Plastics / Quality Exclusives

Training Challenges with a Dispersed Workforce

April 18, 2011
Piedmont Plastics leaders began investigating an learning management system approach to unify its training programs.



With 40 branches and 500 employees spread across North America, it’s always been a challenge for Piedmont Plastics to deliver timely, pertinent and cost-effective training.

The company has five basic categories of employees, each requiring training specific to the position. All branch personnel are required to complete safety and compliance training, develop a basic level of computer software skills, as well as maintain product knowledge. Managers are encouraged to take additional courses in leadership, employee relations and Piedmont Plastics policies and procedures.

Before Piedmont Plastics engaged Intelladon to implement a learning management system (LMS), the company delivered training in a classroom setting or via conference calling. This meant downtime for employees, increased travel expenses, a delay in delivering timely courses and, in some cases, inconsistent content.



Finding the Right Solution Partner

Piedmont Plastics leaders began investigating an LMS approach to unify their training programs. They issued requests for proposals (RFPs) and several companies responded. According to Suzanne Awn, director of human resources, “The Intelladon presentation really stood out. Their style, their eagerness and the product they were offering were exactly what we were looking for.”

Based on Piedmont Plastics’ requirements, Intelladon proposed Cornerstone OnDemand as the LMS. Awn says that one of the features that really appealed to her was that the Cornerstone LMS offered more than just training modules. She wanted to use the LMS to support the company’s performance management and succession planning initiatives as well.



Selecting the Right Courses

Along with recommending Cornerstone as the best LMS for Piedmont Plastics’ training needs, Intelladon selected MindLeaders to supply off-the-shelf courses. Chad Roberts, learning and organizational development manager, explains that because Piedmont Plastics was new to the online training world, he really appreciated Intelladon’s insight and expertise in selecting courses. “Intelladon really worked with us on access to the content. We talked with the senior leadership at Intelladon and they figured out a way that we could afford all the content we needed.”

Roberts says he appreciates Intelladon’s willingness to work with Piedmont Plastics when integrating courses that are not part of the MindLeaders library. “Intelladon works with us to find solutions. We‘re a team. They’re the kind of people we like to work with.”

Faster Training

Roberts has really noticed an increase in the time-to-productivity for new hires since the company transitioned to an LMS and to MindLeaders. He explains that “we have streamlined compliance training from a 90-day period to a 30-day period from date of hire to date of completion. And we are trying to get that down to 14 days.”

In addition, Awn comments on the easy availability of the training. She says that before Intelladon implemented Cornerstone OnDemand, she would conduct live conference calls to train new branch managers on the Piedmont Plastics approach to hiring, handling critical situations and managing corrective actions. And if two new managers were hired within a 2-week period, she would deliver the training twice. Now the managers go online and receive immediate training and consistent content.

Developing Employees

Succession management is a top priority for Piedmont Plastics. “We need to identify the people at the branch level who have the skills to run the company in the future and we need to develop them now,” says Awn. She is looking to Intelladon to help her implement Cornerstone’s succession planning modules.

Roberts also wants to make cross-training opportunities readily available to employees. For example, “If we have a warehouse employee who wants to learn more about inside sales, he can take that training online at no cost.”

Creating a Piedmont Plastics Branded LMS

Being able to rebrand the Cornerstone LMS as the Piedmont Plastics Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD) system was exciting for Roberts and helped him emphasize the importance of the new training system throughout the company.



The Complete Package

Roberts explains that one of the primary reasons he is so pleased with his relationship with Intelladon is the breadth of services and solutions he receives from the company. With Intelladon’s expert knowledge of a variety of learning platforms, off-the-shelf content, custom development programs and more, he has been able to implement a complete, integrated training system without going to several vendors to get it done.

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