August 13, 2018
A training academy for employees, how career development is taking place in Balfin

Successful companies are guided by values. One of the key values of Balfin Group is partnership. In this group, the main partners are the people with whom the company works, both within and outside.

To demonstrate this, since 2016 the company has set up a Training Academy with an approach to provide its employees with continuous knowledge, skills and professional values in order to adapt to the changes that happen during the career.

Nora Ilirjani, Manager of Recruitment and Career Development at Balfin Group states: “The idea of creating a training academy came naturally, in line with the new and modern approach that Balfin has adopted in its managerial staff development strategy and not only.

“We at Balfin, because of the highly diversified business portfolio, are very dynamic and always in development. It is for sure that for a business to develop and succeed, prepared, ambitious, demanding and motivated people to take responsibility and develop their career within the group are needed. On the other hand, every successful manager should have a set of skills that will enable the often ‘aggressive’ business objectives to reach and know how to lead teams that are quality and result-oriented – Ilirjani added.

Over 300 trained employees during 2017, 550 others are expected to be trained this year

In short, in Balfin, what concerns experience and knowledge does not end because the company involves the employee in the bosom of her large family. In fact, the number of employees who have gone to the Balfin Training Academy “filter” in the largest Albanian business group, only during 2017 reaches the number of 314 employees. But this only applies to the Academy, because each group company also carries out many other trainings in the meantime. Only in the period of June-July 2018, 186 employees were trained, whereas in the coming months, by the end of the Academy’s 2018 program, about 400 more are expected to be trained. The “thirst” for professional development and new knowledge makes range of the participants to be from all levels, from executive directors to specialists.

Stages of a successful training at the Balfin Group Academy

By entering into the processes of the Balfin Training Academy, the company’s experts confess their scheme, which can serve as a guide for many other companies as well:

  1. During the January-March period, all Group companies follow the performance appraisal process, at the end of which, besides others, identify the training needs included in the Individual Development Plan.
  2. Human Resource Departments, process data at company level and send them to the HR department at Balfin by April.
  3. From here the work to definite priorities, topics to be developed, trainers or training companies to cooperate, negotiations for defining the training objectives, adapting the modules to the needs, organizing training groups in a such order that the group is as heterogeneous as possible regarding to the companies where the employees come from.

Types of training and associate companies

Let’s have a look in the specific trainings and the ones developing them within a large Albanian company.
During 2017 and the first part of 2018, the trainings have been of a “hard and soft skills”, nature, that means, they are technical and general. Of course, more attention has been given to these soft skills training, which are considered more important by both the beneficiaries, both by the manager and the employee. Among the trainings that Balfin has developed in 2017 and 2018 we could mention: “Analytical Budget Review”, “Business English”, “Competence Based on Needs Assessment”, “Problem Solving and Creative Decision-Making”, “Finance for Decision Makers”, “Strategic Human Resource Management”, “Negotiating Skills”, “Project Management”, “Service Excellence”, “Strategic Thinking and Decision-Making”, “Talent Management”, “Team Building and Efficient Management”, “Excel Functions”, “Marketing and Sales Strategy”.

The trainings were conducted by prestigious companies such as the Academy of Design Thinking, London, UPGRADE Training & Consulting GmbH & Co. KG, Egnatium, Abraham Linkoln Center, EPPC Albania, AIMS International.

Being a large group, Balfin has many talented employees within him who are experts in relevant fields, so in many cases they are also the trainers themselves. The HR Department in Balfin is focused on identifying high level managers or experts in certain areas in order to provide training within the Academy. Mostly trainers are of knowledge in the areas of HR, Marketing, Finance, IT, Financial Systems, Archives etc.

But how is it proven that the knowledge gained in training are put in use?

“Verifying the level of knowledge gaining or knowledge implementation is a challenge for all managers, whether HR or line managers. Our way to prove this is by getting feedback from managers, evaluating the improvement of work processes and performance at work and foremost, assessing the impact of training in the business growth of respective companies” – Nora Ilirjani emphasizes.

Balfin Training Academy has as its main partner one of the most serious universities in terms of academic quality. Each training takes place at the premises of Tirana Business University, whose staff makes a very important contribution to the logistical organization of trainings.

Participants are required to focus on the activities that are being developed and, of course, in the end, to come up with a personal action plan how and where to apply the knowledge acquired. The training feedback is collected by the participants directly at the end of the training and is totally anonymous. This has made it even easier and realistic the assessment that the Balfin Group has received from national or international trainers. During fall, Balfin Group has many other training sessions scheduled, such as Successful Delegation”, “Financial Planning and Modeling”, “Communication and Conflict Resolution”, “Art of Interview” etc.

Knowledge is not just a privilege to some, so there are many interns participating the trainings, including students who are doing the internship at various Balfin companies so that they can benefit as much as possible from additional knowledge.