Bel transforms its managers into feedback experts

"This training program, locally adapted, could be achieved within 18 months.
Satisfaction rate among participants already reached 87%."

Maude MAYER-ANSQUER

Deputy Training Manager For Corporate HR, Bel

Bel

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Bel transforms its managers into feedback experts

Sector

Consumer goods

Uitdaging

Ensuring well-being and engagement NL

The Bel cheese group operates worldwide with 33 production units and almost 11.000 staff. It has to deal with cultural differences when training its teams, and this was especially true when it came to launching a worldwide training program on specific feedback techniques. It was an ambitious objective: teaching team leaders and all line managers how to receive feedback and how to use it to encourage and motivate their teams. With a high level of satisfaction from the managers involved and enthusiastic feedback from the teams themselves, the success of the initiative is undeniable.

“In 2011, we launched a Group-wide survey to analyze the commitment of our staff and identify areas we needed to work on. We studied satisfaction rates in a number of areas: line management, senior management, organization of work, and so on”, explains Laurence Hollobon, Corporate Talent Director. The results revealed a shortfall in terms of feedback: 53 % of staff members expressed the need to receive more feedback from their managers. Once this requirement had been identified, the Bel group decided to set up a major training program for 2.000 managers and team leaders and chose CrossKnowledge distance training solutions to achieve this. “There’s a wide range of training resources: not only videos and practical worksheets but also modules that make it possible to gain more insight into key issues, especially where active listening is concerned”, points out Maude Mayer-Ansquer, deputy training manager for Corporate HR. Once the decision had been made, the rollout process was very quick and the project got under way in June 2012.

Deploying blended learning all around the globe

The initial idea was to train the entire target group by the end of 2013. However this did not take into account the reorganization taking place in some countries, and the deadline was extended. “We plan to complete our worldwide deployment in 2014”, says Maude Mayer-Ansquer. At the same time, onboarding sessions will be set up for all new recruits.

In terms of instructional design, the program is organized in three stages. The first part is a theoretical introduction that has deliberately been made mandatory to ensure that levels are consistent and so that the classroom component can focus mainly on the practical application of skills. Then we have classroom sessions run by coaches. To ensure that the same message is being conveyed everywhere in the world, Bel asked a consultancy firm to activate a whole network of coaches. “When it comes to something as subtle as feedback, culture is a key factor that has to be taken into account. This means we needed native coaches able to understand the specific cultural realities of each country,” says Laurence Hollobon. Once the coaches had been recruited, they were all brought together in Paris. The aim was to show them the training content, to train them in the methodology and to put them in real-life situations. As well as the two days of classroom training, optional distance learning modules are also made available to staff members. They allow them to gain an insight into specific techniques such as active learning and empathy. They have been a great success. Moreover, as the topics on offer are very varied, each person can choose to dig deeper into the subjects they find most relevant. Currently, 50 % of staff members concerned by the program have been trained worldwide, and 70 % in France.

Moving forward with e-learning

“We have such ambitious development targets that our managerial system has to be extremely effective and provide inspiration to our teams. This is why feedback is one of our priorities”, explains Maude Mayer-Ansquer. A new survey in a few months will make it possible to assess the impact of the training program.

One of the requirements expressed by the Bel group was that the training modalities should evolve so that they are relevant to new business practices. “We’re waiting for the results before we make our decision, but we hope to develop our distance training initiatives with more and more attractive content”, states Maude Mayer-Ansquer. Satisfaction rates among participants in the feedback training (87 %) suggest a very promising future for distance training at Bel.

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