BNP Paribas Fortis: distance learning at the heart of change

"The CrossKnowledge platform is highly focused on the learning experience and includes informal learning: these are genuine assets"

Corinne HESPEL

Learning & Development Methodology Manager, BNP Paribas Fortis

BNP Paribas Fortis


BNP Paribas Fortis: distance learning at the heart of change


Banking & Insurance


Fostering collaboration and networks

Going digital and accompanying transformation

As the leading Belgian bank, BNP Paribas Fortis offers a complete range of financial services to private individuals, the self-employed, licensed professionals, and small and medium- sized companies.
The bank, whose motto is “Banking and insurance for a changing world”, has made training into a priority to help its staff adapt to change in a rapidly evolving sector and enhance their employability.

“Increasing employability and developing leadership are the two main challenges in the job market today, and this is especially true in the banking sector: a sector that is not only in crisis but which has also been hit hard by the digital revolution. To cope with this, the company has to adapt and rethink its organizational model. Staff members will also have to develop new approaches to their jobs,” explains Corinne Hespel, Learning & Development Methodology Manager at BNP Paribas Fortis. Based on this observation, the bank reviewed its approach to training and opted for CrossKnowledge solutions in 2009.

From blended learning to collaborative learning

To prepare for the move to collaborative learning, BNP Paribas Fortis first went through an experimental phase involving blended learning. Blended courses based on CrossKnowledge content were then gradually extended to all training programs. The success of this initial phase convinced the teams to make the leap towards collaborative learning. To ensure success, the training department worked with five trial populations, including HR business partners because they would have to act as ambassadors, and members of the Learning et Development department to ensure they had full knowledge of the solution they would be deploying. Two further groups were formed, made up of staff members from various departments: high-fliers and new managers. A training path designed for sales staff was also created within the Retail Banking division. This approach allowed BNP Paribas Fortis to test all the features of the solution because each population had different expectations and needs.

BNP Paribas Fortis rapidly took its ambitions a step further and, leveraging the advanced functionalities of the CrossKnowledge Learning Suite, made the move into collaborative learning. Corinne Hespel describes the system: “Let’s take someone in the “New People Managers” group, for example. He’s automatically enrolled on a blended learning path that offers the formal aspects of both face-to-face and distance learning. He is also a member of one or more Learning Communities (according to which group he belongs to), which facilitate interactions with his peers and encourage informal learning”. In practical terms, the learner has access to different workspaces within a single training portal: “My Learning Corner”, where he can view the details of the courses and all the distance-learning modules, and “My Discussion”, which displays all the discussion forums for his groups”.

A new role for trainers

“The CrossKnowledge platform is highly focused on the learning experience and includes informal learning: these are genuine assets,” says Corinne Hespel. Over time she has also observed changes in the way interactions take place. “Discussions are more learning-oriented than before. At the beginning, exchanges between learners focused more on logistical points”.

These new types of training program necessarily lead to a fresh approach to the role of trainers, as providing teams with the support they need is fundamental to the success of a change initiative. “We had to train our out-of-house instructors. In addition to their experience of traditional training, they now have to possess a new range of skills, such as managing groups remotely”. Trainers are now at the very heart of the blended learning program. A true relationship of trust had developed since the start. “We’ve been very well supported, both in terms of project management and technical support. But CrossKnowledge has also encouraged us to think about how our business is changing. These new tools raise a number of key questions”, concludes Corinne Hespel.

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