Enabling employee growth and developing their knowledge, skills, and capabilities is more critical than ever for driving business performance. One of the companies that excels at Learning & Development (L&D) activities is Oxylabs – a tech company and a front runner in market innovations for web-scraping infrastructure solutions.
We sat down with Frederika Dovgal, Learning and Development Manager, and talked about how Oxylabs is nurturing its internal resources and creating talent growth.
🔵 How would you describe Oxylabs as a company?
Oxylabs is a hyper-dynamic company driven by people full of creative potential, often figuring out the way forward by experimenting, sometimes failing but most importantly – always learning.
🔵 What kind of value does Learning and Development create at a company?
Well-structured L&D strategies can, over time, create innumerable benefits. To begin with, aligning L&D strategies with company directions leads to ongoing, mutual growth for both the company and its employees.
Businesses have the opportunity to hire a junior professional and see that person grow until they reach a senior position. Over time, the employee’s overall value grows together with the company. It’s also valuable to have an L&D strategy because it promotes loyalty. These days people tend to look for a working environment where they can learn and grow personally and professionally, meaning a simple static day-to-day job is not enough anymore.
It’s a win-win both ways. The companies benefit from attractive value propositions and natural employee growth, whereas employees get all the necessary tools to take all they can from the company.
So, in our case, Oxylabs excels at this because the hunger for knowledge is one of the critical values. We encourage people to learn by trial and error. There is no fear of failure, as we promote thoughtful feedback, openness to failure, and knowledge sharing. Thus, when faced with a challenge or a potential failure, we see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Combined with other L&D tools, we are able to create an environment where people are hungry for more challenges and knowledge.
🔵 What are the different professional and personal growth opportunities offered at Oxylabs?
“On paper,” our offer is more or less similar to any other larger IT company in the market. We offer internal & external training, organize conferences, provide access to online learning platforms, and constantly update our book library and others.
What is probably unique compared to the competition is that we provide guidance and support on the available resources based on employee, role, or team development needs. A lot of the effort goes into collecting these puzzle pieces to create a coherent picture of the professional and personal growth opportunities, aka specialized learning journeys directed towards career development. For this, we often apply a blended learning approach.
🔵 What measures do you take to promote learning and development?
First and foremost, we aim to establish a continuous learning culture, where learning is not happening in one-off instances, but rather make it a constant process with direct connection and impact on the job that can still be as fun.
We do feel a constant demand for learning from our colleagues, regardless of whether we promote it intentionally or not. That said, we often organize one-off initiatives to nurture such a learning culture and engage those who haven’t yet found their angle for growing.
An example of this would be the Learning Month initiative, where we organize an intense amount of various training sessions on different topics to encourage maybe a bit more passive people to participate and ignite their passion for learning.
But looking at the broader picture, people often forget that they have all the resources needed to grow or do not know where to start or what kind of value learning can bring. That’s why aside from the continuous learning model, we have to do some marketing actions to help newcomers engage in L&D opportunities or empower those who may lack some initiative.
Overall, once a person wants to grow, all we need to do is help them navigate their growth path.
🔵 How do you manage training tech and administrative teams as diverse as they are? Do you have a different approach depending on the skills needed to develop?
I would say the approach is more or less the same. However, there are a couple of layers to these training programs.
In the first layer, tech and administrative teams share everyday training needs. For example, the World Economic Forum has named the following top skill types of 2025 – problem-solving, self-management, working with people, technology use, and development. So, these competencies are vital, whether you work in tech or administrative teams.
Apart from core competencies that administrative and tech people share, any role, whether a tech or managerial position, has its specifics. I will never be able to teach tech roles any tech topic, nor, most likely, will external training fully cover the needs of how things are done in different companies based on those companies’ processes and standards.
Here, as I like to say, the role of L&D is “connecting people.” Sharing common challenges and experiences can be the best source of knowledge, and our part as L&D is to bring these people together, be it through mentorship programs or guilds.
🔵 What kind of training do you organize? Are those just professional growth training, or are the options to choose personal growth training?
We do both as it goes hand in hand, and it actually loops back to the training program layers we discussed earlier. Self-management and working with people are some of the fundamental (inter-) personal skills employees of all roles share a need. We have open training on personal effectiveness and collaboration, and there are always online resources available with plenty of content on personal growth.
For professional growth, as mentioned earlier, we are working on job role-specific learning journeys, a big part of which is based on internal expertise and knowledge sharing.
We offer over 40 training subjects, internal language courses, access to over ten online learning platforms, and an internal library. It’s worth mentioning that these are just internal resources, with regular external training depending on the people’s learning journey needs.
🔵 Do you use more internal resources or reach out to external services?
We blend both, yet we search for resources internally first, especially if we are talking about the layer where the subject knowledge primarily resides with the people of a particular role.
We see more long-term value and better applicability of internal resources, not talking about the benefits of building a stronger community where colleagues not only take but also give and, in such a way, actively participate in shaping our learning culture.
But mind that when we talk about internal subject matter experts (SMEs), it often is that SMEs know the subject very well but are not always very good at explaining it to, say, junior colleagues. For this purpose, we also need to strengthen internal trainers’ competencies. And this we do with the train-the-trainer program provided by L&D.
🔵 Are the people keen on participating in the training? What persuades them the most?
Generally, there is no need to force training onto people just for the sake of it. Since our company’s culture is based on feedback and continuous growth, learning in various shapes and forms is already attractive to people. For example, over the last quarter, over 70% of all Oxy people participated in at least one kind of training. I believe this is a significant result, considering that we have over 350 people at the moment.
The main reason behind such a high engagement rate would probably be the overall culture at the company. Furthermore, at some point, a mob mentality comes into play. When the vast majority of people participate in training, conferences, etc, others might start feeling left out, a FOMO feeling of some sort.
Furthermore, the variety of the training also helps. Our colleagues can find at least several training topics that are appealing to them, so it’s easier to attract and get them engaged.
🔵 Do you have any success stories of people who managed to grow internally? What were the key reasons for growth?
We have many examples of both vertical and horizontal growth. Each of them has displayed different skills and qualities that led them to advance their careers, so it isn’t easy to describe all of the cases. Some have shown adaptability. Others – just straight up had a great learning curve and managed to hone their skills.
We launched a career ambassador initiative to help inspire other people for career growth. They can meet other employees willing to advance their careers, discuss growth opportunities, and share their experiences and success stories. We want to inspire people to escape their comfort zone and move on to the next zone – the learning zone.
🔵 What is the learning zone model?
The Learning Zone Model’ was developed by Tom Senninger, a German Educator and Adventurer, based on the Lev Vygotsky Zone of Proximal Development. The model encourages us to see positive experiences as learning experiences and helps individuals to understand and expand their boundaries and ‘comfort zones.
🔵 Could you share the most popular or successful training topics?
Effective Communication, Public Speaking, and Problem Solving. These topics cover some of the core competencies of the nearest future, or should we say present already?
Check out Oxylabs’ career page and open positions:
- Head of Product Marketing
- PHP Developer
- Technical Customer Success Manager
- Junior Sales Specialist
- Senior Python Developer
🔵 What would you consider to be the biggest strength of Oxylabs? Why would people want to join the company?
It must be the freedom to unleash your professional and creative potential. The sky’s the limit here.