Brinks Home Security Benefits From Online Training
 
Brinks says online-learning management helped better train for its 2,600 workers, and resulted in improved profits and customer retention. In a business like home security where customer trust is key, a company's success is built largely on how well its employees work with customers. Brink's Home Security Inc. says an online-learning-management system not only has resulted in better training for its 2,600 employees but has contributed to better customer retention and even improved profits.

A year ago, Brink's was struggling with high employee turnover and hadn't found an effective way to provide training to field personnel who worked nights. The company also saw inefficiencies in how instructor-led training was assigned. "We needed to get smarter about the deployment of our learning," says Christina Parr, corporate manager of learning and development.

In March, Brink's installed a learning-management system that employees access via the company portal. The system, built on software from Pathlore Software Corp., lets employees work with managers to develop customized training programs that might include instructor-led classes and online training, and it provides access to those online lessons. It also provides tools for skills assessment and other evaluations. Because the system is available 24 hours, night workers can access information and receive online training and assessments.

The company offers a wide variety of coursework, such as training for field employees on how to enter data into mobile systems and courses on how to operate new alarm systems.

By allowing employee input and creating individual profiles that can be accessed online, the system does a better job of customizing learning for each employee, Parr says. "We have enabled our employees to take learning into their own hands," she says. "We've gone from the fish wanting to be fed to the fish going out and getting their own food."

Integration with a portal was a key requirement of the learning system, Parr says, as it provides easy access and is located in the same place as other important employee tools. The portal also gives access to an employee self-service human-resources system, Lotus Notes E-mail, and workday scheduling.

But having a centralized spot for training has proved the biggest benefit of the portal, Parr says. Brink's justified its investment in a portal by outlining the expected impact of a portal-based learning system. So far, the results haven't disappointed. Brink's believes that better-trained, more-content employees have led to a reduction in turnover, an increase in sales, a decrease in customer churn, and improved profit margins--all of which it's seen since March. Brink's also expects to save $500,000 over the next three years using the learning system to replace some instructor-led courses.

The company says its total investment for the project was $300,000, half of which was to cover the costs of deploying and maintaining the Pathlore learning system. The remaining expenses were related to the Computer Associates-powered portal and custom-training modules from vendors such as NETg, QuicKnowledge, and Vivid Learning Systems.

Brink's integration of its learning-management system with the company portal is unique, says Michael Brennan, an analyst at research firm IDC. "It's an instance where an organization is showing how mission-critical training is," Brennan says. He expects to see more companies linking their learning systems to portals because of the limited benefits of a standalone learning system.

Brink's is looking to build even more interest in its online learning system in the coming months by creating secure home connections, giving employees more flexibility in how they access learning resources.

 
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