HR TOOLS & TECH­NOL­OGY

The HR Digest - - Content Features -

How IBM pro­motes On-job Train­ing

A few years ago, Pep Boys re­al­ized that their tra­di­tional way of ed­u­cat­ing em­ploy­ees about theft wasn’t re­ally work­ing. Un­til that point, they had re­lied on classes, meet­ings and posters to teach em­ploy­ees about theft. Soon af­ter, they turned to a Cana­dian startup, Anox­ify to try a new ap­proach, where the in­for­ma­tion was stripped down to the most ba­sic ideas and pre­sented in a rather novel fash­ion. Un­der this new ap­proach, em­ploy­ees were given quick ses­sions in the form of a mo­bile game, where each ses­sion would take only 3 min­utes. Em­ploy­ees could earn points from these ses­sions and those points could be re­deemed for re­wards.

The novel ap­proach didn’t take long to prove its ben­e­fits. Un­like cor­po­rate learn­ing mod­els, not only did the em­ployee use the sys­tem, but also gained mea­sur­able busi­ness re­sults. Thefts in more than 700 stores dropped by $20 mil­lion in the first year alone, be­cause em­ploy­ees were bet­ter able to iden­tify sus­pi­cious be­hav­ior and re­port it prop­erly. Ax­onify CEO Carol Leaman says that be­fore the experiment, they took for granted that em­ploy­ees knew what to do.

The HR in­dus­try is amidst an enor­mous shift in how it’s us­ing tech­nol­ogy to train em­ploy­ees. A lot of in­dus­tries have al­ready trans­formed through tech­nol­ogy, how­ever HR is still in the be­gin­ning phase of it. The HR soft­ware mar­ket is es­ti­mated to be at $15 bil­lion, how­ever not all of that cap­i­tal is be­ing put to proper use. De­spite com­pa­nies us­ing learn­ing man­age­ment sys­tems, the fastest grow­ing seg­ment is more than 30 per­cent of the cor­po­rate train­ing ma­te­rial that com­pa­nies de­velop is squan­dered.

The gen­eral con­cept that train­ing should be mea­sured by what em­ploy­ees re­ally learn is a rea­son­able leap for­ward. In the 1990s, tra­di­tional class­room train­ing be­gan to of­fer ap­proach to “learn­ing man­age­ment sys­tems,” which helped com­pa­nies bet­ter scale their train­ing ef­forts, be­cause lessons could be in­cor­po­rated and con­veyed on­de­mand through cor­po­rate in­tranet. In any case, the data and re­ports they gen­er­ated were prim­i­tive. Around then, it was es­pe­cially about who at­tended the cour­ses. Yet, that is of no worth. What com­pa­nies truly need to know is whether em­ploy­ees re­ally learn and re­tain the data, and whether it’s the right in­for­ma­tion for en­hanc­ing busi­ness per­for­mance.

In Ax­onify’s plat­form, as­sess­ment and train­ing are en­twined. Since nu­mer­ous em­ploy­ees use Ax­onify con­sis­tently, the plat­form can con­tin­u­ally track em­ployee learn­ing and in­tel­li­gently give the data needed to close an em­ployee’s in­di­vid­ual knowl­edge. The app also in­flu­ences learn­ing re­search to en­hance re­ten­tion by re­peat­ing the in­quiries in spe­cific time in­ter­ims. Even af­ter an em­ployee “grad­u­ates” out of a spe­cific point, the in­quiries will be re­vis­ited to around seven months to help re­call the in­for­ma­tion.

IBM uses be­hav­ior data in an un­ex­pected way, to de­liver valu­able train­ing ma­te­ri­als to em­ploy­ees when they re­ally need it. For in­stance, when an­other IBM em­ployee sched­ules their first meet­ing with dif­fer­ent em­ploy­ees, the aide de­tects that it’s their first time, and proac­tively shows ma­te­rial about how to di­rect a meet­ing.

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