Deltek Recently Switched eLearning Providers. And it Made a Massive Difference.

April 12, 2018

Deltek recently switched to LinkedIn Learning. And it made a big difference.

For over 30 years, Deltek's enterprise software and information solutions have provided project-based businesses actionable, profitable insights. Deltek — a 2,700-employee global enterprise software company based out of the United States – prides itself on being a destination or preferred employer.  

As an organization, Deltek advocates the values of curiosity, innovation and collaboration, among others, to drive success. That’s shown in its employee surveys, which found that 83 percent of Deltek employees are engaged with their jobs (the global average is 32 percent).

One of the reasons behind such high engagement is their focus on professional development and growth, implemented through their culture of learning.  Deltek recommends that its employees invest a minimum of 40 hours annually in their professional development and to support this they’ve built several programs, like their award-winning leadership development training.

In 2016, everything looked great, aside from one exception: their third-party eLearning content wasn’t resonating well with employees. And that was causing employees not to use it.

“Our curated virtual programs were falling short,” Deltek Global Learning Director Jodi Atkinson said. “Deltek wasn’t getting the level of engagement that it wanted.”

So, after several months of discovery, the company decided to go with a new eLearning provider: LinkedIn Learning. Since adopting it, eLearning usage has skyrocketed.

“The change in usage and freshness of the content has been night and day,” Atkinson said. “The relevancy of the material has been striking.”

Deltek employees agreed. One employee recently sent an unsolicited letter to the Global Learning team thanking them for investing in the new platform.

“The breadth of topics offered is fantastic,” the employee wrote. “I was actually able to search for, and find, both short and long videos on a specific topic I was interested in last week in preparation for a meeting that I was having. The courses were incredibly helpful! They helped me to identify things about myself that I wasn’t quite aware of and map out a game plan as to how to be successful in my meeting. I’m happy to report that I went into the meeting feeling very confident and walked out with the result that I was looking for.

The journey to LinkedIn Learning

Deltek believes strongly in a culture of learning. But what does a culture of learning mean to them?

Two things. The first is inclusion. Atkinson wants to build a culture where people have the freedom and psychological safety to try new ideas and question assumptions, an essential ingredient to any learning culture.

“Deltek is a collaborative ‘everyone’ culture,” Atkinson said “We don’t want people to just be ‘yes’ people or afraid to contribute alternate ideas. We want everyone to add perspective, to be a part of an innovative dialogue and feel comfortable doing so.”

Secondly, it means giving people the pathway to advance. This means providing them with both the tools and opportunity to progress through Deltek.

“People want a tangible means to grow within an organization,” Atkinson said. “They are looking for support.  Having professional development at an organization is a valued benefit they recognize.”

According to their employee surveys, Deltek was checking all the boxes except one – the professional development tools they were offering their employees weren’t fully hitting the mark, specifically their eLearning vendor. They tried several content vendors, but nothing seemed to resonate with employees globally.

That’s when Atkinson stumbled across LinkedIn Learning. She watched a course – The Neuroscience of Learning – and immediately was bought-in.

“I was struck by the immediacy of the material,” Atkinson said. “It was just so on point and applicable to employees across the organization, how could you go wrong?”

She began showing LinkedIn Learning around the office. The buy-in was quick, and after a three-month pilot, in September of 2017, it was rolled out to the entire enterprise.

“The first year has been great so far,” Atkinson said. “It’s been a pleasure hearing all the positive feedback from employees regarding the impact the content has made; people and managers are participating in leveraging the tool as it was intended.”

What makes LinkedIn Learning work for Deltek

There are few features Atkinson particularly likes about LinkedIn Learning. They are:

  • The ability for managers to recommend courses to their employees. Using the sub-admin feature, managers can recommend courses to their employees directly within LinkedIn Learning. This is so much more effective and relevant than a single administrator recommending courses, and leads to more actionable development plans, Atkinson said. “It allows the manager to do what they are intended to do—to herald the professional development of their team,” she said.
  • The ability to upload custom content into the tool. Furthering the autonomy the tool lends its managers, occasionally managers want their employees to read an article or watch a video separate from a LinkedIn Learning course. Using the custom content linking feature, managers can incorporate that as part of a curriculum or as a standalone material, recommending that content to employees through LinkedIn Learning—a big benefit to Atkinson, as all eLearning is centralized.
  • The fact LinkedIn Learning is tied to LinkedIn. Deltek has other accounts with LinkedIn – including LinkedIn Sales Navigator, LinkedIn Marketing, and LinkedIn Recruiter, which their sales, marketing, and recruiting team use daily. And Deltek employees use LinkedIn as well every day. Having LinkedIn Learning as part of that ecosystem means people see courses more, and ultimately leads to higher engagement, Atkinson said. “Having a learning system that ties to programs we are already using makes it more seamless for Deltek employees to move from one LinkedIn tool to another,” she said.
  • It’s proven to help recruit candidates. An unexpected benefit of LinkedIn Learning is Deltek recruiters have been using it to close candidates. “When people hear that we have LinkedIn Learning, it certainly helps a candidate to make the decision to join our organization over others,” Atkinson said.

The takeaway

Success in business comes down to people, processes and tools.

Deltek had the people and processes in place. They merely had a tool that was letting them down.

The good news is tools are the easiest to fix. Now, they have a tool that fits exactly what they are trying to do.

“We are a deliberately developmental organization; we ask employees to be the CEO of their own success,” Atkinson said. “Because LinkedIn Learning is a self-directed tool, it aligns with that approach to continually, actively invest in your growth and development.”

The bigger point is this: yes, building a learning culture comes down to philosophy and strategy, of course. But, if one part isn’t clicking, it might not be anything on your end. It might come down to not having the right tools. And, as Deltek found, changing that can make a massive difference.