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Case Study

Upskilling a global workforce to be future-ready

See how Henkel's digital upskilling program fostered growth through the growth of its people and created a culture of innovation worldwide.


Call for change

Betting on the most valuable resource

It’s hard to find a home that doesn’t have a product by German company Henkel on top of the washing machine, under the bathroom sink or on a garage shelf. The world’s largest producer of adhesive technologies, from Persil and Purex in its laundry business unit to Schwarzkopf and Dial in its beauty care vertical, the company generates over $20 billion annually.

But people’s relationships with brands are rapidly evolving, and with new brands and technologies emerging all the time, there is increasing competitive pressure on large, multinational companies. More so when change is part of the new normal and supported by innovative, flexible and fast-moving business models created to disrupt and quickly accumulate market share.

To compete, Henkel knew it needed to enhance its systems to nurture existing talent by offering targeted learning programs to its 52,000 employees. By promptly and continually upskilling its workforce – and establishing a culture of lifelong learning, Henkel can anticipate customer needs and develop innovations and new solutions faster and better.

In a competitive market environment, we are now in a position to manage challenges quicker and better.

Sylvie Nicol / Executive Vice President, Henkel

When tech meets human ingenuity

Accenture and Henkel already enjoyed a relationship spanning 10 years and multiple successful initiatives.

So, as its vision for a global digital upskilling initiative came into focus, Henkel knew that Accenture would be the ideal partner to help execute it across all business units and functions. They joined forces to roll out the program globally and at speed.

The project moved quickly through four stages:

Digital capabilities assessment
Henkel employees across 10 job families voluntarily participated in an anonymous assessment of their strengths and skills gaps – helping garner a detailed understanding of their current capabilities and their aptitude skill areas.

Digital upskilling
Once the strengths and skills gaps were identified, the team conceptualized job-family-specific learning programs. These were a combination of selected best practice courses from Accenture Academy and newly created Henkel use cases – offering a contemporary learning management system (LMS).

Digital talent experience
A new talent-management process enables a fresh way to assess employees’ existing roles and their ambitions. The decoupling of evaluating performance and potential would help focus on individuals’ professional development.

Digital talent sourcing
A “Recruiter Toolbox” was created for digital roles within the newly introduced talent management system – to establish a clearer connection between the technical skills per a certain role helping recruiters accurately scout the right talent for the right role.

As a next step, the team will now integrate an artificial intelligence (AI) based skill management tool—containing a library of 52,000 skills—on the cloud platform, to power the LMS, succession planning, and performance management over time.

Lifelong learning has become part of our culture at Henkel. It is motivating and gives our teams the confidence to grow together.

Lucas Kohlmann / Director, Human Resources, Henkel

A valuable difference

Fostering innovation and pathways of growth

Henkel wants to offer an environment that nurtures an entrepreneurial spirit that drives creative, impactful innovations — sending a message that investing in and developing employees’ skills is not only valuable, but critical.

The Digital Upskilling program has evolved beyond the launch of the IT and Finance learning journeys – launching tailored programs to Marketing, Sales, Purchasing, Corporate Communications, with HR, R&D, and Supply Chain launching soon after.


Accenture and Henkel successfully rolled out the new learning management system in 18 weeks, setting a new paradigm for such a platform.


Henkel employees have completed 215,000 eLearning courses.


Henkel’s global learning initiative has clocked 272,000 training registrations.

On the recruiting side, two new pathways opened – a job requisition can be quickly created on certain digital capabilities. An employee seeking a new role can learn about the digital skills necessary to be considered for the job and then take relevant courses to become a viable candidate. For external candidates, the application process reduced from around 30 minutes to 60 seconds – making applications for open roles increase by 40 percent.

As for Henkel’s visionary approach to supporting environmental and social progress, the company wants its sustainability efforts achieved in large part by continually upskilling a more inclusive, innovative workforce—to be a key differentiator in the market.

The key is continuing to double down with major investments in Henkel’s most valuable asset: the 52,000 employees around the world.