Using Training and Technology to Increase Productivity
Technology and systems are critical to running efficient operations at a large company. d’Vinci CEO Luke Kempski talks to Lisa Browning, Manager, Learning & Development Systems at The Hershey Company as she prepares training for an enterprise rollout of SAP S/4HANA . Lisa describes how systems training makes employees more productive across the organization and improves the bottom line.
As she prepares for the enterprise rollout of SAP S/4HANA, Lisa Browning, Manager, Learning & Development Systems at The Hershey Company, makes key points related to best practices for successful systems training and rollouts.
- Align the learning modality to provide the right context at the right time for the learner.
- Define KPIs so you know what results you’re trying to achieve and can measure at established dates in the process.
- Successful learning must be an organization-wide priority that is tied to performance.
- Change management and communications teams are integral to the success of a system rollout.
- Look for tools like SAP Enable Now to create system simulations and handouts to support learning and expedite use of new systems.
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Susan: Hello, and welcome to Powered by Learning. I'm your host Susan Cort. With me today is d'Vinci's CEO, Luke Kempski, and we're very pleased to welcome Lisa Browning, Manager Learning and Development Systems at The Hershey Company, to talk about using training and technology to increase productivity. Welcome, Lisa.
Susan: First of all, tell us a little bit about your career and what you're doing now in your role at The Hershey Company.
Lisa: Sure. Thank you. I have been very excited to work in learning and development for about 15 years now. I can't believe it's been that long. During that time, I've held various roles, whether it's in facilitation, leadership development, even instructional design and leader roles, managing learning teams and instructional design teams throughout various change initiatives. I began my career in finance at the Vanguard Group in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and I moved into technology working at Comcast, also in the Pennsylvania area.
In March, I actually had the opportunity to join The Hershey Company as the manager of learning and development for systems. I primarily support our ERP and IS functions, and I was incredibly fortunate to join Hershey at a really exciting and pivotal time as the organization is currently working through a really large-scale ERP transformation to SAP S/4HANA and I'm the training lead on that project.
Susan: It sounds like everything leading up to this point has really positioned you well to launch right into that project. I know Luke and I both want to hear more about it. I'll let Luke jump in with some of the questions.
Luke: Hi, Lisa?
Luke: It's great to have this opportunity to talk to you. I know you're really busy planning the rollout of SAP S/4HANA at Hershey. To start, can you talk about how important the rollout of this system is, especially in how it enables integration and efficiencies across the different areas of the business?
Lisa: Sure. When you think about efficiency, technology and systems are really its backbone. At Hershey, that is tenfold. When we think about technology and the different business areas at Hershey, there are so many opportunities for potential cross-functional business impact that we have got to get systems right. As an example, there are multiple system and functional handoffs that happened and occur during whether it's a manufacturing process, like for example, packaging - handing off to packaging graphics or labeling - handing off to a recipe developer.
If there's a system breakdown or something is not working as seamlessly as it should, there's potential for residual impacts, whether it's to end-users internally at Hershey, or even ultimately, it will have a downstream impact to our consumers, and we do not want that. We're incredibly fortunate at Hershey that we get it right, we get the right people involved upfront, we document business process, we also document potential people impacts. So I think that's also really important. And we mitigate that potential risk from a technology and system perspective when we think about these types of user experience.
Really the short story here, the headline is that Hershey does it well and gets it right, which is why we're investing in such a massive upgrade to our backbone ERP system. We're being really smart about the launch, about the timing, and probably most importantly, the people that are involved.
Luke: That sounds great. It's great that you're taking such a smart approach to it. Let's talk a little bit about training. From a learning perspective, when you plan this large rollout of a new system, how do you know what training to provide?
Lisa: When we think about what type of training to provide, it depends on your training strategy. Depending on what that training strategy looks like, what type of system you're launching, and in this case, if I can speak about the ERP system specifically, for us, it's about timing, making sure we're getting the timing right, the right people trained at the right time, and using the best modality is really important as well. If it's virtual, if it's classroom, or even if it's self-paced, and making sure people are getting exactly what they need, we're leveraging simulations. We're also measuring training effectiveness.
