VSP: Programme of Advancement.
In the end, the company culture, in the widest meaning, defines the company future potential. One of the key tasks of the Programme of Advancement is to help every VSP specialist to take another step, to get to a new qualitative level of work. Relevant professional knowledge is the key dedicated to make the transfer possible.
The Educational Programme has been underway at VSP from the very start of the company operation, since 1996. The main asset of VSP is knowledge and expertise accumulated by the specialists.
What matters to the customer in the end, is a solution to his technical task in terms of a project realization, be it an IS circuit protection, a reliable flow commutation or an accurate process parameter measurement. An incompetent team cannot expect to hold a successful place in the eco system.
Keeping in mind the importance of a further company services development in terms of quality, the approach to the Educational Programme has been fundamentally revised since 2015. With a clear vision that only a certain level of the specialists’ expertise can provide for a growth strategy, VSP undertook to speed up the process of education as well as revised the quality level of practices. In other words, the company has explicitly commited to development of the company expertise.
At the end of 2017 there was a number of internal interviews in the company; every employee was interviewed aiming at generating an optimum individual programme of development for each and every member of the team.
December 2017 can be considered a milestone of the Programme of Advancement, the next evolutionary level of the earlier Educational Programme. The Programme of Advancement takes into account not only the educational plan, but serves a «road map» for a specialist, for professional and career advancement, following which one may in the end expand his or her personal potential. We claim for a lot, but the work being done is considerable.
Development is a type of movement and change in nature and society related to the change-over from one quality, state to another, from old to new.
According to the prevailing idea in the philosophy, the development of matter and consciousness, as a whole, represents a continuous upward spiral movement. The movement, though including deviations and retreat, in principle is more of a progressive character – flowing from simple forms to complex forms, from rudimentary systems to highly organized ones.
The programme developed, its tools, practices which the employees were keeping in line with, gradually extended – new modules were added, and each was dedicated to work for development of skills and knowledge.
(1) 5% of the working time a week for reading professional literature. During a working week every employee of the company
may use part of the working time to read professional literature – books, magazines, articles on a dedicated internet site etc. According to the Russian Employment Code a working week constitutes 40 hours; 5% off the total working time is 2 hours. So, 2 hours per week every employee is entitled to use for a professional advancement.
(2) Free English language courses at the company office.
Staring with 2018, based at the VSP office, a permanent English language course has been launched. Every Tuesday, after the working day any company employee is free to take part in a lecture and training session on a foreign language. A professional lecturer helps every student to develop language skills irrelevant of a current level.
InPO – Individual Educational Programme. In terms of the practice, VSP specialists directly engaged in the work with customers, study in detail various aspects of both partners-manufacturers’ solutions , and competitive products.
As a rule, once per week the specialists make reports for all the marketing and sales team, presenting results of their research to the colleagues.
(4) Laboratory practice – hands-on.
It is not enough to have just a theoretical knowledge of all the peculiarities of the equipment you are working with daily. Equally important is to know the hardware – to have a real operational experience: to know how to assemble a fitting and a tube, to configure an IS temperature converter, to read a viscometer etc.
In line with the plan of laboratory practices, throughout the year we carry out hands-on sessions either at the office, or at our storage facility, as for example working with fittings is not appropriate at the office. Taking into the account that such skills are required by all the specialists engaging with customers, those who work remotely, as Sergey Kosik, our Regional Representative in Ukraine, come to Moscow especially to take part in such sessions.
(5) McKinsey Practicum.
McKinsey is one of the most professional business consultants in the world. Their advice is listened to by big business managers, and state governments.
Every Thursday some members of the VSP team discuss a new subject – a selected article published by McKinsey on their internet resource regularly. Subjects and depth of articles are variable: from general market overviews to deep analytical research essays.
Apart from additional language practice (all the articles are published in English), the sessions present a useful and interesting opportunity to discuss McKinsey ideas directed on optimization of business, development of the company culture, practical business task solutions, such as ways to optimize the company budget, reach higher marketing efficiency and many other issues.
Skills of the so-called SPIN-Selling practice are some of the most highly estimated world business practices in the area of building long-term customer relationships. A relevant methodology is used by such leaders of industrial solutions for process control as for example, Honeywell. In view of the overall business of the company, we could not but included an appropriate module into the overall Programme of Advancement for VSP specialists. At regular intervals, usually on Fridays at the company office we run seminars on SPIN-Selling. Working on concrete elements of the method, the company employees acquire new skills to work with customers.
(7) Marketing seminars.
«Marketing for VSP is a complete working process. From А to Z» – often quoting this from the VSP site we wish to explain what our team understands under such a holistic notion as marketing. No doubt, we are striving to expand a multifacet meaning of this notion. We resort to available opportunities to raise the level of competence not only of our marketing specialists, but in the first place, of a VSP sales force. We consider sales to be the result of the work that all the team carries out for a customer, starting with a presentation of a solution and working through the original enquiry received in our e-mail box. In our terminology marketing is a complete working process, so marketing seminars have to aim at improvement of the quality of all the business processes. Under the frame of regular marketing seminars, keeping in line with a certain McKinsey methodology, we attentively study recommendations of a renowned company and look for parallels in our operations, providing for development of VSP services.
(8) 3I: Learn and Research.
«…routing out from the internal research and held interviews was the idea of a study in depth of a company, which expertise and practices could be used by our team contributing to the competence level. Later on the practice was named «3I: Learn and Research».
At the start of the year, having considered a number of ideas covering the 3I theme – the first target of research – Dentsu became the final choice.»
(9) Specialised courses and seminars.
The company specialists participate regularly in various specialised courses and seminars, conducted by partners-manufacturers and suppliers of different services, such as Consultant plus and 1C. Besides, VSP specialists participate in professional conferences on finance and legal subjects, on digital marketing.
(10) Webinars by partners-manufacturers.
With the possibilities opened by a digital age it is not always necessary to meet personally to share knowledge or to discuss capabilities of a new product. Some of the partners-manufacturers and the company suppliers run specialised webinars regularly, and VSP specialists participate in them with great interest.
(11) Training at the partners-manufacturers’ sites.
Visiting a manufacturer’s site is an important constituent to create a holistic understanding of a partner. To our mind there is nothing to substitute a personal perception by a specialist of a manufacturer’s capabilities – to see the process for oneself, to have «a feel» for manufacturing, to personally get in touch with colleagues and discuss some particular technical questions – such an experience is critical.
We follow the practice of the company specialists business trips to the partners’ manufacturing sites worldwide.
Quality, competence, efficiency, educational programme,… – of course, the theses are not new. As is common knowledge, actions speak louder than words. VSP pays a lot of attention, invests effort and money into the Programme of personnel advancement with a clear understanding that the level and comprehensive knowledge of the company employees will provide in the end for its position in the future business infrastructure. Declarations on their own will not be enough to generate a consistent growth strategy.
In 2017 we started a new nomination under the frames of summing up the company results for the year. With an accent on the Educational Programme, we have decided to especially recognize those employees who are standing out in realization of the programme throughout the year. «The Brightest Employee» – a slightly ironic title for the nomination. In 2017 Victoria Perepelyatnik was nominated with the title «The Brightest Employee».
We hope that in the end, as the VSP Programme of Advancement is being deployed, every company employee will be
We think that VSP is not just a company. VSP is the platform for every employee to realize his or her potential and be successful.
«Comprehensively investing every year in VSP development, in the professional advancement of specialists, we strive to work at a new level, keeping in mind basic principles - competence, professionalism, quality and long-term strategy.
Creating special working conditions for the team to realise potential of its every member, we want to provide for a confident standing in life for every person working at VSP.»