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Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs) creating courses
Established in 1872, Simplyhealth is committed to providing affordable access to healthcare, to support everyday healthcare needs for millions of people across the United Kingdom. With a strong company culture, clear purpose, and a focus on employee wellbeing, they strive to improve the UK’s access to healthcare, helping communities, customers, and colleagues to thrive.
To achieve their purpose, Simplyhealth ensures it supports all of its employees to reach their full potential through regular talent and development programmes, so that people are motivated and engaged, ready to bring their best selves to work.
With over 900 employees, Simplyhealth’s L&D team is responsible for the training and development of many teams, including new hires coming into the business and external partners working in dental practices across the country. With such a large remit, the L&D team needs to establish training consistency and effectiveness at all times.
In addition to ensuring employees receive a consistent learning experience, Simplyhealth, as a financial services company operating in a highly regulated industry, needs to prove its delivering training for its employees FCA compliance.
But as Simplyhealth has grown and training needs have evolved, so too has their face-to-face solution. For Louisa Beer, Talent and Development Specialist, scaling Simplyhealth’s in-person training became difficult to manage, not to mention, costly. Louisa and her team faced four main challenges with their previous solution:
1) In-person training delivered inconsistent learning experiences and was costly. Simplyhealth relied on trainers to provide face-to-face training, often resulting in different messages being communicated to learners. Training sessions were scheduled when required, whether they had one attendee or 20 attendees booked onto the session. This solution became very costly, particularly if there was only one or few people attending. It also meant that some learners would have group training while others had one-to-one sessions. All of these factors resulted in people having different learning experiences.
2) Training took a long time and wasn’t particularly accessible for both learners and external dental practices. Training wasn’t accessible to learners when and where they needed it. In-person training took a long time to deliver, increasing the speed at which it took to onboard new hires. Training in external dental practices also needed to be more accessible as the business grew.
3) It was difficult to track training and progress. Previous reporting and tracking was unreliable and difficult to manage internally via a password protected spreadsheet. The spreadsheet was complex and there was no easy way to keep it up-to-date. This made it difficult to monitor time to onboard, compliance training completion and ongoing development as well as being able to report completion rates to the FCA.
4) Training was outdated and not fit for purpose. Simplyhealth didn’t have a learning management system in place: they had a career development site. Whilst it had lots of learning within it, it was filled with off-the-shelf content, and therefore wasn’t particularly relevant, personalised, nor engaging for internal colleagues.
Simplyhealth needed to change tack. That’s when they found the perfect solution for them: collaborative learning.
Simplyhealth recognised that they needed to implement a learning management system to deliver exceptional learning experiences whilst enabling the L&D team to be more efficient. Not long after, they discovered 360Learning—and the potential to move from an in-person training solution to a blended learning solution.
The main competitive advantage of 360Learning was the ability to increase efficiency and productivity of our training. As Louisa explains, “Whether it’s the consistency with onboarding and compliance training for internal employees or continuous professional development for the dental practices, we now have a tool that enables us to know that people have received the right information to do the job and protect themselves from a regulatory standpoint.”
“The digital learning aspect has also empowered people to take their learning into their own hands. This is helping us to build a strong learning culture where people feel engaged and motivated, adding to the overall employee experience,” says Louisa.
Here, Louisa highlights four benefits of 360Learning that have transformed the way people learn and grow at Simplyhealth.
360Learning has enabled Simplyhealth to bring new hires up to speed more quickly and has increased people’s knowledge of the business significantly. As soon as a new hire has arrived, they are added to a learning path, where they can receive information about the company. Learners can immediately understand Simplyhealth’s purpose, values, and culture, as well as product knowledge and practical things like rewards and benefits.
Digitising this part of the onboarding process has massively reduced ramp-up time because people don’t need to wait to be signed up to a day-long, in-person session to learn about the business. This part of the onboarding has been reduced to a 2.5 hour induction, freeing up time for networking with new colleagues and asking questions in virtual breakout rooms.
With Simplyhealth’s previous solution, line managers were responsible for onboarding so again, learners had different experiences, depending on how proactive their manager was.
360Learning has made the induction process a lot smoother and now delivers a consistent experience for all.
As a financial services company, Simplyhealth is regulated by the FCA, requiring staff to complete 15 hours of regulatory training every year. In addition to this, the external dental practices that Simplyhealth support are also regulated on their continuous professional development. For this reason, Louisa and her team made it their mission to launch their compliance training on 360Learning first.
360Learning features enable Louisa to report:
• Course sign ups and dropout rates, revealing popular and underperforming courses, including any weak areas in course content
• Course completion rates, empowering managers to drive and track completion of their teams mandatory and optional content through the manager dashboard as well as helping evidence completion for all employees as part of the FCA requirements.
• Time-on-task, showing Louisa and her team what learners find most engaging
• Custom fields, enabling Louisa to reflect internal employee data in their 360Learning learner profile to streamline tracking, content assignment, and custom reporting.
As Louisa explains, “We launched our compliance training in 2021 and we have had consistently high usage ever since. We launched the dental plan piece soon afterwards and this is helping us to engage dentists and offer clients a unique selling point.”
Since the introduction of 360Learning, Louisa was able to hire two instructional designers to help create internal content. With the success of the implementation, this has now grown to three people. As Louisa explains, “Business partners across the organisation have seen the benefit of working with us to deliver training on the platform. Our designers are kept very busy!”
“The relationship between the designers and experts works really well with clearly defined roles between knowledge experts (the SMEs) and learning experts (the L&D team). The end result is one of collaboration where designers work with subject-matter to optimise learning experiences and bring the content to life,” says Louisa.
Pre-COVID and prior to implementing 360Learning, Simplyhealth found it challenging to make learning accessible for employees. Their central training hub was based in Andover, UK which meant that employees would need to travel to Andover to join development and wellbeing sessions. With many people spread across the country in field roles, it made it almost impossible to gather everyone for these sessions.
Now, training programmes are available on 360Learning and if someone can’t make the virtual session, they can catch up asynchronously when it suits them. This has enabled Simplyhealth to be more inclusive when it comes to professional development and wellbeing and has assisted with user completion.
Leveraging learning in the flow of work has also made training more attainable for employees. Simplyhealth has integrated 360Learning with MS Teams, making it easier for learners to access courses in the flow of work. This has increased completion and engagement rates significantly.
Through creating consistent learning experiences, making learning within reach, and harnessing L&D and subject-matter expert collaboration, Simplyhealth has benefitted from extraordinary results. These include:
• A strong internal adoption of the platform with 80% monthly users logging into 360Learning
• Over 1,000 in-house courses have been created
•The L&D team has increased co-authoring by partnering with more than 20 subject-matter experts
• Training has become much more accessible for everyone, resulting in: company resources savings, more inclusivity, reduced transport costs of the individuals and the company, and increased access to knowledge asynchronously
As Louisa explains, they’ve nearly reached the finish line of deploying their management induction programme. From understanding rewards and benefits, to accessing details about their teams and knowing the processes, their managers will receive specific training and information on how to be successful in their role.
“In the past, we did face-to-face sessions with managers. We trained them on things like sickness policies and holiday entitlement but people would forget what they learned two months later. The beauty of having this programme digitally is that managers will have the support they need exactly when they need it through 360Learning,” says Louisa.
360Learning will continue to support Simplyhealth on their journey, with the next milestone being enrolling managers to specific learning paths through an API with their HR system.