Inspiring a global workforce at Henkel

"CrossKnowledge encouraged us to make our learning paths more engaging and recommended a variety of effective marketing techniques."


Head of Corporate Learning Management, HENKEL



Inspiring a global workforce at Henkel


Consumer goods


Becoming a learning organization

Subscribe to our newsletter

When Henkel set out to engage and inspire its diverse global workforce by the possibilities of lifelong learning, it chose CrossKnowledge for support regarding the inclusion of digital learning. In addition, CrossKnowledge provided Henkel with the optimal learner marketing approach, which has helped to cement the success of both the new
Henkel Global Academy and the worldwide visibility of its blended learning programs.

Henkel is a global company with leading market positions in three business areas: Laundry & Home Care, Beauty Care and Adhesive Technologies. Recognized for brands such as Persil, Schwarzkopf and Loctite, Henkel is one of Germany’s best-known international companies operating in 75 countries, with a workforce of 50,000 employees from 120 nations.

Delivering individual learning at every organizational level

“With such a diverse and international team, it’s a challenge to identify and apply learning approaches that work for individuals at every level of the organization, said Katrin Springob, Henkel’s Head of Corporate Learning Management. Learning needs to be relevant and directly applicable, it needs to be available wherever and whenever it is needed, and it needs to be lifelong.” Henkel’s historical trainer-led approach was unable to deliver against all of these criteria, so the company’s L&D team developed blended learning programs based on the 70:20:10 model. This transition had three main goals: aligning Henkel’s learning offering more closely with its global corporate strategy, promoting learning more effectively within the organization, and engaging all employees in the lifelong learning opportunities that Henkel offers.

Henkel has long recognized the importance of employee development, and has integrated it into one of its four strategic pillars required to maintain and grow the company’s world leading position. These priorities are Outperform, Globalize, Simplify and Inspire. “To ‘inspire’ our people we need learning that helps them develop their talents, share their knowledge and expand their horizons” explained Katrin Springob.

The Henkel Global Academy

The company set up the Henkel Global Academy in 2013 to deliver a single corporate training approach based on common goals. The Academy continues to provide the specific training required by Henkel’s business units, functions and regions, but it also offers harmonized sets of formal courses on soft skills and leadership development. It delivers professional development offerings globally through two channels: a Learning Centre for all employees and a Leadership Centre for leaders and high potential individuals. “Previously, different business units had their own learning offerings, said Katrin Springob. The Henkel Global Academy brings everything under one roof, aligning the whole company behind the same strategy, the same approach and the same offering.”

State-of-the-art development opportunities

When it came to content, the company turned to CrossKnowledge for the core eLearning elements of its blended learning approach. CrossKnowledge offers the largest management and leadership catalog in the world. “Our goal is to provide employees with professional and soft skills training that is consistent across the organization, but which also meets their individual development needs” said Katrin Springob. CrossKnowledge content also dovetails with Henkel’s performance management process. Henkel cherrypicked content from the CrossKnowledge Library, mapped it onto the Henkel Competency Model and enabled learners to search using key terms that were familiar to them as part of development plan. “CrossKnowledge has become our preferred supplier because of the quality of their content. We like how it is created, delivered, and the fact that it’s regularly updated” said Katrin Springob. Now, when Henkel has a new eLearning need, it checks what CrossKnowledge offers first so it does not reinvent the wheel. CrossKnowledge has also been responsive to Henkel’s emerging needs, recommending best practice solutions to specific training requirements, developing new library content that Henkel Global Academy, and translating content into German and French – or into Chinese and Arabic for employees in the emerging markets.

Drive (y)our future now

The diversity and global spread of Henkel’s workforce was a major challenge when it came to promoting its new eLearning offering and engaging learners. CrossKnowledge offered its expertise on Learner Marketing and ran workshops for representatives from Henkel Corporate as well as ‘campus responsibles’ from the Laundry & Home Care, Beauty Care and Adhesives Technologies business units as well as the functions. “CrossKnowledge encouraged us to make our learning paths more engaging and recommended a variety of effective marketing techniques” said Katrin Springob. Henkel embarked on a massive worldwide internal communications campaign called ‘Drive (y) our future now’, including HR presentations, round tables, learning ambassadors, print/online articles and a poster campaign. Launched in January 2014, the campaign data show that it led to a significant increase in the uptake of the CrossKnowledge content. Over 2014 the number of connected learners grew by 50 percent, while the total time spent viewing content tripled across the same period. Furthermore, 75 percent of users returned to eLearning after the first visit, reassuring Henkel that the content was proving relevant and useful on the ground.