Case Study by The Josh Bersin Company

XP Adopts a Customer-Centric Approach

Joensuu (FI), March 2022 - The Brazilian investment management company XP Inc. wanted to offer their employees more than just compliance training. Employees were closely included in the process of selecting and building the new learning ecosystem, and the results are fantastic. The Net Promoter Score for their platform, called Campus XP, is 87% - exceptional for any learning solution. Compared to XP's old LMS, there are eight times more active monthly users and five times more content authored by employees.

XP Inc. is a hyper-growing Brazilian investment management that serves 3.1 million domestic and international clients with 800+ investment products. XP was founded in 2001 and currently has offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Miami, London, and Geneva. The company is sized at about 6000 employees right now, and the number has doubled each of the last four years - XP is preparing to reach 10,000 employees by next year.

Founded by a group of financial consultants, the company's modus operandi is staying close to its customers' most pressing needs. This approach is deeply engrained in everything XP does, and this philosophy is reflected in HR, too. The talent team determines its priorities based on the needs of its customers - the rapidly expanding workforce, and the challenge is that beyond compliance, employees want more development. Through climate surveys and forums, the team gathers employee input to establish and continually update its focus areas. 

In the last two years since going public in 2019, XP has started to rapidly grow its customer base and portfolio of product offerings. While several experts in the organization were innovating and solving complex customer problems, it was happening in silos. There was limited knowledge sharing. The learning opportunities available to employees were company directed and compliance focused. The need for more learning and development and an environment where employees could own their career growth started to surface as a pervasive theme across all the listening channels.

As the talent team was rethinking L&D, the pandemic hit and added a layer of complexity - and an opportunity. "Last year, in the middle of the pandemic, we made the decision to migrate our work model from traditional face to face to 'XP Anywhere', a remote-first model. We were the first Brazilian company to make such a bold move," said Diana Schemel, former Head of Learning and Development at XP. As is true for most organizations, the shift to remote work during the pandemic upended traditional corporate learning and amplified the importance of learning in the flow of work, as well as the need to establish mechanisms to quickly create and disseminate just-in-time learning resources.

XP's business challenges include the need for continuous development, trust, and belonging.

Driven by the needs of its customers and in light of the new remote-first work model, XP needed to create a digital ecosystem to support the end-to-end learning needs of the workforce.

This presented the talent team with three business problems to address:

  1. XP didn't have a clear way to scale L&D initiatives, and digital engagement was very low. XP needed to create a digital ecosystem that fosters a culture of continuous development and enables scalable and effective learning.
  2. XP launches several new financial products every month, and financial advisors need to rapidly train their teams on these products. The L&D team needed to find ways to equip financial advisors and teams to facilitate high-quality learning and knowledge sharing.
  3. With everyone working remotely, creating a sense of belonging and engagement is more challenging. XP needed to ensure that people feel a sense of belonging and community in the new remote-first context, and furthermore, disseminate expected behaviors to maintain its strong company culture.

XP was born as an educational firm started by a group of financial market experts committed to educating people how to invest, and consequently, its vision includes the concept that education breeds trust. The founders believed that educating people on how to invest and equipping them with the tools they need to improve their financial performance makes it easier to gain their trust and goes a long way in building customer loyalty. 

As the company set out to optimize learning for its workforce, the educational component formed the foundation of the company's new vision for L&D. The company prides itself in hiring teams of experts. Equipping people with the tools and infrastructure to learn from these experts, share knowledge with each other, and improve their own performance is pivotal to cultivating trust, belonging, and engagement in the workforce. XP decided to build a solution in which learning is owned by the true experts in the business - the people themselves - and not by L&D. 

By mid-2020, it had been established that the most pressing need of XP's workforce was learning and career growth. As a solution, based upon a customer-centric approach, XP wanted to create a learning environment in which people can learn from each other, especially in a remote and digital work model. However, XP wanted to ensure they fully understood all L&D related pain-points, rather than just scratching the surface. The process of discovering challenges and launching a new approach spanned five phases.

