackson:Welcome to today's episode of the Talent Sandbox podcast and a very warm welcome to my guest, Evelyne Van Vosselen. Evelyne is an insatiable learner with roots in a creative, artistic family. Having spent the first half of her career in sales and service management. She left the business side and discovered how her drive for problem solving could make a bigger positive impact on people and organizations while working in HR. Her heart lies with the development of organizations, groups, teams, and individuals, and has built a wide and diverse strategic and tactical experience in highly complex multinational matrix organizations. She has headed up performance and talent management, L&D, and leadership development, as well as sustainability, well-being, culture, and engagement delivering tangible results both on the business side as on the overall culture of the company too.Hi Evelyne, and thanks for joining us today.Evelyne Van Vosselen:Hi Emma. Thanks for having me. It's very exciting to be here.Emma Jackson:Can you tell the audience and us a little bit more about yourself and your role?Evelyne Van Vosselen:Sure. Let me try to keep this short. Today I am the acting head of HR for the European Climate Foundation, which is a very exciting role and has a chunk of learning in it. I'veactually grownup in HR over the last 17 years, starting my career really within the learning space as a learning and development consultant and then gradually evolving. Learning has always been very close to my heart and always at the core of everything that I have done in these last 17 years. So yes, and it's exciting to be here now.Emma Jackson:Learning means a lot to you and you'vekind of putthat at the core of your career, really. How would you say its significance is within not just the individual, but the business itself?Evelyne Van Vosselen:I think when I talk about learning, I should be honest and I should correct myself. I should talk about development,first of all, and think what I'm the most passionate about is organisational development. And for me, organisational development really goes througha number ofdifferent areas. I guess people would call them areas. It-s learning and development, it is team development, it's organisational development andall ofthe different elements that feed into this. I still think that developing an organisation is absolutely one of the critical responsibilities of an HR function. To that point it means that you need to look at all these moving blocks, I would almost call them that constitute organisational development, personal learning, personal growth, team growth, functional growth is thereforereally criticaland important. And I think even if we, from where I sit today and where I have a more generalist role, I still think that learning is a huge part of it, whether it is explicit or implicit. Andbeing aware of the fact thatwe are in the process of learning is a big differentiator. Being intentional about your learning is critical. It helps you to grow faster, develop faster, and of course it starts with awareness. What am Ireally goodat? What can I continue to grow? Whatmaybe shouldI not touch? That's also part of it. But those are really some of the critical questions that we should ask ourselves independent of what we do, what level we are or have, etc. And there's a lot of talk about lifelong learning. I think we always learn whether we do it intentionally or not, but so it's better to be aware of how we want to focus that learning rather than just leave it up to coincidence and for it to be random. I hope that makes sense.Emma Jackson:Yes, it does. It feels like there's a gap between the significance that we theorize with how important learning and development is and the significance many companiesactually puton that. We know that there's a massive skills gap that's getting bigger month on month, let alone year on year throughout the world, not just kind of the UK or the US. Why aren't companies addressing that more? 74% of employees say that they don't feel they're being developed, and yet there's a massive skills gap. What's wrong here?Evelyne Van Vosselen:That's a great question. I think a $1 million or pounds or euros, I don't care what currency. -1 million question, I would say. And throughout my career, one of the first things that was always cut when things weren't going that well was learning/ training. I think it's because as a function,first of all, we have struggled to make the return on the investment visible. That's the first element. It means that training has really become more of a commodity rather than a tool that we invest in strategically and I think that is still a huge learning curve for many organizations. Some organizations got it, and they're massively investing in reskilling, upskilling. But, in truth, there's a lot of talk about upskilling, reskilling, cross skilling, but mostly within the HR space and not so much within the overall global space. There is research. A lot of companies out there do a lot of research that shows that CEOs of corporations and smaller organizations are clearly concerned about the talent, or the lack of talent, or the retention of talent in their organizations. The challenge to recruit talent. But somehow there still seems to be like a permafrost between what the CEOs think and talk about when they're being asked explicitly what the HR function does and then everything in between where we operationalize what we're saying. That's an interesting divide. I think.I don't have a real solution or explanation for it other than that historic notion of training being a commodity, something nice to have,maybe alittle bit like dessert or the sweets that you would give a child. We still haven't been able to bring across the criticality really of that continuous learning and development. I don't have a real answer, but I do think that, as a function, HR, we have a responsibility, a mission to take a step back and reflect on, how can we explain what we know? How can we talk the language of the business and underline what the