July 10, 2015

Corporate Learning at HEINEKEN

We are continuing our interview series with Eduson’s clients. Maria Goncharova, R&D Executive at HEINEKEN, told us about the importance of the individual approach to staff training and about the issues which have been solved by the company through eLearning.

Maria Goncharova Heineken

"It’s very important for us that all our staff have equal opportunities for training and development. However, given the broad geographical representation of these branches, it is quite difficult to gather staff members from different branches for full-time training. So we use the online format as an alternative to the instructor-led training".

eLearning at HEINEKEN


First of all, I have to mention that HEINEKEN has just started developing and using distance learning in all its branches. At a global scale, our colleagues at the headquarters in Amsterdam work on and offer us several training models. However, the question of training, including distance learning, is resolved independently in each country.

Last year, we experimented with the format of Business English training. All language courses were converted in an online format. Now we are going to evaluate the results of that approach. This year we are also planning to introduce another part of the training online.

Our aim is to increase the proportion of eLearning, because for a company of our size it is a very useful format. Learning online is a great opportunity to learn in different time zones, as the staff does not need to adjust to each other's schedule.

The material is accessible at any time, any place. An undoubted advantage is the opportunity to stop the process and continue with it at a more convenient time for the staff member, as you do not need to assign a few hours in a row to the training.

The Individual Approach

individual approach

When selecting the training format, it is also important to take into account the staff members’ personal characteristics. Many employees need to be able to independently choose a topic and time to conduct their training. For others, the organization of the training is important, where participants are gathered in one place, the material is distributed to them, and they are immersed in training for a few hours. If you let these people just “swim freely”, then they will continually put off taking courses and so will not pass them at all.

The individual approach to staff management is widely used at HEINEKEN. It is a system of management by objectives; at the start of the year, each staff member outlines their individual development goals. Once they have been focused on these individual development goals, we select training and learning programmes for them that they should take.

Training Effectiveness


We regularly get feedback from staff members about how the courses and programmes are going for them. Are they emotionally comfortable during the training courses? How effective has the supply of material been? Does the training have practical uses?

When we conduct technical training, we always observe changes in performance indicators, against which the training is measured. We look at sales, then after training is conducted we observe a change in the sales. If the training was focused, for example, on leadership competencies, we request feedback from their immediate superiors, to see whether the juniors demonstrate actual changes in their respective fields.

When assessing the effectiveness of the training, we carefully study the test results. These indicate the main thing — the assimilation of theoretical material. By the way, this is exactly why the company does not adopt training in the form of lectures, as there is no way to evaluate the degree to which people have taken in the material.

In an organization using any type of training, the choice of trainer has great significance. In HEINEKEN, we use both internal trainers and external providers for training, including speakers from abroad. Foreign speakers usually lead programmes which are initiated by the head office in Amsterdam.

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