The reason Clarins has opted for e-learning is to be found in its distribution model. “Our sector is characterized by selective distribution. The multi-brand staff selling our products at retail outlets are not on our payroll. The difficulty lies in training these people, who are very much in demand from all the different brands and who often have to attend training sessions provided by those brands in their own time” explains Claire Delouis, the group’s international training development manager. It soon became clear that distance learning was the ideal solution. The group thus adopted a new training strategy based on blended learning. “Our aim was also to optimize our face-to-face learning initiatives, which allowed us, for example, to support our exclusive sales assistants working mainly in department stores. We’re eager to take the long view rather than working on short term solutions”, explains Claire Delouis. Clarins launched a call for tender for an LMS platform in 2011, and the CrossKnowledge Learning Suite was selected. It meets the brand’s requirements as it can be operated on all its international markets and supports bulk deployments with no loss of quality or responsiveness.
Administrators: local representatives
Clarins ePro was first launched in September 2011 with an initial pilot project, and the solution is now available to some 4.000 staff in Canada, Europe and Russia. “With each new rollout, we support the project to ensure that all the necessary conditions exist to ensure its success. We’ve adopted the principle of One Country = One Administrator!” says Claire Delouis. This means that the platform is managed locally by specialists; wherever possible, they are trained via the CrossKnowledge Academy, which offers on-line training sessions on how to use the platform.
One of the challenges Clarins faces is getting the training community working as one. To support its 200 trainers working throughout the world the group uses the CrossKnowledge community portal, which allows it to communicate with them on a regular basis and places all the resources they need at their disposal. “Given the specifics of our business, being able to train our trainers and share and update training material instantly at local level was vital from the outset”.
Results that live up to expectations
With login rates higher than 85% and almost 5.000 training hours in just nine months, combining the Clarins training strategy with CrossKnowledge e-learning solutions has certainly borne fruit. According to Claire Delouis, “Logging on to the Clarins ePro portal has become second nature to its users”. This is all the more encouraging when it comes to non-mandatory modules. Flexibility is one of the main strengths of the CrossKnowledge Learning Suite. Training departments in subsidiaries can maintain control of all the various factors and manage their training strategy very effectively. Learner tracking tools facilitate the analysis of training data and make it possible to adapt training modules in the light of expected and actual results.
E-learning as part of an international development strategy
Clarins does not intend to stop there, however. “We’ll soon be rolling out the training solution in other countries including Spain, Italy and Germany. We’ve also run a pilot in Singapore and are hoping to deploy throughout Asia” explains Claire Delouis. As well as spreading into new geographical areas, Clarins is looking at introducing new functional aspects, in particular collaborative features using social networking and discussion forums. “This is an aspect of the solution we looked at when we selected it. Although it wasn’t a priority at the time, we knew we’d eventually have these needs and we wanted to be ready when the time came. Now everything is in place, we’ll be able to move forward without calling our initial choice into question. What’s more, because of our distribution model, we’re going to be making increasing use of mobile learning”.
“We’ve already seen how the platform constantly changes in response to user requirements. For example, we wanted our staff to be able to self-enroll, which means that people who aren’t on our payroll and who we don’t know personally can get onto the platform once they’ve filled in a form. This suggestion was rapidly built in to new releases of the solution”, concludes Claire Delouis.