Together we can: Next-Level Blended Learning at Vodafone
Vodafone’s purpose is to connect for a better world and drive innovation – as summed up by its “Together we can” global brand positioning.
The British mobile telephony company’s German subsidiary Vodafone GmbH was founded in 1990 in Düsseldorf. Today, the Vodafone Group has a global workforce of around 100,000, including 16,000 in Germany.
The group’s worldwide revenue for 2021 was 43.81 billion euros, 13 billion of which came from the German market.
Digitalising a five-day in-person onboarding workshop
At Vodafone GmbH, induction, orientation and training in corporate values for new customer service representatives used to take the form of a week-long in-person workshop. That was the case up until early 2020, when the pandemic came along and changed everything. Suddenly the company had to find an alternative solution.
Pre pandemic, new customer service representatives would spend their first five days with the company learning a great deal more than just the nuts and bolts of the job, like how to deal with difficult customers. They would receive instruction in Vodafone’s corporate values and its customer promise. What does the Vodafone brand stand for? What is Vodafone’s mission? What are the dos and don’ts of dealing with colleagues, superiors, external partners and customers?
All of this learning content would be imparted by trainers in in-person training workshops. But once it became apparent that the pandemic was not going away any time soon, and that steps therefore needed to be taken to protect employees, Vodafone decided to digitalise these training workshops.
That was at the start of 2021. Vodafone HR Learning Manager Sabine Fusenig remembers the decision well: “Even before the pandemic, we had been considering digitalising our onboarding programme in order to improve quality and standardisation. A key requirement was that our trainers retain their central role but be given more time to provide one-on-one support. We had already worked with imc Learning on a number of successful projects and were keen to see what they would come up with to meet these requirements.”
A blended learning experience featuring an interactive 3D map, learning diary and portal page
It was immediately obvious to imc that an undertaking of this complexity and scope called for an extremely well-thought-out blended learning concept. Keeping learners engaged over several days of at-home online learning was clearly going to take more than run-of-the-mill online lectures or hours of video content. Because to deliver 2030 minutes of learning, you need variety.
With this in mind, the team from imc’s content department put their heads together with the Vodafone team and developed a blended learning concept called “Basic Customer Care”, or BCC for short. This new onboarding programme is strong on variety, comprising such varied components as a trailer video, performance cards, a four-day challenge, a learning diary, a central portal page and a “Vodafone Island” 3D map.
“We soon realised it was going to be a truly mammoth project with loads of different formats and it was going to take quite a bit of time, not to mention a great deal of active input from the project team at Vodafone,” says Thomas Faas, a Project Manager in e-learning content at imc.
“You see, while we can certainly help structure the learning content, selecting that content is a decision only the client can make. Not every client understands that. But Vodafone does. Everyone on the team understood exactly what they were getting into, and there were clearly defined contact persons and lines of responsibility. As a result, the project went off without a hitch, plus we had a lot of fun.”
Sabine Fusenig agrees: “imc has been a very constructive, pleasant and reliable partner to work with. The project managers defined clear structures, including timelines, so everyone knew exactly what they had to deliver, and by when.”
It was also a special project experience for the business-side team at Vodafone, which consisted of the Training Specialist Manuela Jeschke and the three trainers Monika Arenz, Rene Schmelzer and Dirk Winkler. They spent many weeks compiling and reviewing content and providing feedback.
“Here on the Vodafone project team, we have a really good handle on things and are very well coordinated. But we are a learning organisation, and this was a learning opportunity,” says the HR Learning Manager. “We had half-hour sprint meetings with imc twice a week and were given ‘homework’ to do after each session. Also, we had separate kick-off meetings for each day of the onboarding programme so that we could define clear goals and structures for each day of programming at the outset.”
Measurably improved results
All the hard work has paid off. By ensuring careful, detailed coordination, avoiding unnecessary reworks and keeping to the tight project timeline, it proved possible to complete the entire blended learning programme in the space of just seven months. Vodafone’s objectives were to achieve measurable improvements in training quality and increase the already very pleasing scores achieved in the metrics it typically assesses for all training courses.
For example, after each training course, Vodafone calculates the net promoter score – a commonly used metric that indicates how likely consumers are to recommend the product or service in question to others. Previously 82%, this score increased to an extremely pleasing 88% following implementation of the digital onboarding programme.
Similarly, Vodafone wanted to increase the programme’s practical applicability scores from the already above-average 4.3 to 4.5. The programme actually exceeded this target, and the new score is 4.7 (out of 5).
These scores are reflected in the favourable comments from users:
- “The first BCC round went really well!”
- “Brilliant all round! 😊 …and it’s great fun training with the new programme!"
The feedback from the trainers, too, has been positive without exception:
- “The learners really like the self-learning phase (SLP) as they are free to organise their own time and work at their own pace.”
- “The content has a clear, easy-to-follow structure. The group tasks have also been extremely well received. It’s not excessively content-heavy, which allows learners time to ask questions and actively engage with the content.”
- “The concept also gives us the flexibility to catch learners up if they miss a session here or there. We didn’t leave anyone behind!”
The last word goes to Sabine Fusenig: “The project was a resounding success, and I personally would like to see it used as a blueprint or example of best practice for future projects and rolled out in other countries.”