undconsorten LLP

Global HR trends — Identifying “good practices” in Brazil
undconsorten organized the first non-European Learning Round Table together with the Brazilian consulting firm Mirow & Co.

Like in Europe, agility is a hot topic in Brazil

In October and November last year, 23 large companies in Brazil acknowledged the importance of agilization for their businesses, whether they were in consumer goods, mining or the paper business. At the same time, the companies are sensing a high degree of uncertainty about the significance of 'agile' in business. This means they reflected exactly the same impression we had gained in the same survey last year from 24 groups operating in Europe.

The initial application of agile working methods creates substantial learning needs

Similar to Europe, companies in Brazil are experimenting with agile working methods. This occurs preferably in the IT area or in product development – or in joint projects with start-ups. This creates a tremendous need for learning far beyond the people directly involved, a trend that we also encounter in our day-to-day consulting work.

The use of agile principles for learning and development is still in its infancy

Christina Frohn and Axel Hüttmann together with Mirow & Co.

The learning function in Brazil is slowly making progress on agile topics and is experimenting with the first agile methods in its own field. Their use of user-generated content in learning – perhaps also because of language reasons – is even ahead of Europe. Thematic microsites form the nucleus for communities at an international consumer goods manufacturer, experienced sales representatives are developing a program for new sales representatives and sharing their knowledge at a fertilizer manufacturer and an app connects mentors to mentees for part-time coaching at a paper manufacturer. Brazil is also more innovative when it comes to using everyday routines as learning opportunities. They are extending their rotation program, making more regular use of participation in agile teams as a development measure, for example, in the product development of a local champion. Another example comes from a food supplement manufacturer who is increasingly setting up coaching circles to equip senior management for their personnel development tasks.

European companies, on the other hand, were ahead of the pack in initial approaches to digital mass customization of learning offerings, for example, through self-designed learning paths in the introduction of end-to-end processes or the development of leadership in a digital world solutions in terms of a minimum viable product in sprints with tests by future participants.

Cultural barriers are the biggest obstacle everywhere

6 out of 10 companies surveyed in Brazil considered culture the main hurdle for agilization: delegating responsibility, team self-management and cooperation between the agile world and line organization do not fit in well with the socialization of today's managers and employees. And here, too, we have a great deal in common – the result in Europe was almost identical!

First non-European Round Table garnered positive feedback

The high level of interest shown by participants in São Paulo, the many follow-up discussions we had with our partner Mirow & Co. and the similarity of the topics show us that it is worth looking well beyond the horizon in order to gain inspiration. It also speaks in favor of using international, diverse teams to solve the challenges linked to agilization.