Medline: The advantages of centralization
In general, multinational companies have local policies when it comes to training. It’s quite rare to find a company with centralized guidelines for language training in all of their offices, regardless of their location. And even rarer for them to work with the same training partner. Medline Europe is an exception to the rule.
In the past, Medline Europe – a company that specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of medical and surgical products – left everything involving language training to each of its 14 offices spread over the continent. This meant, among other things, that they worked with local language companies, and the situation was different in each country. “We had different language training programs, with varying degrees of success. <bsays Maria Martinez, Human Resources Manager for Medline Iberia (Spain and Portugal).
The idea of standardizing training first came up in 2013, when the Madrid offices started working with Training Express. “We started working with them along with other language training companies,” remembers Maria. “With the virtual platform, Training Express offered us the possibility of starting courses at different times, and flexibility when it came to making changes regarding classes, teachers and timetables. With a face-to-face system with set class times, it’s much easier for students to miss class and, eventually, drop out,” she assures.
The initial success of the new methodology was the stepping-stone for a business proposal to the Human Resources teams in the other countries. They liked Maria’s idea. After a short trial period, they decided to implement it, and employees have been using it successfully for the last two years.
For Maria, this global training program gives Human Resources a very clear vision of what is happening. “Often, failure is due to the fact that we invest a lot of resources in launching a training plan, but then have no clear idea of how it’s working out. There’s no way of monitoring traditional programs as quickly and effectively as with this type of platform.” Training Express has solved Medline Europe’s global training needs.
The number of employees learning languages with the Training Express methodology changes every year. On average, there are around 200 people, although, at times, there have been up to 300. English is the most popular language, but there are students learning German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and even Flemish.
As far as departments are concerned, the one with most interest in learning languages is, by far, Administration, followed by Sales. Apart from digital training, Medline offers all its employees the possibility of virtual classes: thirty-minute one-to-one sessions with a dedicated language coach.
“For us, the most important return on our investment is for our employees to be able to actually use what they have learned”
To assess the effectiveness of the language training program, Medline – with help from Training Express – carries out at least one or two satisfaction surveys among students per program, to find out their opinion regarding teachers, curriculum, and quality of telephone sessions, as well as to detect concerns and aspects that can be improved. “For us, the most important return on our investment is for our employees to be able to actually use what they have learned,” points out Maria Martinez.
Although the results obtained through virtual training are highly positive, Maria is in favor of combining it with face-to-face sessions, since “students who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the language are requesting it more and more.” She also considers it important to introduce elements and topics directly related to the industry the company works in, as well as those related to employees’ professional needs.