GOLD: Iron Mountain
The challenges of merging different corporate cultures can be daunting, especially for a company with a long and rich history like Iron Mountain.
The Chicago-based storage and information management firm began snapping up competitors in the mid-1990s, acquiring 250 businesses within 10 years and growing from a $100 million business to a $2.4 billion enterprise.
While the company flourished, customer service and job performance among its 3,000 employees was inconsistent, with divisions around the country doing their own thing. Errors and accidents were costing millions of dollars, and turnover hovered around 40 percent.
To better train workers and improve customer service, the company launched a training program in 2010 known as Sentinel to turn top employees into coaches and mentors. Heading up the initiative was Stacy Henry, director of learning, North American operations, with a mandate to create a standardized learning program to get new employees job ready, particularly drivers and couriers. Before the program, those employees received no formal training.
“We had to come across as knowledgeable and credible, and we did that by working with the business directly,” she said.
Managers promoted the program and encouraged employees to apply to become coaches. The goal was to select 180 certified transportation coaches, and 500 applied.
Since the program was implemented, turnover has declined from 40 percent to about 15 percent, and the company says it saved about $4.5 million in workers’ compensation claims in the first year. Errors and security issues handling sensitive customer documents also went down. Scanning errors declined from about 15,000 to 20,000 a week to about 3,000.
SILVER: University Hospitals
There is no shortage of applicants for jobs at University Hospitals in Shaker Heights, Ohio. But there is a shortage of qualified applicants for highly skilled positions such as nurse practitioners and physical therapists.
Robert Garry, vice president of organizational development and learning, and his team at the hospital system launched and continue to develop a variety of professional development programs for the hospital’s 16,000 employees. Through partnerships with community organizations, University offers GED classes, literacy programs, career counseling and advisers to help employees with financial management, child care and other issues.
Last year, internal hiring increased from 32 to 39 percent, filling 198 jobs, and about 60 percent of the graduates of the hospital’s college readiness program began college.
In the past five years data management company NetApp has been growing rapidly, creating a need for quick training for sales reps, systems engineers and selling partners on the company’s technologies. Chodi McReynolds, senior director of NetApp University, and her team introduced Fast Track training programs for employees and business partners. In the past year, 1,800 employees participated in the program, and partners have reported an increase in sales revenue and business opportunities.