How BCD Travel Used LinkedIn Learning to Help Build Their Employees' ‘Confident Self’

October 1, 2018

Three years ago, the talent management team at BCD Travel – a corporate travel management company – partnered with the business to build a comprehensive competency model that applied to each of its over 13,000 employees globally. The model was integrated into all aspects of traditional HR and talent management in the organization.  

A key benefit of the program was that employees and managers had a framework for discussing and agreeing on competency gaps. And the organization now had a more accurate view into the overall strengths and development needs of its employee base.

“The competency model allowed us to link our strategic objectives as an organization directly to skills and behaviors we needed to see from our employees, from new hires to high potentials," said Jay Rhodes, Senior Director for Global Learning and Development.

Having all employees assess their competency levels really elevated the focus and expectations on professional development. Assigning “Active and Continuous Learning” as a core competency for all employees also helped send that message.  

“We raised the bar for our employees, and that certainly put us in a position to deliver the resources and solutions they needed for their development,” Rhodes said.

As employees increased their focus on development, taking on the company’s charge to develop “their Confident Self”, new programs and resources were added to BCD’s Business Travel Academy – it’s learning and development function that addresses competency-based learning globally and at a regional level. While successful, there was still a growing need for a truly global and comprehensive resource to help employees address their competency gaps.  

Enter LinkedIn Learning. Jodie Schaekel, Global Program Manager for Learning and Development took the lead in assessing a variety of options.

“We looked at other online learning solutions, even running pilots with other programs," she said. "There seemed to be an ever-growing list of players and options. Our existing corporate relationship with LinkedIn gave us a good reason to look more closely at LinkedIn Learning. We are glad we did!”

Why BCD Travel Chose LinkedIn Learning

“There really was a lot to like about LinkedIn Learning” said Schaekel.  “We saw four key areas that made a difference for us.” They were:

  • The breadth, depth and quality of LinkedIn Learning content. No other learning solution had  over 13,000 courses across five (now seven!) different languages.  “We have had a hard time finding a competency that is not supported in some way by the LinkedIn Learning library of content,” said Schaekel.  “The content is professionally produced and not user-generated, so our learners are going to experience this really professional learning opportunity and it’s going to be consistent across the entire global organization.”

  • The user experience. “It’s a very user-friendly tool," Schaekel said. "We have to spend very, very little time teaching the employee how to use LinkedIn Learning. The mobile function is seamless as well, and our audience is on the road a lot!"

  • LinkedIn Learning’s customization features. BCD’s talent management teams have already built more than 100 customized learning paths within LinkedIn Learning in support of its core and managerial competencies. “We are now working with individual business leaders to build custom learning paths just for their functional areas, and the fact that we can now add our own internal training content to those learning paths is fantastic," said Schaekel.

  • LinkedIn Learning’s tie to LinkedIn. “We saw this as a win-win for both BCD Travel and the employee,” Schaekel said. “By being able to post the course certificates on their LinkedIn profile, our employees are building their professional resumes.”

Driving Engagement and Application – and Measuring Impact

In December of 2017, BCD Travel launched LinkedIn Learning to 6,000 employees. To ensure its success, the talent management team has gone beyond traditional marketing.  

Yes, they have used email and chatter posts to socialize the program. However, a significant focus has been on making LinkedIn Learning a ‘strategic resource’ which is integrated into the learning and development programs offered throughout the company.

“It was important to maximize the use of this program and we have pushed ourselves to find ways to integrate this into our overall talent and learning programs, and to measure the impact,” Rhodes said. "Our managers, our employees and even our learning and development teams needed to see that LinkedIn Learning was much more than just another menu item for them to consider."

Keys to doing this have included:

  • Partnerships with the business. Members of the Business Travel Academy work with their HR partner network globally to get in front of key business leaders to talk about how they can champion LinkedIn Learning within their departments and teams. Key business units are empowered to take ownership for implementing and driving usage and are not relying on the learning and development teams to push or guide them in using the tool.

  • Embedding LinkedIn Learning into key talent programs. LinkedIn Learning is used as prework or for ongoing learning assignments in a variety of BCD talent development programs.  This includes its 6-month Challenge Program for leaders; the Leadership Faculty Program that uses key leaders in the company to teach and mentor others; and Peer Coaching Discussions which leverage the advantages of social learning across a global organization.  “We have found that LinkedIn Learning content is a convenient and effective foundation for our peer coaching and mentoring efforts," said Victoria James, Director of Learning and Development for the UK/IE and EMEA regions. “We focus on a key competency area and build a peer discussion program around that topic and use a LinkedIn Learning video as the prework. Speed to market is important – we don’t have months to find content and build a program so LinkedIn Learning has been very helpful."

  • Measuring Impact. In addition to general reporting on usage that is provided through LinkedIn Learning and the companies own learning management system, BCD has also included Linked in Learning as part of its Impact Assessment Program.  “We are excited about what LinkedIn Learning is offering to our employees, but we know we need to prove its value and the best way to do that is to look at those cases where tangible impacts can be documented,” said Rhodes.  “We will measure LinkedIn Learning against our other programs in terms of its impact and value and based on initial assessments, I think we’ll see very positive results."

Speaking of Positive Results . . .

Nine months after launching, the usage of LinkedIn Learning has been strong, and the employee feedback has been even stronger.  Currently, BCD Travel’s activation rate is 66%, while 77% of activated users are actively using the tool.

Here’s just a few of the many quotes the talent management team has heard from employees about the platform:

  • “I just wanted to say that I am loving the LinkedIn Learning program.”

  • “The topics available for training seem endless. What a great tool this is and will be for everyone. Thanks so much for this opportunity.”

  • “I really like this tool. Used it the other day to prepare for a difficult conversation. Very helpful.”

  • “It has really accelerated my growth when it comes to technologies. It's a great benefit from the company. I don't know who to thank for it, so I'll just say it here. Thank you!”

“People in the company see that we are completely sold out with the employee by investing in LinkedIn Learning,” Schaekel said. “People are saying that BCD Travel really does care. They care about my development as an individual and they are providing the resources I need to be my Confident Self.”

The real measure though will be if LinkedIn Learning is helping close competency gaps across the organization. That will be seen through the Impact Assessment Program and next year’s competency assessment process.

“I can’t wait to read the 2018 report,” Schaekel said. “I think we’ll be really happy with what we see.”   

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