With business growing in changing markets, the Schneider Electric group is not resting on its laurels. The way its “Connect” programme is being deployed in 2012-2014 is a perfect illustration of this. “Staff skills development is one of our major initiatives. In the next three years, we would like our staff members to adopt a proactive approach to their training and spontaneously express their eagerness to move their careers and skills forward”, explains Xavier d’Esquerre, Workforce Planning & Learning Solution Senior Vice President. To help employees along this road, Shneider Electric has decided to modernise its training offer by acquiring a new LMS platform, and has called upon both its in-house academies and CrossKnowledge to provide the training content. “We want our staff to have access to a training portal available in several languages and offering a wide range of varied content. E-learning has quickly become the obvious choice for us: it’s the ideal learning method insofar as it allows us to reach out to staff all over the world, to align skills, and to control our training budgets more effectively”, he says. The multinational, which operates in over 100 countries, has an ambitious goal: “We want each staff member to follow at least one day of skills development training a year”.
Training for all
Although Schneider Electric took the e-learning road as early as 2004, it was in 2011 that its training offer took an important new step in terms of both formats and content. Digitalisation allowed the group to vary its training formats and diversify its content, providing a new training dynamic. “As well as being made easier because some of the training paths are accessible from mobile devices, learning is now much more fun”, continues Xavier d’Esquerre. Training is now aimed at all staff members, be they managers or non-managers. It deals with a wide variety of subjects: cross-functional skills, management, quality, procurement, leadership, supply chain, office software, and expertise relating to our products, solutions and services. It also deals with group ethics, values, and culture as well as areas in which the organisation will need new skills in the future, in particular where software is concerned.
Managers: vital links in the success chain
To help Schneider Electric develop quality blended training programmes, CrossKnowledge encouraged its training managers and instructional designers to follow a dedicated training programme. “About forty people took a course on best practices in blended learning”, explains Xavier d’Esquerre. Managers play a key role in liaising with non-managers. As they are not used to distance training, staff members receive messages sent directly by managers. This fairly unique initiative is combined with recommendations for personalised training packages relevant to the progress requirements identified during competency review meetings. Operational and analytical tracking data enables both training managers and tutors to actively manage the training paths of their e-learners. “CrossKnowledge also supported us in moving forward with corporate knowledge and gave us ideas on how to make our staff eager to learn”, says Xavier d’Esquerre. This helping hand earned CrossKnowledge the title of “Favourite Schneider Electric supplier” in 2011 and 2013. With the benefit of hindsight, Schneider Electric says that the overall outcome has been very positive for what Xavier d’Esquerre likes to call “the digital knowledge adventure”: “Since the beginning of 2013, our training portal has 40.000 users worldwide. Our goal is now to see 70% of our white-collar workers taking up training this year and adopting a self-learning approach. We also note that e-training is not experienced as a bind, which shows us we’ve made the right choices and motivates us for the future”, he concludes.