In the coming months, we’ll be having “conversations” with our consultants about their background in learning and development, the Xprtise projects that make them proud, and their vision on the greatest challenges in Learning & Development in the coming years. This time, we’re having a conversation with our Marketing and Communications Officer, Susanne Sterkenburg. Susanne handles all of Xprtise’s content. She writes news articles and client cases, takes care of the email newsletter, and maintains the website and social media channels. Together with both the Dutch and the American team, she’s putting Xprtise on the map.

Who? Susanne Sterkenburg (35).
What? Marketing & Communication Officer at Xprtise since February 2018.
Where? Xprtise NL, ’s Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.

“I believe in workplace learning and in the 5 Moments of Need™ and am very enthusiastic about the great results that Xprtise’s clients achieve”

I have a background in marketing, communication, and event organization, and after over 11 years of traditional employment I made the switch to a more flexible way of working for multiple companies at the same time. It’s something I get a lot of energy from and something that also offers me a lot of freedom. I help companies improve their brand awareness and (online) visibility. I started for Xprtise in February 2018. At Xprtise, I’m involved with everything that has to do with content – think writing news articles, conducting interviews with colleagues and clients, creating client cases, and maintaining the social media channels. I really enjoy writing about Xprtise’s field, because every time I do, I “learn” more myself! I believe in workplace learning and in the 5 Moments of Need™ and am very enthusiastic about the great results that Xprtise’s clients achieve.

What gives you the most energy? What is your passion?

I get a lot of energy from nature, so you’ll also find me outside a lot – if not for a long walk with my dog, then with friends on a terrace or at the beach. Last December I drove my car from Utrecht to Ibiza with my dog to live and work on this gorgeous island for a while. It’s something that still makes me really happy and that makes my creativity flow. Because I live on Ibiza, it also goes without saying that I spend a lot of time outside. I enjoy it to the fullest! Because I freelance, I’ve created workplaces everywhere, even outside. I notice I’m a lot more creative from being outside often and from the energy of the island. I get great ideas for texts and I also manage – much faster than before – to get those down on paper. Because I believe so strongly in workplace learning, I enjoy getting to write about it – “I fall in love with people’s passion.” I also interview a lot of people who are working on interesting and innovative L&D projects. For me, hearing their enthusiasm-filled stories and then writing them down on paper is contagious. I’m also going to follow an interesting course soon – after all, you’re never finished learning!

How do you like working in the Learning & Development field?

Before I started working for Xprtise, the L&D industry was still fairly new to me. I knew a bit about e-learning, but not much about Xprtise’s field. What I like in particular is that you’re actually always learning in the workplace without being conscious of it. By doing this consciously, you allow yourself and your colleagues to learn much more. In addition, this also saves a lot of time and therefore money. I learned a lot from the Performance Journey week in America, where we attended Elliot Masie’s Learning 2018 event in Orlando together with more than 50 L&D professionals. Through the variety of companies that were there, I heard a lot of inspiring stories about workplace learning and the approach to it. The keynote speakers and founders of the 5 Moments of Need™ methodology – Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson – also managed to captivate me with the methodology and the importance of performance support within L&D. I find the Learning & Development field a very interesting one. It’s important for everyone to continuously gain new knowledge and to develop their skills. “Stagnation means going backwards, after all.” There are a lot of fascinating developments that continue to make better workplace learning possible. This approach is the future, because in my opinion the workplace is ultimately the best place for training!

What do you think is Xprtise’s distinguishing characteristic?

That is the consultants’ approach and knowledge. They take employees’ task performance as a starting point for the implementation of the training strategy. The higher the priority of a task, the more attention it gets in the learning solution within the 70:20:10. In this way, a Proof of Concept was developed for Stedin in three days, and they could immediately get started with it. I like that! No long discussions and reports, but action! And achieving immediate results. In addition, the team members are also very attuned to one another, and there’s an informal atmosphere. When I lived in the Netherlands, I went to the office in ‘s Hertogenbosch once a month: they work hard, but there’s definitely also time for “Brabant-style drinks” and conviviality.

What do you think the greatest challenges will be in L&D in the coming years?

First of all, of course digitalization influences everything. Still, I think the greatest challenge is to fully align learning with the individual: what do they need? During Learning 2018, I attended an interesting keynote by Daniel Pink. His session was about “timing,” which he discusses in his book ‘When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing’. He gave a good example of planning a meeting. We always start with someone’s schedule: are they available, is there a free meeting room, and how much time do we need? But it’s actually better to look at every individual person: are they really at their most productive at that moment? People fluctuate a lot throughout the day in how they feel and behave, based on their biological clock. For a morning person, you should schedule a meeting as early as possible, while for a night owl you should do so at the end of the day. If you put these people together in a meeting at a time when they’re not sharp, then will you really get the most out of the meeting? According to Pink, choosing the right moment can be the crucial difference between success and failure. The same is true for learning. By bringing learning to the workplace, every individual can learn at their own speed and in their own (most productive) time, and learning also becomes much more fun and successful. Interesting!

“By bringing learning to the workplace, every individual can learn at their own speed and in their own (most productive) time, and learning also becomes much more fun and successful.”

Want to know more about Susanne Sterkenburg? Check her LinkedIn profile or send an email to: post@susannesterkenburg.nl.