Navigating a New Learning Landscape at TomTom

May 21, 2020

“The spotlight is on us like never before,” say Jacqueline Gay, L&D Manager at TomTom, a technology company that provides highly accurate maps, navigation software, real-time traffic information and services, headquartered  in Amsterdam with over 5,000 employees globally. “We’ve got people’s attention. We’ve got them really focused on the learning resources available to them. Now, we’re determined to make sure that continues.”

TomTom has seen a transformation in its learning culture since the business first adopted LinkedIn Learning two years ago. However, the COVID-19 crisis has driven engagement to even higher levels. At the same time, it’s transformed the scope of L&D at the business, with new levels of executive buy-in and new ideas about the role that online learning can play.

Filling the face-to-face learning gap

“Demand has gone through the roof,” explains Jacqueline. “We’re seeing people learning at night, at weekends, and all hours of the day and week. We’ve had more managers attending the talent webinars that we’ve held in the last few weeks than we had in the whole prior year.”

The webinars that managers are making time for are designed to address the practical and psychological aspects of managing teams remotely, which represents a dramatic change for many of TomTom’s regional business units. “In India, we’ve been supporting whole teams in making the switch to working remotely for the first time,” says Jacqueline. “That’s involved a huge change for about 400 employees, including setting them up with internet access at home. And it’s a big change for managers. We’ve seen a real increase in their demand for online learning because the traditional, face-to-face leadership programmes they would rely on are no longer an option.”

Tapping internal knowledge and experience

The need for new skills has focused company-wide attention on learning like never before—and at the same time, it’s driving a company-wide approach to delivering it. “We’re trying to leverage as much internal knowledge as possible,” says Jacqueline. “One of the nice things about TomTom is the variety of roles and locations, which gives us a wealth of different experiences to draw on. We have field data collectors in the US who have always worked remotely, and so we asked our managers there to share their best practices with our teams in India and Poland, for whom it’s all new.”

LinkedIn Learning plays a big role in integrating the different learning resources that TomTom can bring to bear—and making them accessible remotely. When Jacqueline’s Talent Consultant colleagues developed webinars for managers using Microsoft Teams and embedding resilience, the L&D team developed aligned learning paths on LinkedIn Learning for those unable to attend—or who wanted to explore further. When it comes to tapping internal knowledge, LinkedIn Learning has long been the platform for sharing custom content created by TomTom’s senior learning Fellows. Now the focus is on empowering hidden experts to share insight in a similar way. “We’re reaching out to the quieter people who act as expert technical resources for their teams, but whose expertise could be shared far more widely,” says Jacqueline.

Making the most of senior-level support

The sudden pivots the business has executed over recent months have highlighted the range of immediate challenges to which learning can be applied. And this has brought new levels of attention at a senior level. “We’ve always had support, but the attention levels have definitely gone up,” says Jacqueline. “We’re getting internal resources to help produce landing pages and learner testimonials—and there’s a real appetite at senior level to push learning forward.”

Building a responsive learning strategy

The last few months will leave a definite legacy when it comes to how future learning plays out. A greater emphasis on online learning during the crisis has highlighted the benefits of scalability and flexibility that it brings—and Jacqueline and her colleagues are determined to translate this into a learning strategy that’s more responsive to the business’s changing needs.

“We’re now looking at doing things virtually and globally first, asking the question, ‘Is there any reason why this training needs to be done face-to-face?’” says Jacqeline. “The ability to deliver the same experience for employees in India and Taiwan as we do for those in Amsterdam has been really significant during the crisis, and it’s something we’re going to focus on going forward.”

And as company communication goes virtual, it creates more opportunities to get closer to learner needs. “We’re talking to our internal customers more about what they want to learn and what the best format will be,” says Jacqueline. “We’ve been joining our software development teams’ virtual stand-ups every week, and using Glint surveys to identify focus areas like collaboration tools. We’re able to go back to them with the right, relevant solution rather than just the programmes we think they want.”

Interested in how TomTom supported their culture of learning last year?

Check out this quick video to give you a snapshot of what TomTom employees learned in 2019 and how they are building a strong culture of learning and nurturing curiosity across the entire organisation.

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