Delivering remote-based employee learning: Hemsley Fraser

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Hemsley Fraser is a UK-based global learning and development provider with 200 staff across five sites in four countries, and a faculty of 400 associate trainers. It creates and delivers blended learning experiences that help businesses communicate and engage with their employees to create learning cultures.

CMO, Daniel Morgan explains: “The heritage of our business is in training courses. We’ve spent the past decade transforming into a blended learning provider (ie. made up of digital and face to face delivery). The 5App Digital Hub has helped us do that. We’ve moved beyond learning into delivering all the benefits of an enhanced workplace experience for clients. Better productivity and communications to build learning cultures and fundamentally change how people feel about the business they work for.”

Remote working and virtual learning

Hemsley Fraser uses the 5App Digital Hub with its clients, but it’s also at the heart of its own business operations. It’s been instrumental in supporting the organisation’s COVID-19 crisis response.

Formerly, Hemsley Fraser’s business mix was 80% face to face training and 20% online. The coronavirus pandemic meant it had to move to 100% online at speed. All while maintaining an excellent service to clients and ensuring staff were engaged and supported.

Blending corporate communications and learning gives context

Hemsley Fraser sees value in using the Hub both for learning and communications. The Hub hosts technical and departmental information. And, given how frequently staff use it, the Hub promotes internal alignment on policy, compliance and security.

Director of Strategy, Lynsey Whitmarsh explains:

“The Digital Hub has allowed us to become much more interconnected. Previously people were opening about 5,000 [learning and communications] assets a month. But as the pandemic has progressed, this figure has risen to around 10,000 assets a month. People now use the Hub for all key communications and to bring context to learning content.

We use the Hub to keep people feeling connected and aligned to core messages. And for our senior team to lead in a highly visible way. We had great levels of engagement before, but now they’ve gone through the roof. Todd Turner, our CEO, has been sending out video messages to the company every three days, helping people transition to remote working and keeping them informed every step of the way.”

One benefit of using the Digital Hub to share corporate communications is the ability to measure how assets have been received. Since the lockdown, Hemsley Fraser has seen asset usage rocket, suggesting the increased value that users are gaining.

“We know from Hub metrics that the video Todd created and sent out this week had 198 unique views from our 200 staff within half an hour,” Lynsey continues. “That speed and consumption level for company communications is awe-inspiring. It’s the fastest viewership we’ve ever had.”

Lynsey adds: “For the Board, to have that level of confidence from usage data is invaluable. We know we’re getting messages across to all of our staff. As a result, nobody feels isolated, disconnected, confused, disorientated. It’s good to know we’re doing the right thing for our people.”

Hemsley Fraser worked according to Government guidelines in ensuring safety of staff and delegates at their sites across the world, including its training centre in London. Once decisions had been made about essential operational changes, they were shared by video via the Hub. Everyone knew that key business decisions would be communicated that way so staff stayed connected and up to date with rapid changes, as lockdown unfolded.

Daniel Morgan explains: “One of the benefits of using the Hub is that we’re able to communicate in a very agile way. So, from making a decision (as a leadership team) we’re able to quickly put a video together, push that to the business and for everyone to understand straight away, so that we can all move with the times, even when times are moving really, really fast.”

A key feature of the 5App Digital Hub is the ability to rapidly create ‘playlists’ of useful content and learning topics. Hemsley Fraser drew on the expertise of its faculty of trainers and subject matter experts to create valuable sources of information related to COVID-19 which is shares with staff.

But it’s not all broadcast

Hemsley Fraser has embraced the facility of creating ‘shout outs’. Getting people involved in content creation is part of making the Digital Hub integral to the fabric of an organisation.

Lynsey comments: “For instance, last Thursday we created a campaign around the 8pm ‘clap for our carers’ asking people for videos and photos and we put these into a playlist. It really helps in making the Hub interactive and ‘owned’ by the whole team.”

One of the most important things is getting the right messages out at the right time. So Hemsley Fraser has a schedule to help deliver messages at the optimum time, based on analysis of historical usage.

To the future

“At the moment our employees are more like family,” says Lynsey. “We are coaching them through some tough times. Some people have kids at home and they are learning to cope with dual roles of homeschooling on top of their day jobs. The blurring of work and personal life makes it difficult for people to cope. There are also plenty of very real human emotions around fear of the unknown. So being able to support staff through this is key and the 5App Digital Hub has been instrumental.

No one knows exactly what the world will look like on the other side of this crisis but for the moment we have the tools to enable us to keep our clients supported and our employees engaged and connected whilst working remotely.”


About 5App

5App is a team of product designers, UX experts, developers and business strategists based in London and Berlin, responsible for creation of the 5App Digital Hub. The 5App Digital Hub is a cloud-based, rapidly deployed and easy to use communications and learning platform that helps your workforce adapt to remote working environments. Learn more at www.5app.com