Together we can: Next-Level Blended Learning at Vodafone
Vodafone’s purpose is to connect for a better world and drive innovation – as summed up by its “Together we can” global brand positioning.
The British mobile telephony company’s German subsidiary Vodafone GmbH was founded in 1990 in Düsseldorf. Today, the Vodafone Group has a global workforce of around 100,000, including 16,000 in Germany.
The group’s worldwide revenue for 2021 was 43.81 billion euros, 13 billion of which came from the German market.
Digitalising a five-day in-person onboarding workshop
At Vodafone GmbH, induction, orientation and training in corporate values for new customer service representatives used to take the form of a week-long in-person workshop. That was the case up until early 2020, when the pandemic came along and changed everything. Suddenly the company had to find an alternative solution.
Pre pandemic, new customer service representatives would spend their first five days with the company learning a great deal more than just the nuts and bolts of the job, like how to deal with difficult customers. They would receive instruction in Vodafone’s corporate values and its customer promise. What does the Vodafone brand stand for? What is Vodafone’s mission? What are the dos and don’ts of dealing with colleagues, superiors, external partners and customers?
All of this learning content would be imparted by trainers in in-person training workshops. But once it became apparent that the pandemic was not going away any time soon, and that steps therefore needed to be taken to protect employees, Vodafone decided to digitalise these training workshops.
That was at the start of 2021. Vodafone HR Learning Manager Sabine Fusenig remembers the decision well: “Even before the pandemic, we had been considering digitalising our onboarding programme in order to improve quality and standardisation. A key requirement was that our trainers retain their central role but be given more time to provide one-on-one support. We had already worked with imc Learning on a number of successful projects and were keen to see what they would come up with to meet these requirements.”
A blended learning experience featuring an interactive 3D map, learning diary and portal page
It was immediately obvious to imc that an undertaking of this complexity and scope called for an extremely well-thought-out blended learning concept. Keeping learners engaged over several days of at-home online learning was clearly going to take more than run-of-the-mill online lectures or hours of video content. Because to deliver 2030 minutes of learning, you need variety.
With this in mind, the team from imc’s content department put their heads together with the Vodafone team and developed a blended learning concept called “Basic Customer Care”, or BCC for short. This new onboarding programme is strong on variety, comprising such varied components as a trailer video, performance cards, a four-day challenge, a learning diary, a central portal page and a “Vodafone Island” 3D map.
“We soon realised it was going to be a truly mammoth project with loads of different formats and it was going to take quite a bit of time, not to mention a great deal of active input from the project team at Vodafone,” says Thomas Faas, a Project Manager in e-learning content at imc.
“You see, while we can certainly help structure the learning content, selecting that content is a decision only the client can make. Not every client understands that. But Vodafone does. Everyone on the team understood exactly what they were getting into, and there were clearly defined contact persons and lines of responsibility. As a result, the project went off without a hitch, plus we had a lot of fun.”
Sabine Fusenig agrees: “imc has been a very constructive, pleasant and reliable partner to work with. The project managers defined clear structures, including timelines, so everyone knew exactly what they had to deliver, and by when.”
It was also a special project experience for the business-side team at Vodafone, which consisted of the Training Specialist Manuela Jeschke and the three trainers Monika Arenz, Rene Schmelzer and Dirk Winkler. They spent many weeks compiling and reviewing content and providing feedback.
“Here on the Vodafone project team, we have a really good handle on things and are very well coordinated. But we are a learning organisation, and this was a learning opportunity,” says the HR Learning Manager. “We had half-hour sprint meetings with imc twice a week and were given ‘homework’ to do after each session. Also, we had separate kick-off meetings for each day of the onboarding programme so that we could define clear goals and structures for each day of programming at the outset.”
Measurably improved results
All the hard work has paid off. By ensuring careful, detailed coordination, avoiding unnecessary reworks and keeping to the tight project timeline, it proved possible to complete the entire blended learning programme in the space of just seven months. Vodafone’s objectives were to achieve measurable improvements in training quality and increase the already very pleasing scores achieved in the metrics it typically assesses for all training courses.
For example, after each training course, Vodafone calculates the net promoter score – a commonly used metric that indicates how likely consumers are to recommend the product or service in question to others. Previously 82%, this score increased to an extremely pleasing 88% following implementation of the digital onboarding programme.
Similarly, Vodafone wanted to increase the programme’s practical applicability scores from the already above-average 4.3 to 4.5. The programme actually exceeded this target, and the new score is 4.7 (out of 5).
These scores are reflected in the favourable comments from users:
- “The first BCC round went really well!”
- “Brilliant all round! 😊 …and it’s great fun training with the new programme!"
The feedback from the trainers, too, has been positive without exception:
- “The learners really like the self-learning phase (SLP) as they are free to organise their own time and work at their own pace.”
- “The content has a clear, easy-to-follow structure. The group tasks have also been extremely well received. It’s not excessively content-heavy, which allows learners time to ask questions and actively engage with the content.”
- “The concept also gives us the flexibility to catch learners up if they miss a session here or there. We didn’t leave anyone behind!”
The last word goes to Sabine Fusenig: “The project was a resounding success, and I personally would like to see it used as a blueprint or example of best practice for future projects and rolled out in other countries.”
A slightly different kind of
Audi is one of Germany's leading premium car manufacturers. Based in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, Germany, the company has been producing high-quality vehicles since 1909 and is now part of the Volkswagen Group.
Motivation for an unloved topic
When employees learn that they have to attend compliance training, their enthusiasm is often limited. The trainees are usually hostile to the training even before it begins.
Audi therefore wanted to train employees with an unusual compliance training course in such a way that the necessary knowledge is clearly conveyed to them and, ideally, they also have fun during the training.
