Change Cube

E.ON’s Time of Transformation

Sue Woods, Global Learning Media Expert at E.ONEssen (GER) / Luzern (CH), April 2017 - E.ON is one of the world’s largest energy providers. It was founded in Essen, Germany in 2000 and has over 40,000 employees worldwide. Due to the current energy transition and legislative changes in Germany, E.ON is undergoing structural and operational changes. Its employees now face the challenge of having to keep up with the transformation. getAbstract, with its concise and up-to-date business summaries, has been an important companion through the transition.

Change at E.ON is happening on all fronts. Recently, the company also recognized its need to modernize training and empower employees to take control of their own learning. "Like most companies, we have the challenge of modernizing learning in a traditional industry," says Sue Woods, Global Learning Media Expert at E.ON. "We want to encourage employees to take responsibility for their own learning and offer them more interactive, online methods. An ongoing challenge is to motivate learners to go for what they want rather than to expect someone else to be in control of their learning."

With the pressure in the energy sector, however, modernizing learning is a greater challenge for E.ON than it is for most companies. "We’re in a market that is undergoing a lot of changes," Woods continues. "We’re modernizing learning at a time when we have less money to spend on the process. We need to make sure that we get the most value out of everything we do."

And that’s exactly what the learning-and-development (L&D) team at E.ON set out to do. To bring their employees’ learning into the digital age, they created an online HR platform where employees can find answers to their most pressing questions. Their new learning-management system (LMS) is integrated into this platform with all the new learning resources. And embedded seamlessly into both platforms is getAbstract. Through these platforms, every employee in the company has access to getAbstract’s library of compressed knowledge – including thousands of book and video-talk summaries.

In its quest to modernize learning, E.ON concentrated on encouraging its employees to learn anytime, anywhere. This is where getAbstract came into play.

"We’ve made getAbstract available to every employee. It’s a brilliant tool anyone can use to learn anytime, anywhere – whether it’s using the mobile app, pdf, or kindle," says Woods. "It absolutely fits with our new learning culture. It helps everyone recognize that learning isn’t about a classroom course that you go away for; it’s about those few minutes you regularly fit into your day."

E.ON adopted a 70-20-10 approach to learning: 70% on-the-job learning, 20% learning through others, and 10% formal learning. getAbstract has supported the new culture by offering relevant content at the right time. Employees find getAbstract particularly useful as a promoter of informal learning because they can access information whenever and wherever they need it.

At E.ON, change started at the top. The company invested in a 2020 Executive Leadership Program to help executives embrace their roles as leaders and encourage them to become the pioneers of change. The Leadership Program includes three challenges: "Build Our Future", "Lead Our Transformation", and "Shape Our Culture". getAbstract helped maintain momentum and supported each challenge by providing curated content around topics like "Inspiring and Leading in Times of Change" and "Adaptive Leadership". Additionally, the getAbstract discussion platform encouraged discussions and collaboration.


With the energy transition moving at lightning speed, E.ON needed an efficient way to prepare employees for the company’s structural changes. E.ON, however, also faced another challenge: a limited L&D team and budget. "We didn’t have the funds and resources to go out and talk to people face to face, so we put together a digital 'Change Cube Toolkit' with resources to help with the process – including getAbstract," Woods says. "We also created a 'change infographic' to visualize the change journey. Individuals and line managers could reflect their need for any support to continue their journey. The resources in the toolkit were there to help in each phase."

They also created a physical cube employees could walk through. The resources and change tools were posted on its walls. getAbstract offered summaries and flyers with reading recommendations about change and coping with it. With this campaign, E.ON focused on the human aspect of change, on helping employees cope with the energy transition and its repercussions.

The Change Cube was a crucial step for E.ON’s development of a new learning culture and getAbstract was a great support. "The 'Change Cube' is about learning being owned by the employees instead of by the L&D team," Woods emphasizes. "Of course, we relied heavily on getAbstract for content."