Milica (Mili) Sapic is team lead on the Talent Development (TD) team. She enables learning in our employee journey to help everyone grow with the business. The TD team, which operates under the greater People department, offers educational programs and learning resources.
Milli knows that investing in leaders is an investment in the entire company's success – after all, managers are the messengers of our culture and values. She gives us an overview of how the TD team builds up education resources for the whole team and piloted a digital coaching program for high performing managers with Sharpist.
TD provides learning and growth resources to the whole company, depending on the business's needs. To understand the educational requirements, we're in constant communication with team directors. For example, if we need to amp up our data analytics skills, we'd partner up with our Data Platform team and co-create the necessary training.
That’s the exciting thing about working in the TD team: our work allows us never-ending opportunities to learn new things, experiment with new ideas and bring different perspectives.
More than just providing a Wiki, the team hosts and records learning webinars, creates internal skill courses, shares free external courses, and helps employees lay out different career paths. Internal team members can access all of this on our internal site called GrowthHub. In the past couple of months, we developed new educational corners on the platform dedicated to the topics of Diversity and Inclusion (D&L) and Mental Health and Wellbeing, and here are a couple of examples we provided to help people get a better understanding of issues:
The TD team is complementary to the separate HR team, which also works under the People department umbrella. Together with HR, we create the foundations for seamless and smooth employee experiences.
One of the most critical components of TD is developing our leaders. We’re also responsible for coordinating our ongoing leadership training program.
When you work at GetYourGuide, you can choose two paths: an individual contributor (IC) where you hone your skills and become a specialist, or you become a people manager. To strengthen our people managers, we created a leadership program in 2015 called The Art of Leading Teams, led by Kevin Groen. You can read about the program in our article, “Developing our leaders.”
Why is this important? The outcomes of strong leadership are limitless: from employee engagement to retention and improved performance. Cascading down from managers, it benefits the whole organization, aligning the entire company culture. If managers live by our company values, culture will come to the team more naturally, without being forced.
Open and regular communication also leads to psychological safety. In this environment, teammates feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other. The basis is that if the team trusts the leader, they feel safe, engaged and are more likely to become high performers. This becomes crucial in the times of change that we are living in at the moment. There's a great article on this topic from Google ReWork.
While the Art of Leading Teams is a staple at GetYourGuide for advanced managers, we're piloting a more personal coaching program for high performing managers. We received feedback from participants that the one-on-one coaching sessions focused on individual and professional growth were incredibly helpful in managers' development. We wanted to explore more how to bring this coaching into our learning programs in general.
So what is executive coaching? Coaching is a process where a professional helps you learn about yourself by asking the right questions and navigating you towards changing perspectives. The journey includes reframing certain beliefs, identifying the strengths, and coming up with actions to help you face professional challenges.
We've tested out an executive coaching program for leaders who have more experience or want to take their leadership to the next level. For our coaching pilot, we partnered with Sharpist, a digital coaching platform where you can schedule one-on-one sessions with professional executive coaches. In between the sessions, users receive so-called 'micro tasks,' personalized learning content that ensures continuous and holistic learning. The digital approach makes it accessible anywhere and anytime.
"One of the great advantages of coaching is that it is highly individual," says Fabian Niedballa, co-founder and managing director at Sharpist. "Every person has different abilities and strengths; thus, is facing different challenges. Coaching is the perfect measure to take this into account."
The hardest part for any of us was how to deal with the things that are out of our control. In times like these, it is important to identify what you can or cannot influence — and focus on that first.
The Sharpist co-founder explains how a good coach questions presumptions. They "go where it 'hurts' and see the learner's full potential — resulting in actual behavior change and personal growth. This focus on the individual's needs is the key to successful talent development."
Fabian also happens to be an ex-GetYourGuider. So needless to say, he was familiar with the team culture and our needs when co-designing the pilot program with us. Our current GetYourGuide participants in the program also felt the sessions' impact, including Julia Randow, director of APAC and the Middle East. She tells us, "I have had many coaches, but my Sharpist coach, Marie, is the first one I really benefited from, as she focused on self-reflection with a holistic approach to growth."
Why coaching is important in 2020 and beyond
In June 2020, we hosted a webinar with Fabian, Senior Executive Coach Florian Brody, and the managers who participated in the course after the work-from-home order in March. The theme was, “How to stay focused and content in critical times —and beyond.” We talked about crisis management and your reactions when things get difficult.
Essentially, managers need to first take care of themselves before they can support a team. If they’re running around putting out fires before sorting themselves out, they may later be faced with burn out. At this time, there were lots of expectations for our managers regarding teams and business goals. The hardest part for any of us was how to deal with the things that are out of our control. In times like these, it is important to identify what you can or cannot influence — and focus on that first.
As coaching becomes more important and accessible to everyone, we hope that partnerships with companies like Sharpist will bring more innovation into our leadership development.
That’s the exciting thing about working in the TD team: our work allows us never-ending opportunities to learn new things, experiment with new ideas and bring different perspectives. Building an environment for our learning culture to flourish is an exciting challenge that I like to call my vocation.
If you’d like to learn more about leadership and coaching, Milli recommends the following resources:
For updates on our open positions, check out our Career page.