Web-based training of a different kind
“Welcome to Fraud City. The city “eats” its residents – skin, hair and all. We hope you’re up to it. Enter at your own risk.” This intro sounds ever so slightly different to the traditional “Click here to start your training”.
The entire web-based training course with motion design adopts the style of “Sin City”, and takes the brave participant to a corrupt city full of dangers and suspect colleagues – accompanied by Detective Fraudless who is always on the brink of solving yet another crime and starts off by explaining the rules.
As the employee navigates through the training course, the criteria for identifying cases of fraud are revealed, as are the behavioural patterns that call for special attention.
Positive feedback on the intranet
Audi demonstrated great courage with this unconventional concept – and reaped the rewards: The elaborate and polarising concept leaves a lasting impression, creating a buzz among almost all employees. Similarly, the intranet feedback was predominantly positive, and many employees praised the web-based training, as Laura Schumacher from the Audi compliance department confirms.
- “Great job! This makes ‘learning’ fun!”
- “Very pleasant WBT, executed superbly. That’s what I’d call modern. Let’s have more of this.”
- “I thought the presentation of the WBT as a homage to Sin City with L.A. Noire elements was extremely original. A great example for knowledge transfer in an entertaining package. Keep it up!!!”
- “We need a lot more web-based training in this style. It gets the message across in an entertaining and easy-to-understand manner, well narrated with cool stories!”
Advanced training for service technicians
around the world
BSH Hausgeräte AG is the biggest domestic appliance manufacturer in Europe and one of the leading companies in the sector worldwide. The group’s main brands are Bosch and Siemens.
In addition to its eight special brands catering to individual consumers, BSH also serves selected home markets with the regional brands Balay, PITSOS, PROFILO and Coldex.
The product portfolio covers the full spectrum of modern household appliances
Adapting training content to
Global growth of the product portfolio, employee numbers and geographical coverage made it necessary to rethink the professional development concepts used by BSH.
The goal was to adapt the training content to local learning habits in the different countries to fill any gaps in the knowledge of the service technicians in each location. BSH’s intent was to achieve uniform training standards so that customers around the world would enjoy the same high-quality service.
It is of great importance to BSH that service technicians anywhere in the world are able to service appliances, repair them if necessary, and offer competent and professional advice to customers within a short period after the launch of a new product. Moreover, practical training on appliances was to be introduced locally.
What was missing was a modern, multinational professional development concept with a homogeneous database that allowed easy administration of face-to-face training and flexible implementation of tailored online training in real time.
Global professional development platform
for 10,000 technicians
Following an in-depth market analysis, the professional development administrators at BSH decided to implement a learning management system by (LMS) by imc, the “Learning Suite”. They called it the “BSH Learning Universe”.
With this global professional development platform, more than 10,000 BSH service technicians in 50 countries can quickly and easily access the training material tailored to the specific country and use it to support their daily tasks. Easy administration of face-to-face training, reliable assessment functions and reporting round off the solution.
What’s more, the blended learning approach facilitates lasting efficiency gains for the face-to-face training. This saves the technicians up to 20% in training time, while significantly reducing administration costs.
EUR 10 million in savings
The results speak for themselves: Since the LMS was introduced, service technicians have been saving around 20% in training time, which is equivalent to EUR 10 million in total.
Moreover, learners loved how flexible the platform is. The LMS by imc is capable of implementing tailored requirements for each country. This involves more than just using the right language: Basic knowledge relating to fundamental topics like maintenance and repair and customised training on new regional products also differ by country. The “BSH Learning Universe” precisely addresses the requirements and needs of the service technicians at the different locations.
“The imc Learning Suite is highly flexible and adapts to our requirements. The LMS not only covers our need for product training: We also use the system for our health training. Above all, the intelligent training booking processes make our work a lot easier. Since we implemented the LMS, Excel list administration is a thing of the past!”, Peter Tolaini, BSH Learning Universe Administrator, UK sums up.
Are you ready for digitalisation?
More than 117,000 employees in the BASF group strive to contribute to the success of their clients from virtually all sectors and almost all countries worldwide.
We have collated the portfolio in six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions.
In 2019, BASF achieved worldwide revenues of around EUR 59 billion.
Needs assessment for the
The digital transformation is shaking up almost all business processes. It is both a challenge and an opportunity for companies. BASF has rolled out digitalisation training worldwide to upskill all employees. In the first instance, this involved finding out the degree of digital readiness among the workforce.
The goal was to go beyond a strict needs assessment and also give the employees the opportunity to test their own knowledge. Intuitive operation and time-efficiency were crucial requirements for the solution.
An assessment for all target groups
The digital readiness check is used to assess all target groups. Based on the test, subsequent professional development measures can be tailored to the users’ starting point.
The app can be accessed from all devices, and be used from the office computer or the mobile phone. The readiness check measured the user’s competence in five subject areas: mindset (growth or fixed), business models, collaboration, agile methods and technology & analytics.
Rather than testing knowledge based on abstract facts, the digital readiness check uses specific examples. That makes it easier for the user to transfer any new knowledge acquired to their daily life, and ensures that all employees understand the core of the questions.
Kick-starting the transformation
The digital readiness check enabled the professional development organisers at BASF to quickly and clearly determine the standard of the employees’ digital education. Knowledge gaps were revealed and learning needs identified.
The test allowed employees to reflect on how much they actually know about digitalisation and digital work methods, and what else there was for them to discover. The readiness check therefore became the foundation for the subsequent group-wide education initiative aiming to enable all employees to utilise digitalisation for their own work in a smart way.
The digital readiness check is also available to the public at: https://basf.trainfordigital.com/