For me, I think that when you think about systems, measuring training effectiveness is one of the most important things. We all are learning professionals. We know that we have our level one and level two evals, which really cover the, did you find training effective, yes or no, and answering those types of questions, and then obviously knowledge checks that are built into those various learning programs as well. To me, level ones and level twos just don't cut it anymore. I think we need to be smart about what we think about, especially when we think about large system rollouts, and what we should be thinking about is user adoption and also measurement.
Measuring KPIs or metrics. We need to look at those 60, 90, 120 days out post-launch and see if our end users are being effective at their job, quite frankly. Can they do their job? Are they effectively executing in their job role? We need to talk to their leaders and say, "What are they missing? What do we need to do better?" We tie those metrics, that data to the training delivered and that's really the truest measurement of whether training is effective or not and if we're doing the right thing.
Luke: That's excellent. It's great to think about it that way. I know when I've participated in system rollouts and training in the past, I always found that you had to do different levels of training. You have the big picture overview of the system and how it interconnects different areas of the business, how it changes workflow, and then you actually have how it helps you perform specific tasks. Do you divide the training up in different ways for those different levels of need?
Lisa: I would say, absolutely, we do divide the training up in various tasks. We can do that. We want to get our biggest bang for our buck though, we want to be really smart about how we're developing and designing the training and make sure that whatever we are developing and designing can be used broadly. But we also want to think about those drill down different business segments that we need to hit to make sure that we are being as effective as possible as well. So absolutely, we do that. We need to do it and we need to be smart about how we do it, but we also need to think about reinforcement as well, because when we're in training class, and I think we can all probably relate to this.
When we're in training class, there are so many opportunities for distractions at times and we're all busy. I think we live in the age of technology. Folks in class, sometimes they're checking their email, sometimes they're looking at their phone. It's very easy for people to get distracted because life gets in the way. We have to just be really smart about how we're delivering training, making sure it's very relevant. It's not taking way longer than it should, we need to be smart about timing. We also need to be mindful of when I think about timing, the actual when training is happening.
When are you launching this system? Are you launching it next week? Are you launching it in two weeks? If so, you better not be training two months prior to that because nobody's going to remember a thing that they learned. You have to be really strategic about those things.
Susan: That you don't want to have to train people twice, that's for sure.
Lisa: Yes. Let's talk about a waste of money. You don't want to do that, right?
Luke: That's for sure, yes. What do you think some of the biggest barriers are to employees being able to access training in order to improve their use of the technology or the systems that are available to them to do their job in a more efficient way?
Lisa: That's a great question. I just touched on this one a little bit and I will tell you it is time. When I say time, it's everything is available to folks these days online, whether it's virtual learning solutions, we continue to move into having various different virtual learning solutions, which is great. We're getting more creative, whether it's micro-learning, or even YouTube-type videos as well and that's really exciting, but if employees don't set aside the time, I think we can all agree, these are very just-in-time type of learning events or they're convenient. It's really easy for folks to sit down and do these things when it's convenient for them.
But if people don't set aside the time and make learning a priority, or, and this is really the big or, if an organization doesn't place a high priority on learning, it's not going to happen. I am very fortunate that Hershey has made learning a priority, so much so that the organization really bakes development into yearly performance goals, which is really smart. It's incredibly helpful especially for learning professionals when we're formulating a learning and development strategy.
Luke: Absolutely. That's one level of incentive, I guess, for an employee to participate in training and investing the time in training. How else do you motivate and inspire employees to participate in the training so that they can get more productive and really convince them that the time is a good investment for them and will save them time in the long run?
Lisa: I think, again, as learning professionals, we want to all believe that employees find training valuable. I think we want to believe that fundamentally, but the truth is, it can be a challenge sometimes. Whether it's focus or maybe just not making it a priority, we want to just, again, be really smart about leading in with the best communication upfront prior to training even happening. Change management is incredibly important. We have a fantastic OCM team that really leads the way with communication. We seek sponsorship from senior leaders to champion learning events and even deliver messages.
