Getting to Climate Neutral: Global Action Day Plus Professional Development
The Schaeffler Group, headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, is a leading global supplier to the automotive and industrial sectors. True to its motto “We pioneer motion,” the company has been driving forward ground-breaking developments in the fields of motion and mobility for more than 75 years.
With innovative technologies, products and services for CO₂-efficient drives, electric mobility, solutions for automotive suspensions, Industry 4.0, digitalisation, and renewable energies, the company is a reliable partner for making motion and mobility more efficient, intelligent and sustainable.
The Schaeffler Group currently has about 84,000 employees spread across some 200 locations in over 50 countries. In 2022, it generated sales of approximately 15.8 billion euros.
90 minutes of climate neutrality brainstorming worldwide
Schaeffler aims to be completely climate neutral by 2040. Its in-house production will be climate neutral by 2030, and its entire supply chain will achieve climate-neutrality by 2040. “That’s a very ambitious goal, certainly, but we are utterly determined to achieve it,” emphasises Nadja Lemke, Schaeffler’s Senior Vice President Global Branding & Marketing.
“But, of course, we will only succeed if everyone gets onboard.” Which is why Schaeffler is seeking to harness its employees’ creativity and expertise. It wants to draw together ideas from all areas of the company worldwide.
This was the thinking behind Schaeffler’s Climate Action Day, a group-wide event staged in June 2022. On that day, all the company’s employees paused their normal work for 90 minutes. For 90 minutes, they jointly focused on the challenges posed for Schaeffler and for society generally by climate change. In over 4,000 workshops worldwide, they developed a wealth of ideas for reducing CO2 emissions in their respective departments.
Climate Action Day was also to be a day of learning. Employees were to improve their knowledge of sustainability and climate neutrality through in-person and online workshops. But how, exactly?
Fully integrated learning – Digital and in-person
An animated, integrated landing page complete with chatbot, curated content and direct interfaces with Microsoft Teams and the existing learning management system. That was the winning solution devised by imc.
imc project manager Melissa Hohmann explains: “It had to be completely learner-centric. All employees worldwide needed to know at a glance how to proceed directly to their learning content. The solution needed to come across as a coherent whole and be inspiring for the learners. The learner experience had to be so engaging that the passion for sustainability felt at Schaeffler headquarters in Herzogenaurach would carry across fully to learners as far away as Mexico, China, and Australia.”
The solution provided by imc took the form of a learning portal. On the big day, the employees logged in and watched video messages from the Board of Managing Directors. These messages demonstrated that the commitment to sustainability came from the highest levels of the company. After watching the videos, the employees were able to click through the portal to various options.
They could work their way through training content or take part in group chats. Or contribute their own ideas in the four categories of Green Products, Green Production, Green Materials and Green Behaviour.
Over 23,000 ideas and documented positive outcomes
“About 23,000 ideas – that was the outcome of Climate Action Day 2022,” says Hanna Peter-Regar, Senior Vice President, Schaeffler-Academy.
“The feedback from colleagues from all around the world was resoundingly positive. We were astonished at the innovative ideas that flowed in from the individual countries. The Teams chat absolutely exploded, and the engagement via social media was massive, too. People were proud to be contributing their ideas. They were excited to be lending their support to our drive for climate neutrality. What’s more, we’ve managed to implement a lot of their ideas since then.”
imc Executive Board member Sven R. Becker is likewise delighted with the results. “We count a project as a success only if the client achieves demonstrable and quantifiable positive outcomes. That’s what drives us. Why? Because the outcomes have to be there in order for learning and professional development to be an integral part of the digital transformation.”
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!”
Culture Change Through E-Learning on the Factory Floor
The RONAL GROUP is a leading manufacturer in the international market for light alloy wheels and has about 7,000 employees worldwide.
Founded in 1969, the Swiss-headquartered company has 13 production locations on three continents and is an OEM for all the world’s leading manufacturers of cars.
RONAL produces some 18 million wheels annually, and generated sales of EUR 1 billion in 2021.
Cross-departmental training for all workers, from white to blue-collar
“We make the best wheels in the world.” The RONAL GROUP’s vision statement is an uncompromising commitment to top quality. To live up to this claim, all the company’s employees need to be committed to quality and work to defined standards.
This applies to all employees, wherever they are based, whether in Switzerland, Taiwan, Mexico or elsewhere, and whatever their role, whether office or factory worker. Everyone throughout the RONAL GROUP needs to live and breathe quality so that the company can live up to its quality promise and meet the demanding standards of the automotive industry.
