What do managing an ice hockey team and leading a company have in common? This question was the starting point for the collaboration between YIT’s competence development team, renowned ice hockey coach Hannu Aravirta and MPS Prewise when designing an e-learning solution for YIT, the largest Finnish construction company, to support result-based management and effective personal development discussions. The result was an e-learning course targeted at the entire personnel that strongly employed sports management philosophy.
From the beginning, YIT had clear goals. They wanted to open up the principles of result-based management to their whole personnel and introduce a shared model of result discussions and personal development discussions. The goal was to make these discussions more result-oriented and motivating as well as provide better support for development and bolster a shared company spirit. The role of the e-learning solution was to communicate the benefits of these types of development discussions for employees, supervisors and the whole organisation.
So what do team sports and working life have in common? This is the question we posed to coach Hannu Aravirta, whose views are featured in the e-learning through video interviews. There are many similarities, as present-day working life resembles sports team leadership in many ways. You cannot over-emphasize the importance of team spirit in professional sports or organisations, or that of the role of the coach or the manager as the team leader responsible for the team spirit. As with players, employees need realistic and motivating goals. Good performance needs to be noted and giving and receiving feedback is essential.
Saku Kuusisto, Project Manager with YIT’s HR, agrees with the approach. YIT wants to encourage supervisors and subordinates to have continuous dialogue. ”Result and development discussions are an excellent opportunity for both parties to speak openly and provide feedback, both positive and constructive. It is also important that we encourage dialogue that is open and ongoing, not something that happens once or twice a year,” says Kuusisto.
Together with YIT, MPS Prewise designed an e-learning solution that combined the themes of ice hockey and corporate life. Visuals and gamification played an important role throughout, with some humour included in the mix as well. “We know from experience how we can engage learners through gamification and powerful and surprising visuals,” explains Heidi Juhantalo, MPS Prewise’s LX Designer.
The e-learning solution was divided into modules covering YIT’s rules of play, the principles of result-based management, and the model for result and development discussions. YIT wanted to measure learning outcomes, so the modules also included exercises and a final test that measured the employees’ “eye for the game” in result-based management. At course completion, the learners won a diploma, designed in the form of a player card, that they could print out with their own motto. MPS Prewise designed an ice hockey team of YIT employees and set the e-learning visually in an ice hockey rink. “The visuals were a positive surprise, despite the fact that our expectations were high to begin with,” says Jani Virsunen of YIT’s HR.
YIT’s employees are so spread out geographically that e-learning was a very cost-effective solution for this training. Being able to take the training at one’s own convenience was also one of the key factors in choosing a digital learning solution. YIT had not previously used a lot of e-learning, so this project also paved way to a new culture of learning.