At TomTom, LinkedIn Learning Pays for Itself

August 20, 2018

See how TomTom best uses LinkedIn Learning to drive real ROI.

Sometimes, to show the ROI of learning, it isn’t enough to share broad numbers like hours completed or courses watched.

Sometimes, you need to share the stories of individual learners. Like the one of Susan Wall, a technical writer for TomTom, a global leader in navigation, traffic and map products

In April, just after LinkedIn Learning became available to all 5,300 employees at TomTom, Wall took a course on the platform that taught Confluence, a collaboration tool.

It made a big difference.

“The Confluence course was amazing,” Wall said. “It was so helpful. I was able to show my team that doing documentation with our current solution, Dreamweaver, took 2 ½ hours and with Confluence it took 30 minutes. So, I was able to show that we could save 20 hours a week - basically one part-time position - by switching to Confluence.”

The ROI of her watching that course and the lesson she took from it were tremendous.

“This single action (the switch to Confluence after Susan took the course) has earned back half of the first year’s subscription cost,” TomTom Chief Human Resources Officer Arne-Christian Van Der Tang said. 

Van Der Tang has a bigger point: this is just one example of what happens when employees are connected with the right learning platform.

How LinkedIn Learning is Helping TomTom Stand Out in a Crowded Talent Market

TomTom has been providing education to its employees previously, but the challenge was always how to find a cost-effective way to run these programs in a company that operates in 35 countries.

“We are in a very competitive (employee) market for talent. We need to do everything we can to engage our employees and make our employer brand stand out,” Van Der Tang said. “We are constantly looking for scalable ways to do this, whether it’s learning, leadership or a safe working environment.”

In 2016, TomTom tested online learning with, offering it to 200 software developers. It went well, and so in 2017, they expanded it to all managers for their leadership development program.

“Our managers are globally assessed against a model,” Talent Development Manager Jacquie Gay explained, “and we needed training options for those who needed to build skills they were being assessed on, in which we found gaps.”

When it came time to renew, TomTom looked at LinkedIn Learning to expand online learning to their entire organization of 5,300 employees. A big reason why was the breadth, depth and quality of content the platform offers.

“We needed to find a platform that allows for collaboration, collective learning, individual learning and allows our team to access learning, where they want it and when they want it,” Van Der Tang said. “LinkedIn Learning has a nice balance of all of those requirements that allows us to offer the greatest possible learning opportunities for to our employees.”

“My favorite part of LinkedIn Learning is how easy it is to find relevant courses,” Gay said. “I haven’t had a topic yet that there hasn’t been some content for.”

How TomTom Marketed LinkedIn Learning: With an Epic Video

Once the decision to go with LinkedIn Learning was made, a full-blown inhouse marketing effort was launched.

“We needed to make it unique, and create something people would talk about,” Gay said. “And it had to appeal to all our tech people, who hear words like ‘soft skills’ and immediately tune out.”

So the decision was made to announce the new online learning platform a different way: create a 60-second video that mimics an 8-bit video game, along the lines of Mario Brothers circa 1985. In the video, a character (representing a TomTom employee) is moving through, and every time he “eats” a LinkedIn Learning icon, he powers up.

The program was announced at a quarterly all-hands meeting, and immediately following the announcement, a company-wide email went out with information on how to access the platform, as well as the video. “Usage spiked that day,” Gay said, “ and we have maintained that high level ever since. It shows us that people want to learn, and that is very encouraging.”

At each remote location, the site “owner” received a t-shirt that mirrored the video game promotion, and was tasked with talking up the program among staffers. “We had to order more t-shirts,” Gay said. “Everyone wanted one.”

Four months into the roll out, a second video will be released that focuses more on the real-life benefits of the LinkedIn Learning courses. And while they are proud of their 58% activation rate, Van der Tang and Gay note their goal is 90% by year’s end.

They are seeing a lot of courses being viewed on weekends, which makes sense to Van Der Tang. His favorite part of LinkedIn Learning is the ability to view courses while offline, like when he is on a plane heading to one of the 34 other offices in the company.

“LinkedIn Learning is always with me, whenever it suits me,” he said. “That’s a great feature.”