That was one part of the challenge. At the same time, the company wanted to digitalise its systems for documenting training completion. It wanted to do away with the labour-intensive, manual processes of keeping lists and gathering, signing and scanning paper certificates. Going digital would not only give the company a clearer overview of its training landscape, it would also reduce the error rate inherent in manual processing.
An enterprise-wide blended learning strategy
In order the better to administer, sustain and document its training courses, the RONAL GROUP decided to digitalise all learning-related processes using a learning management system (LMS). First and foremost, the managers in charge of the project at RONAL were looking for an LMS that could be integrated into the company's existing system landscape. Moreover, it should be easy and intuitive to use.
As well as the LMS itself, they were looking for a provider who could develop tailored training courses and enable the company to create its own learning content.
imc Learning Suite, the LMS provided by imc Learning, met all of these requirements. It has now been implemented at the RONAL GROUP as an employee development centre (EDC). The EDC is now used to administer all the company’s online training courses, as well as analogue courses.
Where once the various steps involved – everything from participant invitations by email to course completion to certification and verification – could only be accomplished by switching between media. Now they are all digitalised and can be coordinated via a single system.
HR managers with the relevant access privileges can now log in to get an overview of which training courses have been started or completed, and by whom. And employees can use their personal log-in credentials to check their learning progress. As well as this, all employees can independently search for and request courses from within the platform.
The beginnings of a culture shift through targeted anytime, anywhere training
Philipp Leupoldt from Group Learning & Development at the RONAL GROUP provides support for the learning platform and also had a hand in the development of the first digital training courses. He has noticed that carefully targeting the training to key groups of employees encourages new ways of thinking that lead gradually to a culture shift throughout the company.
This is clear from two e-learning programmes in particular.
One is a training course on quality awareness which, in terms of methodology and didactic approach, is specially designed for blue-collar workers and can be undertaken either using tablets while on the shop floor or using PC workstations located nearby.
The other programme is a training course for all RONAL GROUP employees designed to raise awareness of social engineering – the risk of being manipulated into disclosing sensitive information, such as passwords. The online content is supported by a poster campaign that specifically targets blue-collar workers.
The posters, which are displayed in staff cafeterias, production halls, common rooms, and staff facilities, summarize the learning content in the form of a comic strip. They also feature a QR code that employees can scan to receive further information on an internal page.
Leupoldt is pleased with the outcome. “We can see that the various measures and digital training courses are slowly giving rise to a genuine shift in culture,” he says. “Many of our blue-collar workers have demonstrated a matter-of-fact and pragmatic attitude to digital learning. The feedback from many other of our employees has been positive as well. Interest in work-related content is increasing, and the innovative methods are fostering independent learning.”
Learning management system helps
cut red tape
S&G was founded in 1898. In 1998, on its 100-year anniversary, it was renamed S&G Automobil AG.
The subsidiary S&G Automobilgesellschaft established in 1990 is now the biggest Mercedes-Benz representative in Saxony-Anhalt. Today, around 1,400 employees including almost 300 trainees and apprentices at 11 locations in Baden-Wuerttemberg and 8 sites in Saxony-Anhalt ensure that we keep our promise every single day:
“With S&G, you are in for a good drive.”
Meeting documentation obligations
with mobile learning
S&G wanted to bring the company’s professional development and training measures up to date and drive digitalisation. The objective was to quickly and directly provide information to around 1,300 employees across 19 locations. This required reductions in email traffic while ensuring that employees really do receive information on training courses. Furthermore, all employees regularly need to complete training courses on topics such as money laundering, compliance and data protection. This process was to be uniform and clear to map.
In addition, solutions were needed to equally train employees without permanent access to a desktop computer.
Uniform processes and time-savings
The solution came from imc, featuring a central platform and the learning management system – which S&G named “Lernwelt” – world of learning. Once implemented, the LMS ensured that employees actually receive information and are able to complete the right training courses.
The allocation of training courses and instructions is automated, and employees are assigned groups and receive course information and bookings automatically depending on the group they belong to. For instance, an automated reminder is sent out when its time for an employee to refresh their training on a particular topic.
“Lernwelt” brings greater acceptance
S&G was able to achieve some of its goals immediately after implementing the LMS: The paper and email overload decreased significantly. S&G intensively uses the automated allocation, and automatically assigns advanced training and instructions or sends out reminders for mandatory training to individual user groups. This also simplifies verification and documentation of mandatory training on topics such as money laundering, compliance, and data protection.
The fact that employees can now register for training courses directly rather than having to go through their line manager also helped to cut administration costs. Moreover, transitioning some of the face-to-face training to an online format resulted in major time savings.
The Content Studio also helped to improve course quality, and employees highly appreciate the training units designed by their own colleagues. This boosted acceptance of the LMS.