Government Elearning! Magazine

FALL 2015

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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Government Elearning! Fall 2015 31 Shaw Chooses Diverse New Training for Geographically Diverse New Workforce With more than $4.8 billion in annu- al sales and more than 24,000 custom- ers worldwide, sales training is vitally important to Shaw. Its sales training program encompasses a multi-tiered approach using a variety of media and instructional techniques to developing the salesforce necessary to support the diverse customer needs for Shaw. In- cluded in the approach are a new talent pipeline, facilities for keeping the sales- force current on new product introduc- tions, and ensuring that it has the skills to serve a diverse customer base. These and other factors resulted in Shaw being named one of Learning! 100's top organizations. Shaw's sales workforce of more than 1,700 is faced with meeting the needs of a diverse, global customer base that re- quires a diverse product mix. New prod- ucts are introduced two to three times a year — ofen dozens of styles across mul- tiple product lines. The salesforce is scattered all across the world, which often can make training challenging when traditional instructor-led approaches are used ex- clusively. Not only must training be of- fered in multiple languages, but it must also take into account cultural differ- ences around the world. And that's something new for a company that is just emerging globally. Additionally, the subject matter — floor coverings — is more technical than you might expect. "We have sales people that sell hard surfaces, carpet and sports turf," says Shaw's Chris Clement. "It's really a wide range of products with technical nuances that separate them from competition. The topic of functionality can also become complex. "Te biggest challenge is that our tar- get audience is not in the same geogra- phy as our base it. It's all over the globe. Te feedback is we can't take as much time out of market coming to Dalton (Ga.). We've got to fgure out where our clients are, and that's everywhere. ILT is the best way to asses performance, but you can't do it all that way." Maintaining a pipeline of new talent is one challenge that must be met, in order to not lose ground to competitors when retirements or turnover occur. New hires spend 12 weeks at the cor- porate headquarters in Dalton, attend- ing a "boot camp" to learn the industry, the company and its products. Many hires are right out of school, so they have the learning habits of Millennials: shorter batches of information with more frequent bursts. "We've gamified a lot of the training, too," says Clement. "Gamification for us is allows sales people to win points through answering questions correctly. But we're very, very early in developing that facet of our training; our last class was our pilot program. They were our guinea pigs, and it worked beautifully, so we're planning to expand that por- tion of our sales training. It's a compe- tition, and sales is definitely a competi- tion." Testing is done via the Trivie mobile format. "We test for comprehension," Clement notes. "Before Trivie, we used written tests that took long time to take and grade. But with Trivie, the results are instantaneous, in real-time. Tat af- fords us the opportunity to give needed coaching quickly." Because the training is competitive, like the sales profession, it has an up- to-date leaderboard, and participants are given a monetary incentive to excel. But experienced new hires don't at- tend the corporate university. They are given more condensed training. "We do a lot of things in our mobile app," Clement says. "The idea is, if you're a sales person, we give you information when and where you need it, not just when you can show up." Diversity is the key, Clement notes: "We've diversifed as a company in our product oferiengs and locations. Our learning programs are refections of that." Shaw Industries is a five-time Learn- ing! 100 winner. INNOVATIO N AREA OF EXCELLENCE Many of Shaw's hires are right out of school, so they have the learning habits of Millennials: shorter but more frequent bursts of information.

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