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Siri Wikander

Interview with Siri Wikander, Director of People Growth at Scandic Hotels

What does edtech mean to you?

For me edtech means new possibilities and new ways of working, where you can share best practice and create an ongoing learning journey every day. At Scandic we talk a great deal about “The Empowering journey” – where we encourage our employees to go through the knowledge feed and update themselves on what’s going on in the company, what their colleagues are doing and so on, for at least five minutes every day. We want learning to become a daily habit. In addition, we want them to search for specific things they want to learn when they have the need for it.

Why do you think the edtech industry is so important today?

With so many things happening today at such speed, you need to be a constant learner and you need to be able to adapt constantly. Edtech makes this possible.

How are you working with edtech at Scandic today?

We have launched a social learning platform, which is available for all our team members on their phones, desktop or ipads. It’s available 24/7 and they can share best practice and search for specific things they want to learn. To give an example; if you are a bartender and you want to learn a how to make a certain drink, you can search for that drink and see a short film that takes you through the different steps of making it. You can also find a recipe and instructions. This way of learning very much represents our culture at Scandic, it’s the way we do things.

We also want to give our employees the opportunity to meet and discuss challenges. We add workshop content that the leaders can use when they want to work with their team on a specific area like service or feedback. We also arrange both digital and physical labs where we discuss our challenges.

What would you say are the biggest advantages of using edtech solutions?

First of all, supporting the company’s culture and creating an ongoing learning journey. You can also move a whole organization in the same direction. The biggest advantage, however, I would say is empowerment of team members. Empowerment and speed of change.

Are there any downsides?

There are challenges, but we are trying to meet those. A challenge that we have had in the past is that we offered an e-learning that the employees completed once a year. And then it was quickly forgotten. Today we offer shorter sessions that our employees can search for and look at the moment they need it. Today we know what they are interested in, what they search for and look at. This means that we can produce more of demanded content.

Which are the biggest corporate do´s and don’ts using edtech?

I believe that biggest do is to start with a learning vision. Make sure you focus on what you want to achieve, rather than focusing on the platform. If you want to have learning that goes on every day, then it has to be mobile and just-in-time. But if for example compliance is the most important thing, you have to look at another type of platform. Don’t start with the platform, always start with the vision.

What have you learned during your journey with Scandic?

I am still learning. We are one of the first companies doing this, which means that we do not have anyone to ask or to benchmark. However, we do a lot of piloting and we learn as we go. I would say that that is my biggest learning; try – measure – learn. See what works. Don’t try to do everything right from the beginning. It’s an ongoing learning journey, not just for the employees, but also for the company as a whole.

Why are you coming to EdTech Sweden?

I am coming to EdTech Sweden to learn and to network. For me it’s a possibility to meet other companies with the same challenges. To get their point of view and to see how they are trying to meet those challenges.