Accenture helping Henkel build a digital savvy workforce

16 February 2021 3 min. read

Leveraging its industry experience in digital, Accenture has helped global consumer goods company Henkel upskill thousands of employees, while cutting down the application time for external candidates by more than 90%.

Based out of Düsseldorf, Germany, Henkel is a consumer goods company specialised in adhesive technologies, beauty care, laundry and home care products. The outfit spans over 20 countries, with a global headcount of more than 50,000 people and annual revenues of around €20 billion as of 2019.

For a consumer goods company today, keeping pace with the modern consumer is crucial. “Developing the best products for our customers requires that our people have the digital skills and knowledge to respond to change quickly and effectively,” noted Sylvie Nicol – Henkel’s executive vice president for human resources.

Accenture helping Henkel build a digital savvy workforce

The right skills require the right training and the right recruitment. Enter Accenture, a global professional services giant with experience upskilling scores of businesses around the world. The consulting firm was brought on board by Henkel to build a tech savvy workforce – a task that was completed via three steps.

Upskilling programme

Accenture began with a 'skills and capabilities assessment', mapping employee competence in key functional areas such as marketing, sales, procurement, human resources, information technology, supply chain, and research & development. The firm has a number of evaluation frameworks in its repertoire, which could be tweaked to suit Henkel’s specific needs.

A detailed overview of capabilities revealed the gaps and focus areas. The next step was training, via Accenture Academy – an agile learning solution with customizable courses designed to digitally transform a workforce. An initial programme of more than 50 courses was piloted with around 2,000 IT and finance managers.

The third step was to focus on recruitment. Accenture helped create a 'recruiter toolbox' for Henkel – tracing a clear line between the company’s digital, functional and technical needs and the information available on a candidate’s CV.

The programme officially went live in 2019, once all three steps were complete. Since then, more than 200,000 training programmes have been completed; application processes have gone from 30 minutes to 60 seconds; and the number of external applications has jumped by 40%. In recognition, the upskilling programme won a gold medal in the Best Advanced Competencies and Skills Development category at the 2020 Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Learning Awards. 

Moving with the times

Henkel now houses a fit-for-future workforce, complete with mechanisms to attract and retain new digital talent. According to experts at Accenture, Henkel is setting an example for businesses worldwide, particularly at a time when consumer needs are more pressing and changeable than ever.

“Henkel recognises that, in today’s environment, digital skills aren’t simply a nice ‘to have’ but a necessity for all employees,” said Accenture managing director Christina Raab. And its not just a short-term fix. “Lifelong learning and digital upskilling are now key elements of our culture and long-term growth plans – not just a momentary answer to an HR or recruiting issue. They’re motivating and giving our teams the confidence to grow together,” said Nicol.

Accenture’s global lead for Consumer Goods & Services Oliver Wright endorsed the company's forward thinking ethos. “Henkel is a great example of a company that is putting their people at the center of change to drive future growth. We share a commitment, demonstrated in the new Accenture brand, to embrace change and deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity.”