Would you like a good reason to opt for a project-based career? Here’s one: you’ll learn so much from it. First of all because of the many different projects you end up working on. Every time is different, and every project provides an opportunity to learn something new within your field (or even get to know another field). But the ultimate fuel that keeps your development going is knowledge-sharing. Read on to find out exactly how this works at Modis.
Someone with a clear vision about – and a big heart for – knowledge-sharing is Niels De Meirleir, Senior Project Manager Life Sciences. This bioengineer with a PhD in chemical engineering joined Modis as a project manager four years ago.
One of his passions is promoting a culture where sharing knowledge becomes the most normal thing in the world. Because knowledge-sharing can take place almost continually, via internal training courses, workshops and lunchtime sessions – it’s as normal (and indispensable) as eating and drinking, in other words.
To him Modis is: ‘a young group of dynamic and committed people where everyone feels at home. A company that encourages you and energises you to work independently. Modis stands for “Make your own path” and guides you as you do so. It’s perfect for people who like to take the initiative and want to get somewhere. You’re actively supported – including through knowledge-sharing.’
Niels: ‘First and foremost, there are the talent managers. They assist you in your learning process and with career questions. You can go to the team lead and business unit managers with questions about your project and for assistance with your G&Os (Goals & Objectives). They also keep an eye on your career path.’
This question brings us to one of Niels' favourite subjects. Sharing knowledge within a company doesn’t happen automatically, he says. In order to make it happen, you have to both provide the necessary platforms and encourage it. And he goes a step further still: it must feel like a real part of the job.
‘Within Modis I’m working with others on the Training Academy. This has been set up to enable our people to share knowledge and experience through workshops, training courses or – very informally – during lunchtime sessions. Anyone can attend these live, but you can also call in from home or from the customer’s premises, for example. Sometimes the sessions are recorded and you can listen to them again. In this way, newcomers are given a huge source of information that they can immerse themselves in. Those who prefer to share their experience in writing can go to our internal “Wikipedia” or knowledge base. In addition, we organise external and internal training courses.’
Take the project managers, for instance. They are given the opportunity to participate in the annual Project Management Training, which is 36 hours spread over eight days. This is done in preparation for obtaining a PMI certificate (CAPM or PMP).
Niels: ‘Everyone in our team is familiar with the PMI training. Our new joiners usually take part in this. It’s a place where close ties are formed. We traditionally round things off with a dinner. After that, it’s up to them to prepare for the tough PMI/CAPM exam.’
Some training courses can only be taken after an OK from the talent manager, business unit manager and/or team lead. These courses specifically focus on your position and depend on the needs within your project. But many knowledge-sharing opportunities are simply open to everyone: the more the merrier.
The responses to all the knowledge-sharing and training initiatives at Modis have generally been positive.
‘Very positive. The effort is appreciated!’