Hyundai digital transformation of language learning

The Hyundai Motor Company is a South Korean automotive manufacturer headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. The company, founded in 1967, comprises Hyundai, Kia Motors (32.8% owned subsidiary) and Genesis Motors (100% owned).

Hyundai operates the world’s largest integrated automobile manufacturing facility in Ulsan, South Korea, which has an annual production capacity of 1.6 million units. The company employs more than 75,000 people worldwide. Hyundai vehicles are sold in 193 countries through some 5,000 dealerships and showrooms. Hyundai first disembarked in Spain in 1992 as ‘Hyundai Distribución de Automóviles’, becoming ‘Hyundai Motor Spain’ in 2009.

English language competency: a strategic priority

English language competency is considered a corporate priority for Hyundai Motor Spain. As a Korean-based multinational organization with operations throughout the world, English is the company’s official corporate language. With interactions ranging from meetings with Korean colleagues to internal emails, English is the natural communication language. It is therefore key for all employees to possess a certain level of fluency in English.

The traditional face-to-face training program that had been in place for many years had proved to be unsatisfactory with low levels of engagement and demotivated employees. After a thorough internal review, Hyundai’s Human Resources team decided that a new approach was needed. Learnlight was selected and charged with designing a new language training program with the following objectives:

  1. Increase learner engagement
  2. Improve English language competency
  3. Provide a more flexible training program
  4. Deliver an innovative learning approach
  5. Demonstrate measurable return on investment

A new approach to language learning

A corporate language training program must meet the strategic needs of the organization as well as the individual needs of each employee. It is not uncommon for companies to waste money needlessly on new learning initiatives without firmly establishing learning objectives and measurable outcomes.

This was the challenge facing Hyundai when they decided to transform their training programs. The previous training program was exclusively face-to-face, “but people weren’t learning”, commented Sonia Jadraque, HR Manager of Hyundai Motor Spain. The face-to-face sessions followed a traditional learning methodology. Hyundai employees felt demotivated as they were not improving their language skills nor achieving the desired learning outcomes.

Hyundai is renowned for its commitment to innovation and its state-of-the-art automotive technology. It equally looks to its training programs, regardless of discipline, to be equally as innovative, showcasing the latest trends and thinking in corporate learning. The selection of Learnlight as its new language learning partner allowed Hyundai to digitally transform its language learning offering and deploy a blended virtual training program. Hyundai’s HR team recognized that a change of this magnitude would naturally meet with some resistance and looked to Learnlight to help them navigate through these choppy transformation waters

Challenges

The main challenges facing Learnlight at the start of this project can be summarized as follows:

  • Designing and deploying a new blended virtual language program
  • Improving learner engagement
  • Supporting the HR Department at Hyundai Motor Spain to successfully launch and migrate Hyundai learners from face-to-face to virtual programs
  • Demonstrating a tangible return on investment

Solutions

Hyundai Motor Spain and Learnlight worked together to design a pilot program for a small target group of employees.

This allowed the joint Hyundai-Learnlight team to review the success and uptake of the Learnlight learning platform, the alignment of learning content to Hyundai’s needs and the individual feedback of the pilot group members. The successful results of the pilot program saw the rollout of blended virtual training programs to employees across Hyundai Motor Spain.

The new Hyundai blended language program was also designed so that those employees who wished to continue with face-to-face training would benefit from Learnlight’s innovative learning platform and flipped classroom methodology.

The communication launch and engagement strategy formed a key part of the successful deployment of this new program. Learnlight and Hyundai worked together to manage this shift in training approaches. The two teams worked closely on the communication plan that accompanied the launch of the new Learnlight service.

Key elements of the plan included:

  • Initial virtual training program presentation
  • Linguistic competency test for all learners
  • Webinar and Q&A series to showcase the main features of the program
  • Informative videos of the main benefits of the new service

Hyundai’s learning policy ensures all employees can develop their English language skills. Key to the success of this program was the customization of each program to the specific functional and linguistic needs of each employee and the role that they undertake in the organization. Programs covered such diverse topics as presentation language to more role-specific programs for Finance and Marketing employees.

Results

The impact of the deployment of the new virtual blended training program to Hyundai Motor Spain was significant.

Objections to the move from face-to-face to virtual delivery were quickly overcome as employees saw the huge flexibility and benefits of this innovative new approach.

Equally, where the previous face-to-face programs had proven unsuccessful with demotivated learners, the new Learnlight programs saw a significant increase in learner engagement as the combination of the Learnlight platform and best-in-class virtual trainers saw record levels of motivation and learning progress.

The Learnlight platform used by Hyundai Motor Spain employees is, according to Sonia Jadraque, “very engaging”. “Those [employees] who are determined and really want to learn have at their disposal a tool with great resources that can adapt very well to their needs. Some employees have even increased their training hours considerably. We have also noticed great progress in oral communication and comprehension thanks to the virtual sessions.”

Thanks to her experience of managing this change process, Ms. Jadraque has learned that, when it comes to language training programs, the first step is to identify and align organizational and learner needs.

“There must be internal communication to clarify the advantages or expected outcomes of the training program. It is also necessary to implement it properly and follow up on performance, and to set clear but flexible objectives. And, of course, to find the right provider. In our case, in the time we’ve been working with Learnlight, both their product quality standards and their services have been very good.”

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