In 2020, this Global 100 insurer was facing the same challenges that so many other companies – large and small – were attempting to navigate. In the midst of acquisitions, layoffs, and attrition, the company was moving toward a remote work environment. Then came COVID-19. The transformation to fully remote work for over 40,000 employees was immediate.
Leadership struggled to help keep employees healthy, engaged, and productive. Prior to the pandemic, only 20% of its employees worked remotely. Today, 75% are fully remote, 24% are hybrid, and only 1% works onsite.
When it became clear that fully remote work was here to stay, leaders in this company were faced with additional challenges: How do we preserve and enhance the family-forward, small-town corporate culture that makes us a unique and desirable employer? How do we successfully onboard team members without the benefits of face-to-face meetings, water cooler conversations, and team lunches? Employees who once worked closely together in a physical office were disconnected from each other and from leadership. Managers felt the same loss, and they noticed that team and individual engagement, employee satisfaction, and performance levels were dropping. It was difficult to understand when and where there were team conflicts or other issues, and consistency and quality of work were beginning to suffer. And when quality of work suffers, so does service delivery.
The company knew it needed help to support its workforce in remaining connected, productive, and satisfied. But it lacked internal expertise in how to do so.
This client engaged Powers Resource Center (PRC), a boutique consulting firm located in the Denver Metro area, to create and implement a year-long learning program for its team of more than 1,500 Claims leaders and managers. What resulted was an award-winning, innovative virtual leadership program.
PRC has deep expertise in and a long history of empowering teams with strategic consulting and insights; and its CEO, Tara Powers, has authored two books on the topic of virtual teams and working from a home environment.
While PRC may be small in size, it’s large in stature. According to Tara Powers, CEO, “Clients choose us because our entire team is involved right from the start, and stay involved. They know they’ll get the A-team because there is no B-team.”
Because PRC is led by a carefully cultivated and tight-knit team of experts, it was able to quickly and fully customize a solution that targeted the specific needs of this client. These needs included the ability to continually reap the benefits of their investment, so the engagement specified that the client would own the eLearning product instead of licensing it.
The engagement began with an eight-week discovery and needs analysis process to establish performance and engagement baselines and identify areas of strength and opportunity. PRC conducted a leadership survey to understand how then-current technology and processes were impacting the work environment, with a particular focus on leadership and collaboration. To discover more about what was and wasn’t working well in remote work, PRC conducted small focus groups with more than 250 Claims leaders and employees.
Working hand-in-hand with the client, PRC recommended a customized eLearning design and development journey and a curriculum that would address a full complement of topics, including:
Elevating leadership to reach its full potential in a remote environment takes more than just a few online classes. It’s a learning journey that follows a specific roadmap. PRC created a customized learning journey experience based on client input, research results, and their own deep eLearning expertise.
Step 1 was a pre-learning questionnaire for leaders that measured baselines of confidence, understanding, and skill in each topic area; it was also designed to gain buy-in from the learners for the application of new skills and behaviors.
Step 2 was for company leaders to complete a 20- to 25-minute eLearning module focused on a specific skill, which provided proven best practices.
Step 3 saw learners implement these best practices, gather team feedback, and adjust as necessary.
Step 4 included attending a Leader Roundtable to discuss wins and challenges and to identify additional opportunities for skill improvement through peer-led conversations.
Step 5 was the completion of a post-learning journey questionnaire to assess progress relative to the baseline captured in Step 1.
In advance of full program rollout, PRC developed a client-internal marketing and communications drip strategy to create excitement and anticipation and conducted Train the Trainer events with the internal training team to assist them in leading the Roundtable discussions.
In the second phase of this project, PRC designed and delivered Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)-compliant learning modules to the client in a staged manner to improve speed-of-delivery and provide the opportunity for feedback via client roundtable discussions.
These video-based modules included narration and closed-captioning, and offered engaging activities, knowledge checks, quizzes, and internal Subject Matter Expert video content, as well as the opportunity for user feedback. Employees could also download resources and best practices to implement with their teams, bringing the learning application into a real-world environment. Examples were specific to the day-to-day scenarios that learners were familiar with.
PRC built a rating system into the modules to gather incremental feedback to empower learners to rate the level of ease in applying what they learned into their day-to-day work. The program also included pre- and post-behavioral skill assessments for each module. Train the Trainer sessions prepared the internal training team to conduct post-training Leader Roundtables – discussions that covered best practices and application of new skills. PRC also created comprehensive guides to assist the internal training team with facilitating these peer-led conversations.
Completion rates were 100% for modules 1 and 2. To gauge overall effectiveness of the program, the client measured a comprehensive set of metrics, including:
These overall scores, which included measuring perceived value, business results, learning effectiveness, job impact, courseware, support tools, technology, and instructor, were extraordinarily high:
When analyzing the Learning Effectiveness Scores, PRC determined that the lowest-scoring module was Module 3 (88.4%), “Using Communication Best Practices.” The client reasoned that by the time this module was released, many leaders had already been forced to determine communication practices due the COVID -19 pandemic.
The module “Onboarding in a Virtual World” scored the highest in learning effectiveness (94%), likely because it was released at the apex of hiring across disciplines.
The pre- and post-behavioral skill assessments for each module showed high levels of improvement in skill and confidence.
This eLearning journey proved to be one of the most well-received and successful leadership programs in the clients’ long history. It is currently being customized for rollout in other divisions, with plans to make it part of a company-wide leadership initiative. With the help of PRC, this client is leveraging their investment for future dividends in collaboration, camaraderie, and an engaged, productive workforce.
The client expects to use this program in its recruitment and retention efforts, and they expect to see improvement on their annual employee satisfaction survey results, including:
In the Fall of 2022, PRC earned two coveted Brandon Hall Group Gold Awards for excellence in the Leadership Development category and one Bronze Award in the Future of Work category for the design and impacts of this transformational program. “We are stoked to receive these honors,” said Powers. “Our intent is always to provide our clients with transformative learning, tools, and resources they need to reach the highest levels of engagement and success in the future of work.”
To find more about how Powers Resource Center can create transformative programs for your team, contact us today.