From kick-off call to launch in 11 weeks: How Charlton Morris implemented their first learning platform.

minutes: Average time spent learning per user each week
Activation Rate
Monthly Learner Engagement
Charlton Morris are specialists in global recruitment across the medical, life science and industrial sectors.
Leeds, UK

How long until it’s up and running? And when will we start seeing a return on our investment? If you’ve pitched or launched learning tech before, those reservations might feel familiar. Misconceptions that it takes too long to set up or stories of it taking ages for people to buy-in are exactly that – misconceptions and misplaced stories.

And if you’re in any doubt, Charlton Morris’ tale will help you close that chapter once and for all! Just 11 weeks after their kick-off call, they’d launched the CM Learning platform in HowNow, their employee learning time was double the average person’s and more than half of the business were logging in regularly every month. Here’s how they did it.

Why Charlton Morris needed a learning platform

Let’s go back further than those 11 weeks, to a time when Charlton Morris established why they needed a learning platform. They required a tool that could get new people up to speed, help those who’d been around a while learn effectively and let them all contribute knowledge at the same time.

In the past, the training focus had always been on new starters and giving them a five or six-week block for development as they settled into the role. Established team members were able to access ad hoc advanced sessions, but there wasn’t much in place otherwise. So it was difficult for learning to become a continuous process and employee development was limited.

Variety is not only the spice of life, it gives learning its flavour too! And having administered everything related to training from handbooks in the past, Charlton Morris’ appetite for different content formats and sources had reached its peak. They wanted a platform that would let them experiment with content formats and allow people to create resources easily to share their experiences and wisdom.

Having a lot of consultants in the team and recognising there might be reservations about its short-term influence on profitability, they wanted to make sure everyone understood the value of HowNow and the benefits it would bring to their day-to-day role. Which meant preparing for launch and the weeks that followed.

How they successfully launched CM Learning


How well launch day goes often depends on how well you do everything before that! Like a long jumper aiming to leave a record-breaking footprint in the sand, it all comes down to the run up. Charlton Morris’ stride was inch-perfect, as they engaged all the right stakeholders ahead of launch.

Senior directors and leaders were brought in for early discussions, where they could flag any concerns or questions around the CM Learning platform – and it gave their Head of People, Rebecca Cook, and her team the opportunity to make tweaks that addressed those issues.

The learner perspective was addressed through a soft launch, where new starters were onboarded using the platform and exposed to those new content styles and formats. Think more videos and fewer slides or PDFs – music to any onboarder’s ears! Feedback was a theme yet again, something Charlton Morris collected frequently throughout the process.

As launch edged closer, there were short training sessions each day at midday. Short in the sense that they simply covered an intro to the platform and got people set up – you’ve got to walk before you run or jump, after all!

Launch day and beyond

More in-depth sessions followed, where people were shown how the platform would improve their day-to-day activities. They were shown how to integrate HowNow with Slack to find and capture information in the platform, for example, highlighting why they’d no longer need to scroll back through old conversations to find something useful.

Demonstrations followed of how the Browser Extension would help them find the internal resources they needed through a quick Google search, rather than breaking their workflow or regular behaviours.

Sessions like this continued long after launch, all part of the plan to continue making noise about the platform and sing its praises. However, awareness is much easier when there’s a brand people can buy into…

Creating the CM Learning brand

Expressing who we are, perceived value, offering something tangible to connect with – we attach ourselves to brands on a daily basis for a number of reasons. And the workplace is no different, which is why a strong company and learning brand can influence how invested our people are in our goals and efforts. And that’s why Charlton Morris created the CM Learning brand!

Charlton Morris is a marketing-led business with a strong brand identity, something they translated to the platform effectively. Driven by two key values: collaborative and pioneering, they amplified those by showing people how to share content or best practices with each other and by encouraging people to be pioneering in coming forward with new ideas and processes.

With the marketing department already sharing content people were happily engaging with, they harnessed that positive, existing behaviour by adding those resources to CM Learning. A slight tweak to their existing behaviour helped that mission to view the platform as a single source for knowledge.

Rebecca gave another example that highlights why you need to use your platform for the things that already interest your people. Another manager in the company rolled out a mini-program to publish new diversity and inclusion posts each week, driving more platform engagement as a result.

Once those managers were logging in and creating content, it ran a lot more smoothly! Testament to the power of leading by example.

The result: 250% higher learning time than average employees

The proof is well and truly in the pudding! Everything Charlton Morris did ahead of launch not only engaged people once it went live, but in the months that followed. More than 92% of their employees are logging in and using HowNow, with 60% of them doing so on a monthly basis.

But it’s the average time spent learning each week that really showx Charlton Morris have not only solved people’s development pain points, they’ve brought them on that ongoing journey! In the weeks following launch, those learning minutes reached 51 per user per week – more than double the average employee.

Which makes it even more impressive that month three saw that figure rise to almost 90 minutes, with Charlton Morris’ average learning time reaching one hour and 24 minutes. That’s a 250% increase on those 24 minutes the average employee spends learning each week.

Similar Customer Stories

See all