Henkel APAC: Building Digital HR Capabilities with an In-House HR Learning Academy

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More than 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025 (Future of Jobs Report 2020, WEF). And employees are eager to do so. According to LinkedIn Workplace Learning report, 94% of employees would stay longer with their employer if there was an investment in their learning and development.

In a year full of unprecedented challenges, Henkel APAC has dedicated considerable resources to investing in their greatest and most reliable asset – their people. This comes as part of Henkel’s global digital upskilling initiative, focused on fostering in-house talent.

Together with the Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR), Henkel established their first HR Learning Academy dedicated to developing digital skills for their top HR talent. The ultimate goal of the academy is to empower HR to increase operational efficiency and maximize the impact of HR on business outcomes.

What makes this academy unique? The focus on training for skill and competency-building, through a highly practical curriculum and on-the-job practice.

Innovation is HR-Driven

Henkel’s 140 years of innovation, continuous improvement, and delivering excellence is only possible with a strong focus on employee development. In fact, “developing people with passion” is one of Henkel’s core leadership commitments.

But who’s at the center of developing people if not HR? According to a KPMG report, HR is essential in shaping the workforce of the future and preparing them for increased digitalization, automation, and AI. Yet 80% of HR professionals are not equipped to do so.

With digital transformation in its highest gear, Henkel has taken their commitments seriously, and decided to develop the digital capabilities of their HR teams:

At Henkel, we dare to make an impact. Digital transformation is a key strategic focus for Henkel which involves not just the technical aspect but, more so, a cultural transformation. HR enables the business to achieve this and it is imperative that our HR team have the competencies to support it. I am very pleased to partner on this journey with AIHR.
Jackie Ngai, HR Head Asia Pacific

Building Digital Competencies in HR

To establish the HR DIGI+ Academy, Henkel APAC partnered with the Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR): a reputable HR training provider that can support Henkel’s HR talent at every stage of their upskilling process. 

The personal and professional development of our employees is very important at Henkel, which is why I am pleased to see the start of the HR Learning Academy. AIHR’s courses are enabling our employees to succeed in an increasingly digital world.
Jackie Ngai, HR Head Asia Pacific

AIHR’s comprehensive approach to competency-building binds well with Henkel’s focus on practicing on the job – a key element in Henkel’s HR Academy.

AIHR’s courses are structured around the three key components of learning: knowledge, skill, and experience.

Competence Building Model

  • Learners gain KNOWLEDGE by watching engaging instructional videos, tutorials, and going through the recommended reading material.
  • They acquire SKILL by completing assignments, creating projects, and participating in interactive role plays.
  • And they gain EXPERIENCE by repeatedly applying their newly acquired skills to solving real life business problems.

The EXPERIENCE level is where learners gain mastery of their skills. Yet this aspect of learning is often overlooked. This is why Henkel’s commitment to fostering a true culture of learning is so inspiring. Henkel opted for a practical and immersive approach to learning by creating a collaborative environment, where participants can practice their skills on real business projects. This makes Henkel’s HR Academy unique in the world of corporate learning.

Corporate Learning Reimagined

Imagine a learning program that promises to deliver business impact, innovation, and real behavior change. That’s what Henkel’s HR Academy stands for.

Within Henkel’s HR Academy, AIHR has designed a two-year program for their top HR talent. The aim of the program is to create real change agents, who will drive innovation from within the company.

Henkel's HR Academy 2-Year Program from AIHR

In the first year of the program, the participants follow the curriculum of AIHR’s Digital HR Certificate Program. This includes four courses designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills needed for digital leadership.

In the second year, the participants will select three courses from AIHR’s extensive catalogue, in preparation for their graduation project, where participants will apply their knowledge and skill to drive innovation in their department. The projects will be judged by a panel of experts and the top rated ones will be implemented.

Training for Success and Impact

Every year, companies around the world invest 370 billion USD in employee training. Still, many training programs fail. So what makes Henkel’s HR Academy unique?

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Three aspects:

  1. It focuses on skills that are vital for the future of HR and the organization
    Henkel’s HR Academy focuses on training key digital skills that prepare the participants for an increasingly digital future.
  1. Learning is connected to daily work activities & to broader company objectives
    The participants can apply their newly acquired skills and knowledge to their daily work activities, and help further the company’s mission of innovation.
  1. Success is recognized and rewarded
    The participants’ completion of their training program hinges on the quality of their projects. And the most impressive projects will be recognized and implemented.

In short, the participants are not just given the opportunity to learn, but also to apply their new skills to make lasting impact on Henkel’s business outcomes.

Investing in Upskilling In-House Talent

Driving innovation and creating lasting change starts with training digital leaders and creating a culture of learning in the organization. Henkel’s new HR Academy drives home the point that the most successful organizations are the ones where business growth is driven by employee growth. And this is even more important when it comes to HR.

HR has a pivotal role in preparing the business and the workforce for the challenges of the future, and making sure they are well equipped for this role is the key to business success.

Because the simple truth is that, at this point, if you don’t upskill HR, you effectively underskill your workforce.

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