Breaking Barriers


A Learning Overhaul

How do you transform a traditional learning culture into a modern one amidst strict regional regulations? Deutsche Telekom, the German telecommunications provider employing over 150,000 globally, found itself in a position to do just that. When the previous learning company was dissolved, Deutsche Telekom had an open door to overhaul the current learning strategy.

The prior learning strategy relied on traditional methods: in-person sessions, live classroom courses, and company-wide pushed training. From a usability standpoint, employees had limited access to training, which was further restricted by the difficulty of locating courses digitally. Training was pushed onto employees by their supervisors, and the strategy was distinct from the day-to-day employee experience. To motivate its employees around their own learning journey and provide easy access, Stephan Kasulke, VP HR ExD, took charge to transform its strategy.

As part of the new learning strategy, Stephan and his team implemented an on-demand learning solution that let employees access learning how, when, and where they needed to-whether it was on the commute to work or during their lunchtime. This flexibility removed current access barriers and re-engaged employees.

Additionally, Deutsche Telekom leaned into the content and re-emphasized learning for both professional and personal development. The solution capitalized on expert knowledge around the business and incorporated historical and new training alike, ranging from Data Science to whiskey tasting. In this way, employees were able to contribute to the company culture and drive their own learning development according to their career path and personal interests.

“The most important thing is to embed the tool into the daily behavior and culture of the organization.”

Stephan Kasulke

VP HR ExD, Deutsche Telekom.

Finally, Deutsche Telekom coined their initiative, YouLearn, and built a buzz around it by sharing the importance of self-driven learning to employees’ career development. Communications focused on the accessibility of the platform, which helped to embed it into the flow of daily work.

Yet, overhauling the learning strategy did not come without challenges. Working in a global environment, different regions had strict regulations around learning hours for their employees. This made implementing an always-on approach difficult. A silver lining to the COVID-19 crisis, these regions permitted the rollout of the new learning solution to find increased adoption and employee motivation.

Creating this new digital learning solution saw increased employee satisfaction, adoption, and learning. The overhaul broke down past access and regulatory barriers and made learning an exciting part of the organization’s daily operations.