Tecpetrol University: "The training of the future will also be hybrid"

The platform offering the company’s entire roster of training resources is being revamped. María Laura García, Talent Management Manager, tells us about the changes and where the latest trends are taking us.

Maria Laura GarciaHeading up work to upgrade Tecpetrol's Corporate University.

The Tecpetrol Corporate University is revamping its functions in a move to respond as precisely as possible to the needs of each employee in the company. Each person can now log onto the platform, able to independently manage what they learn, identify the content of interest from among the huge range of subjects on offer, and share this with their teams. They can also share data from external courses, becoming a referent on the subject in the process. María Laura García, Talent Management Manager, highlighted the autonomy that users are gaining in their own learning process. 

What is the main change offered by this relaunch of Tecpetrol University?

One of the main objectives is to allow people to manage their own access to training more easily. This is the first step of many, as the philosophy behind this corporate university is that everyone drives their own learning.

Are you prompting people to choose specific courses?

Actually, this is a push-pull strategy, and both approaches coexist in Human Resources. We drive some things as part of our push training strategy, where we foster discussion on certain issues to encourage people to learn about them; and the pull part is about responding to the demand of someone who needs to learn specific things. For instance, when we hold harassment prevention workshops to improve the work climate, for example, or during our TUIC—the induction program for young professionals—we are driving key content and learning for Tecpetrol as a whole. Everything linked to our values and organizational culture is a push. But when you need to learn about something technical that has to do with your work, then you can search for it, and even request if you can’t find it in the platform’s offer. That’s the whole idea behind this change: better access that you can self-manage, so you can easily find whatever you’re looking for.

How is the platform structured?

The training offer is organized into three axes: I am Tecpetrol, which is our identity, the values driving us as a company, and how we develop our organizational culture. Then there’s I am a leader, where we provide tools and resources to encourage leadership, not only for those in charge of others, as we believe everyone can lead from where they are, wield influence, and bring about change. And there is I am an expert, which has to do with excellence in your role.

Do all employees have access to all the resources or are they offered tailored to each profile?

Each of these axes offers the complete range, but if, for instance, you’re a young professional, you’ll find the best offer for you in your profile. At the same time, we aren’t developing all the content internally, for instance, if someone wants a course on "agenda management and setting priorities" —for us this is like reinventing the wheel—, as this allows us to have an almost infinite set of external training resources. The idea is for people to be able to train at their own pace and draw on a full range of contents in different ways, tailoring the sequence, frequency, intensity, and depth of their learning.

How is this autonomy organized in training?

We’ve organized everything into the three axes I mentioned earlier, and it’s displayed in pathways. In fact, everything is organized into pathways and there are different separate resources that link into an itinerary, which each person can manage. For example, you can schedule yourself activity for every morning, so the first thing you do is read an article that takes you fifteen minutes, tomorrow watch a video for ten minutes, the day after tomorrow you listen to the podcast included in your itinerary while you go for a walk, or do sports. Or maybe you do this while waiting for your children after school, effectively self-managing your own learning rhythms. Resources will be available in different formats, according to people’s needs and learning preferences.

Do you think that the acceleration of the shift online, which was one of the consequences of the pandemic, will change people’s attitude to training?

What the pandemic has brought us is extreme virtualization. As we are now beginning to go back to the office, we are considering mixing online and face-to-face training, the idea being that each of us can manage this independently. Online learning is here to stay, there were already many offers being developed, and the pandemic merely speeded things up. I think that all of this makes it more accessible and will increase people's participation and exposure to content.

What will become of the traditional classroom training course format with coffee and donuts on the side?

In the short term, the Techint Group has as a whole decided to postpone in-person training courses due to the pandemic. However, we are hoping to return to in-person classroom teaching sooner rather than later, as it offers huge networking value. And we're keen to return to onsite training, such as at the field school, for example, which is fundamental for our young people. But all these months we spent adjusting during the pandemic has also made us think that training should be hybrid, the best of both worlds. When the pandemic is behind us, perhaps in-person hours will be reduced, because there are several things that can be learned perfectly well online. However, there are also many studies that say that virtuality strips learning of its deeper layers. Our intention is to follow developments closely so we can adapt and create the resources that make it easier for our employees to learn.

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