Under the FORVIA umbrella brand, HELLA provides lighting and electronic products and systems for vehicle manufacturers, garages, boat builders, and other suppliers. Founded in Germany over 100 years ago, today HELLA has 36,000 employees across 35 countries.
Ensuring effective cross-cultural communication among international teams
As HELLA’s reputation for providing high-quality, innovative lighting and electronic products has grown, so has the company. With the formation of the new international umbrella brand FORVIA and employees now in 35 countries, HELLA’s internal teams have become more diverse, with participants from multiple countries who speak a variety of languages.
For international teams, communicating effectively and confidently in a common language is paramount to ensuring the business operates efficiently. HELLA was keen to minimize the risk of problems that can arise from weak cross-cultural communication, especially among remote teams.
This includes operational inefficiencies due to misunderstandings, and conflicts or feelings of isolation among team members unable to communicate well with others.
HELLA also wanted to improve its language training offering to reflect modern, flexible approaches to adult language learning. In particular, providing easily accessible options to suit different learners’ preferences and availability, from self-paced to intensive one-to-one training, or a combination of both.
A range of flexible language learning options to suit different needs
Learnship has delivered English language training in a virtual classroom environment to HELLA employees since 2009. In 2021, HELLA engaged Learnship to provide a wider range of flexible blended learning options.
HELLA staff members can now choose between self-paced, blended, and trainer-led language courses for English, the most common language learned. Those who prefer self-paced or blended courses can work alone with Solo, and still attend group and individual live sessions with a professional trainer.
Trainer-led options include Elevate group sessions and one-to-one coaching, and are also available for French, German, Italian, Mandarin, and Spanish.
Learnship set up a dashboard for HELLA that provides progress reports, intuitive graphs, and automated reminders to learners. “Having access to an admin dashboard with so many functionalities is exactly what’s needed to support a learning program at such a big scale,” says Bogdan Dumitrascu, Global Training Coordinator at HELLA.
Significantly improved language skills lead to increased staff productivity and confidence
Learnship courses have enabled 97% of learners to improve their language skills. As a result, HELLA’s international teams can communicate and collaborate more effectively. Stronger language skills enable each learner to save an average of 1.8 hours per week.
Learners report increased confidence and competence to speak and write in their learned language – in meetings, conversations, emails, and reports – and greater understanding of nuance and detail. Nearly half say managers and colleagues have commented on their improved language skills.
The introduction of self-paced and blended learning options has been very well-received, enabling HELLA to provide staff with a more flexible learning experience.
“Learnship has a unique value proposition that suited what we were looking for. The structure of its services made it easier to satisfy our employees’ learning styles. It’s great to have access to self-evaluations, self-paced solutions, focused business skills workshops, and instructor-led solutions, plus the flexibility to rearrange sessions at relatively short notice.”