Headquartered in Paris, BNP Paribas Group operates in 72 countries and serves nearly 33 million clients worldwide, focusing on retail banking and services, corporate institutional banking, and investment solutions.
The Learning and Development team at BNP Paribas wanted a Content solution that provided more up-to-date modern content, was easy to plug and play, was available at a reasonable cost, and reflected the professional diversity within its organisation.
With Cornerstone Content Anytime, BNP Paribas gained all that and more. CCA scales with their business, transitions them away from classroom training, and is available anytime, anywhere.
In 2017, BNP Paribas set an aggressive business plan for the next four years. They called it the Road to 2020. To help the company achieve these goals the HR team created their own subset of this plan and turned to Cornerstone Content Anytime to help them achieve the goals of Road to 2020.
BNP Paribas talent goals and focus
As a subset to the BNP Paribas strategic vision of the Road to 2020 — its 2017–2020 business plan — the HR team constructed their own talent plan with employees at the core. This plan focused on employees’ learning and development (L&D) and strives to continuously improve the employee experience by:
- Anticipating future required skills brought about by digital transformation
- Understanding employee learning needs in-depth
- Creating personalized and relevant HR offerings
Across all business entities, each L&D team is committed to continuous learning and development of their employees.
4 key L&D focus areas for 2020
1. Technical business skills
2. Soft skills
3. Transformation (digital, agile, remote working)
The challenges they faced
1. Needed to make training easy, accessible, and relevant across the organisation (ATAWAD)
2. Wanted more up-to-date, modern learning content library that is aligned with soft skills and digital transformation
3. Needed a library of content that supports multiple languages and learning preferences to engage their diverse employees
1 — Content Anytime as an enabler for modern, blended learning
Previously, leadership and management training were outsourced, and when Zabbar led an effort to bring this in-house, CCA became an enabler for a blended-learning solution.
The approach was to use online content through the CCA Leadership & Management subscription as a precursor of what was coming. When the employee trained on one subject, CCA would suggest some slightly different content on the same topic to reinforce the prior training. As an example, during the seasonal appraisal period, Natalie Williams, L&D coordinator at BNP Paribas Real Estate UK, would put together playlists of relevant content that touched on performance reviews. These playlists focused on topics like how to have good or difficult conversations, how to give feedback, and how to prepare for a performance review.
2 — Offered variety, supporting the unique learning needs of a diverse workforce
For BNP Paribas, diverse cultures and multiple languages are the norm. This is even more pronounced at BNP Paribas Luxembourg. As a small, landlocked European country, Luxembourg draws a major portion of its workforce from its surrounding neighbours, including Belgium, Germany, and France. BNP Paribas Luxembourg (BGL) employees speak German, French, and English. With the recent purchase of a subsidiary of another bank, they had an influx of Dutch speakers as well. Because of this diversity, they were looking for a solution that embodied a variety of pedagogical approaches, different languages, and different modalities due to the move away from classroom training, different levels of content, and of course, cost-effectiveness.
Content Anytime hit the mark offering a diverse variety of content in multiple languages and formats, which felt culturally relevant for their global workforce.
Additionally, the BNP Paribas Real Estate UK unit is composed of commercial, rural, residential, and central functions with a diverse age group ranging from recent graduates to seasoned professionals. Williams remarked, “This required the need to keep pace with the likes of Snapchat, YouTube, and Netflix, which were more fast-paced and provided engaging content. Cornerstone Content Anytime (CCA) was likened to be the best match versus other providers.”
3 — Provided content anytime, anywhere — especially during COVID
BGL recognised that the anytime, anywhere, any device approach for training was the new reality and required good content libraries. Once COVID hit, soft skills development became a priority for BNP Paribas Luxembourg. There was also a need to work on remote working skills and habits and even more specific work topics such as Remote Management and Remote Selling. That drove the necessity to rollout Content Anytime quickly to meet these needs.
In the soft skills area, BGL did have a lot of courses available in its training centre. Before the COVID crisis, they were prepared with a training strategy set up to digitalise the training they offer. With the pandemic, the need became urgent and the discussions with Cornerstone accelerated in order for BGL to be live with Content Anytime in May 2020. One important criterion for them was the need for a UX experience that was smooth and seamless for the users.
