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Deloitte Accountancy Adapts To Digital Disruption With Advanced Soft And Hard Skills Training

Deloitte is among the four largest accounting organizations and professional services networks in the world. Their Belgium-based business unit is a market leader in multidisciplinary consulting services to family-owned businesses and large companies, with a core specialty in legal advisory and compliance.

The Challenge: Adapting to digitalization with better soft skills

Wide-spread digitalization changes how the accountancy experts within Deloitte's accounting department interact with their clients. To ensure that they keep offering a great client experience within this new digital context, they pro-actively took action.

To adapt, Deloitte Accountancy had to ensure that their accountancy experts had the right interpersonal skills to nurture healthy, lasting relationships with their clients. 

After surveying clients, Deloitte Accountancy identified 9 make-or-break stages in the accountant-client relationship.  The clients expressed clear expectations towards Deloitte and their accountancy experts in each of these stages.

Providing the accountancy experts with the right insights and soft skills to navigate successfully through each of these stages was pivotal. It will help to deliver exceptional customer experience and boost the confidence of accountancy experts when interacting with clients.

To upskill accountants and arm them with the new, but nuanced soft and hard skills needed for delivering an exceptional client experience, the Learning and Development team used Totara Learn to launch an exceptional learning experience called The Client.

“What does my client expect from me? What behavior, skills or knowledge is needed to best respond to those expectations? That’s the ClientFit framework.” - Sylvia Vanraes, Talent Development Senior Manager at Deloitte Accountancy

Based on the 9 key stages of the accountant-client relationship, the (ongoing) ClientFit learning solution uses an innovative blend of learning experiences to give accountants a powerful set of insights and skills allowing them to respond to the different client expectations. It teaches them how to:

  • Gain a potential client’s trust and overcome objections
  • Understand client expectations during different stages
  • Interact and collaborate with the client to meet evolving expectations
  • Build trust, perform on point and allow the client partnership to grow
Deloitte ClientFit Posters- Totara Learn

Communication campaign to create awareness about the program

The Solution:  The Client… A powerful story-driven learning experience program

To make this a successful and blended experience, Deloitte Accountancy and the Workforce Transformation team translated the ClientFit framework into an engaging and impactful story-driven blended learning program, with the support of Totara Learn (the LMS has been used as a technological backbone to tell the story)

There were three key building blocks to the solution:

  • Learning technology
  • Learning experience
  • Learning analytics

To bring these three together, Totara Learn was crucial. It forms the glue between the three elements, hosting the experiential assets and allowing for tracking and learning data analytics.

This dramatic, Netflix-themed episodic story follows the learning journey of two fictional CEO’s, Sam and Sara on their journey towards collaboration with Deloitte. 

the client

homepage, the launch of episode 2

Each episode (classed as an course in Totara) seamlessly blends education and entertainment for a powerful learning experience. Through Sam and Sara’s story, every episode trains accountants to deal with the different stages in the client relationship and expectations throughout the full client lifecycle:

  • Episode 3: Discover & Selection: who’s the customer
  • Episode 4: Onboarding the customer
  • Episode 5: Building trust and performing
    (currently being developed, to go live in Jan 2021)
  • Episode 6: Extending Partnership
    (to be launched in the summer of 2021)
Deloitte LMS the client

Episode 3 homepage and an explanation of all scenes in the previous episode

To drive continuous learning and change, episodes conclude with a cliffhanger and questions. Accountants are also encouraged to practice or role-play soft skills together in the office.

“We have a variety of learning activities that we plug and play with. This includes videos, topic clouds, TED talks, podcasts, PDFs, quick reference cards, self-assessments, tests, surveys, teasers, drama scenes and much more.” - Sylvia Vanraes

Totara Learn’s robust audience management and reporting features also gave a deeper, data-driven insight into the learner’s engagement and the learning transfer and impact.

The talent development team can view completion rates, analyze engagement, get a better estimation of learning hours and budget requirements, and send automated messages to nudge learners who are falling behind. Some examples:

The Client Totara message

Push notifications to the learner

the client lms message

Rewards based on completed team assignments

But there is more! Data provides them with insights on the learners’ growth and development throughout the learning experience: how are they performing during the journey and how is this driving the change at hand within Deloitte Accountancy? (RIASEC personality assessment, formative questions, self-rated pre- and post-assessments, feedforward and feedback data, NPS scores, and much more.)

The results: Engaged learners and effective training

Thanks to the exceptionally creative ClientFit learning program, the accountants are adapting to digitalization with cutting-edge client-facing and relationship management skills. Key results include: 

  • Setting up the entire learning platform, configuring learning analytics and creating learning content in 3 months

  • The ClientFit program reaching an 87% completion rate for 500 learners

  • A warm reception from learners, who, when asked: "How likely is it that you would recommend this course to other colleagues?" (on a scale of 1-10) gave a strong 7.5 rating for the first episode and an impressive 8.6 rating for the second.

  • Receiving 480 submissions from 4 assignments (based on the first two episodes)

“What I like about Totara is the freedom to innovate. You can tell a story through the platform, customise it to your needs, communicate in a personalised way and you can easily switch between different learning materials and activities. This makes relevant learning stick with users. If you want Netflix themes and movies, it’s possible! The liberty and freedom we have are great.” - Sylvia Vanraes, Talent Development Senior Manager at Deloitte Accountancy

the client demo lms

A look inside episode 2