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Lowell engages and upskills leaders across Europe with Totara Learn

Lowell is one of Europe’s largest credit management companies with a mission to make credit work better for all. Lowell was formed in 2015 following the merger of UK and German market leaders the Lowell Group and the GFKL Group. In 2018, Lowell completed the acquisition of the Carve-out Business from Intrum, which has market -leading positions in the Nordic region.

The Challenge

Following multiple mergers and acquisitions, Lowell had a strong vision for a “one company, one culture” organization, where everyone speaks the same language and works well together. In particular, they wanted to upskill the 520 leaders across their organization, which would have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the staff.

Lowell knew that they didn’t just want a traditional face-to-face program, and they wanted to support learners with a great digital platform. This platform needed to support learners across multiple offices in multiple countries in Europe, so a digital-first solution would remove travel time and costs.

In summer 2021, Lowell shortlisted several learning vendors, before choosing Deloitte as their learning partner. They knew that Deloitte were strong thought leaders in the space, and they were impressed by the Totara Learn platform.

The Solution

Lowell case study screenshot

Lowell already has a Workday HR system, but Workday Learning was not suitable for Lowell’s ambitious plans for their leadership program. Totara Learn was the perfect adaptable LMS to support a wide range of learners across multiple countries, in different roles and with different seniority levels.

Lowell and Deloitte joined forces to create the Explore program, which was designed as a leadership community as a single place of truth for all leaders looking to develop their skills. The program was built around Lowell’s four key leadership capabilities: 1) creating clarity, 2) generating energy, 3) delivering success and 4) building resilience.

Leaders across the organization self-enroll in a cohort depending on the dates that suit them. There are also learning teams comprising leaders with the same level of seniority allowing individuals to collaborate on their individual development areas with the purpose of supporting, coaching and providing feedback to one another. Leaders can also choose cohorts according to their language requirements (all courses are delivered primarily in English, but some include components in Finnish or German to support employees less confident in English). 

Lowell case study screenshot

The Explore program is themed as a journey. The blended learning program kicks off with a self-assessment based on the key skills and behaviors required, followed  by online seminars, then capability labs, then “quests” which take place in the workplace. These quests may be suggested on the LMS or can be selected by the learner. Each capability module also contains opportunities for self-reflection so that leaders can think about how they are progressing.

As part of each quest, leaders create “proof of learning”, which may be a short video or a learning log, which they then share with the rest of their cohort on the LMS. This helps reinforce the sense of community, and contributes to Lowell’s “one company, one culture” vision.

Lowell was keen to avoid the LMS becoming a “storage area” overloaded with content, so they ensured that resources were streamlined to cover only the essentials, such as important videos. Their previous solution had over 5,000 resources, which was cumbersome to manage and distracting for learners. Instead, the Totara platform sometimes links to resources stored on Workday to keep the leadership program clean and user friendly.

Deloitte wanted to reflect the journey theme in the design of the LMS, so they customized the look and feel to incorporate horizontal scrolling, making it feel more like a quest. This carries through to the course content, with learners “packing backpacks” ready for the quest and going on a journey with their fellow explorers.

Lowell case study screenshot

An important part of this program was the focus on internal marketing and communications. Lowell knew that their leaders were typically quite skeptical about learning programs, so they were initially concerned that uptake may be low. They worked with Deloitte to create a comprehensive communications package, including promotion on the intranet, Facebook Workplace, sessions with executives, sponsorship from their 60 top leaders, posters and more.

The Results

The Explore pilot ran in autumn 2021, with the full program launching in February 2022. Owing to their excellent internal marketing and communications, the spring program was fully booked with 150 leaders in just four days, with a further waitlist of 40! 

The program has only just launched, but feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Some participants admitted that they were concerned about spending so much time on Zoom for the initial components, but they have been pleasantly surprised by how useful the course has been, and they are already implementing their new skills with their teams.

“Explore has empowered me with the necessary perspective and tools to manage not only my direct reports, but also my stakeholders. The sessions has also allowed me to build my network with other leaders across the regions."
- Rieza Aprianto, Lead Model Risk, Lowell

It takes around 4.5 months to complete the program, meaning that multiple cohorts can complete the Explore program each year, making this much more efficient than expensive, time-consuming classroom training. The notifications feature in Totara also enables Lowell’s learning team to nudge participants when they are falling behind, ensuring the entire cohort stays motivated and on track. 

Engagement is key to the success of Lowell’s program, and their excellent partnership with Deloitte has given them all the tools they need to develop a tailored, structured leadership program which energizes and inspires leaders across the company.

“Our Explore program not only supports upskilling our leadership capabilities but brings our 500 leaders across nine countries together. Up to 150 leaders at a time have the unique opportunity to experience a blended program over a four-month period. This allows us to build a strong leadership community more efficiently and effectively and create a common language which supports building 'one company, one culture.'" 
- Wendela Regnell, Group Leadership Development Manager, Lowell Group

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