One of the most important requirements for learning is accessibility. Any efforts to make development programs informative, up to date and engaging will be all for naught if users can’t even find them in the first place.
UST Global, an IT services and outsourcing company with employees around the world, has been challenged with keeping learning accessible to the entire workforce since it was founded about a decade ago. Although the organization’s primary market is North America, it has two large development centers in India and another in the Philippines, as well as sales offices around the world.
“Since it started, the company has had a heavy focus on training,” said Manu Gopinath, head of HR for UST Global’s North American operations. “In our largest centers in India, we bring in a lot of fresh talent from the schools, train them, put them through our boot camp and give them the ability to provide services to our customers. In that model, we’ve given a lot of classroom and boot-camp training, especially in technology and soft skills.
“However, we’ve realized that in the growing-business model and also with our dispersed and diverse workforce, it’s very hard to confine all of our training to classrooms. It’s not possible, and it’s not a scalable model. That’s why we looked at multimodal training programs and e-learning.”
In early 2006, the company implemented a learning portal that included virtual courses in technology and business provided by SkillSoft. Logins to this new system were supplied to all employees, but they weren’t entirely on board with it from the beginning, Gopinath said.
“When we first opened this up to the company, people were confused,” he explained. “We thought it would be phenomenal, where everybody took several hours of training. But, we found that no one was doing anything. We did surveys internally and realized that people were confused as to what they should learn and didn’t know where to start.”
Because of this perplexity, the company sought some best practices around how this system was implemented in other companies. “We came back with a more focused approach,” Gopinath said. “In the past 12 months, we’ve clocked around 14,500 hours of training with SkillSoft alone. The other thing we did was ensure that employees picked up the right courses. We have an annual goal-setting process at the start of the year, and we use a scorecard approach for that. We have four quadrants, and one of those is learning and growth. They have to set courses they want to take for the year, and those have to help build key competencies and improve their potential.”
Additionally, a search function has helped employees find the courses they’re looking for on this platform, he said.
“The home page has a search box. That search feature is very effective. When you’re searching for something, it brings up pretty much all the courses you could be looking for. The way the courses are arranged is fantastic: It’s logical and easy for people to find what they’re looking for. It’s by the relevance to the keyword the user puts in.”
Because of this new learning infrastructure, UST Global is in a better position to expand its operations overseas from a talent perspective.
“One of the key challenges we face is that in technology, things keep changing,” Gopinath said. “We’re supposed to provide cutting-edge technology in all parts of the globe. Teams in different parts of the world might not have the right kinds of information available. With this system, we know the information is authentic, credible and distributed equally to our operations around the world. It provides a level playing field in terms of information for our employees, which they can use to provide the best solutions to our customers. That’s something I’ve seen in the evolution of our training.”