By Anne Schwartz
As one of the world’s largest private-sector employers, UPS is challenged with delivering impactful training. With only 20 percent of our employees working from a traditional office, we can’t rely on traditional methods to reach employees in the field.
At UPS, our mission is simple: create value for customers, transform to strengthen the company’s leadership position and invest in key markets to develop new business. Our learning vision is to provide and champion valuable development services to drive these business results—only your customers can tell you if you have hit the mark.
The story of UPS Integrad—Why the training change?
To prepare our drivers in the field, in 2004, UPS began working on the Integrad training center. At the start of the process, we thought younger generations wanted to learn everything on the computer.
We found out they actually preferred to learn hands-on. In collaboration with experts from universities such as Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UPS developed a hands-on learning lab in Maryland to train its drivers.
There, employees spend a week, moving from one station to another practicing the “340 Methods” prescribed by UPS industrial engineers to save seconds and improve safety in every task—from lifting and loading boxes to selecting a package from a shelf in the truck.
To be successful, we continually review, enhance, and adjust our employee training to ensure it suits the people who want to work for UPS. Over time, we observed that younger drivers had different learning styles, the traditional classroom approach was no longer sufficient. That’s why we turned to an experiential training program. After receiving a $1.8 million grant from the Department of Labor, we studied the way young people learn in a world of video games and smart phones.
The classroom of the future: high-tech, next generation training facility
Based on our findings, trainees now play a video game that places them in the driver’s seat and tests their ability to identify and avoid obstacles in real-time. They then progress from computer simulations to “Clarksville,” a village of miniature houses and businesses on the Integrad property. Trainees drive a real truck and must successfully execute five deliveries in less than 20 minutes.
After more than 20 years in Human Resources at UPS, I’ve learned there is no ONE answer, one methodology or one set of calculations that you will find to measure the impact of training. There are several measurement methodologies available today, including TDRp, ROI, and Kirkpatrick—one method to measure thousands of programs and 400,000 global employees does not always fit!
We measured the turnover impact, the productivity of the drivers and how many stops per hour they were able to deliver as compared to the people who did not attend Integrad. Would this impact all the indices that UPS has always been passionate about: safety, excellent customer service, efficiency, etc.? By measuring these results, this allows UPS to deploy drivers with full faith in their abilities.
In 2012, the UPS Integrad program reduced injury frequencies by 56 percent; reduced costs of delivering a package by 12 percent, and mileage costs by 7 percent. Overall, we were able to account for a return on investment of 9.2 percent.
When you have a successful program, I recommend that you share your success and involve the C-Suite. The ultimate testament to your impact is when the business puts up the funding to get more of what you are producing.
Expanding the program
We felt our training program was impactful so we created a similar training product for teenagers. We partnered with The Boys and Girl Clubs of America to create a safe driving program called UPS Road Code. The program is comprised of live, hands-on training sessions, all taught by UPS volunteers. UPS Road Code sessions are currently delivered at 52 sites around the U.S., four sites in Canada, three sites in the U.K., five sites in Germany and one in Shanghai, China.
Anne Schwartz is Vice President of Global Leadership and Talent Development at UPS, a Skillsoft customer.