[Skip to Content]

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2021, Click to Enter The 2022 StevieĀ® Awards for Great Employers

Name of Organization/Company: A1 Hrvatska d.o.o., Zagreb, Croatia
Category: Most Innovative Learning and Development Program

Entry Title: A1 Future Hub development program


The A1 Telekom Austria Group, the owner of the former Vipnet and now A1 Hrvatska, has decided to transform A1 into a strong brand on all operational markets in order to strengthen the position of the A1 Group. The Vip brand started as a startup and introduced competition on the mobile communications market over 20 years ago. A group of young enthusiasts had a vision, which soon exceeded all expectations. Over the years, the company has grown from the biggest greenfield investment in the country into a company with approximately 2,000 employees, a broad sales network and portfolio of products and services offered to almost two million customers who are being taken care of on daily basis. With heavy investment into digital lifestyle and the development of the new 5G technology, A1 Hrvatska has remained one of the most competitive telcos in Croatia and will be considered a top choice in the industry for the foreseeable future.

Constant changes, new technologies and the inevitable digital transformation not only affect the digitalization of the process, the introduction of new technologies, but also involve the individual! It is important for A1 to educate employees and enable them to develop skills and knowledge, but not only digital but also soft skills, managerial skills necessary to adapt to new ways of working and achieve future success. Guided by the fact that we need to adapt as soon as possible to market demands, new technologies and prepare our employees for "new-normal" needs, and in the desire to create a culture of lifelong learning, we have created a comprehensive development program called A1 Future Hub to support:

  1. EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT - prepare the A1 team for future challenges in the current job, but also provide a career development opportunity.
  2. ENSURE FOCUS IN DEVELOPMENT - support employees in acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills that will enable them to apply new technologies and ways of working in A1
  3. SUPPORT AND ENSURE the implementation of the company's strategic goals - At A1 we believe that only through constant learning can we remain competitive as individuals, which in turn affects the success of the company's operations.

With A1 Future Hub we take care that growth and development opportunities align employee's skills, competencies and career aspirations with the needs of the business in order to make the development relevant and actionable A1 Future Hub development program is created to be fully aligned with company strategy in a way to support capability building within 3 key pillars: Leadership development, Future and Digital skills development, Functional soft skills and expert knowledge development (Picture 1).

Picture 1. A1 Future Hub: https://vo-general.s3.amazonaws.com/a1ab4161-9c30-4e28-88fc-d6ad384e3fe2/c234bff2-0e17-4ef7-b3ae-6bc0062c9986?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ4PRWO26HAX3IOCA&Expires=1723315749&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3D%22What%20is%20A1%20Future%20Hub.png%22&response-content-type=image%2Fpng&Signature=%2BnpZYjwseSY1%2BCI4LrIDP5JIoZc%3D

In order to drive transformation on time and to be ready for new ways of work, the key step in developing A1 Future Hub was to identify what skills and knowledge our employees need to develop in order to be ready for the future of work. We have researched what changes are happening on a global level, what HR experts say, what are the new ways of working brought by digitalization. To be more relevant in the conclusions, we have also included our colleagues, tech experts to identify with us what skills and knowledge our employees need to develop to be more successful in the future. Thus, in addition to the mentioned market research trends, we have also analyzed the strategic needs of the company, so that employees can apply their learnings in business and have direct impact on individual success, but also contribute to the success of the company in general. In the end, we took into consideration also the functional need of each business area and thus identify expert knowledge and skills important to our businesses to make their employees even more successful in every day work. In identifying the needed knowledge and skills, an important role was played by our leadership team and top management. During joint workshops they have identified and confirmed what our employees need to learn today to be even more competitive and successful tomorrow.

The project was international because we wanted to create and launch the same development program in A1 Croatia and Macedonia so that our employees at the cluster level would have equal opportunities to learn.

To keep up and prepare for the future of work, we had to ensure that our employees upskill themselves and obtain a functional understanding of new emerging technologies. Therefore within A1 Future Hub under the ”Future & digital” skill pillar we have soon detected the main digital areas in which we need to develop and where we have room for growth, specifically in: 5G, Data analytics & AI, Process automation, Digital & Growth marketing. Now more than ever, we needed to explore opportunities fast where and how to use new technologies to transform our processes, products, services and a way we work. herefore, as part of our A1 Future Hub in March 2021 we have launched learn digital skill program called „Tech as a Fuel for transformation“ to keep up and be prepared for the future of work. The program was organized on cluster level A1 Croatia and A1 Macedonia and included 186 participants (managers and talents) in total. The program was conducted in cooperation with the external partner COTRUGLI. Purpose of the development program was to increase future skills maturity level thus stimulate business transformation by identifying the real use-cases keeping pace with new technology that are in focus for A1. Development program consisted of 2 parts:

  1. Educational part (Awareness) – aim was that participants gain a general understanding of new technologies (5G, Data analytics & AI, Digital and growth marketing), their functionalities and real use-cases from various industries including telco.
  2. Practical work (Explore Opportunities) – participants recognized opportunities for improvement with new technologies and have undergone highly interactive work shops during which they work in teams to develop a project proposal of a real use cases for A1.

The program lasted for 4 months. After the educational part participants nominated 88 ideas of the real use-cases to be applied in A1. 30 ideas were identified to be developed as project proposal covering new technologies in the area of: 5G, Data analytics & AI, Digital and growth marketing. So 186 participants were organized in 30 teams that were cross-functional & cross country to develop a project a proposal for the assigned idea. Each team has passed 2 consecutive days of highly interactive hands-on workshop during which 10 internal digital accelerators (a1 tech experts & 3 external coaches have supervised & guided teams thru 5 challenges in order to for them to develop a project proposal. At the end of the program they have delivered 10min project pitches in front of the Leadership tam who will now decide which project ideas will go into further implementation in A1. Summary of the program is shown in Picture 2 and the details are available in enclosed brochure.

Picture 2. Overview of development program Tech as a Fule for transformation: https://cdn.filestackcontent.com/yLCbOuHSQOIALj6sNGia?Overview%20of%20development%20program%20Tech%20as%20a%20Fule%20for%20transformation.png

In an era of increasing automation and changing business priorities, upskilling is taking on new urgency for us. So on top of the mentioned Tech as a Fuel for transformation program we have we have launched other development activities within A1 Future Hub since its launched in February 2021 and initiated upskilling in all 3 pillars Moreover, our great focus until end of 2021 will be on Future & digital skills pillar within which we aim to increase workforce digital capability thus ensure operational excellence keeping pace with new technology and new way of work, which we have already tackled with the program Tech as a Fuel for transformation mentioned before.

A1 Future Hub Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM8KwogJt0A