Holder of a specific know-how, EDP created the first corporate university in Portugal for sharing the growing knowledge internally, in order to develop skills and ensure sustainability of the Group's businesses.
Ana Sanches was in the Energy Planning Directorate when she heard about the EDP University for the first time. "My team was called upon to create the Introduction to Energy Business course", the contributor explains. It was in 2009, classes were taught at the School of Production and EDP University gave its first steps.
From the first contact, Ana realized that it was a very different project when compared to what she had learned in her training at EDP. "Until that moment, everything was done by catalog. An employee chose what he would do and then he was called throughout the year to accomplish it," Ana Sanches explains. At the same time, she felt that colleagues who entered the EDP Group did not know the business. "They knew, for example, that we were a company that produced electricity, but they didn't quite know what that meant," she adds.
In one of the training modules, she met Verónica Pinto, Director of Development and Training Management at EDP University, who told her she was looking for people to join her team and to create other schools. "They asked me if I wanted to apply in internal mobility and change subject," she recalls. She applied and ended up being selected. "It was a project that started out from scratch. I thought it was a good opportunity because it was all initiating and the first courses of the School EDP were being created," she says.
The idea was to offer a cross-knowledge directed by the business that could cover all employees: those who started the career at EDP or those who were already working in existing teams. "It was challenging because it implied thinking about the future of the organization, thinking about what we would need in terms of skills and where to find them within the company, since most teachers were internal,” Ana Sanches explains.
Energy Business, Corporate Finance, Project Management or LEAN were some of the topics covered at the School. "We desmystified the more technical language explaining energy terminology such as what is a kilowatt or in the financial area, how to calculate the company's EBITDA," explains Ana.
"EDP University is an essential vehicle for the dissemination of the Group's strategy for the alignment of employees with the company's goals for the transmission and retention of knowledge and the strengthening of the corporate culture"
Created in 2009, EDP University's main mission is to ensure employee development and the sharing of knowledge within the EDP Group in an articulated manner with the established strategic directions. Made by and for the Group's employees, it became an integration tool of human capital and a strategic partner in its development and management in all of the company's business.
The idea of creating a corporate university arose from the need of retaining the existing know-how in EDP Group, strengthening the corporate culture and developing critical skills. The goal was to transfer business strategies into the development system, reinforcing lifelong learning and knowledge management. It has also enabled the optimization of resources and a greater union to the business needs, stimulating sustained growth.
Employees become increasingly competent and competitive, more knowledgeable and cooperative, more engaged in the development of corporate culture and more aware of their role in overcoming the challenges facing the Group. Thus, both the employees and the company win.
All employees can attend the EDP University. There is a School for each business area of the Group - five Functional Schools - and two cross-functional schools for all areas of business, resulting in a total of seven schools.
Functional Schools: Production, Distribution, Sales, Management of Energy and Renewables
Promote the development of technical skills and the retention of knowledge associated with each business, through structured training programs. They ensure career development and knowledge management of employees.
Cross-functional Schools: EDP School and Development School of Directives
The EDP School strengthens the knowledge of business fundamentals and thematics transversal to the organization, reinforcing the corporate culture and the sharing of the best practices. The Development School of Directives teaches a set of structured programs aimed for the strengthening leadership and management skills of current and future leaders.
To facilitate the efficient management of training and learning in accordance with the pace and individual availability of each employee, the EDP University also provides a platform that aids in training management and provides additional learning formats, such as eLearning - the Online Campus.
It's a place for people who have been here for 40 years or for those who just arrived.
In 2012, Ana received a new challenge: it was necessary to rethink the School of Development of Directives. The aim was to strengthen and align a set of programs to work issues such as the coaching and self knowledge with employees who are about to be leaders or those who have assumed responsibilities at that level. How to prepare and develop leaders for the future? What is the forecast for skills people need to have in the organization? These are some of the questions to be answered.
Thus, EDP University gradually became a rally point for people, knowledge, businesses and generations. "It's a place for people who have been here for 40 years or for those who just arrived. It's very important to promote an intergenerational contact where everyone wins," Ana Sanches says.
"The university also has a role of integrating and ensuring that the knowledge that was already inside does not disappear. Because that was what I felt when I started teaching at the university. We are creating the School of Production and Distribution because one day in the future these people will not be here. And they have huge things to share. These people had a lifetime of the company's knowledge that they were sharing in that class and that people value"
It was also in 2012 that Rui Miguel Oliveira received the challenge: lead the Lean Program ambassadors team at EDP Distribution and return to the classroom, but this time, as a professor at EDP University. "I was invited to give several Lean courses in a school that was transversal to all companies," says the expert and trainer in this business management philosophy.
"The learning speed and the abilities people acquire at EDP University is incredible," says Rui, whom in 2015 was an instructor and responsible for planning the training of the PPM Project - Project
Portfolio Management of EDP Distribution. Over 10 thousand hours of training, 21 instructors and 520 trainees.
"All of the 16 sessions we did were different from one another. I learned a lot in every one of them because the group dynamics and the experiences of the participants are completely different," he says. At the end of a session in Portalegre, when he requested feedback from participants, one of the students, from the upper levels of the company, confessed that he was initially reluctant regarding the project, but that "in 23 years of work, I'd never had such an interesting training action."
"It took me years to get to this level of knowledge. Today, thanks to EDP University, the company's employees have access to information that allows them to better perform their duties."
The EDP University is currently the only corporate university in Portugal that is nationally and internationally certified, positioning itself as a corporate university of world reference, source of inspiration for the professional growth of all employees at EDP Group.
In 2015 EDP, through EDP University, obtained national certification by the General Directorate for Employment and Labor Relations (DGERT), in 16 areas of education and training. In 2016, it received the international certification by the *European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), standing out as the first Portuguese corporate university to receive a distinction of this kind. In addition to these certifications, the work developed by EDP University has been awarded and recognized worldwide since its inception.
In 2017, it received the award for "Best Corporate University - Culture and Brand" for the second time, by the Global Council of Corporate Universities (Global CCU), a prestigious international association of corporate universities, enhancing the consistency of its work in every plan and in particular on strengthening its brand and diffusion of EDP culture.
In 2017 it was also considered by Human Resources Portugal as the best corporate university in Portugal, in the Human Resources Awards 2016 ceremony.
Today, Ana Sanches is responsible for Diversity and Inclusion in Corporate Human Resources Management, but continues to maintain a link with EDP University. "I give a course on Unconscious Bias to awaken people to the notion that often, in an unconscious and automatic way, we condition our decisions for preconceived ideas or something stereotypical. If we can have awareness and improve this process, we can benefit from the difference and thus improve the organization, "said Ana. She considers the EDP University project with affection. "It's like a baby I saw being born and I want to continue to follow it. I walk side by side with it," she says.