When creating Learning and Development (L&D) content for a global firm, it is essential to consider the varying needs and capabilities of those you are creating it for — this is what allows it to be truly effective.
Valerie Lefebure, Global Head of Learning for Audit & Assurance at Mazars, spoke with Luke James, Co-Host of The Interview, to discuss the importance of open-mindedness and adaptability in L&D and how she has implemented this into the approach she and her team apply when creating training content for their firm.
I began my career as a financial auditor in Paris. My personal life took me overseas 25 years ago, so my work depended on where I lived. I went back to auditing for a few years when I lived in Africa and then met with someone at Mazars when I moved to Asia. They asked me to open a training centre for the region of Asia-Pacific, which is when I moved into Learning and Development. A few years later, I came to my current position, which was created at the time, and I have enjoyed it ever since then (six years ago).
It’s extremely important to know and understand the role of those I work with. The role of auditing hasn’t changed much, but the regulations have become stricter, so I understand what they do and how they work. My personal life has also added to this because I have lived in many different countries and have a good understanding of cultures and how people work.
It has been something I’ve learned through my life and my work. Every day I am exposed to people from all around the world, and you have to be sufficiently open-minded to letting people express themselves and their process in learning, thinking and organisation skills. Culture impacts the way people are, which is really important to consider. When we produce content for a global audience, part of my job is to review the content and ensure it is appropriate for those who aren’t native English speakers and those who may not have the same approach to learning or building skills. We try to produce content that is accessible and impactful to all.
Some theories have been proven about the different profiles of learners and how people learn in different ways. There is also the impact of what the company offers you and how you will progress and learn, with the company letting you know why it’s important for you to learn and have those skills. We provide learning opportunities in many different forms, keeping in mind who it’s aimed at, their skillsets, their experience levels and their level of understanding. Learning looks different depending on who it is for. We also provide information for those who will be running the training, so they are better equipped.
We provide learning opportunities in many different forms, keeping in mind who it’s aimed at, their skillsets, their experience levels and their level of understanding.
One of the things we’re focusing on this year is what we call global training capability. This means we need to have people we can count on to relay the training locally – at the country level. We don't have dedicated trainers; they’re professionals with limited time and a priority for billable client-facing work. This means that identifying the right candidates is crucial, which I am focusing on this year, ensuring they are well-trained to deliver learning and development. We make sure we take feedback from them, too, to always improve and ensure the training is sustainable.
It is a never-ending issue… Often the time needed for completing training is not well managed because it doesn’t fit with the time schedules of the professionals who need to complete it. We try to ensure that it is a priority and that space is made; not just for mandatory training but for all sorts of training.
It’s about creating a culture change too, where people are more responsible for their own development and learning. One of our initiatives here is called Self-Study, which encourages employees to spend time on self-development. Of course, there is no one fix for this issue, and it’s an ongoing challenge.
It is one of the main traits of Mazars across the entire company. We always want open-mindedness to be at the heart of training and learning, considering that we create content for many people from different backgrounds. We encourage personal development and expression and work on it in all areas daily. With that in mind, it has truly become part of the DNA here at Mazars, so it is implemented into everything we do.
Be curious and open-minded. I think this is overlooked, but it serves you in so many ways. If you are curious, you will ask questions, learn and grow. This is how you discover things you wouldn’t have otherwise. Being open-minded is also how you adapt to the ever-changing nature of this industry.
The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life by William Nicholson. It’s a novel that follows the lives of different people who live in a small village, exploring the highs and lows of their lives and looking at their different backgrounds and stories; how they all begin to interact with one another. It’s about how you can impact others without even knowing, which I think is a wonderful concept.