From Gradual Integration to Overnight Adoption


How do you create a shared learning culture when two organizations merge? As the Director of Talent Development at Hitachi Vantara, Karin Levitt was tasked with this very challenge.

Karin had come from the smaller Hitachi Consulting Corporation, which already embraced e-learning and blended learning as a key component of their employee development programs. The larger organization in the merger, Hitachi Vantara, had a more traditional learning culture which focused heavily on external training events for leadership and management training. Karin and her talent development team had to determine how they could create a blended learning culture to support a large organization and would be valued by motivated learners who were seeking opportunities to progress in their careers.

Their initial strategy was a slow integration; to continue to support external training while also encouraging internally provided blended programs and on-demand learning through an online platform. The emergence of COVID-19 changed everything. This global pandemic not only eliminated in-person training for the foreseeable future, leaving only on-demand and live virtual training options, but it also generated new training and learning needs overnight. In a matter of days, “Business Continuity” jumped to the top of everyone’s radar and courses on working remotely, leading remotely, work-life balance, stress management, and even understanding the COVID-19 virus were now in high demand. What was to be a gradual progression, quickly became an imminent need.

“We need people to think about learning differently—the world and our workplaces have changed.”

Karin Levitt

Director of Talent Development,
Hitachi Vantara.

The Talent Development team at Hitachi Vantara quickly responded to this new reality by refocusing its internal marketing to emphasize the content most relevant to the changing workplaces and business landscape. With no in-person classroom opportunities available, they were able to garner attention for the benefits of the eLearning delivery method. What may have been met with resistance a few months earlier was now met with open arms.

While they are still in the early stages of this rollout, there is energy and interest, even from groups and individuals from whom they anticipated resistance. Just as the world quickly adapted to Zoom and Webex meetings, there is a clear and compelling reason to adopt e-learning platforms. This challenging time provides a compelling case for on-demand, blended, and virtual instructor-led training. And while they anticipate returning to some in-person training once it is safe to do so, there is a new level of buy-in to alternatives. This makes it easier to set future, more strategic plans to establish which learning should be in-person and which should be online in place.