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NWZ’s in-house academy provides continuing employee education

By Manuela Hillen

Nordwest Mediengruppe (NWZ)

Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, Germany

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By Dr. Melina Lohmann

Nordwest Mediengruppe (NWZ)

Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, Germany

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Which is better: a constant breath of fresh air or reliable consistency? When it comes to the labour market, answering that question has become more difficult. But now, at Nordwest Mediengruppe, we no longer have to choose.

Any inspiration from the outside is good for change within the company, but we are just as dependent on training existing employees and developing them in parallel with the changing markets. For us, seeking excellence only externally is not a solution; excellence must also be able to emerge from within.

The engine for this is provided by our new Nordwest Academy, which we launched in January 2021.

NWZ launched its internal Nordwest Academy in January 2021.
NWZ launched its internal Nordwest Academy in January 2021.

Inspired by the Vorarlberg model and many regional academy approaches, we decided in 2020 to establish a continuing education academy ourselves. Here’s what were achieving with it:

  • We increase employee satisfaction through a broad-based programme.
  • We increase our attractiveness as an employer in the regional environment.
  • We contribute to greater corporate success through improved employability of our workforce.
  • We ensure a strong knowledge transfer internally and promote networking among colleagues.

Through the Academy, we create networking opportunities with other regional companies and thus strengthen our strategic positioning as well as the exchange opportunities for our employees.

Enthusiastic employee response

Just a few days after the programme was published, we had 70 registrations and are heading toward a training policy that is accessible to all employees, promotes motivation among employees, and shows managers new perspectives in employee development.

In detail, our programme includes 52 offerings divided into the following seven topics:

  • Leadership
  • Digital
  • Methods
  • IT
  • Sales & Personal Competence
  • Human Resources, Law & Data Protection
  • Networks & Information

The last point is aimed at our employees’ participation in the various INMA formats, as we are strongly interested in promoting international exchange at all levels. To this end, we made it possible for all employees to participate in English courses just over a year ago, and we repeatedly call on people to use INMA as a platform for best practices and networking opportunities. Even our new academy is a result of the INMA network and is, therefore, an ideal example of the great added value we expect from the formats.

The academy's extensive offerings are divided into seven categories.
The academy's extensive offerings are divided into seven categories.

Relying on internal expertise

In the Northwest Academy, we work with external trainers as well as with our own employees, whether managers or not. Wherever the company has strong competencies in certain areas, coupled with a high level of empathy and communication skills, we are very happy to make use of internal knowledge transfer.

We expect this to lead to even stronger networking among our employees across all departments, and we are counting on the sustainability of the learning experiences since the coaches are still on-site in practice and can provide collegial advice and help. This is a clear advantage over external coaches.

We selected these with great care in advance and relied on good experiences from 2020. Initial test coaching sessions have already taken place, so we can assume a high level of expert knowledge and have been able to develop the programmes tailored to our needs in advance.

Thanks to the diverse mix of technical, organisational, and personality-building offerings, we are ideally positioned to meet the needs of the market on the one hand, and on the other hand, have the opportunity to provide our employees with the best possible support when they have different needs.

We are certain that with the academy we have created an ideal starting point for further expanding the strength of our media group. After all, even the freshest wind from the market wears off over time and needs to be re-inspired and trained on a permanent basis. The Academy provides an ideal platform for this.

At the end of the day, we in our industry all crave the best technical experts, at best young, motivated, perfectly trained, not too expensive, versatile, and permanently sparkling with ideas. A beautiful picture; rarely can such a golden treasure be found and there is always the problem that it will lose its shine at some point.

With the Nordwest Academy, we ensure the lasting shine of our employees — the best basis for corporate success and inspiring cooperation.

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