Bilge Apak Sato of WeWent.com tells us about the latest learning experiences.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Bilge Apak Sato: Thankfully, we are great. We enjoy the opportunity of spending time together as a family. We also feel secure being in Switzerland in these difficult times. We hope the whole world will recover soon and learn some critical lessons.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded WeWent.com.
Bilge Apak Sato: I have always been a socially active person going against the general expectation of a tech person persona. I have spent over 10 years in a global FMCG company in global roles. And soon got passionate about fairness in workplaces. It is followed by personal research about how companies were growing their people.
It is safe to assume that one single solution to every problem is education. A friend of mine and I founded our company WeWent.com, a marketplace for Learning and Development experts in 2016. Today we help companies to plan their learning roadmap, upskill their employees and stay future-ready.
In 2018 we initiated another project called Shake up the Workplace!, a future of work ecosystem. We kicked it off by organizing an unconference in a museum. We believe the change happens outside in. The ecosystem aims to help with knowledge transfer between the professionals in startups, corporates, NGOs, government, and academia and create a positive Future of Work.
How does WeWent.com innovate?
Bilge Apak Sato: WeWent.com is an insights-based company, and we understand the needs of future skills. Helping organizations to source the best talent in the area they require easily.
Our focus areas in innovation is data and automation of creating successful business outcomes through active learning elements. Human engagement will always be key to turn learnings into skills.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Bilge Apak Sato: We see that our business has been positively impacted by the pandemic. In some organizations, the transformation had to be forced.
Even though we believe in the power of face-to-face interactions, moving our workshops, sessions online enable more people to get help from those.
We are glad there is more attention to the wellbeing of employees and dedication towards upskilling that is brought by the sudden digital transformation.
We have been supporting organizations that despite the pandemic invested in their employees and their development on the topics like “Resilience”, “Learning Agility”, and “Remote Engagement”. We also had the chance to introduce our own method “Shakeup YOUR Workplace”.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Bilge Apak Sato: Thankfully, no. However, we worked with companies that they had to do. We also helped with our Shake up the Workplace community. Our workforce dialogue is holding some critical discussions.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Bilge Apak Sato: Through Shake up the Workplace, we have held 8 important free online sessions with very well-known experts in their area. While we were doing this, we have introduced many different tools to the audience.
As a team, we were very remote from the beginning, and our tools were always the state of the art when it was about customers. But recently we are raving about Loom.
Did you benefit from any government grants and did that help keep your business afloat?
Bilge Apak Sato: No. We understand many businesses in survival mode. Our business has been on a steady path. We are hoping these grants were used where it was needed most.
Your final thoughts?
Bilge Apak Sato: Shortly after the first lockdown, we started a project to help those who suffer the most, the healthcare personnel. In partnership with the International Coaching Federation Switzerland, we launched the Coaches4Heroes project in 2 weeks of time. The certified coaches made available to the healthcare personnel who needed help to go through this difficult time.
The project was a huge success and is still ongoing.
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