As a leader in building materials, Lafarge’s operations have the urgent demands and stresses of the deadline-driven construction business. When Pete Turco took over HR and training responsibilities for the U.S. East Business Unit, he became aware of two key issues. One was to address the constant demand on every individual to do more with less on the job. In addition, Lafarge also wanted to grow as an employer of choice everywhere it operates.
Turco recognized the right training could help, but time for training was limited. Anything put in place needed to produce immediately observable results. “We realized we had to do more than just deliver proven tools and methods. We had to engage employees in a way that they could and would use the skills learned in their job and everyday lives.”
Turco worked with his time management training provider, WorkLifeBalance.com, to certify Lafarge trainers to incorporate meaningful work and personal exercises into the training.
Lafarge first launched this practical-application training approach in its sales organization. The embedded work exercises encouraged each sales professional to tap into his or her external customers in ways that would facilitate more success in individual short- and long-term sales goals. A representative sampling of written comments reflects that the classroom results were immediate, as well as ongoing:
• “A highlight was seeing objectives presented at the beginning of the program actually achieved in the training.”
• “Using the focusing tool to separate the people from the activities in a given day was valuable.”
• “Very powerful, common sense content applied to day to day activity.”
• “I appreciated being able to take an inventory of my relationship and projects while in the classroom.”
Mike Kanlic, Lafarge’s sales manager, observed, “The individual feedback I have received is even more impressive than the written. The results are so worthwhile, it is easy to support.”
Lafarge followed the sales sessions with training for all managers, supervisors and salaried personnel. The focus of the work exercises for this group was improvement of both internal and external customer service and efficiency
Turco is now planning the rollout for hourly plant employees. He has taken input from plant managers on how to modify the delivery to use specific plant examples and plant applications during the training. Key course skills and exercises have been identified to improve relationships and communications between employees and supervisors.
Like the initial sales program, the ongoing programs have produced observable and sustainable results for Lafarge. Because the tools are applied to produce practical results during the training, they stick. “It has become a common language we continue to use to get things done. You hear and see the tools applied in every meeting,” Turco said. “They have become part of the fabric of how we do business.”
The management team at Lafarge also has found that getting personal, as well as professional, work done during the training pays off. Turco pointed out that organizations hire people, not employees. People come with baggage — meaning family, friends, self-desires and demands.
“We intentionally selected a time management training program that gives managers and employees the skills and application practice they need to manage and balance it all — more efficiency in handling work issues individually, a common language for the team to get things done faster, better abilities to handle and make the most of the personal sides of life, which means more focus at work. The result is more achievement and enjoyment in all the areas of life. Everybody wins,” Turco said.
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