Royal Bank of Scotland

Shortlisted team for the easycando Award for e-learning: Personnel Today Awards 2000

The Royal Bank of Scotland has brought e-learning to the heart of its operations. The company built a dedicated training and communications network (TCN) which delivers e-learning to 650 branches in the UK, reaching a maximum of 20,000 staff. Each branch has a multimedia training and communication PC (TCPC), linked via satellite and ISDN to the company’s Intranet, Orbit.

Over 100 hours worth of learning content is available, arranged in role matrices aimed at customer advisers and customer service officers. Each Matrix holds modules designed to support and develop personnel within these roles. The modules are not limited to on-line training products – individuals may find themselves using CBT, assessments, videos, off-line workshops and even activities provided by a third party. The TCN has also allowed the bank to create a virtual classroom where staff in diverse locations can tune into a facilitator-led broadcast event. This facility not only means sessions have true interactivity, but it has brought together employees from geographically diverse parts of the organisation.

Creating this network was a challenge both in terms of the technology required and in ensuring the delivery mechanism would be accepted by the staff. HR acted as project manager for the implementation of the network, ensuring all external and internal suppliers were able to operate effectively while minimising any disruptive impact the new system could bring to the end user.

All key players involved in creating the network – including the bank’s own corporate affairs and HR systems development departments and external suppliers such as Epic Group and Forth Studios – were invited to a project definition workshop, facilitated by HRD. The workshop outlined the development process for the project and saw the creation of a “virtual team” through which all parties would receive guidance on their roles and responsibilities while appreciating the skills and roles of other players.

The role matrix programmes developed for customer advisers and customer services officers were created by project consultants who identified the requirements and definitions for each role. They then contracted out the development of training products to e-learning solution providers.

Ultimately, the TCN was a joint venture with corporate affairs which, having reviewed the existing communication infrastructure, found improvements could be made. The multimedia workstations offered an ideal platform to enhance communication channels and, by combining the needs of both departments, it was possible to show that the project would pay for itself within the first two years.


Company fact file

Team Royal Bank of Scotland, Training and Communication Network

Team leader Brian McLaren, manager for training and on-line learning

Number in HR team four

Number of employees responsible for 10,000

Main achievements TCN reaches some 20,000 staff. When comparing the cost of producing the e-learning solution to the cost of traditional delivery, the return on investment has been calculated at 700 per cent. The TCN featured as part of the business case in the company’s takeover bid of NatWest

Priorities for next 12 months To build on the infrastructure and experience gained and move towards new initiatives such as corporate university and knowledge management

Judge’s Comment “This is probably the first major e-learning implementation in the UK. It is major in the sense that the project was aimed at the heart of the organisation’s training rather than being treated as a peripheral activity. It is a brave project and clearly they’ve made it pay in terms of value for money”

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