Volvo Cars set out a growth strategy that would see sales volumes almost double over a five-year period. The forecast growth was predicted to be fastest in the so-called BRIC markets; Brazil, Russia, India and China.
The crucial challenge for Volvo Cars’ global competence department was to significantly increase its reach and train more people but with only a marginal increase in budget. The other business challenges that faced the training team included:-
- Developing new showroom sales consultants (forecast to increase by 25%)
- Supporting the roll-out of a new brand strategy
- Developing a global network of learning and development academies
- Improving the quality of technical training offered
The challenge called for an innovative training strategy, so LEO Learning was commissioned to assess the current global training provision and work with training managers from key markets to devise a new 21st training strategy.
As well as the intake of new Sales Consultants, Volvo Cars set a number of other key development areas including:
- Optimise revenues from all commercial activities – sales and after sales
- Increase staff knowledge of new and complex technologies
- Improve certification of existing employees
- Provide better customer handling skills training
- Focus on all revenue streams (accessories, parts, service, etc)
- Enable Dealer Principals to improve the profitability of their businesses
- Establish Volvo Cars as the automotive industry’s employer of choice
- Maximise the enjoyment that customers derive from their vehicles
LEO, using its global experience and HealthCheck consultancy process engaged with Volvo Cars to build a consensus around the learning strategy and the channels required to address its business challenges.
The key to this project and the HealthCheck method, in general, is that LEO Learning acts as a facilitator to draw out the answers from the in-house training expertise within the context of the learning culture that exists. LEO Learning adds learning design and technical expertise where required in order to stimulate innovation but at the same time to identify best practice that already exists within the organisation.
Here’s how we applied our four phase HealthCheck process to address Volvo Cars’ business challenges:
The training strategy that evolved from the facilitated process secured the support of the executive board and now forms part of a company-wide transformation plan. The strategy was based on a number of guiding principles. There were three key ones:-
- A balance must be struck between global standards and policies and the ability for markets to tailor content to their particular needs.
- Content should be designed and developed in the area of the business where the most relevant knowledge and skills can be found.
- The focus of the competency model should be on enabling improved business performance.
With the principles established, the global training team pulled together an action plan that was composed of eight workstreams. This included the introduction of learning technologies that would enable the organisation to blend both formal and informal learning. The solution allowed Volvo Cars to keep the best of the tools it already had in places, such as the informal learning portals in Spain and the UK, but now share them with the rest of the world.
As the network of Global Training Managers was involved with the creation of the next steps, part of the necessary change management was, in effect, already in place.
The HealthCheck process has been well received by Volvo Cars with Fredric Lundkvist, Director – Competence Business Development commenting, “I can’t tell you how much LEO Learning has helped us. LEO Learning’s method and work have far exceeded our expectations. The strategy and plan gained universal approval here right up to board level and are now part of the major restructuring programme going across the rest of the business.”