importance is of what we're doing within the learning and development space? I think that-s one of the things we need to focus on. And in certain cases in my past, I've been successful, and I've been able to showcase and show the return on the investment. But it-s a challenge.Emma Jackson:How would you say onboarding fits into this? Because we know that there's a huge staff turnover within the first 45 days. I think it's something like a quarter of staff leave within the first 45 days because if they've not been onboarded properly, they've not had that training.You might have noticed something in them as a candidate that they didn't have everything they needed, but that spark was there and yet it's not translated into that first 45 days.Evelyne Van Vosselen:This triggers 100,000 thoughts in my mind. Let me start with,maybe whatI consider to be the beginning. Onboarding is critical. It is part of a learning offering of a training offering. We should stop thinking about training as a course on finance for non-financials and communication skills. Let's get beyond that. This is a critical first encounter for the new hire with the organization. It is part, not only, of helping them ramp and become proficient in their job, which is important. People need to feel that they are in a role where they will be able to be successful.As employers, we need to give them the tools to achieve that. That's part of your onboarding and helping them ramp to become more efficient and proficient in their role. It's also part of the acculturation, I don't know if that word translates, but you could be a star recruiter, a star sales rep in Company X, and go to the next company and be a total failure. And that doesn't make sense. You're the same person, you have the same skills, the same qualifications, the same drive, but somehow it doesn't translate into this new organization. Making sure that peopleliterally feelthat they know and understand what their role is, how they will be able to achieve success, but also within what kind of boundaries and culture they will be operating. Feeling that they are truly welcomed, that they become part of the organization, that they feel the purpose, that they see what they're part of the puzzle is to achieve success, isabsolutely critical. I think I have seen this in a lot of instances where you could see that shift in people from being hugely successful to not being successful as they transition to a different organization and becoming successful again in their next role. I think that onboarding part is really a game changer.Emma Jackson:I couldn't agree more. And we know that the global corporate training market is huge. We know there's an appetite there. We know that companies know that and most often have that budget there for that spend, whether it's that they don't know what they're looking for. And you say, we need to not look at training as, -she needs a course on....- -She doesn't quite know how to do that.- -She needs a course on that job done.- You know, we know that that's very old school. We know retention rates are terrible for that kind of attitude. But what should they be looking for?Evelyne Van Vosselen:I think what is critical in today's professional world is the possibility to be specific, tailored, and focused. Your needs will be different to my needs. We may have the same background, but we'll still have different needs and that will translate in in different types of learning and development activities and initiatives. And that isreally importantto factor that in. I'm not talking about learning style necessarily, but rather about learning needs analysis. Whether on a corporate, on a team, on a function or on an individual level. And we do have various tools to be able to do that analysis. They're available to us. We just need to have the desire to use them or see how we introduced them into the organisation. I think that's one part of it, but then also make sure that we do that in a focused and tailored way. I think right now very often we take solutions that are easier and we're not supportive enough of the people that join our organisations. In my past I've done the same thing. I could have launched a huge online catalogue of 16,000 courses, but then how do I make sure that I really provide guidance to my learners to get to the right content that they need and that it comes also in a timely manner? I think those are critical differentiators to be able to factor in. And again, always thinking about those three levels, the organisation overall, the team or the function and the individual. And really figure out how can we compile an offer that sits on the crossroads of these three elements so that they bring added value to the different players. The individual who feels that they're progressing their learning, something that they wanted to learn. The team or the function because they're seeing that they're adding skills and competence in their team, in their function. And the organisation because they're getting a return on the investment they're making. And I think that's important. Just to go back, because I was hesitating a little bit when I started talking about the individual, but I think another critical aspect that we need to bring into the equation is of course, the motivation of the learner. How do we make sure that we can engage with the learner through a content that will help them feel motivated, but also maybe through an approach that helps them uncover, where are my gaps? That they can self-analyse to a certain degree and say,actually that'strue. When I think about my own role and when I think about my own growth, now I realise thatmaybe thisarea or that area is what I should be developing. Then you can actively engage them in consuming, quote on quote, the content.Emma Jackson:How do we do that? How do how do we engage them?Evelyne Van Vosselen:There's different ways. Andmaybe justa silly example from my own personal life. Right now I'm planning a vacation in Italy in the summertime. I speak a tiny bit of Italian and my youngest brother is also planning to go to Italy. He started learning Italian on Duolingo. And I thought, -ah I probably need to do that as well.