Starting in 2019 and even before COVID, BGL had already begun moving away from classroom learning. Frederic Hieronimus, head of training and development at BGL, shared that BGL had previously seen that in-person classroom learning was preferred to digital online learning. Classroom training brought people together, and there was a social element where people preferred to meet in-person. In order to market online learning, they had to be cognisant of this and offer shorter, more convenient learning options. COVID changed the paradigm dramatically and made the switch and uptake of digital content expand dramatically. BGL’s estimate of learning content consumed digitally is likely to hit 80 percent for 2020 primarily due to COVID.
In the time post-COVID, BGL still would like to retain a blended learning approach as they still see the need for contacts between individuals from different job functions, divisions, and sites. They want a balanced approach between digital content and classroom content. In the future, they plan on moving towards hybrid, blended learning solutions where there is opportunity to do some pre-work utilising Content Anytime offerings to supplement face-to-face learning.
Williams also feels that down the road, basic soft skills training will not be provided in the classroom. She observes that online content is getting better and better, and people’s appetite to acquire information through digital sources is growing. BNP Paribas Real Estate UK is looking to make it 70/30 percent (virtual vs. in-person or Zoom).
How BNP Paribas drove adoption of Content Anytime
1 – They started running a pilot
Through the guidance of its Group counterparts, the L&D team of BNP Paribas Real Estate UK was the first of the Group’s entities to select and implement the Cornerstone Content Anytime library. They started with a pilot session engaging around 20 employees from different regions and different departments in order to ensure the content worked for the employee base, and that the solution was robust.
2 – They built marketing tools to drive excitement and adoption
Once CCA Professional Skills and CCA Leadership & Management subscriptions were launched, building awareness and adoption was an ongoing and multi-step process.
The Real Estate UK unit’s internal launch campaign included contacting each office, enabling email pushes, creating a Star Wars-themed video, and building playlists shared through email signatures to drive adoption. Some users shared that they thought the new content was great and pointed out particular courses.
During a re-launch in September 2019 due to the introduction of Learner Home, the new LMS home page, the user interface provided for a better experience. Visually, the new website looked a lot more like Netflix and iTunes, for example. Williams applauded, “The ability to create playlists through Learner Home was super cool.”
Learnify — A BNP Paribas Luxembourg marketing tool
According to Rebecca Wong, programme manager, group HR strategy & transformation with BNP Paribas Group, “...the biggest failure we have seen in terms of content is that if you just leave it in the system, no one is going to take it.” Wong continued, “...I think that is why Cornerstone Cares [a free platform featuring online courses designed to help anyone protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, practice self-care to manage the stress and isolation of quarantine, stay productive while working from home, and mitigate or eliminate unconscious bias] was a big success [because of good marketing].”
Prior to CCA, most training offers had been done using the “pull” model where employees identified training they wanted and had their manager approve the request. CCA enabled BGL to shift more towards a “push” model where a playlist was created and used to “push” offerings each month. Each month since BGL went live with CCA in May 2020, the team creates a playlist revolving around a theme that is linked with the orientation of the bank or with current worldwide news. For example, with Mobility Week taking place in June, the June playlist centred around “mobility” which focused on internal career transitions with topics such as creating a CV and interview techniques. July’s playlist was focused on “resilience,” and August’s playlist topic was “remote working.”
The BNP Paribas playlists, given the name Learnify, are then promoted on their intranet site, Connect. To further market Learnify, headphones with the branded Learnify logo were also distributed.
In terms of managerial development, BGL decided to purchase a CCA Leadership & Management license for each manager. They had already developed a workshop focusing on seven competencies and wanted to push content linked to those skills. Skills-tagging for course content was very important to ensure relevant coursework was aligned with BGL’s managerial competency matrix.
The path forward
Audrey Matton, project officer of solution, deployment & service learning with BNP Paribas SA Brussels, concluded, “As a global multinational, we are pleased to be able to introduce and recommend innovative and tested learning solutions to our diverse employee base across our varied business entities. Content Anytime provides a lever in that direction. Currently, the BNP Paribas Group already has more entities waiting in the wings to subscribe to Content Anytime within a group frame contract.”
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