Automated Data Processing Inc. (ADP), which provides of a variety of computerized transaction processing and information services to businesses around the world, underscores learning as a key component of its business culture. ADP Dealer Services, the third-largest division in the company, supplies dealer management system (DMS) solutions to more than 16,000 automotive dealerships and 30 vehicle manufacturers throughout North America and Europe. These systems help ADP Dealer Services clients manage front- and back-office operations, analyze business statistics and information and realize marketing objectives.
Along with the dealer management systems, ADP Dealer Services delivers supplemental learning programs to thousands of its customers, as well as employees within the company, said Becky Hubble, the company’s director of training and utilization services for North America. “We have more than 5,000 associates within ADP Dealer Services, and my group is responsible for training more than 3,500 of those associates,” she said. “We have 7,000 dealerships that we’re responsible for, and the average number of associates per dealership is 30. We’re responsible for providing training to our dealer customers that we sell computer hardware and software to, and also our internal associates.”
Distributing learning to users across an entire continent was a considerable challenge in years past, Hubble said. “We have 12 centers across North America. In the past, we were having our associates and our clients travel to our 12 regional centers and attend classes.” Both ADP and its clients spent sizeable amounts of time and money to go to DMS learning programs, she added. “Sixty percent of the workforce are remote, so when we talk about training our associates, not all of them can train in a classroom environment. Our dealerships are in a very fast-paced, customer-oriented environment, and so they can’t always attend class.”
Two years ago, ADP Dealer Services undertook a blended learning initiative and saw impressive results. “We’ve really embraced blended learning at ADP,” Hubble said. “We’ve really had a goal of implementing blended learning so we could provide thorough, real-time training to our clients and our internal associates.”
The company’s clients and employees have embraced blended learning as well, Hubble said. In the short time since ADP employed its extensive array of learning tools, participation has skyrocketed. “Our (internal associates’) enrollment has increased by 80 percent from more than two years ago,” she said. “Before we started blended learning, we were teaching about 300 clients a month. We are now teaching 3,000.” ADP Dealer Services also has implemented systems to track attendance, user performance and satisfaction. “We have a pre-assessment that measures the clients’ abilities, and we have a post-assessment that measures their abilities after the class,” Hubble said. “We have an LMS, and we track the completion rate and the scores. We also do surveys after every session.”
Increased involvement in learning hasn’t been the only benefit of implementing blended learning. New developments in delivering educational content have led to cost savings in a variety of ways, Hubble said. “That has definitely resolved the issues of having to travel. We can have one teacher or instructor teaching 20 students at their dealerships across North America. We can really make it a virtual environment, and not have somebody travel to a class.”
“We also control (costs) by building a curriculum that’s around the responsibilities of the associate or the client,” Hubble added. “Today, we look at the topic, we look at the audience, and we pick the right method of teaching that topic. We ensure that we target the right courses for the right learner, and we also ensure that we provide a very interactive, very engaging adult learning session so that the learner stays interested. We can pick and choose what we need to address the learner’s needs.”
ADP Dealer Services uses the more challenging courses to generate revenue, both directly and indirectly. “Two years ago, we really did not look at training as a revenue opportunity for ADP,” Hubble said. However, earnings generated from fees charged to customers for several of the higher-level programs have doubled since last year. In addition, dealers have been so impressed with these learning offerings that they have purchased additional products and extra options from ADP. “Sales has been very excited about training, and has been able to leverage training to sell systems,” said Hubble, adding that the company would continue to drive profits through learning with the launch of a certification program this year.
Brian Summerfield is associate editor for Chief Learning Officer magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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