Innovative Strategies for Ramping Seasonal Employees
World-wide Hospitality and Travel Services Company
Seasonally impacted businesses experience unique challenges in resourcing business units at certain times of the year. Reconfiguring teams and hiring new employees to bolster a team at busy times presents training challenges that can immediately impact customer support and satisfaction and, in the long run, impede operational efficiency. Reduced customer satisfaction and increased cost of operations both impact the bottom line negatively.
One of the world’s largest hospitality companies was facing major challenges in their client contact center. During peak season, certain business units, require dozens and sometimes hundreds of new hires and employees from around the business to augment operations. To make them effective in doing the job the company was using the traditional classroom training model. These training sessions took approximately two weeks to get a staff member to an adequate level of proficiency.
The inefficiencies related to this time lag between shifting a team member and having them be productive represents real measurable costs-training time, administrative costs, contingency hires, and opportunity cost of being productive. Notably high levels of attrition were associated to the stress associated with frequently changing roles and not feeling proficient on the job. This was identified as a company-wide initiative from and driven by the board.
To alleviate these problems Innovatia outlined a two-pronged approach to ramping up new, or recently transferred, employees. These two strategies were to deliver minimal and basic training up front and utilize on-the-job performance support tools to guide the employee’s work.
Industry leading eLearning delivery methods and instructional design produced user friendly and engaging training to provide the employee with core information relating to the new role. This included the minimum required knowledge about the new task and important general information about why the role was important and how it fit within the broader company.
An innovative and unique on-the-job performance tool, ProcedureFlow, was used to supplement the rest of the knowledge transfer. ProcedureFlow was implemented inside of multiple teams and the client assigned their most reliable employees as process mappers. ProcedureFlow captures the knowledge of an experienced employee in a form that is easy for a new employee to use as a guide through their day-to-day work.
The two-pronged approach to guiding work can be characterized by the phrase, “knowledge in your head and in your hands.” In some cases, certain information needs to be memorized or internalized for a person to be effective on the job. Information about how to talk to an agitated person or what is the end goal of the job need to be in the head. For most on the job information memorizing every possible situation was impractical. Information like, how to book a rental car, send an itinerary package, or what to offer a person who has missed a connecting flight due to illness is information that needs to be easily accessible to be successful at the new job.
Blending minimal training with performance support tools has led to remarkable results for many of Innovatia’s clients. In one instance a team needed help during a very busy season. Several agents were taken off of one team, and with a two-hour orientation session, they were put into another team where ProcedureFlow was used as the guide. This team was immediately productive and has quality and customer satisfaction scores similar or better than the experienced team. Previously training was a two-week event.
After this first engagement Innovatia has worked in various other areas of the business to streamline training and work performance. Currently a training curriculum is being deployed to streamline the use and implementation of a new custom reservation system. When completed this new training will be used for new and existing agents and will be a blend of classroom, online learning materials, and job aids.
- Seasonal ebb and flow requires shifting of people between divisions and lots of training
- High turnover and minimal team flexibility
- Taking too long to train a new employees
- Need to on-board seasonal employees quickly
- Custom built eLearning and work support system that blended the up-front training and on-the-job work aids
- Work aid is partner’s ProcedureFlow process mapping tool
- Training delivered in easily accessed, quickly scaled and engaging eLearning modules
- Increase effectiveness of cross-training
- Increased customer satisfaction scores
- Reduced time to resolve customer transactions
- Training across business units streamlined to reduce cost of seasonally reconfiguring teams
- Employee attrition reduction attributed to less on-the-job stress
- Up-front training time reduced from two weeks two hours
- Increased consistency between employees using on-the-job performance support too
Founded in 1999 and with offices across North America and globally, Innovatia’s 650 professionals deliver top quality solutions to their clients. Innovatia delivers knowledge management services in three areas including Learning Solutions, Documentation, and Technical Support. These solutions span the entire solution set from custom design and development through to delivery and support bringing the latest innovations in Knowledge Management to their clients.