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 and that was 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 and 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, they are now 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.”
The new digital brand training at imc Learning: Understanding through experiencing
Using gamified brand training to reach and lastingly inspire a highly diverse target audience
In business it’s generally a good idea to stick with what you do best. And that’s precisely our approach to internal brand training here at imc Learning. We have taken our expertise in learning, something we normally offer other companies, and used it to help our own employees.
At imc, we’ve been working with digital learning for about 25 years. We strive to make learning better by redefining how learning happens. Experts in technology, e-learning content and strategy work hand in hand to offer holistic and tailored e-learning solutions – worldwide.
Having started out as a spin-off from Saarland University in Germany, we now work with more than 1,300 companies and public and educational institutions from all sectors and of all sizes, providing them with holistic support in the planning and implementation of digital training strategies.
Enabling employees worldwide to understand and engage with our values and purpose amid the demands of hybrid work and new onboarding methods
imc has changed a lot over the years, both in terms of our brand image and the core values on which it is built. This change in culture is reflected in all areas of our company and therefore needs to be understood and actively supported by all employees – including new hires, who need to be able to connect with and internalize our values.
Achieving this outcome requires learning in the following main areas:
- Company history: What defines us as a company? Where do we come from?
- What are imc’s goals and vision?
- What are the values that shape us, and how do we communicate those values?
- What is our business purpose, and what can each and every employee do to further that purpose?
- What does the imc brand feel like?
We needed a learning solution that could both impart this knowledge to all new hires right from day one and make it available to all existing imc employees on an ongoing basis. The obvious approach was to create an interactive, digital training course that was fun while still getting the imc brand and culture across.
The challenge in designing the course was not just to find a way of disseminating the informational aspects of the training content. The main challenge, in fact, was to give the content emotional power and authenticity, but without overdoing it, so that the very diverse target audience here at imc could identify with it.
A brand experience that invites engagement using a dedicated mascot
No sooner said than done. Kerstin Steffen, Director Brand Strategy at imc, initiated the training course and helped with its implementation. Teaming up with experts from our Content department – people who normally create digital learning content of this type for external clients – she set her sights on developing a training course that inspires all imc employees.
“It was extremely important to develop something that did more than merely disseminate information,” she recalls. “People need to be able to understand and ‘feel’ the brand. New employees should be able to instantly understand what drives us here at imc, what our values are, and what kind of cooperation and collaboration we practise and expect of others.”
Oliver Steinhilber is an instructional designer at imc and provided support for the conceptual design of the training course. “We’re currently seeing strong demand for training courses of this type among our clients,” he says. “Onboarding, change, new work and the like are a big deal at the moment, and managers in HR, marketing and internal communication are looking for ways of communicating these messages with authenticity and emotional power.”
So, it was immediately obvious what we needed to do. But we had to make a number of key decisions before we could start with the conceptual design and creation work.
Excitement and engagement among newcomers and old hands alike
The first step was to select a suitable tool for creating the training course. We chose Articulate Rise, and the team undertook two in-house workshops on how to use it.
Next, the team agreed to use storytelling as the course’s definitive stylistic device and to adopt a mascot as the narrator and companion for learners on their learning journey. Max – that’s the mascot’s name – looks a little like a ghost and emerges from the dot on the “i” of imc. He starts out very pale but gradually takes on more colour as the learner progresses through the course and learns more about the imc brand.
Max features in all elements of the training course. For example, in the history section, he reads from a book telling the story of the company’s founder, Professor August-Wilhelm Scheer. As the training course progresses, Max draws the learner deeper and deeper into the imc brand experience. The course also includes quizzes at regular intervals to gauge comprehension of the learning content.
The result is an entertaining and explorative 25-minute training course, split into four chapters, that teaches the learner everything they need to know about imc.
“We’re really pleased with the result, and the initial feedback from users is extremely positive,” says Kerstin Steffen. “The newcomers are engaging enthusiastically, plus it has sparked the interest of the old hands, who feel inspired to do the course right away. The time invested – it took about three months from initial idea to implementation – has well and truly paid off!”