Getting Evidence-Based: How Vodafone’s Global Learning Programme Used 6 Great Principles

by | Jun 5, 2015 | Articles, Case Studies

Guest contributer John Helmer shares six principles Lumesse identified whilst working with Vodafone, that brought success in an organisation spread around the globe.

A new spirit is abroad in L&D. We see it in the strength of an organisation like Towards Maturity, bringing analytical rigour to highlighting what works in learning innovation. But just as much, at Lumesse, we see it in the clients we work with day to day.

As they rise to a whole host of new challenges – a more globalized, more diverse workforce in a volatile and changing environment; the disruption and enablement of digital technology – we see them increasingly concerned to be more evidence-based in the way they form judgments; less reliant on training ‘rules of thumb’ or unproven theoretical models.

This is why we wanted to tell Vodafone’s story.

The case study is part of a wider programme of research sponsored by Lumesse. We are looking at the issues in growing professional skills within a particular discipline – in this case marketing – across a global organisation. Vodafone’s story, we feel, is a great exemplar of how this can be successfully done. Towards Maturity’s evidence base allows us to put Vodafone’s story in a wider context and show how it exemplifies six effective practice principles identified in Towards Maturity’s research.

The Backstory

In 2012, Vodafone carried out an organisational review to ensure the business was fit for the future and in a stronger position to compete. This review highlighted that the global marketing function must play a more significant part in driving value, winning new customers and reducing churn.

1. Start with the End in Mind

As part of an organisational review designed to ensure that its business was equipped for the future, Vodafone pinpointed three clear objectives for its global marketing function. Any change initiatives we helped Vodafone introduce needed to demonstrably:

  • Drive value
  • Win new customers
  • Reduce churn

2. Create a Framework

Successful frameworks are built on unified foundations. By carefully developing Vodafone’s “Way of Marketing” framework during the early days, subsequent outputs could be spun out quickly without distorting the message or objective. All outputs were part of a unified family of resources housed within the Vodafone Marketing Academy.

3. Harness the Power of the Blend

Understanding the business challenges faced by your audience, and designing around this, is key to success. In Vodafone’s case, the e-learning courses within the programme were an effective way to present theory and case studies, while the workshops and webinars served to unify the community and offer a truly holistic learning environment.

4. Embed Learning in the Workflow

New processes were put in place to enable all learners to access content relevant to their function and to their experience. New processes, tools and templates were put into place to achieve consistency across the teams and functions. The workshops were action-focused with real campaigns being addressed and participants identifying fast fixes for areas they had been working on.

5. Share, Collaborate, Communicate

Vodafone engaged with local markets to assess their individual needs and the focus was not just on the approach and content. For instance, some parts of the organisation felt that distance learning and resources were not enough. They wanted to physically work out issues together. This led to the creation of the “Way of Marketing” Workshop.

6. Demonstrate Value Globally

Communications and calls to action were central to the success of Vodafone’s “Way of Marketing” initiative. Senior stakeholders were equipped with key motivating messages and further calls to action that unified messaging and made demonstrating value easy. In addition, local launch packs containing branded Vodafone “Way of Marketing” merchandise worked to promote programme goals to all staff.

We’ve partnered with the benchmarking group, Towards Maturity, in asking L&D professionals to share insights with us about their experiences of skills programmes in global businesses. Our new insights paper has been created especially for L&D professionals that want to nail the challenges of building skills in geographically dispersed teams. This paper uses the intelligence gathered to power new insights – and to suggest a game plan.

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