"The TMF Business Academy has successfully bridged the need for localised training, and is what colleagues are looking for," Nathan Monger, Senior Manager, TMF Business Academy, APAC, says.

At the Employee Experience Awards 2021, Malaysia, TMF Group won the bronze award for Best In-House Learning Academy.

In this interview, Nathan Monger, Senior Manager, TMF Business Academy, APAC, shares the secrets behind its win - how the organisation wasn't taken aback by the pandemic shifting its work and business routines, and even took the opportunity to develop a centre for personalised learning for its workforce.

Q Congratulations on bagging this award! What is your award-winning employee experience strategy that led to this win?

Operating in a fast-paced industry means constantly looking at how we can serve our clients better. While we invest considerably in technology and tools to provide an edge to our offerings, our biggest asset is our people – who are the backbone of each client experience.

To support our colleagues’ personal development and growth, enter the TMF Business Academy – a centre for learning that leverages on the expertise, knowledge and skillset from our 9,200+ workforce. The plan has been to identify local experts to leverage their knowledge and experience in both addressing challenges and building upon opportunities.

This strategy provides an avenue for colleagues to learn from one another, while also creating an environment that brings our people together to engage them as OneTMF.

Q How did you and your team conceptualise and adapt this strategy to suit evolving workforce needs in the past year?

In prior years, the global talent, development, and engagement team under HR has hosted virtual as well as in-person training sessions, following a global learning agenda.

However, in 2019, we foresaw the need for more autonomy to allow countries (opposed to global) to elevate their own learning agenda to the next level. And, at the same time, further foster an environment with the business that strategically brings people together in ways that their normal day-to-day might not have.

The TMF Business Academy was then launched as a pilot in Q4 of 2019. Following that success, it fully immersed locally in Malaysia in 2020.

Interestingly, the implementation occurred just when the pandemic hit Malaysia resulting in colleagues being physically separated. And while the challenges of the mostly remote work environment had not been foreseen, TMF Group was able to quickly pivot to remain connected through various internal virtual community bases – with the TMF Business Academy being one of them.

Q What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?

A key challenge in the initial implementation and strategic craft of the Business Academy was that the previous existing curriculum was restricted to a global calendar and strictly followed the central team’s planning and schedule. There was little room for customisation to tailor to local needs. Of course, the aim of the Business Academy was to overcome this and adapt to local needs and flavours.

To successfully launch the Business Academy in Malaysia, we first got buy-in from management, who was onboard immediately and gave full support. We then needed to assess potential trainers who had expertise in various fields – in parallel with a review of both where there were needs and opportunities for growth to be targeting. For this we relied on all HODs as they knew their people best.

After identification, we had (and continue to deliver) various Train-The-Trainer (TTT) sessions as well as helps them to craft their training programme.

Finally, we needed to introduce, educate, and excite colleagues about the Business Academy. We did that via a launch day – starting with management and then breaking out to training sessions run locally so that colleagues can get to experience the new types of training. And we continue this via a credit systems that earns towards Business Academy Diplomas, recognition of top learners, and a continuing evolvement of the learning calendar.

Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in your organisation, in terms of ROI? Any achievements you’d like to show off?

The TMF Business Academy has successfully bridge the needs for localised training, and is what colleagues are looking for. It has fulfilled our core goal of engaging and supporting colleagues in their learning and development, while also creating a stronger community within the business as we strive to be OneTMF.

In the year-end colleague survey, 73% of colleagues answered favourably that they had access to the learning and development needed to do their job well, up from 72% in 2019where we had 17% less headcount.

Q What is the most exciting and valuable thing about being part of the debut Employee Experience Awards?

The networking and opportunities to hear from experienced HR leaders across different industries and be inspired by the various strategic initiatives they champion. As we continue to look for new ways to innovate and grow, we value the opportunities to learn from others.

Q Looking ahead, what else do you have planned as you continue to enhance the overall employee experience?

From the TMF Business Academy perspective, ever since its internal inception, we have been able to obtain valuable insight in regards to not only what colleagues seek in terms of learning and development opportunities, but also their motivation and the different trends in learning appetite based on social and economical circumstance factors.

Our aim is to progress the learning evolution here at TMF Group and facilitate a learning agenda that fits what colleagues need throughout the different stages of their daily career experiences. Further to that, we also are reviewing how to best utilise our tools and process to allow for the best possible user experience, as we aim to create a single learning environment where global and local programmes can coexist as one.

Q Do share some tips to inspire your peers who are working on their EX-strategies and would love to participate in the awards next year.

Purpose gels, story sells – ultimately, behind each strategy lies a purpose or an aim that we set out to achieve.

Think about the problem that you had set out to solve, and how each layer of your strategic execution contributed back in resolving the main goal. And throughout the journey, work side-by-side with your business partners to ensure what you’re building has their full buy-in.

Q Lastly, to end on a fun note – if you could describe the employee experience at your organisation in one sentence, what would that be?

OneTMF in every sense – be it from a collaboration standpoint to the different strategies we execute that encompasses the overall career experience, from the point of onboarding to how we live, work and learn and grow together as a global team.


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