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How building a learning culture keeps us ahead of the curve

Facilitating collaboration across a huge organisation comes with its own set of unique challenges. Here’s how we make continuous learning a high priority.

Group of colleagues talking at work

As a leader in business software, we’re constantly looking for ways to innovate and push our industry forward. Because our software is mission-critical, meaning they are essential to businesses and organisations, we know we can’t be satisfied to simply follow the trends or build off what others have already done. We’re in the driver’s seat and, with that, comes a lot of responsibility.

One of the biggest responsibilities is our commitment to continuous learning and development for our employees. If people aren’t broadening their horizons and challenging the status quo, how can they stretch the bounds of their work – be it technology, marketing, design, or anything else?

That’s precisely why we invest time, resources, and energy into Visma learning and development programmes and initiatives. In this article, we’ll break down a few of the ways we do that. But first, let’s understand why building a learning culture is so important.

It’s the ultimate win-win

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it many, many times: people are the heart and soul of Visma. When our people succeed, the whole organisation succeeds. And that’s plain to see when it comes to learning and development. Here are a few of the biggest reasons why continuous learning benefits our employees – and Visma, by extension:

  • Increases employee engagement
    Employee engagement goes beyond work satisfaction. It involves a deep connection to a company’s values, mission, and vision. Actively engaged employees are enthusiastic, motivated, and seen as ambassadors.
  • Builds a growth mindset
    This allows people the freedom and personal accountability to actively seek out new challenges and learn from their mistakes.
  • Amplifies creativity and innovation
    When leaders support outside-the-box thinking – even if it sometimes leads to failure – employees naturally feel more comfortable experimenting and pushing the envelope.
  • Improves motivation
    Humans tend to be motivated by purpose, achievement and improvement. Learning is one of the most empowering ways employees can take motivation into their own hands and fuel their quest for finding meaning in their work.

Now that we understand the why, let’s dive into the how. These are a few ways that Visma prioritises continuous learning for all employees across our organisation.

Collaborative events and trainings

We put on events throughout the year that bring employees together. As we see the shift to AI continue to grow, AI-related events are becoming especially prevalent to ensure employees feel confident using AI tools and give them a space to experiment.

At the beginning of October, for example, Visma Group hosted the first ever AI content hackathon. For two days, 27 colleagues across 12 Visma companies gathered in Krakow to test out AI tools and share innovative ways to create marketing content using AI.

“This was my first hackathon with Visma and it was very insightful. As a content marketeer myself, I used ChatGPT a few times and learned a thing or two while doing it. My Visma colleagues did the same and I was surprised at what great things everybody learned and shared! It was really nice to learn and explore the world of AI together and share our thoughts about it.”

Cécile Muller, Content Marketeer at Nmbrs

The AI content hackathon included short training sessions, lots of experimenting, and group work. The goal was to create an eBook entirely generated using AI – from concept to deliverable. At the end, each group shared what they learned and made their findings available for the entire Visma community. Groups explored the ins and outs of ChatGPT plugins, image creation tools, and so much more.

“Exploring ChatGPT plugins at the hackathon was a real eye-opener. It’s fascinating to see how combining different AI types, from text to visuals, can expand our capabilities. The event struck a fine balance between solo work and teamwork, and the presentations were informative as well.”

Nicklas Qvist Aabech, Digital Marketing Manager at Dinero

While the main focus of these events is learning new technologies and best practices, the bonus outcome is that it helps foster closer relationships between employees.

“For me it was simply being able to finally meet other marketers from Visma companies in real life that had the most value. Not even the topic of this Hackathon per se. I noticed that SO much more knowledge sharing and bonding was done in real life than through Slack, email or video calls. I loved that!”

Olaf Schouws, Growth Marketeer at Nmbrs

Learning by doing

Of course, outside of events, putting what we learn into practice is a hugely important element for building our learning culture. 

With AI, for example, everyone at Visma is encouraged to use AI tools in their daily work – whatever that means for them. In a marketing role, for example, we use AI tools to help brainstorm content ideas. In a developer role, they may use AI to generate code or automate a manual process.

So, what does that look like in numbers? According to our latest polls:

  • Over 70% of Visma developers are using AI assistance daily or experimenting
  • Over 50% of non-developers in Visma are using AI in their daily work

And we’re seeing more and more people across Visma adopt these tools everyday. From the top down, AI experimentation is not only encouraged but actively supported because that’s the only way for us to stay ahead.

“I thought I knew what was in store for content creators with AI, but I was surprised. It’s a relief that Visma is at the forefront of this technology.”

Harald Meyer-Delius, Content Lead at Holded

eLearning and masterclasses

Our People & HR team has adopted a “never stop learning” mantra, which fuels the Visma Learn platform they’ve created. This platform offers employees a gateway to Visma-focused learning, where they can find a wide range of competence areas, podcasts, Visma Talks, and online courses to enrich their knowledge and skills.

Along that same vein, colleagues are given the opportunity to hold masterclasses throughout the year. These cover everything from product development to employer branding best practices to content marketing techniques. These colleague-driven initiatives are a great way to not only share what we’re working on but also help each other dive deeper into topics they’re interested in.

A Space for knowledge sharing

Last, but certainly not least, we have an internal knowledge-sharing platform called Space. This is where our teams across borders share resources, write articles, collaborate in peer groups, and more. It’s the hive of internal Visma activity and is instrumental in maintaining our learning culture.

All of these elements together – events, experimentation, eLearning, knowledge sharing – are what make our learning culture so strong. Every employee is encouraged to keep moving the needle for both their personal and professional development. And that, in turn, helps keep Visma at the forefront of technology and innovation.

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