The resulting e-learning platform, with customised content, presents new ideas to those learning English as a foreign language and reinforces their existing knowledge. Learners receive consistent written feedback, as well as individual coaching, to enable them to develop linguistic confidence, along with correct grammar and spelling.
One consequence of operating 81 plants in 21 countries is that not all of O-I’s employees speak English as their native language. However, over the last few years, it has become company policy – prompted by global business practice, as well as the need to facilitate worldwide communication between O-I employees along with their clients around the world – that an increasing proportion of its workforce attain a level of proficiency in English.
“English is a key development opportunity for all of our employees,” said Emanuela Zappone, Vice President for Leadership and Organization for O-I.
“We realised that we needed a learning programme that was geared towards the glassmaking industry, while still providing a solid foundation in business English,” she continued. “In addition, we wanted a learning programme that was personalised to the needs of each employee’s job.”
The O-I employees who needed English training ranged from factory workers to executives, so a ‘one-size-fits-all’ English solution was out of the question.
So, in 2009, O-I contacted goFLUENT and they collaborated designing ‘ENGLISH@O-I’, a blended training solution in learning English that comprises:
• An e-learning platform - with customised content, in the form of videos, articles and quizzes, for the glassmaking industry;
• Courses delivered via 30 minutes telephone sessions - with a live, native English-speaking trainer to help train the learner’s ear to make English conversation more natural;
• Online written coaching - with feedback from a live, native English-speaking trainer.
Attracting increasing numbers of learners each year, the programme has currently enabled almost 1,000 people to become fluent in English.
To date, the employees participating in ENGLISH@O-I have taken part in more than 20,000 phone lessons. Moreover, 99% of the learners and of O-I’s HR professionals have expressed their satisfaction with ENGLISH@O-I.
Christophe Ferrandou, goFLUENT’s CEO, commented: “Learner commitment, motivation and participation speak volumes about the quality and effectiveness of goFLUENT’s personalised training. The e-learning platform, customised content, written coaching and telephone lessons combine to provide a consistent and efficient learning experience - and the results speak for themselves.
“Across Europe, O-I staff’s overall standards of English have improved by 20%,” he added. “In some countries, employees’ level improvement average, after 34 hours of lessons, is as high as 44% -which is the difference between all six levels of English proficiency, from absolute beginner to complete fluency in the language.”
In addition, goFLUENT provides O-I’s HR directors with tools to track their employees’ progress, ensuring an easy and effective way to monitor the return on investment.
O-I’s Leadership and Organizational Development Vice President; European Human Resources Vice President, and the President of O-I Europe are all committed to monitoring the progress of the learners enrolled on the programme, to ensure that the employees are receiving the full benefit of this initiative. In addition, O-I’s HR professionals are also able to make use of goFLUENT’s products to perform level diagnostics during the recruitment process and when considering an employee for promotion.
Aline Estevant, Vice President of Human Resources for O-I Europe, commented: “What I like about ENGLISH@O-I is that it’s not a goFLUENT product and it’s not an O-I product. Rather, it’s a good hybrid of teaching resources that are built around content that’s relevant to employees’ professional development.
“Furthermore, the resources are top-notch in terms of technology - and that’s something to get excited about.” she added. “It’s a dream come true.
“After spending so many years working in multinationals and seeing so much money spent on English training without the training being directed towards any professional targets, ENGLISH@O-I really is a perfect programme. It’s an investment for our employees and for our company and, at the end of the day, this is the best possible leverage we can get.
“It’s giving an opportunity for people to grow and to grow according to a global perspective,” she continued.
“The design of the programme, combined with the fact that our employees are making consistent progress that we can monitor, makes it an extremely powerful solution. In my 20-year career, I’ve never seen something so beneficial, so exciting and so powerful in terms of improving business performance.”
Having been such a success in Europe, O-I is now piloting ENGLISH@O-I in Latin America and will soon include its Asian operation in the programme.
goFLUENT (gofluent.com) offers distance business English training solutions combining eLearning and live trainers. Each year goFLUENT helps over 60.000 business executives in more than 5.000 international corporations to make their company more efficient and profitable when doing business globally and managing intercultural situations. goFLUENT is established in 10 countries, with 560 employees – including 400 teachers - and with the world’s third largest telecom company, NTT Communications (NTT Group) owning 30% of its shares.