Skillsoft Blog

Return to the Workplace: Brunswick navigates through COVID-19 pandemic

August 19, 2020 | by Betsy Timbers


Alison Cowan was sitting in her home office when the call came.

It was a Monday, but it wasn’t like every other Monday.

Some of Brunswick’s global manufacturing operations had been shut down for a couple of weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe.

Every employee from office staff to manufacturing production was keeping a close eye on the news. When would they be able to get back to building boats and other marine equipment?

The $4 billion marine technology company operates in 30 countries and while each was experiencing the pandemic in unique ways, one thing was consistent. Everyone wanted to get back to work safely. And without sports, concerts, travel bans and more, consumers were desperate for outdoor, socially distanced recreation which boating could meet.

That one phone call would prove to be a pivotal point for the business. Alison, the Director of Global Learning and Executive Coach, wanted to produce a COVID-19 training video to ensure the health and safety of all employees around the world.

“Training is a key pillar of our company and when the COVID pandemic hit, those of us in the development space quickly worked to put together training for our employees so they knew what to expect upon return to office.

There was one problem. Brunswick’s LRN compliance library didn’t have the necessary content for COVID-19 as this was a pandemic that no one had ever experienced before. That’s when she reached out to her long-time partner, Skillsoft to see if there was an opportunity for collaboration.

A year ago, Brunswick had moved to Skillsoft’s learning experience platform, Percipio, and Alison knew the learning would be valuable to her team. Yet, she feared it was too much to expect a COVID-19 specific video when no one anticipated the pandemic just weeks before.

Thankfully, Skillsoft anticipated that many companies would need this type of training. The team quickly shared a nine-minute professionally produced video that covered all the essentials required by the legal team at Brunswick. The video defined COVID-19, explained how the virus is transmitted, and talked through the role mask wearing and hand-hygiene could play as preventive measures. It cited the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) so it could be applied globally. In addition, although it would take longer than six days, Skillsoft was able to translate the training video into multiple languages for use around the world.

Alison was cautiously optimistic. The content was on-target, but she needed it to be packaged in a way that would meet Brunswick’s unique requirements. It had to include Brunswick branding in some capacity, offer a knowledge quiz to verify understanding, and enable her to collect and report on a pledge employees were expected to take. The pledge affirmed employees would comply with Brunswick pandemic safety policies. This included employees taking their temperature before coming to work, and agreeing not to come to the facility if they had a fever.

“We knew that in order to bring our employees back to work safely, we required them to take this training. So we were hopeful that Skillsoft could turn the video around quickly so we could communicate this to our 12,000+ employees around the world. We wanted to ensure that all of our employees were well trained before coming back to work.”

Alison continues, “The COVID-19 video was exactly what we needed– a way to track our policy pledge, share information about virus transmission and safety, and a knowledge quiz to make sure the information was understood. Skillsoft did a great job providing the content we needed in a timely fashion for us to get our employees trained on time.”

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