The Navigator Company: Learn anytime, anywhere - a Learning Center to develop talent

The Navigator Company is an integrated forest producer, whose end products are pulp & paper, tissue and energy. With a total annual production capacity of 1.6 million tons of paper and 1.5 million tons of pulp, the Navigator Company is Portugal’s third largest exporter and the largest national added value generator, accounting for approximately 1% of GDP, about 3% of all Portuguese exports of goods.

Navigator integrates the SDGs into its sustainability strategy, programs and activities and identifies seven priority SDGs for the company’s operations and strategy including SDGs 4, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15 and 17. These are laid out in the sustainability roadmap and the company reports on progress in its annual sustainability report.

Key SDGs impacted

Summary

Jobs in the pulp and paper industry require a very specific skillset. This can be a challenge for companies like The Navigator Company to find and attract talent with the adequate competencies.

To bridge this gap, build skills within its workforce, retain talent and prepare its future leaders, Navigator launched an innovative Learning Center in partnership with academic institutions in Portugal, offering formal in-class, digital, peer-to-peer and self-learning training. With its tailor-made, bilingual, digital training program, the learning center has earned its own brand and identity and has become more flexible and accessible through computers, tablets and mobile phones. The online portal offers an inclusive solution, giving access to the same opportunities to all employees.

With its innovative training approach, the Learning Center helps Navigator to respond to challenges around human capital management and development, to drive innovation and to bridge the generational gaps. It’s a solution to foster exponential performance of Navigator’s workforce while strengthening the organizational culture.

More information

To learn more about The Navigator Company's Learning Center and other projects and initiatives, please consult:

Background

Pulp and paper industry processes are highly specific, along the value chain, making it difficult to find people in the labor market with an adequate set of competences to meet Navigator needs. On the other hand, today’s challenges span from the coexistence of different generations of people deriving from rejuvenation of the workforce, the need to transfer knowledge, improve key skills and retain talent, to develop young managers, to provide career opportunities and ensure succession for key functions and business sustainability.

Aware of the importance of Employee motivation and achievement, the Navigator Company implements a policy with a solid focus and investment in employees that encompasses a strong component of training. Leadership and technical training initiatives were first designed within Navigator’s Management and Technical Academies, respectively, but soon the company felt the urge to scale up this model into a more flexible one that could further develop in-house talent and support newly recruited top-talent, and successfully launched the Learning Center.

Initiative

The Learning Center helps to ensure the retention of technical knowledge, the systematization and preparation of training content and the development of new generations of professionals.

Partnerships with some of the best Academic institutions helped diversify the training catalog to offer relevant courses to different functions across the value chain. The offer is structured by of knowledge areas, including management, leadership, behavioral, industrial (pulp, paper, tissue, energy and maintenance), commercial (sales, marketing, logistics and supply chain), forestry, safety and on-boarding, in a total of 17 different areas.

In December 2018, a digital platform was set up to modernize and boost the Learning Center. This was also a step forward in the Company’s digitization and in the way it approaches new technologies, since the Learning Center own Portal allowed the introduction of other training modalities such as e-Learning, b-Learning and Learning videos. Through this Portal, all Employees can learn at anytime and anywhere, via the mobile version.

The courses are bilingual and training programs can be customized by the Employee, based on individual needs, preferences and convenience. The approach is totally inclusive as the same opportunities are given to all Employees, internal and contractors, from head offices to “shop floor” and international offices, also being “blind” to idiom, gender, geography and generation.

Key outcomes and lessons learned

In 2018, the Learning Center provided a total training volume of 202,962 hours and involved 3,070 employees, that being in average 65 hours of training per employee throughout the year, contributing to SDGs 4, 5 and 8.

As part of the rejuvenation project, the Navigator Company worked with Atech and identified four critical functions. A 9-month project help trained 50 young professionals and resulted in a retention rate of 90%, demonstrating the value of the Learning Center at an early stage.

Since The Navigator Company is a certified training entity according to the Portuguese Law, these training courses are certified and provide external recognition of the acquired competence, which benefits employees for present and future job opportunities.

Next steps

With this solution Navigator pushes people development beyond conventional training and embraces the future of work in a transformative way, while inspiring its workforce behavior in the sense of creating a Learning prone organization pillared on its corporate values.

The planned actions for the next years aim at equipping human resources with skills needed to pursue the company’s strategy, and aligning personal development needs with the needs of developing business.

The Learning Center will, therefore, be instrumental in helping the company implement commitments set out in its Sustainability Roadmap 2020-2025, namely the ones related with talent management and human capital development, thus reinforcing its contribution to SDGs 4, 5 and 8.

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