Galina Akhmerova: ‘For prosperity, directors should give employees freedom of choice’

The expert — on new corporate training requests in 2023

The large-scale transformation in the labour market last year renewed the staff of many Russian companies. Now their management is puzzled by the fastest and most competent integration of new personnel — large funds are being allocated for onboarding and adaptation of employees. In these conditions, new demands for corporate training have been formed. Galina Akhmerova, a former top manager of BARS Group, founder of the Darwin Foundation for the Development of Modern Education Accessibility and creator of Round platform, tells more about the key points of growth in the development of the team in the author's column for Realnoe Vremya.

“A gentle urge to action is no less effective”

If we proceed from the main trend in the labour market on employee retention (42% of companies plan to focus on employee retention projects in 2023), it is impossible not to follow it in the matters of corporate training. The purpose of training is not only professional development, but also the involvement of employees in work, as well as increasing their motivation.

Therefore, companies make a choice in favour of such content, which is primarily interesting to employees, and not to the company itself. The Deloitte's 2021 Global Human Capital Trends report states that in order to survive, companies have to force employees to train based on the assumption that the organisation knows better what exactly employees need (by the way, this subsequently becomes one of the key factors of employee failure during training).

For prosperity, directors should give employees freedom of choice or gently direct — use nudging. According to this concept, a gentle urge to act is no less effective than coercion or a direct recommendation.

Against this background, the demand for systems with game mechanics tools is increasing, which is becoming another trend. Why gamification? It is usually based on natural mechanisms of human motivation: encouragement of any step in the right direction, freedom of choice and the possibility of error, a system of points and levels, transparent tracking of progress, and so on — we adhered to this when creating Round.

“Companies spend resources on onboarding and employee adaptation”

Along with the development of gamification, there is a trend towards simplifying the content itself. The key: simple and fast! Shortening the duration of classes is due to that it is difficult for employees to concentrate on educational content online for a long time. The old format of hours-long lectures with confirmation of participation is becoming non-technological.

For the same reason, every second expert believes that in the future the basis of educational process will be mobile learning, for which only a gadget is needed. New services are also catching this trend, presenting themselves as mobile first solutions.

In 2022, there were many structural changes in the labour market and many companies had a significant staff renewal. Now they need to be integrated into the company as quickly and competently as possible: companies spend resources on onboarding and adaptation of employees.

Among the key points of growth in the field of training — the development of employees, especially soft skills. In some cases, business logic comes to the fore: in order to reduce the costs of attracting blue-collar workers, it is necessary to invest in their soft skills training, which should cost less to preserve the company's economy — otherwise the employer loses a lot on attracting and training, and due to high turnover, it generally goes negative.

I would like to note that there are enough technical and technological solutions on the market, for example, launched at the end of the year the aggregator of courses for employees from Skillbox Holding makes it easier to find courses for training and even document management.

“It is necessary to challenge the brain and go against the developed mechanisms”

For me, the quality of content remains a globally open question. It is also important for managers to see the result of training, which will be applicable in the near future in their work. Despite the number of offers, it is still problematic to evaluate the effectiveness of training courses.

I think that in this case it is worth applying a systematic approach: regularity is better than intensity. To develop soft skills, you need to constantly challenge your own brain and go against the developed mechanisms. The effect will be achievable only through practice.

If we talk about content formats, I am impressed by solutions that are close to the everyday life of the average person: knowledge through infographics, memes or smart cards, screencasts, and minute videos (tiktoks and reels are so popular for this reason).


P2P solutions are also coming to the masses: companies may have internal knowledge-sharing platforms through which employees will have the opportunity to learn from each other.

There is also the request for advanced training of managers. Such training is back in fashion, but the emphasis is shifting to training in caring for employees, developing empathy and working with emotional intelligence — supporting the mental state of the team.

Given the political and economic situation in the country and the world, it is obvious that companies are preparing for a transformational stage. This is also noticeable in the choice of training for employees: we see a demand for assistance programmes in unstable situations, for training employees to live with mistakes, as well as the development of reflection. So we continue to develop stress tolerance and maintain professionalism under any circumstances!

Galina Akhmerova

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The author's opinion may not coincide with the position of the editorial board of Realnoe Vremya.