They're the ones at the forefront delivering the message about the importance of learning and why this is so important and what the eventual return on investment will be if that time is dedicated to learning. I really like to look at learning events in the communication model up to a learning event as a marketing strategy really around how can we get the biggest bang for our buck? We can get people engaged upfront, we can get people even excited about coming to these learning events regardless of how they're being delivered. That's what I would say. I think it's really about when you want to convince employees to put that value on it. It's also about generating excitement.
Luke: Absolutely. Tell us a little about what do you mean by an OCM team?
Lisa: OCM, so change management. Just getting in there right at the beginning and making sure we have a solid change management strategy in place because all training comes with change. Just being really tuned in to what those changes are, what those people impacts are, what those business process impacts are, and start just dropping little nuggets along the way and saying, there's change coming. This is how it's going to affect you. This is how it's going to impact your job.
One of the ways we're doing that right now for this ERP launch of SAP S/4HANA is, we're actually ironically enough, doing a podcast series on how this change is going to benefit the different business areas that are impacted by this new rollout in this new launch and this transformation that's happening at Hershey.
Luke: That's excellent. I know that in terms of, whatever you can do to preview the benefits of the new system to get people excited about it, because it is going to change no matter what it is, it changes their daily work. You have to warm them up that there's going to be a benefit to that change.
Lisa: That's a great way to say it, warm them up a bit.
Susan: Lisa, it sounds like you make learning so exciting, but how do you adjust your training programs moving forward to take into account the feedback that you're getting from the learner?
Lisa: That's one of my favorite things. I think we have to listen to our learners. We have to listen to what they're saying and if adjustments need to be made, we do it. How do we do it? We just learn and listen, I think part of being a successful learning and development professional is being a lifelong learner yourself, and being open to having and receiving that feedback and making those changes. I think probably some of the best advice I can give people, whether it's them starting in their career in learning, or just in general in life, is to have some thick skin and be flexible because we have to be willing to change, to adapt to the needs of the business and really the learning needs of the end-user as well.
Just listening, and again, I want to go back to what I said earlier around the data and measuring it against KPIs metrics, looking at those key dates around 60, 90, and 120 days out. There's data to support that those are the dates that we should be looking at post-launch to see if people are effective in their jobs. Then at that point also doing some posts maybe sentiment interviews, surveys from some of the different business areas to say, "Was this training effective? Did it help you in your job? What should we do better or differently?" And getting out there and having conversations. I think at times we get survey fatigue.
So we have to be really, again, tuned into the business and connected to the business around. what are they saying? What are they saying about training? What should we be doing differently? Also updating materials real-time is incredibly important. So making sure you have the people that can do that and the people that continue to be connected in learning and development to the business to be very close. In my time at Hershey, I've noticed that that's done very well here. The business is, it's really one in the same with learning and development. It's really great to see how closely the business works together.
Luke: It's great that everyone's so in sync, it really makes all the difference. I know one of the perceptions out there for systems training especially is that it can be boring or just it's hard to make it so that it's really relevant and engaging to the users. What approaches do you find work best, and are there any newer techniques that you're excited about trying?
Lisa: You know what, well said, systems training point-blank is boring because it's a system and it is boring and it's tough. It's tough too for anybody to learn because we're asking people, if you think about this fundamentally, you're asking people to, in a lot of cases, completely changed their job, how they function, and how they do their job. While it's difficult and while it's boring, it's really getting to the root and explaining to people how important this is because this is going to make or break their success in their job. We just have to be really intelligent around the communication message there and we have to get it right.
We absolutely have to get it right. Our project managers have to get it right, the business has to get it right. It's not just learning that has to get it right. One thing that I have had no exposure to prior to Hershey that I'm really excited about using is Enable Now. I can't tell you all of the different learning software that I've been exposed to in my years in my tenure in learning and development, but Enable Now, I've never really had a lot of exposure to it, but what I'm learning about it is it's this amazing software that creates step-by-step simulations and these Sims, then they kick out a job aid to accompany the click through simulations, which does a couple things.
It's a fantastic takeaway digitally for our end-users, but it's also this amazing living, breathing, learning tool for folks as well. I'm really excited to test that out when we move into this ERP transformation as we begin to develop our training strategy because we've made the decision as an organization not to have a true testing environment that we're going to really go with simulations of what a live environment would look like. So I'm really excited to leverage this software.
