Why Nedbank is Focused on Changing How its 30k Employees Approach Learning

February 25, 2019

See Nedbank's experience with LinkedIn Learning.

With technology disrupting the banking world and new competitors popping up every day, the financial industry is in the midst of a metamorphosis. In 2017, Nedbank, South Africa’s fourth-largest bank with 30,000 employees, felt that change coming.

Their goal: embrace it and use it as an opportunity to rethink their business – and further improve how they serve their customers.

“We were facing pressure not just from FinTechs, but from other companies that were developing their own banks,” said Manashka Mathura, L&D Digital Learning Manager for Nedbank’s Group Technology (GT) division. “So we looked at ourselves and we began to ask, are we meeting our customers’ needs, are we meeting them quickly, are we optimizing and are we efficient?”

Nedbank knew that in order to do those things, it needed to transform its culture from a top-down mindset to one that is agile and bottom-up. And that would require an agile learning platform that would promote self-driven and continuous learning.

At the time, Nedbank had primarily focused on instructor-led training, but “found it wasn’t working well to meet the demands of our business,” Mathura said. They needed something that could scale learning across Nedbank and provide on-demand, individualized training.

So, Mathura and her counterparts from Retail Business Banking (RBB), Jacqui Barnes and Merle Van Rijssen, began looking for a learning solution that would not only support a more agile work style, but also one in which  employees would see value. After investigating many platforms, they chose LinkedIn Learning.

Among the reasons for the selection: “LinkedIn was considered for our retail business because it is a content library and not a preferred Learning Management System,” said Barnes. “LinkedIn was the preferred choice at the time because other content libraries did not have the extent of learning offerings on some of the latest trending bank-related needs, such as Design Thinking, Python Coding, Cyber Security and Data Science.”

van Rijssen also supported the decision from an ease-of-adoption viewpoint, noting, “LinkedIn allows the learner to activate remotely and with ease, allowing for immediate learner uptake and adoption.”

“We selected LinkedIn Learning because of the vast spectrum of courses, from tech to leadership,” Mathura added. “The breadth and depth of material would provide a great beginning to our new learning program and aligned well with the transformation journey the bank is on.”

NedBank’s Experience with LinkedIn Learning: From 3,000 Licenses to 30,000

In autumn of 2017, the Retail Relationship Banking and Group Technology teams were assigned 3,000 LinkedIn Learning licenses. In both divisions, licenses were primarily assigned by management. Although a number were assigned ad hoc, so both groups could test, pilot and use the information to drive Nedbank forward as a thought leader in each respective area of expertise.

Both divisions saw incredible interest and adoption of LinkedIn Learning. Barnes described the uptake as a “learning ground swell.” As employees got to know about it, other clusters started showing interest too.

From October 2017 to September 2018, 95 percent of those 3,000 licenses were activated. And employees have watched tens of thousands of LinkedIn Learning videos in that time.

In the wake of those successes, Nedbank expanded its LinkedIn Learning investment to 30,000 licenses in 2019, covering nearly the entire workforce. The progressive rollout to all employees is now handled based on cost, need and priority for each business area within Nedbank.

Factors that drove license uptake in Nedbank:

  1. The change within NedBank. Thirty-four new roles were created as part of the organization’s transformation to a more flexible, agile business – meaning a massive reskilling of thousands of employees to take on these roles.
  2. Nedbank’s need for efficiency. Existing roles within Nedbank needed to make use of some of the latest digital tools, methodologies and platforms in order to enhance business productivity and efficiency.
  3. Nedbank’s need to reduce cost-to-income ratio in its retail space. External training vendors were replaced with LinkedIn Learning solutions at a cost reduction and to achieve the same – if not better/quicker - learning outcome.
  4. Nedbank’s collaborative approach. Learning was not forced onto learners in isolation, it was delivered as part of a blended learning journey in places where it was most successful.
  5. Awareness sessions. Retail Banking conducted several awareness sessions using a “top down” approach in order to launch the LinkedIn Learning concept before employees led their own learning.

To foster reskilling, Nedbank used a combination of instructor-led, employee-led and curated LinkedIn Learning courses. The goal was for their learning offerings to mimic the new mindset they wanted to instill – an agile one, where the employee leads the charge, with the company facilitating.

LinkedIn Learning was also integrated into existing Learning and Development processes to ensure sustainability and drive awareness. Events and meetings were held at which the magnitude of the LinkedIn learning platform was showcased, driving awareness from the bottom-up.

“Training had to be available anywhere, any time, and it had to be relevant,” Mathura said. “We had to allow for quick innovation. LinkedIn Learning became part of the bigger plan to go from a training mindset to a learning mindset and ultimately to a learning organization.”

So, yes, engagement of LinkedIn Learning was important. But, really, Nedbank wanted to see if this new approach to learning – a mixture of online and in-person – would help employees feel more prepared for their new roles.

It did.

“With LinkedIn Learning, people were equipped and supported to make their shift successful,” Mathura said. “And it was much more hands-on, engaging and supportive.”

How LinkedIn Learning is Driving Growth and Engagement

What does this all mean to employees? For two real-life examples, look no further than Nedbank employees George Nel and Nicholas Namacha.

The two men, both of whom work in IT, have utilized LinkedIn Learning continuously since the company rolled it out. Nel wakes up early each day for his self-scheduled two hours of learning, while Namacha utilizes the mobile app to take courses while on his commute to and from work, for also about two hours a day.

“The main reason I take all these courses is not to say to my supervisor ‘See what I’ve done’ and get a promotion,” Namacha said. “For me, it is part of my five-year plan. Over the next five years, what do I need to learn, to apply to my own life, to prepare me in the event the doors open? I’m not using LinkedIn Learning for tomorrow or even a year from now. I am using it for my future.”

Along with improving himself, Nel has also begun to use it to build inclusiveness and cross-functional relationships within his 26-member team. He has set up learning paths so team members can enhance their skills in certain areas, for example, Java and Python. This year, he and some other managers will launch a “Guild,” a group that will voluntarily come together regularly to watch courses together.

“It will be a group coming together for the love of the craft,” Nel said. “We will study together and push each other. We had an initial meeting with 60 of us to introduce it, and the response was really good. Offering these courses gives us a place to start. We can leverage each other. We can build relationships.”

In addition to creating relationships and improving skills, both Nel and Namacha talked about taking advantage of LinkedIn Learning for their personal growth. In separate interviews, both spoke of their career goal to rise to the C-suite – and they see LinkedIn Learning as a way to get there.

That’s the message Nedbank wants to send its employees: Nedbank isn’t a place where you stagnate. Instead, it’s a place where you can grow your career.

“We didn’t just buy LinkedIn Learning to hit company goals,” Mathura said. “We did it so our employees can reach their individual goals, too. If both happen, we’ll be set up for long-term success.”

Post updated on April 9, 2019.