The Right Chemistry: ALTANA’s Award-Winning Onboarding Programme
ALTANA AG is a global leader in specialty chemicals headquartered in Wesel, Germany.
The ALTANA Group offers innovative, environmentally compatible solutions for coating manufacturers, paint and plastics processors, the printing and packaging industries, the cosmetics sector, and the electrical and electronics industry.
ALTANA employs around 7,000 people worldwide in four business divisions and generated sales of over 3 billion euros in 2022.
Who are we exactly?
The business divisions that make up ALTANA each operate under their own brands. They offer premium products and a comprehensive array of services to customers worldwide, leveraging the group’s combined knowledge and wealth of experience. ALTANA’s guiding principles and its four corporate values of Appreciation, Openness, Empowerment to Act and Trust serve as a mandatory basis for joint, goal-oriented action for all employees.
The project team was tasked with communicating these values and the ALTANA identity and culture uniformly to all people across all locations and divisions throughout the organisation. And that called for a global, digitalised onboarding programme. The group already had local onboarding programmes. But there was no group-wide e-learning system to give new hires an overview of the entire organisation. And certainly not one that harmonised with ALTANA’s guiding principles.
The team also had to design a training programme for future leadership personnel. The brief: a system that could onboard new leaders with key leadership guidelines and illustrate a leader’s typical working day.
Three-hour e-learning programmes for new hires and leadership personnel
“We knew we had taken on a truly mammoth project,” says Andrea Pfister from ALTANA’s Talent Management CoE. “We wanted a modular e-learning system with interactive elements, videos and trailers. Onboarding@ALTANA had to be aimed at both new hires and long-serving colleagues. The idea was to have multiple options for newcomers to get to know our organisation and its culture and people. We also wanted established employees to be able to refresh their knowledge at any time.
Consequently, we took great pains to find the right provider. We needed someone who met the technical criteria, obviously, but the personal chemistry had to be right too. We knew it was going to be a long-running project that would require close consultation and intensive dialogue.”
“For us, it was kind of a greenfield project at ALTANA. That was quite a challenge: although there was a large number of "individual, diverse" materials, these had to be put together to form a meaningful whole. And, of course, completely new modules had to be developed together with technical experts. However, it was also a major opportunity because it meant we had a free hand and could give free rein to our creativity.”
A greenfield project
It was an exciting opportunity for imc, as project manager Ines Conrad explains: “For us, it was pretty much a greenfields project at ALTANA. That was quite a challenge, as there was not much we could use as a starting point. But it was also a major opportunity because it meant we had a free hand and could give free rein to our creativity.”
The ALTANA team was open to creative ideas and to relying on the expertise and recommendations of the imc team. Following a joint kick-off meeting on site, ALTANA opted for a programme comprising two different but interlocking parts. The first part was the general onboarding programme – mandatory for new employees and voluntary for the old hands.
The second part was the training programme specifically for leadership personnel. The idea was that existing employees moving up into leadership roles would only have to do the leadership part. External leadership appointees, on the other hand, would have to complete both parts.
Silver Award from Brandon Hall Group and excellent in-house feedback
The result of the project is nothing short of impressive: a colourful array of e-learning formats structured into two modular, target group-specific curricula. The programme starts with an invitation e-mail and a teaser trailer that includes a welcome message from the Management Board. The content itself is delivered via web-based training sessions, with learning supported by performance cards and the Readiness Check feature. The programme also integrates the imc BizQuiz format.
This result certainly impressed the jury at human capital management gurus Brandon Hall Group, the sponsor of the annual HCM Excellence Awards. The programme won ALTANA and imc silver in the Talent Acquisition category at the 2023 awards.
The project’s success is also evident from the results of employee surveys conducted by ALTANA. In those surveys, both onboarding programmes scored over 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 – a great result.
Needless to say, ALTANA is very happy. “We are absolutely delighted with the result. What’s more, the project taught us a lot, including about communication and internal stakeholder management,” explains Andrea Pfister. “imc was an extremely enjoyable, pragmatic, open and reliable partner to work with at all times.”
Training internal and external audiences
Headquartered in Hamburg-Eppendorf, Eppendorf AG develops, produces and distributes products and services for laboratories all over the world. These products are often used in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and food sectors.
The company is the world market leader in many areas of laboratory technology. Across its global operations, the group has more than 3,000 employees at 34 locations.
Knowledge acquisition in record time
Increasing legal requirements, fast global growth, more employees, a more extensive portfolio and a shorter time to market – A few years ago, Eppendorf AG faced all of these challenges. To fight these challenges, it required not only the employees to be trained but also the network of external partners and service providers to be educated. Only when this network of both internal and external groups (together the so-called "Extended Enterprise") is up to date with the latest products, services and developments, at all times, Eppendorf can provide the quality that it strives for. Time and efficiency are essential in this training process.
Mastering these challenges is even harder when old-fashioned and time-consuming training processes slow down the progress. This is where the professionally set-up blended learning concept within a cloud-based solution comes to the rescue.
An open professional development concept
As part of an integrated e-learning strategy, the imc Learning Suite was implemented across the entire company as “Eppendorf Academy”. Hosting in the Microsoft Azure Cloud ensures virtually unlimited scalability and immediate availability
The objective was to systematically complement or replace existing face-to-face training courses with e-learning offers to create a blended learning experience.
The imc authoring tool Content Studio was chosen for the creation of interactive and multimedia learning content.
90 % of users rate the courses
In order to facilitate swift identification and rectification of gaps in the content, obtaining continuous feedback from the course participants was very important for Eppendorf AG.
The dialogue with the learners directly shows to what extent the learning content helped the learners perform their daily tasks, and where further improvements were needed.
The participants’ feedback has been impressive: A staggering 90% of users to date rate the courses as helpful or very helpful.
Are you ready for digitalisation?
More than 117,000 employees in the BASF group strive to contribute to the success of their clients from virtually all sectors and almost all countries worldwide.
We have collated the portfolio in six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions.
In 2019, BASF achieved worldwide revenues of around EUR 59 billion.
Needs assessment for the
The digital transformation is shaking up almost all business processes. It is both a challenge and an opportunity for companies. BASF has rolled out digitalisation training worldwide to upskill all employees. In the first instance, this involved finding out the degree of digital readiness among the workforce.
The goal was to go beyond a strict needs assessment and also give the employees the opportunity to test their own knowledge. Intuitive operation and time-efficiency were crucial requirements for the solution.
An assessment for all target groups
The digital readiness check is used to assess all target groups. Based on the test, subsequent professional development measures can be tailored to the users’ starting point.
The app can be accessed from all devices, and be used from the office computer or the mobile phone. The readiness check measured the user’s competence in five subject areas: mindset (growth or fixed), business models, collaboration, agile methods and technology & analytics.
Rather than testing knowledge based on abstract facts, the digital readiness check uses specific examples. That makes it easier for the user to transfer any new knowledge acquired to their daily life, and ensures that all employees understand the core of the questions.
Kick-starting the transformation
The digital readiness check enabled the professional development organisers at BASF to quickly and clearly determine the standard of the employees’ digital education. Knowledge gaps were revealed and learning needs identified.
The test allowed employees to reflect on how much they actually know about digitalisation and digital work methods, and what else there was for them to discover. The readiness check therefore became the foundation for the subsequent group-wide education initiative aiming to enable all employees to utilise digitalisation for their own work in a smart way.
The digital readiness check is also available to the public at: https://basf.trainfordigital.com/