- I think Duolingo also helps you uncover which parts of the language you don't master, where you make the mistakes. Then I think, I want to learn this. It'sreally aboutgiving a tool or helping people to uncover what am I good at? What should I continue to develop? And what will be the benefit of doing that? In my case, it might help me to do a better shopping when I get there, to communicate with local people, to ask my way around, to have a conversation about a ruin that I visit, etc. What are those motivators and how can we tap into that? And really, in a professional setting, of course, what we should be doing is helping people uncover and identify their areas of strength and their areas of development. Then I think career progress being on top of your role, being successful in what you do, are things that most people aspire to. Not always necessarily to boast about, but to feel comfortable and on top of your game. We could do that through an assessment. We could do that through different ways.Emma Jackson:It-sreally interesting. I've used Duolingo as well. In fact, me and my husband went to Bordeaux last year, realized that our French had got exceptionally shady, shall we say. By the time we got home and thought, we'llprobably wantto go to France again at some point next year or the year after or whatever. Let's try and level up a little bit here. Obviously, this is from a personal perspective and not work related, but I think there's some lessons there because if we were being competitive against each other, and Duolingo knew that we were together in that respect and kind of being competitive there. There was that real modern element of gamification there and it was fun. I think they translate into the workplace learning as well. If we can crack that and make it, even if you're being competitive against somebody you don't necessarily know. And it doesn't have to be competitive in kind of the traditional sense, just kind of motivational to kind of move you on level up.Evelyne Van Vosselen:For some people, the crux will be in in that level of competition. I'm trying to beat my brother who started two months before me. I'm getting there. But in some other cases, it might just be by helping each other and by having that sense of community and that sense of we're doing this together, we're all in this together. We all have different triggers for that motivation. But certainly, it's important to reflect on that and to figure out within the organization. What-s the, in sales terms, because before I was in HR I worked in sales, we would always talk about the -WITFM- - the, -what's in it for me.- That may be different for you than it is for me, but we need to uncover what those WITHM-s are, so that we can help people uncover their motivation, their needs, and then go for it.Emma Jackson:You mentioned community there as well. How important for you is the sense of community with development and learning?Evelyne Van Vosselen:It's critical. It's critical. I've done a lot of work setting up communities of practice or peer learning programs, triads, all shapes, and formats. There is so much we can learn from each other, and we learn through the questions that others may have and the answers that we try to come up with together. And if we do that together, if we do that jointly, if I come up with an answer rather thanhave toread it somewhere, it's going to be anchored more deeply than if I just read a text somewhere. I think that sense of being in it together isabsolutely critical. It also often unleashes more creativity. Instead of just reaching a certain given level of assimilation of the content that you need to learn, it mayactually pushyou to higher levels because you're adding in elements through the exchange with others. By nature, human beings are social creatures, so that element is important. And I think through COVID we've all experienced that the lack of social connectivity was really getting us into a negative spiral or impacting us negatively. And so that community element isabsolutely critical. Being able to connect people is going to enhance the learning and enhance the progress. Absolutely convinced of that.Emma Jackson:I think Covid's areally goodexample actually, especially if you look at entry level into the workplace. People who are just coming out of university or very first roles. They were straight from work from home, didn't meet any of their new colleagues for 18 months or more some people, depending on where you were in the world. I think it was a real, real struggle and that learning capacity. I think from everything that we've learned and read since and they'vekind of managedto meet up with people and go back into the office. You learn so much from sitting next to someone else, from sitting next to a mentor, from being in those group meetings that where you don't have to be behind a screen and struggle to put your hand up or struggle to speak over people where you can be visible within the actual organization. I think that translates really,really nicelythere to show how important that community is and to learn from.Evelyne Van Vosselen:Exactly. I'd like to give two other examples. One again from my own past. One of my very first job, I became a sales rep, telephone sales, selling insurance policies, but I think I learned the most fromsitting in that open space and listening to my colleaguesand trying out their approaches, their sentences until I could make it my own. My son has started, yesterday, a student job as an in-house recruiter for a big steel manufacturer here, and I advised him to do the same thing. I told him, listen to your colleagues. How do they approach candidates? How do they talk to their manager? How do they behave in the workspace? Through that observation, you would assimilate, and you learn an awful lot. That-s absolutely a critical recommendation. One thing I have to say, is it was very challenging during COVID. At the same time, I feel that technology