New Zealand Red Cross


“The user experience has been great and there is no way ELMO can make it easier.” – Matthew Gutschlag, People and Culture Director at New Zealand Red Cross

New Zealand Red Cross is part of the largest humanitarian network in the world. They have more than 11,000 members and 400 staff, working to improve the lives of vulnerable people across the street and around the world.

As part of the largest humanitarian network in the world, they’ve been helping in New Zealand for more than 100 years.

ELMO Client Experience: New Zealand Red Cross

Matthew Gutschlag, People and Culture Director at New Zealand Red Cross recently shared with us why the Red Cross made the decision to move to automated learning and the impact it has had on his organisation.

About the New Zealand Red Cross

Matthew Gutschlag is responsible for HR, payroll, learning & development at New Zealand Red Cross.

Red Cross has been in existence for over 100 years and in New Zealand, the small HR team of 3 manage all HR requirements for the 450 staff and 10,000 volunteers.

Recently, they decided to adopt online learning and implemented the ELMO Learning Management System (LMS) and Course Builder.

Why did New Zealand Red Cross need an automated HR system?

We needed a cost-effective system that could provide Health and Safety training to a geographically dispersed workforce. The system also had to cater to both full-time employees and volunteers working within the business.

Policy communication was an issue as they were quite lengthy and often went unread. There was a lack of distribution consistency and it was a challenge to push information out. A lot of HR’s energy was spent making sure everyone was compliant. There were concerns about pockets in New Zealand that didn’t get the information needed, and the cost to fly trainers around New Zealand was too high.

What made New Zealand Red Cross chose ELMO?

ELMO ticked all the boxes for us. We wanted a single system across all HR activities and didn’t want to use multiple vendors. While we only have LMS and Course Builder now, we are planning on expanding to include Recruitment and Onboarding. We wanted to use one system for everything that allowed information to flow across all HR functions. Because our HR team is small, we needed a system that was easy to use and once implemented, didn’t require a lot of administration. With other systems, we have found you need a specialist to administer them and we didn’t want to become specialists.

In addition to the system requirements, we needed a way to maintain compliance for Health and Safety. With the ELMO Course Library, we were able to hit the ground running with compliance courses that are tailored to New Zealand, are pre-built and ready to go. We didn’t have the time to spend 6 months creating courses and needed flexibility to edit the course content. ELMO had a dozen courses up and running while other systems didn’t have any New Zealand specific compliance content.

How did you engage employees with the new system?

Before we launched, we let the staff know what was coming via newsletters, our intranet, emails, and face-to-face meetings. We made some of the courses compulsory to begin with, which was very helpful in increasing engagement. It gave our employees a specific reason to get into the system and once they were in there, they could play around and see what it could do. We also set up a special email address for ELMO inquiries but so far, the only thing that has come through is regarding usernames and passwords, everything else they are picking up on their own.

What has the feedback and ROI looked like since implementing ELMO?

So far, we have been able to reduce the paperwork for new employees by over a dozen pages per employee – all while providing us with visibility. Managers don’t have to print out or use checklists for employees anymore, and we spend a lot less time chasing up those managers for updated employee paperwork. Postage costs have also decreased now we don’t need to send paperwork all over New Zealand.

Also, staff are loving the self-select courses. They are able to choose the courses they are interested in, which is building engagement and skills. The flexibility of on-demand learning is great and it means staff can learn what they need when they need it.

Instead of flying all over the country to deliver training, we can spend that time developing new courses and this is especially important when it comes to compliance. For example, our government contractors are required to maintain their working with children check. Training is required every 3 years and the ELMO system automatically emails alerts when re-compliance is due.  

We are also really happy with course content consistency. When it comes to health and safety training, we are now confident that the same message is going out to everyone, regardless of who the trainer is.

What has it been like working with ELMO?

Working with the ELMO team is great.  They are very responsive and quick to answer questions.

Implementation has been smooth. Initially, we were concerned that the implementation would put additional strain on our team, but the amount of time we did spend on the ELMO implementation, we saved twice over in other activities. Now we just have to sit back and watch it do its thing.

We’ve been using the help desk and 99% of the time that is all we need. When you look at the system it’s simple to use, but there is obviously a lot going on in the background. The user experience has been great and there is no way ELMO can make it easier.

Any advice for others who may be thinking of implementing an HR system?

Make sure that you’re not getting caught up in the hype of the system – focus on the real problems you are trying to solve. Make sure you don’t make the process harder than it has to be by implementing a difficult to manage system.

For more information on the ELMO Learning Management System, please download the info pack below.