Essential remote working has forced a change to on-site employee training plans. BBVA had already espoused a culture of online learning before the pandemic, offering its staff a comprehensive digital training catalog via the Campus BBVA platform. The platform has been refreshed to adapt to employee needs during the weeks of confinement. Employee response has been positive: traffic to the training portal shot up 96 percent with more than two million sessions during the first month of lockdown. A review of the most consumed topics reveals employees’ growing interest in developing new competencies (data, design, sustainability), which are priority for BBVA and and even more apropos given the new reality that awaits.
Courses completed in Campus BBVA increased sevenfold, equaling almost two million training resources across the Group since the beginning of the pandemic. Specifically, the first 48 days of confinement (between March 10th and April 27th), compared to the previous 48 days, saw an almost 450 percent jump in digital training with more than 1.2 million hours completed. This growth can be explained by the extensive offering and the different formats that are available through the digital platform, complemented by a recommendation system that uses employees’ professional interests to suggest innovative market alternatives: videos, podcasts, MOOCs, simulators, game-based learning experiences, etc.
Furthermore, much of this content is provided through alliances with top-rated international partners like Google, LinkedIn Learning, Harvard, IESE, and Getsmarter, an educational company that provides courses from leading universities like Cambridge, MIT, the London School of Economics, etc.
The company’s training model puts employees in the driver’s seat, giving them autonomy over their individualized learning path and development. Thus, employees no longer have to wait to be invited to a training event; on the contrary, they have the means to plot out their own educational roadmap to grow professionally. BBVA’s deep-rooted online learning culture — 67 percent of training is digital — has been inspired by a blockchain philosophy: B-Tokens are an exchange currency employees use to purchase and access training. Again, comparing the quarantine period with the previous period, B-Token distribution shot up 461 percent (with more than 1.3 million B-Tokens generated)
New capability training in the context of the new normal
The greatest consumption per training category initially related to classes on digital well-being, largely focusing on telecommuting. From the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, BBVA launched a series of initiatives in support of employee remote working and created an information portal where employees could consult pandemic preventative measures and operational protocols, which also included recommendations for telecommuting.
Courses on digital well-being or financial certifications have been followed in popularity by those classes that give employees a leg up in those competency areas that are key for BBVA.
Before the breakout of the pandemic, BBVA was already focused on this approach, providing employees the tools they need to be able to adapt to new competencies and train themselves on new strategic capabilities. BBVA has been on the cutting-edge of digital transformation and has revolutionized the way it interacts with its customers. The bank is now focused on sharing this digital evolution with its employees, preparing them for the future by accelerating their professional development so that they can contribute to the achievement of the bank’s strategic priorities. Employees are thus one of the bank’s competitive advantages. Numerous studies agree that in a few short years many of today’s jobs will either no longer exist or will require new skills that will have to be developed. It is difficult to predict because the labor market is in constant change, much more so after a pandemic which will shape a new paradigm with greater ambiguity about the profiles that are going to be in demand. On the other hand, new professional opportunities — for which training has yet to be developed — will emerge.
The profiles of people working in banking are no longer limited to economists or finance experts. Currently, the most in-demand profiles are for data scientists with training in quantitative finance or data analysis using big data or business analysis. To address this trend BBVA has implemented internal programs that encourage the creation of training and knowledge communities. Employees thus have access to training in new capabilities like data, sustainability, financial health, the sharing economy, corporate security, design, digital sales, and marketing.
Virtual cybersecurity workshops
One of the training areas that has generated the most interest among BBVA employees relates to cybersecurity, a field that is particularly relevant in our current context. Adopting secure habits in the digital arena takes on particular relevance during the coronavirus crisis, when cybercriminals are taking advantage of the greater levels of user connectivity in order to launch their attacks.
In addition to the courses offered through Campus BBVA, throughout shelter in place the bank has offered its employees a series of virtual workshops that aim to reduce the risks associated with telecommuting by raising awareness about and giving training in cybersecurity. Since the initiative began, more than 110 training sessions of this type have been held and more than 6,500 employees across five countries in the BBVA footprint have participated. These sessions include specific training on protecting corporate data while working remotely, secure password management, and cybersafe habits at home.
Another example of this philosophy is BBVA’s Ninja Project, a leading-edge program designed specifically so any bank employee can accumulate knowledge and digital skills with gamification techniques and through training offered by strategic technological partners like AWS, Google, and Red Hat. Activity in this program, which includes workshop participation, online courses, and other events, increased by 74 percent from the time lockdown measures were introduced. The initial Ninja venture contributed to this success, given its use of digital platforms and the positive reception of new formats such as virtual discussions and workshops that had previously been delivered in person. Standing out from among the workshops delivered in recent weeks are those geared to acquiring the knowledge that helps in resolving the technological challenges that have emerged in the current context, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.
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