5 ways Kia Motors America democratized its learning culture for 5,000+ employees with PlusPlus

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes


Angela Davis (Learning & Experience Employee Lead) oversees learning & development at Kia Motors America, the sales subsidiary of Kia in North America, in Irving, California. She has been at Kia for 6 years, two and a half in charge of Learning & Development for the team of over 5,000+ employees. Angela also oversees marketing and recruiting efforts, change management and technology for HR.

The one big idea

Before implementing PlusPlus, Angela faced the challenge of how to connect and scale all systems and learning programs to enable employees to thrive in Kia’s relatively flat organization. Specifically, Kia’s culture is more entrepreneurial and fast-paced than others in the car industry, and knowledge sharing and learning is important to equip people to thrive.

To make it possible to scale knowledge and learning, Angela needed to apply technology to tackle two areas:

1: Awareness

Kia had an extensive learning program (online, live, guest lecturers, etc.) but when it came time to learning opportunities for employees, systems were not coordinated and people missed events all the time. There was no integration with Kia’s communication channels.

2: Administration

The difficulties of hosting and managing events like onboarding, training, volunteering, outside speakers, etc., made administration extremely burdensome. Angela spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with email, spreadsheets, manual tracking, no-shows, cancellations, changes. This made it impossible to scale learning at the speed the Kia sales organization needed to keep thriving.

Angela needed a system to limit administrative and manual processes as much as possible. That’s why she implemented PlusPlus.

I am a one person team, and I need to be aware of how I sped my time, and need to limit the administrative and manual processes as much as possible. – Angela Davis

The five key takeaways

1: “I don’t have to say ‘no’ anymore.”

Automating the management and promotion of learning opportunities has enabled Angela to administer an exponentially larger number of them than before. They have done over 100 events within the first 6 months of activating the PlusPlus platform. They migrated our entire onboarding program to PlusPlus. That eliminated all the information that got lost in silos like emails and calendars. Angela indicated that it was fun and easy to customize the platform to help her drive the tone for new employees by delivering the learning – and the info – they need to succeed. For instance, Kia now has everything under one roof for an employee’s first 90 days.

Now that we have been using the PlusPlus platform, we did 30 events in Q2, and already over 70 in Q3. Being able to say we have done over 100 events within 6 months is a really big win for us. Quality is important to us too, but quantity wise, we were always limited with time and resources. Now that we have a platform that helps us scale our efforts, I don’t have to say No anymore. – Angela Davis

2. User-friendly and frictionless.

Angela explained how their PlusPlus deployment proved to be easy. Specifically, she added, the system is highly visual and features can be completely automated – from clicking and scheduling, to waitlist to reminders to canceling, to rating events via automated surveys. This kind of user interface, which comes with a dashboard to get a quick perspective on the platform, enables her to have a pulse of how learning events are performing – all the way from demand to ratings.

It’s as easy as clicking “Enroll” and they automatically receive a calendar invite with the web conference link directly in their email. That automation on its own is extremely helpful. – Angela Davis

3. A tool for change management and culture.

Angela indicated that the availability of a platform for everyone to access and share learning opportunities helps their Executive Team drive culture. The PlusPlus dashboard has become a tool that top management reviews regularly at their meetings, and helps them set the tone for the entrepreneurial culture they are on a mission to build. This has given Angela visibility at the highest level of the company and has freed valuable time to focus on the strategic implications of a learning culture.

(Prior to implementing PlusPlus) we had events but they were not in a single platform. People missed some events, and it resulted in a low perception of what Kia had to offer to our employees in terms of career development, how they build skills or move up in the company. I saw a very low rate of employees sharing information among themselves. – Angela Davis

4. Make it sticky.

Accessing learning opportunities has become a daily habit for employees at Kia. They access the platform not only for training, but things like the information/knowledge they need to navigate the corporation, to book office hours with peers, to access self-paced learning, or to sign up for training classes. New events have banners and links from their intranet, company communications via email are sent automatically from the platform. Importantly, Angela is using PlusPlus to share and manage all kinds of learning events, fier example, learning sessions on using Zoom (they just made it their official video conferencing platform), onboarding, driving adoption of systems, promoting wellness programs and better habits, even sessions on how to set up your email system.

5. Train the trainers and let them play.

Angela explained how she ensures the democratization of learning without making it chaotic. Specifically, they have developed very simple training – 1 hr – to teach people how Peer Learning works so they can become good trainers and upload their own events into the platform. This, she added, gives her peace of mind that the content uploaded into PlusPlus will remain whole and useful. So far, people have made the platform extremely rich for anybody to ensure they do not miss out on all the formal and informal learning opportunities available at Kia.

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