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Reinventing learning and development at Deutsche Bank

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How did a multi-national organisation with over 90,000 employees rehaul its learning and development strategy? HRD Connect looks at the transformational journey Deutsche Bank went on to develop its workforce.

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Many organisations strive to go through a transformational journey and guarantee global success. To overcome these challenges, businesses must undertake numerous changes over many years. This can heavily impact culturetalent, and strategic focus.

Through these monumental changes, HR plays a key role in maintaining and aligning a consistent experience for their workforce in times of uncertainty. This week, we look at Deutche Bank’s HR Innovation journey. The organisation utilised advanced analytics to drive business results.

Deutsche Bank is a multi-national organisation with over 90,000 employees. Employee development is crucial to its continued success. learning and development was a key asset in ensuring this agenda was managed well.

Before 2016, Deutsche Bank primarily prioritised the development of employees in bigger countries. Throughout the organisation, there were great opportunities for learning. However, it was difficult to sustain consistency and quality across 70 countries.

Standardising learning and development with great quality products that addressed key areas of skill for employees was essential to strengthen the future of the bank.

Therefore, in 2016, efforts were made to advance e-learning systems to improve the overall quality of learning. Unfortunately, after months of working through the selection process, this option was rejected due to a complex IT infrastructure.

Feeling demotivated, Deutsche Bank went back to the drawing board. The organisation examined what resources were already available. They constructed a strategy where all learning tools could be made easily accessible to everyone. This is where the ‘Digital Curriculum’ began.

“Our extensive research, including workshops, focus groups, external benchmarking and surveys revealed what our colleagues wanted from learning, helping us understand the key issues and how we could deliver a solution,” said Chris Dade, Communications Specialist, Deutsche Bank.

The bank’s research highlighted key areas to address: 

  • Only 15% of employees were accessing personal development skills learning which was heavily classroom-focused with a high average global cost per employee.
  • Legacy libraries of learning content were only accessible to a maximum of 5,000 individuals and were not providing value for money.
  • Colleagues in smaller locations had minimal access to learning.
  • Most learning opportunities were not available on mobile devices.
  • There were very few language options available.

The agreed ‘plan B’ solution was a radical enhancement to the existing learning management system.

“We leveraged and modified the technology available to us, diversified the learning content and enhanced the look and feel of the platform to improve the user experience,” continued Chris.

“This enabled us to provide effective learning to all employees whilst delivering on a wider business commitment to digitalisation.”

Previously, learning was mostly available in classrooms and used by only 15% of employees, with some online libraries available to just 6%.

To ensure that learning was accessible to the whole organisation, the existing learning management system was overhauled and redesigned, with an engaging front-end to make the user experience more intuitive.

100 learning paths were categorised into 40 topic areas – guiding employees to access learning resources through multiple languages. These learning solutions were accessible through articles, podcasts, videos, and virtual classrooms.

The advancements in Deutsche Bank’s learning resources was aimed to support a learner at their time of need. It helped encourage users to dip in and out as necessary, helping them apply their newly acquired knowledge.

The bank created a multi-channel engagement campaign, ‘What will you learn today?’, which emphasised the message that learning something of value doesn’t mean spending every day in the classroom.

“The learning landscape at Deutsche Bank has taken a significant step in the bank’s ambition of moving towards greater digitalisation,” said Chris.

“The HR learning team has enhanced its reputation with senior leaders and employees alike. Positive feedback continues to be received and new relationships are being created.”

Additionally, the new learning program was delivered with a smaller cost, resulting in the bank saving 45% of its budget.

“The team has also capitalised on this success by continuing to diversify the core all-employee offering,” continued Chris.

“The work carried out on learning and development at Deutsche Bank has been the first step in providing personalised learning at the moment of need.”

Redesigning Deutsche Bank’s learning management system has been a key priority to enrich the learning experience of their employees and managers.

Beyond making the learning platform more engaging and user-centric, the HR Learning team created a vision to change employees’ mindset around corporate learning – that it doesn’t necessarily just happen in a classroom over a few hours.


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