"In the first phase, we conducted a discovery process, and it became clear that we needed to bring in a new technological enabler because our traditional LMS wasn't able to deliver what our customers wanted," said Schemel. XP operates in a highly regulated industry, and their LMS primarily supported mandatory compliance-training requirements. It did not, however, support modern learning capabilities such as continuous learning, content authoring, and tailored learning recommendations. XP needed to widen the aperture of learning beyond compliance and build a learning ecosystem that could support a modern learning culture. 

The global search phase saw the team move forward on the decision to adopt a new technology to enable their strategy, and the talent team partnered with a team of employees to establish criteria that the new solution should meet. This team included stakeholders from HR and the business, representing the voice of learners as well as administrators, including IT and digital security infrastructure representatives.  The search criteria established by this team covered the whole gamut from mandatory compliance requirements to an engaging user experience, with a corresponding list of features and functionalities within each area. The broad categories that served as the search criteria for XP's new learning technology included the following:

  • visualization / usability
  • technical requirements, IS, and compliance
  • recommender system
  • content management and creation
  • AP Anywhere (face-to-face, online and self-paced training)
  • data
  • quizzes
  • social learning

In phase three, as proof of concept testing based on the search criteria, XP conducted a market review of learning solutions and shortlisted two solutions. The discovery team tested out the two platforms and voted on several parameters such as the extent to which the solution supported their selection criteria, their experience working with the vendor, etc. Based on meticulous user testing and review, the team selected Valamis - an end-to-end solution that provides learners with access to a vast array of learning opportunities from a single UI.

The fourth phase, which lasted over the next three months, saw XP work with a designated team of customers (employees) and the Valamis team to develop personas and prioritize customization needs for what would add most value for each of those personas. A “minimum viable product” (MVP) was designed and then launched to a small audience selected by the talent team with the intent of creating a success story that other teams would want to follow.

XP launched the MVP with a clear strategic intent of creating buy-in by building on the pain-points that the solution intended to address, rather than adopting a marketing or promotional approach. The following guiding principles were followed for the launch:

  • The MVP launch was to be led by influential and admired leaders, not the L&D team.
  • The communications would focus on the "why" and not the "what". The focus would be on the pain points that the platform would address, rather than the platform itself.
  • Participants would receive system generated notifications regarding content and events connected to their development needs, and not about the features or benefits of the platform.

For the next 45 days, phase five, XP made some adjustments based on the MVP launch, and by mid-2021, the implementation and rollout launched the platform to the entire company. For the company-wide launch, XP repeated the strategy that had worked during the MVP, and invited leaders to talk to their teams about how the new digital platform would support employees' development and career growth. XP tapped into opportunities already in place for rolling out communications - for example, all-hands meetings and existing business events instead of creating new meetings or events.

Campus XP - as the new digital learning platform is called - is an end-to-end learning ecosystem that provides a wide array of learning technology capabilities that support a modern learning infrastructure. Campus XP makes learning accessible to all employees through a single UI, gives them the autonomy to author and share content, and generates analytics that the learning team can use to measure its progress and impact.

The results have manifested exceptional satisfaction and engagement: The Net Promoter Score for Campus XP is 87%, which is exceptional for any learning solution. Early statistics since the launch of Campus XP, and even during the MVP, have been outstanding. The new solution makes compliance and development training, asynchronous and synchronous learning, as well as interactive knowledge sharing channels like forums and wikis, all available in one place. Almost half of the content creation and sharing in the environment is done by employees outside the L&D team, which is a testimony to the effectiveness of the new solution. 

"Through Campus XP, employees have access to synchronous learning, and they also have access to features such as forums and wikis where they can interact, teach, and learn from each other. What's more scalable than your own people teaching each other and helping with each other's development?" asked Diana Schemel, former Head of Learning and Development at XP.

The success of the adoption of the new platform can be attributed to the solution itself, as well as to the way the solution was launched: with a laser focus on customer's needs; a deep understanding of pain-points; liaising with customers throughout the selection and launch of the solution; and leveraging leaders to drive communications. The new approach has been a real enabler for driving scalability of learning and creating an environment that fosters continuous development.