Bayer is a German pharmaceutical and life sciences company and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
Bayer's Success Metrics:
In learning program graduation rate YOY
Fewer manual notifications and emails by automating learning programs
In learner engagement YOY
The Challenge: L&D No Shows and Manual Communications
According to LinkedIn Learning’s recent Workplace Learning Report, “providing learning opportunities” is the number one way organizations are working to improve employee retention. But designing, launching, and running an effective learning program that employees are actually excited about? That remains a challenge for many organizations.
Bayer was no exception. They run two critical L&D programs for employees – New Leader Onboarding and Developing a Leadership Mindset. Every month new cohorts would launch into these programs, running over the course of almost a year. Keeping up with the communications alone was a major challenge: “We would spend an enormous amount of time sending manual communications … We had a long color-coded spreadsheet of notifications linked to pre-curated messages and someone would have to grab all the email addresses and draft the email every time a message needed to be sent. It was a very daunting and overwhelming task,” shares Martha Carey, learning experience expert at Bayer.
The existing process wasn’t only painful for Martha’s team – it was also poorly designed for participants. Case in point: An employee might sign up for a training in January, but by the time the session happens in June they might not show up. “There are a million different reasons,” Martha explains, “maybe they would have forgotten that they registered, they hadn’t saved the invitation to their calendar, or they couldn’t find the course link.” Sporadic and ineffective communication led to missed opportunities for employees (both those registered for sessions and those on the waitlist) and a less-than-ideal situation for trainers with half-empty classes.
The team needed a solution that could not only drive learner engagement, but also lighten the communications load felt by the learning team.
The Solution: A Seamless, Personalized Learning Experience
Martha was in the right place, at the right time when she was invited to pilot Enboarder to help streamline onboarding at Bayer: “And as I was doing that, along with my manager, we got the wild idea to use it for our learning and training.” They took the opportunity to run a pilot for L&D and help communicate with Bayer’s learners more easily.
Once the team had access to Enboarder, they started translating the months-long programs and detailed spreadsheets into automated workflows that organize communication to employees into bite-sized chunks. For example, thirty days before the sessions begin, registration closes and the workflow automatically gives learners the option to opt out of the program before it starts, which gives Martha and her team time to fill in empty seats before the first session.
These nudges are making a big difference when it comes to setting learners up for success: “We tell learners to come ready to participate, come with your camera on, be prepared to engage and ask a question or engage in the conversation within the first five to 10 minutes.”
The process of putting together the workflows was “so simple,” and also so personal and human. “The team is amazing to work with. I have never had a question go unanswered. I can't say enough just how simple the whole entire process is. I've always felt very supported,” says Martha. Connecting with our network of customers who have built successful L&D programs helped her leverage knowledge and experience from people who have done it before: “That was helpful to learn what really worked,” says Martha. “We shared back and forth to get different ideas, just from seeing how other people do things. It was very interesting for me to see how they put the different parts and pieces of the puzzle together.”
💬 Enboarder allows Bayer to communicate with employees in a “softer” way: “I like that we can send an SMS that feels different, because it’s quick, and we can add images without bogging everything down. It’s different, and that’s probably what makes people want to engage with it more,” says Martha.
Now the team truly owns their programs and can make changes and expansions on the go. “The thing that’s been key for both programs is the ability to use forms to get feedback in real-time,” shares Martha. Session facilitators can log into Enboarder, access the feedback, and adjust their program on the fly, rather than waiting for the next session to make improvements.
The Results: Increased Engagement and Graduation Rates
Working with Enboarder has become Martha’s secret weapon when it comes to driving L&D success: “Enboarder has made my job as far as communications for my programs incredibly simple. Engagement is up, people are showing up for class, and my facilitators say over and over again that people are more prepared in their sessions."
💬 It made a huge difference in the team’s workload. Before Enboarder, Martha explains that running the learning programs required 381 manual activities per cohort (and that's 20 cohorts a year!), where somebody had to physically create an email or notification. “Now we build our lists, make sure the workflow is up to date, upload it, make sure everything launches, and just let it go,” Martha says. “It has made my job incredibly simple.”
Because more employees are participating in these L&D programs, there’s been a 27% increase in learner program graduation rates. In 2021, only 350 graduated out of 500 seats. This year that number jumped to 484!
And the experience for facilitators has vastly improved as well: “They talk about it consistently that the communications have changed the way that the programs run. It’s definitely made an improvement in engagement and participation.” Martha saw a jump in the engagement of 14% from 2022 to 2023: “We’re on target to do that again this year. We see an increase in engagement year over year with the use of the platform.”
Now Martha and her team have the data they need to show results day to day and in the longer term. For example, if an employee participates in a program, how long after did they get promoted? How long did they stay with the company? “All of the data we get from Enboarder plays a factor and helps tell the story,” says Martha.
The work Martha and her team are doing with Enboarder is setting the standard for the rest of the business when it comes to ease of use and the focus on human connection. “When I talk to people about Enboarder, they’re shocked because for so many other tools you have to put a request in to make a change,” whereas now the team can make those changes themselves.
Martha and the team aren’t looking back: “If we had to give something up, it would never be Enboarder!"