Valeo leverages its online university to face international challenges

"We wanted to develop distance training initiatives on an international scale to make training more accessible to managers who had little time to follow classroom training programs. "

Patrick Benammar

Training Director, VALEO

Valeo

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Valeo leverages its online university to face international challenges

In 2002, the Valeo group turned towards distance training to help its managers deal more effectively with their day-to-day problems and cope with time constraints and mobility issues. A few years later, as business environments have become more complex and competition more intense, the French car equipment manufacturer decided to take its e-learning strategy one step further by enriching its training program.

By creating Valeo C@mpus, the international group, which has over 73.000 staff of 106 different nationalities on its payroll, has made learning a key plank in its skills development strategy; this in turn has had a significant positive effect on the group’s corporate image.

Valeo is a pioneering industrial group in terms of e-learning. In 2012 it celebrated an anniversary that was doubly symbolic, marking both the tenth year of its on-line training platform Valeo C@mpus and its ten-year association with CrossKnowledge. In 2002, at a time when few organizations were opting for distance learning solutions, Valeo saw this learning method as a unique opportunity to help its staff achieve success. “At the time it was a risky undertaking”, admits Patrick Benammar, the group’s training director, “but we wanted to develop distance training initiatives on an international scale to make training more accessible to managers who had little time to follow classroom training programs. One of our challenges was also to improve the consistency of management practices across the group”. The group’s initial objectives evolved over the years to include the entire staff. “New working conditions have changed our staff’s approach to training. We no longer have free-access resource centres. Instead our staff train at their desks, with a great deal of flexibility”, he explains.

Distance training packages deployed world-wide

In 2012, with its business becoming increasingly internationalized, Valeo decided to further develop the Valeo C@mpus platform by enriching its training catalogue in terms of both topics and languages. “As we have teams in China, Japan, Brazil and Eastern Europe, we’ve leveraged the CrossKnowledge content library available in sixteen languages to build new blended learning paths on topics such as diversity, project management, wellbeing in the workplace and intercultural management”, says Patrick Benammar. The world’s leading automobile equipment manufacturer, which operates in 28 countries, now has 1.200 on-line training modules covering a wide range of fields: ethics, languages, office software, management, personal development, communication, safety, regulatory issues…the list goes on. “As well as using content provided by CrossKnowledge, we develop modules specific to our own business in line with our competency framework. We recently launched a programme on compliance aimed at 20.000 staff members world-wide”, he explains.

Blended learning: a winning formula

Combining e-learning sessions with classroom training has turned out to be an excellent strategy for Valeo. “Training paths relating to managerial issues are systematically offered as blended learning, and those that cover cross-functional skills also tend to be dealt with in the same way. To ensure our learners have optimum understanding of the seminars they attend, we’d like to use e-learning content as a complement to face-to-face sessions. This formula not only extends and enriches their learning experience, it also means they are able to consolidate the knowledge they acquire and apply it more easily to their own activities”, says Patrick Benammar. The quality of the training offered by CrossKnowledge is making it increasingly popular among the group’s staff members. “Our people appreciate the fact that the courses are produced by professors at top business schools such as Harvard Business School and HEC”, says Patrick Benammar, who strongly favors the complementarity of distance learning and face-to-face learning.

A major challenge: fostering learner engagement

To maintain learner engagement, the group’s training department has undertaken several corporate PR campaigns. “When we communicated on the tenth anniversary of Valeo C@mpus, we spotlighted a topic every week and linked it through to training content. This was done via our different communication media: e-mails, newsletters, and the group’s newspaper”, explains Patrick Benammar. In parallel, each production unit organizes monthly PR campaigns to encourage staff members to train on the platform. “These initiatives generally focus on a topic that is currently relevant to the production unit in question, such as annual appraisals”, he says. The response to distance learning has been so enthusiastic that Valeo wants to push it even further. Aware of the impact of this approach on team performance, the group intends to ratchet up its e-learning strategy. “With the help of CrossKnowledge we want to develop learner communities so that our staff can share training resources interactively, irrespective of their geographical location”, he continues. Improving the penetration rates of its e-learning programs is also an objective that Valeo wishes to continue to pursue over the coming years.

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