Luke: That sounds great. Definitely to be able to capture those simulations and then output them as job aids makes it so that the instructional design and the training development can be just in time and much more productive and efficient than it would be otherwise.
Lisa: Absolutely, absolutely, and easier to maintain too because if you update one, the other is automatically going to be updated. If you update the simulation, then it will automatically update that job aid as well, which is great.
Luke: As you know for sure too, that systems aren't stagnant as you go through the rollout period. Changes can always be made, which means that training has to change to keep in sync with that.
Lisa: Mm hmm, don't we love that?
Lisa: All the changes.
Luke: Lisa, to wrap us up, could you talk a little bit about the importance of working closely with the change management/communications team, what training brings to that team and what they bring to training.
Lisa: Sure. Our change management team, we are connected at the hip. I think that is probably the most important takeaway for me. I've worked at several different organizations and that has never been the case. What I'm finding and what I love about it is that we're a team and 100% we leverage our change management team to help us develop training strategy, but also to really lead the business impact analysis meetings that happen and workshops that happen.
That way, when we are ready to move into training strategy development, we have all of that information at our disposal and training is present for those workshops that are happening around business impact analysis, which really are the output of those meetings. They tell us all of the business impacts, the key business impacts that drive our training strategy and drive what we do for training. But they also tell us the people impacts, which are equally as important when you think about change. It's really a true partnership and that handshake is constantly happening.
So there's no surprises when we start to think about learning and we start to think about what that development should be and what it should look like. When you think about that partnership, that's how you really get a robust, comprehensive learning strategy and training strategy that will yield really great results because everyone is connected. When we think about the change management team, we meet weekly with our project leads, we meet weekly with our functional leads, and we make sure that we're really lockstep throughout the entire project, which I've really never been a part of anything like that before.
Working at Hershey, it's really opened my eyes to how important that partnership is. I don't know how some of the projects I've worked on in the past have ever worked without that, quite honestly. It's been great to really witness that firsthand.
Luke: Ultimately, it's going to lead to a much better experience for all those users in all the various different departments around.
Lisa: Yes, that's the most important thing. At the end of the day, as learning professionals, we want our learners to have the absolute best experience possible and our end users to be very confident and comfortable in their job. So yes, well said.
Luke: Yes, for sure it is.
Susan: I think that all stems from your passion for systems education. You can definitely hear that and feel that. I think that helps make that learning very meaningful.
Lisa: Yes, I do love it. I've been doing it for a while and it's a lot of fun. I like to try new things too. I think it's always fun to take a risk and see what will work and be open to change. I think that's always important.
Susan: Lisa, thank you very much for joining us today.
Lisa: You are very welcome. Thanks for having me.
Susan: Luke, listening to Lisa, you can tell that learning is definitely a priority at The Hershey Company. What are some of the key takeaways that you got from your discussion with her today?
Luke: Lisa was great when it comes to giving us some key takeaways when it comes to systems training and systems rollouts. One of the first ones was aligning the learning modality to provide the right content in the right context at the right time for the learner. She also talked a lot about defining KPIs so that you know the results you're trying to achieve and you can be prepared to measure those success measurements for the training at 30, 60, 100, or 180 days out, so that you can really measure at a different level than a level one or a level two evaluation.
She also talked about the importance of the organization making learning a priority and even tying it to performance, and that's a key to success. Talked a lot about coordination and being joined at the hip with change management and communications and how the integration between training and communications are really key in terms of every step of the way gradually previewing the rollout of the system, including coming up with new ideas like having a podcast as one of the ways to do that. Then she talked about Enable Now as a great tool for creating systems simulations and being able to output those as support tools.
Susan: Lots of great innovations and insights that she shared. Thank you very much, Luke, and many thanks to Lisa Browning, Manager Learning and Development Systems at The Hershey Company, for joining us today. If you have any questions about what we talked about today, you can also reach out to us on d'Vinci social channels through our website, d'Vinci.com or by emailing us at email@example.com.
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By Luke Kempski, CEO
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