Salesforce case study

Improving cross-cultural communication

Salesforce is the world’s #1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform. More than 150,000 companies use Salesforce CRM to grow their businesses by strengthening customer relationships.

Background

The 3,000+ person Salesforce India team plays a crucial role in developing the company’s technology and products, as well as assisting in the success of Salesforce customers and their growing developer community of more than 1 million Trailblazers. 

An internal Salesforce survey on The Future of Workforce Development, with 750 hiring managers, showed that 68% of them rated interpersonal communication as one of the most important skill sets for employees. 

In response, Salesforce’s Learning & Development team introduced CommPetent, a communication excellence program designed to enhance communication competence within the Technology, Marketing & Product group (TMP) to enable effective collaboration across geographies.  

Challenge

The Salesforce L&D team had clear criteria for a progressive language learning program that would form part of the CommPetent program for selected employees.  

  • Remote – the training program should be entirely online accessible. 
  • Personal – each participant should be supported by an expert personal communication coach.  
  • Focused – individualized programs should focus on enhancing key communication attributes pertinent to individual roles.  
  • Measurable – the program should establish clear goals and KPIs for every learner. 

Solution

Learnship met the challenge with a bespoke training solution to meet the specific needs of each participant, comprising three key elements. 

Learnship Baseline

Every learner took a Learnship Baseline assessment, a 52-minute online business English test to gauge their current proficiency in grammar, listening, reading, and speaking skills.

The assessment mapped each learner’s current ability against the Common European Framework (CEF) language levels in a detailed report highlighting key communications challenges to both learners and their coaches, enabling focused training intervention plans.

Learnship Coach

An orientation and onboarding session, including reviewing individual program goals, introduced each learner to their personal online coach.  

Each learner was assigned a series of hour-long sessions with the same coach, conducted through Learnship’s proprietary Virtual Classroom, a purpose-built online language training environment. 

Learnship coaches are both language experts and experienced business professionals with firsthand experience working in intercultural business environments. With a thorough understanding of international business challenges, they could advise on cross-cultural communication and business language skills. 

The one-to-one sessions began with a detailed learning needs analysis allowing coaches to understand the critical skills each learner wishes to enhance through the program.  

Every session concluded with a detailed feedback report for the learner, with a summary of progress made, skills learned, and tips on how to continue improving during their self-study on Learnship’s Solo online platform.  

Learners were required to complete specified assignments on the Solo platform ahead of every coaching session, allowing them to accelerate development by practicing and applying the skills they acquired through self-study in their one-to-one sessions. 

Learnship Solo

Every learner had unlimited access to Learnship Solo, a sophisticated online language learning platform built to enable self-study at their own pace, accessible anytime, anywhere, on any device. 

Solo learning materials and training exercises are available at 11 different levels, aligned with the CEF, allowing learners to progress from beginner to expert with a recommended study plan based on their Baseline assessment proficiency level.  

Every learner had direct access to learning activities based on real-world business scenarios like meetings and conversations to help improve their reading, writing, listening, and English-speaking skills.  

Results

With more than 3300 online activities completed and a 5/5 rating for 280 Coach sessions attended, the program was judged an unqualified success by its participants.  

In a follow-up survey, participants estimated saving an average of 3.8 hours per week from increased productivity due to their improved English communication skills.  

For the L&D Team, the primary program goal was for learners to progress one CEF language proficiency level from their original Baseline assessment.  

Learners were required to complete all the recommended activities in their study plan followed by a timed Level Progress Test to assess grammar, reading, and listening skills.  

94% of learners progressed one or more CEF levels during the program. 

The program’s success led Salesforce to develop an executive language coaching program called CommPetent Level 2 for senior-level managers.  

Client Reaction

Learnship has proven to be a trusted advisor and partner in designing the right developmental opportunities.

I really appreciate their consultative approach in understanding the communication challenges at various levels and customizing their design and developmental approach to make it relevant. The guidance from the expert coaches along with the well-researched self-learning content makes the learning experience enriching.

We strongly believe the Learnship program has been the right investment for our employees.”​

Bobby Joy​, Director, Innovation & Learning, Technology and Products  

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