1 December 2011

The management education program Soft Skills at Intersurgical

A successful and ambitious company Intersurgical never slackens the search for improved efficiency.
The management education program Soft Skills at Intersurgical
Challenge


A factory producing medical respiratory systems Intersurgical was found in 1994 in Pabradė (Švenčioniai region) and currently is one of the largest employers in the region as well as Lithuania’s large-scale exporter. In the company that exports about 90 percent of its production there works over 1200 employees. The significance of the firm is witnessed not only by the local people; the executive of Intersurgical Sigitas Žvirblis has won the traditional Manager of the Year poll, held by magazine Veidas.


The company operates successfully and plans ambitious expansion, constantly looking for opportunities to increase its effectiveness. The biggest challenge is an education of its employees, and especially the middle management. Consultants of VRP | Hill & Knowlton took this challenge and created company’s management educations program called Soft Skills.


Insight


Researches show that success of business organizations is increasingly connected with their willingness to learn and create innovations. The effectiveness of operating is also influenced by the organizational culture, overall atmosphere in the team and constructive relationships among colleagues. VRP | Hill & Knowlton‘s communication consultants pointed out that, for nurturing these factors and using them in order to improve the operation of a company, “mere” professional knowledge is not enough. So called “soft skills” – the natural leader’s personality, good communication and social abilities – is a must for managers of such an organisation. This insight played an impulse for creating a management education program Soft Skills for Intersurgical.


Expertise


May through November of 2010 communication consultants of VRP | Hill & Knowlton have implemented a unique management educations program in Intersurgical, in which around 140 members of company’s staff took part; they were top and middle managers and first line supervisors. The program consisted of six segments: five one-day trainings for groups of 10-20 members, and the teambuilding event called 21st Century Robinsons for about 100 participants. Trainings combined 40 percent of theory and 60 percent of practical tasks and covered topics like internal communication, management and leadership, conflict management, team activities and motivation, creativity and innovations at work. Different educational methods were applied, such as individual tasks (questionnaires and tests), moderated discussions, role-playing games and simulations, discussions over filmed material and its analysis, personal consultations. The post-apocalyptic role-playing game 21st Century Robinsons was especially successful. During the game teams of employees were developing their personal features, solving complicated moral and ethical questions. In the course of the program its participants had been continuously evaluated, as well as their progress was recorded. The program’s efficiency was measured with the help of questionnaires, regularly filled in by participants.


Outcome


The implementation of the program meant organizing 44 training sessions that helped managers to improve their communication and social skills. The effect was obvious: many participants of the training became more open, outspoken, more tolerant and innovation-oriented. About 90 percent of the participants pointed out that knowledge they had acquired during the training allowed them to noticeably or partially improve an atmosphere in their team. Almost the same number of people, 89 percent of participants, noted that the gained knowledge and skills were useful or very useful in work-related situations.


With the help of this educational program Intersurgical succeeded in accomplishing set goals in production and sales. A total majority – 95 percent – of the participants expressed their wish to continue learning, thus it was decided to carry on with the Soft Skills program at the factory in 2011.
 
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