Customized Program Helps to Motivate, Train, and Retain the Right Employees
Shared Technologies Inc.
Like many other companies, Shared Technologies, a leading provider of installation and maintenance services for telecom customers, had been through years of turmoil, layoffs, and cultural changes. It was taking years to overcome the catastrophic drop in the industry. Multiple acquisitions and drastic corporate changes had affected morale, resulting in an uncertain corporate climate and a perception of job insecurity.
Technically Trained Employees Leave to Join Competitors
Shared Technologies found itself investing significant resources in training programs for its service technicians who, once trained, would leave to work for a competitor.
"We were becoming part of a vicious cycle," explained Tony Parella, CEO of Shared Technologies. "It was a revolving door. It was time to make a strategic investment in our people, sharpening our focus and devoting resources to develop a new program to motivate and retain our people, thereby establishing a competitive advantage in the market."
To that end, Shared Technologies' senior leadership recognized that the business should focus on improving several areas, including workforce development, training, and more importantly, employee retention and loyalty. "We don't manufacture anything - our business is based on service, and technology never stands still," explained Parella. "What sets us apart is the technicians armed with the latest technical expertise, and keeping these technicians motivated is critical to the success of our business."
The management team recognized that a comprehensive and strategic training program could address all of these goals.
Shared Technologies is a supplier of Avaya Nortel Enterprise Solutions equipment and sought advice from their associates at Avaya. Recognizing the importance of training and certification, Avaya immediately turned to Global Knowledge.
The three companies spent the next few months working through the strategy and logistics required to develop and implement a comprehensive training program.
Global Knowledge's SOLVE™ Methodology
Surround the Business Challenge
We conducted an exhaustive analysis of the training histories of Shared Technologies' more than 300 service technicians, and then surrounded themselves with these histories. By doing this, they were able to determine which technicians were best prepared for any of Avaya's certification exams and what additional training would be required at an individual level.
Originate - Technical Advancement Program
With all of the data assembled, we moved quickly to the originate phase to customize a tailored program to motivate and train employees.
Each service technician began with a skills assessment review to enable selection of specific certification paths and provide each individual with a blended learning track.
With field technicians operating out of 34 regional offices, Shared Technologies needed a flexible delivery strategy that would enable technicians to take training courses at their convenience. We proposed an innovative, blended learning solution that offered classroom and e-Learning courses.
The hands-on classroom courses allowed all students to install and configure live equipment. The e-Learning training was complemented with additional online services, such as eMentor, which allowed technicians to send questions directly to an instructor, surveys to assess student satisfaction with the courses, and an online reporting tool for Shared Technologies administrators to show which students were accessing courseware, dates of access, and pass/fail rates.
Ready, Set, Launch
To generate awareness and excitement for the program, we joined Avaya and Shared Technologies to hit the road in October 2004. For five straight weeks, representatives from the companies visited every office to launch the program.
"The partnership approach we took with Global Knowledge was well received by the technicians," explained David Fritsche, Director of Internal Development at Shared Technologies. "Having Global Knowledge experts at the launch meetings for questions and feedback helped to alleviate any concerns and assured we were all working together to improve their careers."
Increased Customer Satisfaction, Decreased Employee Turnover
Validate and Measure
"The astounding results of our customer satisfaction survey reaffirmed the benefits of working with Global Knowledge. If you want to run a world-class service organization, you have to invest in training," concluded Parella. "Global Knowledge brought the resources and expertise we needed to get the program up and running, and as a result, our business continues to grow and prosper exponentially."
We developed and implemented the program in less than three months. After the first six months, Shared Technologies' programs resulted in more than 57 Avaya certifications with an additional 195 technician enrollments in online courses.
Field technician retention also improved. "In the eight months since the program rolled out, our employee turnover rate is now less than one half of one percent, which is unheard of in the service business," explained Parella.
Additionally, the implementation resulted in significant cost savings. Shared Technologies estimates that the unique web-based approach designed by us allows them to save at least $1,200 per employee per week of training by eliminating travel and expenses associated with classroom training.
We worked with Shared Technologies to shape the program to deliver the best and most up-to-date courseware for Shared Technologies' telecom professionals, and to modify offerings and delivery.
"Meeting with the service technicians on a personal level allowed Global Knowledge to hear firsthand about the challenges we were dealing with," adds Fritsche. "Global Knowledge took that insight and applied it to help us develop a truly unique training program. We really couldn't have done it without their expertise."
By using the SOLVE methodology, the key points of the program were built in from the start and the program is working to continually to improve workforce performance, employee retention and loyalty and customer satisfaction.