Randle Stonier, CEO, Skybridge Group
services consultancy Skybridge, which was formed from the merger of Motivforce
and Purchasepoint, has acquired e-learning company, eLearning4all. Here CEO
Randle Stonier explains the rationale behind the acquisitions and its key role
in developing the company’s people brand.
PT Are HR professionals playing
their part in furthering e-learning?
RS HR professionals have not yet fully
grasped the opportunity e-learning offers organisations to reinforce brand
messages through its people. All too often, external and HR teams work
separately and IT departments can act as a barrier as opposed to an enabler of
e-learning. There is a mutuality between external marketing and internal
development that will have to be explored for brands to become living
personalities – with the strength of Nike, for instance. e-learning gives HR
professionals a real opportunity to use the tools available to them.
Multimedia, the Web and intranets help HR professionals build their people’s
knowledge while evoking the feelings and beliefs that inspire people to take
PT Why has a marketing services
consultancy acquired an e-learning business – what are the synergies?
RS We’ve seen increasing reliance on
technology to support our internal communications, motivation and change
management programmes and the huge opportunity that new media offers
organisations not only to motivate, but also to educate and develop their
people. At Skybridge, we have the marketing and creative expertise to
communicate the brand message, but we did not have the experience of creating
and developing e-learning training solutions. This is what e-learning4all has
brought to the mix.
PT Why do you see the people brand
becoming so significant to organisations in the future?
RS It is essential that there is
consistency across all lines of communication between a company, or brand, and
its consumer. If the brand doesn’t communicate the desired message, it will
fail to meet the customer’s expectations. In our service-driven economy, a
critical point of contact is between the consumer and a company or its brand
sellers – from salaried staff to third-party channels – and this will become
increasingly more important as a true point of differentiation.
PT How can e-learning develop the
RS Our clients work in a rapidly
changing market where people are their most vital resource and potentially most
powerful ambassadors. The challenge is to stimulate and develop them.
Multimedia and on-line applications are powerful tools in nurturing and growing
this resource. Our acquisition of eLearning4all marks our commitment to provide
a complete business improvement solution to clients that promotes the
development of core competencies throughout an organisation, while reflecting
and reinforcing its brand values.
PT What advice would you give to
organisations thinking about deploying an e-learning strategy that builds its
brand through its people?
RS Work alongside your marketing
colleagues to develop a robust brand message that has meaning for both internal
and external audiences. If they don’t mesh there is probably a fundamental
issue – a brand experience that is not reinforced by an organisation’s people
will be exposed as marketing puff. Dissatisfied customers will quickly follow.
From this focal point, HR teams can review the content and objectives of all
training and development materials (both on-line and traditional) to check them
against these messages.