has really helped us, at least to a certain degree, to be able to build a community, build a network through technology. I think that is something that has surprised me how you could really create a sense of belonging to a community/ a group, even online. I think LinkedIn is one of those examples where after a while you feel that you are really connected to a certain group of people, but there's other ways of doing and achieving that. I think it's in the mix, success will be in the mix.Emma Jackson:I think it-s a lovely hybrid that is the human nature of us sometimes, I mean, especially myself as a writer. There are times when I need to completely retreat and just be by myself or go for a walk-in nature to draw that inspiration and just not be around another human being. Then there are times where I need all the inspiration going from lots of other people and sparks flying by being in a room full of people. I think that technology that really came through throughout COVID, they really powered up. Now that we're out of that, we can lean on it for that hybrid effect of when we need to be by ourselves, or we need to kind of be somewhere else in the world, we connect in an instant with the people that we need to. Then when we need to be physical with them and be in the same room with them. We're humans. It's not just black and white, is it? We can't just have one or the other I think is what we've learned.Evelyne Van Vosselen:Exactly, and that's a great example. Talking about yourself and how you need different types of environments to be able to be productive, to be able to feel in the flow, I would say. To go back to that notion and that concept, I think it's absolutely critical. I think it's great to see that we do haveall ofthese hybrid opportunities today. I think it's great to think, as you say, I can connect this afternoon with somebody who's on the other side of the world who used to be part of my team in the US and the Americas, and still we can have that exchange. I think that's wonderful. I think it's also wonderful how we've been able to connect with colleagues throughout COVID., and then when we meet them, it feels like we've known them our entire life, andactually it'sthe first time we see them in person. I sometimes laugh and I touch people and I say, -Oh my God, it's true. You're real!-Emma Jackson:It's incredible, isn't it?Evelyne Van Vosselen:It is.Emma Jackson:It'sreally importantthat companies get this right. What's the impact if they do? If they can get this learning and development and growth and sense of community and belonging for the individual as well as the team. Where can this take them?Evelyne Van Vosselen:I think you just touched upon one of my magic words, and it's belonging. When you're capable of creating that sense of belonging because you've supported people through their onboarding, because you've accultured them, because they understand their role, because they feel this sense of purpose. You're helping them to become a better version of themselves, and you're helping them to be engaged with your mission, your strategy and progressing. That's important. I think that's part of the magic sauce, the magic formula, the magic recipe. I think to help people not just be the best version of themselves, but also give the best of themselves. And that's where we create win, win, win. I mean, it sounds so corny when I say it. I hate it. I hate myself for saying it, but it's true. I think it goes through a level of authenticity, bringing people together, allowing them to network. But also, which is a critical condition for good learning, is to allow people to not be ashamed or try to hide their areas for improvement and development, their areas of growth. You need to have a very authentic leadership culture for people to be able to feel comfortable to say, -Do you know what? Actually that thing there or that element or that part of my job, I don't really get it. I don't I feelmaybe disconnected. I don't think I'm very good at it. Please help me.- That level of trust is important to achieve. But once you get there, you will solvemaybe notall your retention problems, but at least you create a sense of loyalty and that goes through that sense of belonging. If I feel that I belong to an organization, I will want to stay and give it my best as well.Emma Jackson:It has that ripple effect, doesn't it? Because then people see that the attraction rate just becomes so much more organic, and people want to be part of that.Evelyne Van Vosselen:Exactly. Your employees, become your ambassadors without having to dangle a sign on bonus or whatever reference referral program you may have. I think it only works when people feel truly engaged with the organization and have become true ambassadors or sponsors of the company.Emma Jackson:If there was one thing that you think organizations should start doing right now, or indeed stop doing right now in in terms of development. What would it be?Evelyne Van Vosselen:I think it's working on that culture of authenticity and trust. We will only be able to do a good diagnosis, a good learning training needs analysis, a good whatever else, if we can have those open and honest conversations. It sounds very fluffing, but there's a lot of different ways to achieve that. But I really think that is the key differentiator. It really is. It's, it's about being open and transparent as much as anything else.Emma Jackson:No, that makes absolute sense. Evelyne, thank you so much for joining me today. It has been so insightful listening to you and can't wait to have you back on again.Evelyne Van Vosselen:It was it was great to have this conversation with you. I'd be excited to come back and talk about other topics.If this podcast has inspired you to enhance the learning of your team, chat with one of our friendly team members today and see how we can help, or you can go straight over to our two flagship courses via the links below:Foundations of a Recruiter CertificationSmart Talent Sourcing Course

Posted by

Marianne Gissane

Training & Development
You May also like