In the U.S., if you're planning to connect a utility to your property or need to dig a trench that goes to public footpaths and highways, the chances are you need a permit and for that you need to have the utilities marked by a specialist contractor. USIC is the company most likely to undertake that work although as one might imagine, such work is seasonal or weather dependent.
The nature of USIC's business means that it hires around 4,000 to 5,000 people each year to fill the gap that natural attrition brings when work dries up during periods of inclement weather. Each person needs to be trained but this is far from straightforward
Dave Hembroff, manager learning and development at USIC explains it this way:
Training people is tough when you've got a highly mobile but distributed workforce, often working on their own, spread across 44 states and 78 main locations and where that training and education has to be geared towards local regulation.
A learning management system is therefore critical to the efficient delivery of training and education content to a mobile and ever changing workforce.
Regulation is always changing and you don't always know the extent to which changes will require a training overhaul. We therefore need flexible ways to deliver updates. That might mean classroom based or webinar. Oh yes - and we need to remain mobile. When we take on new people, we need them to be on the job and learning very quickly. Ideally, we want them productive within three weeks.
At this point in the conversation, and recognizing the complexity of managing this kind of environment. I was curious to learn where Litmos fits in.
One of the main things about the Litmos platform is that it's very user friendly. They've built a system that is very easy to navigate from the user side, so we're looking at the footprint of the people who are out there. Also, it allows you to take things as simple as a PowerPoint presentation and turn it into a course just by uploading it into their system.
Beyond that, Litmos takes advantage of single sign-on via the IRS issued I9. This means that once a new hire is logged onto the system, they are provisioned with everything they need to not only get the job done but also pick up training and education content from the Litmos system.
All this sounds fine but what are the outcomes? According to the company, productivity has improved 100%, learning times have been dramatically reduced from 15 to 5 days and in the early days, USIC found more than $1.5 million in travel related cost savings. Those are impressive results but what of the future?
As you know, unless learning is reinforced then people will forget sometimes important parts of what they need to know. We're looking to boost or reinforce their knowledge with a kind of 'learning inside learning.'
I was curious to discover how these outcomes were achieved. According to Hembroff, the key was in developing a genuine partnership with Litmos that benefits both parties:
Our CFO had experience of Litmos at another company and was confident that as we brought on new requirements, Litmos would quickly adapt. As a relatively small supplier, we felt that Litmos would likely give us the attention we need for success. We know for example that we can call up named senior Litmos folk and they will move things forward for us. What's more, Litmos is much more workforce and task oriented rather than academic in its approach. That matters for a business like ours where time to productivity is an important benchmark.