Antalis is Europe’s leader in paper distribution, packaging solutions and professional visual communication products. A subsidiary of the French holding firm Sequana, Antalis employs 5,500 staff in 44 countries and across 5 continents. In 2014, the company sold over 1.8 million tons of paper to 120,000 clients all over the world (representing 14,000 deliveries a day) while its external growth strategy has recently made it the world’s second largest player in this market.
The digitization of training at Antalis began in 2012, when the sales force was involved in a corporate project called RACE – Result Acceleration through Customer Excellence. One of the challenges was to redefine the group’s selling model and rapidly enhance the skills of the 2,500 salespeople working around the globe. To achieve this goal, Antalis launched the Sales Academy, an ambitious training program that began with a two-year face-to-face training path followed by a digital knowledge consolidation phase. This was a first for the group, which had never experimented with digital training on such a large scale before.
“A series of internal audits and benchmarks revealed that this digital initiative could allow us to address a much wider opportunity than just sales force training,” says Manuel Tercic, Learning & Development Manager at Antalis. “We moved from wanting to offer e-learning to a specific population to consolidating our vision for the group’s HR development,” adds Amy Deperrois, Group Learning & Development Director
Staff members own their development
Antalis’ Learning and Development department has played a key role in the group’s new HR vision. Their challenge was to provide a digital training solution to all group staff, wherever they were in the world and whatever their language. “First of all, we set up a learning platform – WeConnect – with our existing modules, to which we then wanted to add off-the-shelf content” explains Manuel Tercic. Antalis approached CrossKnowledge for additional core business training as well as cross-functional modules. As the project leaders pointed out, “We had a lot of constraints in terms of language, and CrossKnowledge is a major market player with an extensive range of solutions and a very strong reputation.”
Around 50 CrossKnowledge sessions are now available on the WeConnect platform, as well as 20 videocasts and a 100 specially-developed modules. The catalog is organized according to subject area (including Product Knowledge, Management, Finance and Personal Development) and staff can use it as and when they choose. “We want our staff to take ownership of their learning, explains Amy Deperrois. At an annual appraisal, the staff member and the manager have to be able to define training needs and identify related content – without the HR department having to push things along. All the modules have to be at their fingertips: that’s our vision. We want to instill a real learning culture into the group.”
Aiming at independence and operational performance
In three years, the partnership between the group and CrossKnowledge has grown significantly. The Antalis has a huge product range, offering over 100,000 items in the paper and envelopes sector alone. To address its product-training needs, Antalis has adopted Mohive, the CrossKnowledge content development and delivery tool. This allows the group to take control of its own content development process, to offer “just in time” learning and to make product managers and local HR staff more independent. “We want to enrich our training portfolio – especially where products are concerned–and we want to move faster. Mohive is an intuitive, easy-to-use tool that allows us to speed up our content development process,” says Manuel Tercic.
At the same time, Antalis is working towards setting up blended learning programs that are fully customized to meet the needs of different target groups. “That’s our next challenge, says Amy Deperrois. What’s more, the advice CrossKnowledge provides on instructional design allows us to put such programs in place more easily, which is a real advantage.”
Antalis’s WeConnect training platform has turned into a full- fledged corporate social network that now includes training, talent management and social learning thanks to new tools that encourage collaboration and communication between the group’s 5,500 employees. “We’re continuing to develop content and making sure that using WeConnect comes naturally to our staff” concludes Manuel Tercic. In the first ten months of 2015, Antalis had a total of 2,000 active e-learners, evidence that the group’s HR transformation is gaining real momentum.