Much of our work at UpSkill America has focused on longstanding companies, but upskilling is just as important – perhaps more so – when new organizations or those that relocate have to start up a brand new workforce in a short period of time.
We reached out to Greg Kish, Vice President of Sales and Service for Legends working with the Los Angeles Rams to learn about his work to prepare a brand new workforce to focus on ticket sales in time for the Rams’ first season back in Los Angeles after more than two decades.
The NFL owners approved the Rams move to Los Angeles in January of 2016, which left you very little time to recruit, hire and train a new workforce to sell tickets to games. Though that would be a fascinating discussion by itself, let’s focus on the training aspect. What was your training strategy going in knowing you had a lot of new employees to train in a short period of time?
The Rams needed to build a season ticket member list and try to sell out nine home games to a new fan base in a very short window of time. Given this challenge, the leadership team decided to engage technology to ensure that we on-boarded our new Member Services team effectively and prepared them for the challenge’s they would face leading the customer service charge for the Los Angeles Rams. The technology we chose was a gamification platform that allowed us to convert existing training materials and product knowledge into an interactive mobile game platform – Training Game from Sales Huddle Group.
The game platform played a major role in not just onboarding our Member Service team, but also in delivering new weekly training. Reps were allowed to play a mix of daily games focused on a range of content, from brand knowledge (ex. the history of the L.A. Rams) to product knowledge (pricing, features, FAQ’s). We created monthly contests to encourage a competitive environment where training became something that employees wanted to do, instead of had to do. The winner of the monthly contest received rewards ranging from dinner with senior leadership to access to exclusive events to gift cards. Employees could play the training games any time of day, but were not required.
How did you decide on a gaming strategy? Was it a natural choice since you are in a sports franchise?
Today, over 500 colleges offer a degree in Sports Management or a related field. It is a degree that is highly sought after and thousands of students are entering the workforce annually with the intention to make a career in sports a reality. The problem: Most are not adequately prepared to start on Day 1.
We know that our employees are changing how they learn and interact with technology, which means that we need to stay ahead of the curve with how we train. Most learning tools are not compelling or engaging. It is important to our leadership team to make training not just important but something that actually improves employee performance.
Using a game platform helped us to create an environment where employees not only have access to training anytime, anywhere – but, that they can now consume training in a format that is fun, engaging and competitive. Our adoption has been tremendous and the game platform has empowered our employees to take a more active role in their own self development.
What kind of results have you seen?
We’ve seen major increases in performance since using the Training Game. These include:
- Increase in Employee Participation. As opposed to most LMS platforms and other learning tools that see single-digit participation, the member service team saw 100% participation (weekly) throughout the 3-month period from June to August.
- 51% Increase in Retention. Within the first 30-days, employees saw an average 51% increase in accuracy on games played.
- Long Term Retention. After 30 days of playing a specific game, the game was turned off and a new game was rotated into the training cycle. After 90 days, players that were re-tested using a game played 90 days prior, still scored a 91% on the training material. Signifying strong retention of key training subject matter.
- Employees More Excited About Training. Feedback from employees surveyed stated that training using a game platform was more fun, competitive and effective than other methods, including instructor-led trainings, workbooks and online videos.
- High Adoption Outside of Traditional Working Hours. Employees today are more mobile than ever. The team engaged the Training Game mobile app at high levels in down time and non-traditional training times (68% of all gameplay occurred outside of traditional 9am to 5pm working hours). Proving that if training is compact it can be consumed quicker and more often, creating an experience that is drastically different than long session online training that traditionally occurs with most LMS platforms.
What advice would you give people considering gaming as a training tool? What should they look for to be sure it is effective?
You want to make sure that if your company is investing in a game platform, it does not create a distraction. We understood that this would be another tool that our managers would have to own, and we wanted to make sure that the platform we chose was something that could be easy to administer and correctly apply our concepts and philosophies. This means that all content can be updated in real time, users can be activated and deactivated quickly and we can run real time reports to understand performance. Ensuring the game platform you select is self-service and then ensuring that you allocate the necessary personnel to oversee the platform is critical to its success.
Our leadership team has engaged in a variety of training tools over the years, including outside trainers, consultants, online learning tools, seminars and more. The one thing we always struggled with is ensuring high levels of retention for our employees beyond the initial training. So, when we were looking at all the tools in the market we placed major importance on finding a game platform that had proven results with ensuring high levels of retention. We also paid close attention on if these increases in performance on the game platform correlated to improvements in the employee’s performance on a daily basis. We specifically looked for increases in employee confidence, decreases in turnover and increases in customer satisfaction.
Now that you have your initial workforce in place, what role do you see upskilling playing as you develop workers to move up within your organization?
It means everything. Our team has done a phenomenal job at recruiting, interviewing, hiring and training the very best to be a part of the Member Services team here in Los Angeles. Moving forward, we will make sure we consistently equip our people with the very best training content, in the most innovative manner to ensure maximum performance. I believe that a consistent focus on these efforts will ensure that we put our employees in the best possible position to grow and improve within our organization in a timely and efficient manner. It is also a major initiative for Legends to ensure that we are consistently working to create a culture of improvement and healthy competition so that all employees are working together to challenge each other to reach for the next opportunity.
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