How L&D at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Drove 1 Million Views of LinkedIn’s Learning Content
October 29, 2018
Few companies have gone through as much change as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) over the last few years.
The company itself was born out of change. In 2015, Hewlett-Packard split into HP Inc. (HP) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Post separation, HP continues with its enterprise and consumer-focused PC and printing business, while HPE is focused on solving the challenges of enterprise customers with technology solutions and services that span the evolving world of hybrid IT and the intelligent edge.
Since launching in 2015, HPE has continued to transform, completing 2 divestitures, 8 acquisitions and cycle of program, process and organizational reinvention. While these actions have created a welcomed return to growth, the continuous change was disruptive, creating unease for employees. The L&D team at HPE was acutely aware of that.
“During times of significant change and uncertainty, we have to think about what we can do to better support our people, to take the right actions to create an environment that enables them to succeed and to demonstrate through the right investments, that our people matter,” HPE VP of Learning & Professional Development Adrian Stevens said. “We have to clearly communicate to our people, ‘You are important to us’.”
Part of that “investment in people” was to enhance HPE’s learning offerings to include Lynda.com from LinkedIn Learning. An additional benefit – to serve the strategic business imperative of increasing innovation, leadership excellence and the development of future skills across HPE.
“We had to pivot from a mindset of fix and turn around to one of growth and innovation,” Stevens said. “Everyone was incredibly focused on getting work done and we needed to cultivate a desire and a thirst to seek out new ideas and knowledge to help us succeed.”
One Year and One Million Videos Viewed
It worked. Since November 2017, HPE employees have watched more than 1 million Lynda.com videos and completed 20,000 courses and consumed 67,000 hours of content. This has reflected the upskilling of employees at scale and helped set the foundations for a culture of learning at HPE. Importantly, feedback from employees has been overwhelmingly positive, as Lynda.com helped keep them engaged and supported.
For Stevens, HPE’s investment in Lynda.com is part of a broader strategy to “democratize learning and create a recognized culture of learning. While the roots of HPE reach back some 80 years, we had to think once again like an agile startup. We wanted to provide inspiration to our people, cultivate a sense of purpose, and allow them to think about their future, to build their capabilities, create value and be valued. I believe we are well on our way.”
The Top Reasons Why HPE Invested in Lynda.com
“Our past (learning) investments had been expensive and underutilized,” Stevens said. “Our sole dependence on an LMS resulted in content being hard to find with curriculums quickly losing relevance and becoming dated.”
HPE partnered with Lynda.com as part of their learning ecosystem enhancement because:
- The variety and quality of content. With 13,000+ courses, Lynda.com had the breadth and depth of content HPE needed. Today Lynda courses are included in more than 100 different learning channels and paths that the company offers employees.
- Ease-of-use. With online courses split into short video segments, courses clearly marked ‘beginner,’ ‘intermediate’ and ‘advanced’, Stevens and his team were assured that the right content would reach the right individuals. The HPE learning teams could focus on the big picture, take advantage of Lynda.com playlists and not get consumed with sweating the small stuff. Consequently, Lynda courses have been integrated into employee onboarding, professional development planning and management, and leadership training.
- Brand familiarity. “It turned out that a good number of HPE employees already had Lynda.com personal accounts,” said Kevin Metsers, who is responsible for HPE's digital learning strategy and corporate university user experience in the L&D department. For those with personal accounts, “we were giving them their money back by offering Lynda through the company,” he said. “They already knew Lynda, and they already liked it. We actually heard reactions like, ‘This is like a gift from HPE’.”
- Data-driven learning. The analytics Lynda provides gives Stevens and his team the ability to “understand what is working and where the demand for new knowledge and capabilities are” by seeing exactly what content learners at HPE are searching for and consuming.
How HPE Marketed Lynda.com and ‘Accelerating U’
The results of this new offering were immediate. Four months after Lynda.com was launched, “our activation rates, video consumption, and the number of certifications achieved was on par with what had been possible across 12 months previously,” Stevens said. “There had been a perception that no one had the time to learn or the appetite to learn — but our numbers told us a different story.”
Stevens’ response to the early success was to “ratchet up the marketing” of Lynda.com and to integrate it with HPE’s learning experience platform (LXP) branded internally as “Accelerating U.”
The team created and released a video filled with inspirational quotes, soaring music and images of Earth from outer space to welcome HPE’s people and people leaders to “The new Accelerating U.” The marketing emphasized the in-demand professional and technical skills needed in the idea economy, the modernization of programs, the personalization, the collaboration, and the variety. HPE offers more than 180 different learning channels on its learning experience platform, utilizing content from Lynda.com across the majority of them.
Banners that went to 20 company locations around the world stressed the ease of use, the breadth and depth of the content and the social features of the platform. “An interactive, social learning experience,” the banners touted. “Create learning groups and share knowledge, best practices and insight with colleagues.”
After the first year of the new LXP and Lynda.com, Stevens put together an in-house committee with representatives from different divisions to create a “rolling thunder” marketing plan with a goal of fueling the emerging culture of learning and realizing even higher activation and return across investments like Lynda.com.
Eileen Flaherty is a learning program manager and was appointed to the marketing committee by Stevens. The first thing she did, Flaherty noted, was head straight to Lynda.com.
“Now, I’ve done some marketing, but I thought the best thing would be to go to Lynda.com,” Flaherty said. “I searched marketing strategy and found a great class. It got us organized and on a path to create a plan.”
An Additional Bonus – A More Strategic L&D Team at HPE
While Lynda.com has helped engage and upskill thousands of employees at HPE, Stevens and his team are seeing an added benefit – it has helped lighten the “learning burden” for HR.
Specifically, rather than the majority of their time working on designing, developing and launching individual programs, Lynda.com empowers department heads to create and curate them faster.
“We have close to 180 different learning channels, and 140 of those are business-led, not HR-led,” he said. “The business understands, they need to be involved, they are the consumers of the content and have the autonomy to directly influence the relevance and prioritization of content.”
That means more business leaders and teams are prioritizing and helping to personalize learning. In return, that has empowered the L&D team to focus on consulting with the business to help set them up to succeed while remaining focused on the bigger picture for learning and it’s vital role in improving performance and helping HPE build momentum
“We are adding more value to the company and are better able to focus our experience and capacity on the learning priorities that will help drive HPE’s sustained growth into the future,” Stevens said. “And that is what the right mix of partnership, innovation and action is all about."