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New Challenges with a Growing and Dispersed Workforce:

In 2015, Garney Construction began to grow and expand to include areas across the country. With this growth, leadership recognized that many things about the company’s culture and processes would have to change. One of these changes needed to be the way they trained and developed employees.

At that time, Garney training was done in traditional classrooms with instructor-led training; however, employees would often miss classroom sessions because they could not get away (or stay away) from their jobs while meeting deadlines and project restrictions. Employees would also express that the training provided was not relevant to their role, nor was it timely. The training either took place too late, or by the time employees needed the skills, they had forgotten what was taught during the training session.

Additionally, because the organization is employee-owned, there was an added challenge of the overall training budget – all money that the organization can save goes back to the employee-owners via their retirement accounts. Convincing employees to step away from their daily responsibilities to complete training that costs money and isn’t seen as effective could easily put training in a negative light. Therefore, Garney Construction needed a cost-effective method of training that could be accessed anytime, from anywhere, while not taking away “too much time” from the job.

With all the changes taking place with the organization and the feedback from the classroom training, it no longer made sense to pull people away from their jobs and fly them across the country for a few days of training several times throughout the year, as this was expensive and too much productivity was lost. It was determined that shifting to an online approach would better meet the training needs of Garney’s employees.

Looking for Vendors – Finding a Partner:

Garney decided to partner with BizLibrary in 2015 and transition their training and development strategies to an online approach with the BizLibrary learning management system and online content library. New to learning management systems, Garney leadership and employees liked that they gained 24/7 access to thousands of courses that could be viewed anywhere with an internet connection. But even more, the microlearning format of most of the videos gave employees access to quick bursts of learning, allowing them to complete training as it fit into their schedules.

But ultimately, Garney chose BizLibrary to be their learning partner because of the Client Success team.

“The support system is like no other vendor that we looked into when we were trying to decide on a learning management system. BizLibrary really is your partner and you get to work with them all throughout your learning journey. From implementation, to getting the program rolling, to ongoing, they’re there to support and help develop your learning program.”

– Jordan Wilcosky, Program Manager

Creating a Learning Culture:

Since that time, Garney has been able to see the benefits of online training in various ways. First, there was the challenge of tracking compliance training across locations. At the time, Garney did not have a good way to track and follow up with employees on their compliance training programs.

While working with BizLibrary’s Client Success team, they were able to develop a program for safety and compliance that has helped them significantly with the tracking of the program. Through various assignments, automatic messaging, and reporting, the program manager and department managers can track who has completed which programs in real time. Additionally, employees can view assignments, what has been completed, and receive reminders about their due dates. Each of these components has helped Garney employees to improve their completion rates and remain compliant.

Next, like many organizations, Garney has a challenge of employees performing functions at various skill levels. Training and development was challenged to help employees close those skill gaps to help increase productivity and time to proficiency.

One of their focus areas was with Microsoft applications, especially Excel. Because employees’ gaps with the program are different from person to person, Garney utilized BizLibrary’s Microsoft content to meet each individual employee where he or she is, since it’s already broken into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. If employees are starting at a lower proficiency level, they can learn basic skills; if they’re already at an intermediate or advanced level, there’s plenty of content for them to continue growing those skills. This tremendously helped the accounting department make up ground in areas where they’ve been lacking over the years, improving overall job functionality.

“Our employees are really embracing a learning culture. We hadn’t seen that much in the past; but over the past 2 years, since implementing the Bizlibrary program, people have really grasped onto training and development and they want more all the time, which is great.”

– Jordan Wilcosky, Program Manager

In fact, over the past year, 70% of all monthly safety recommendations have been completed by employees. This is outstanding, as they have found that once employees log in to complete the safety recommendation, they stay and complete a video lesson of their choosing. This has allowed Garney Construction to consistently reach over 80% of their learners each month, as well as steadily increase the content launched to equal over 3 courses, per licensed learner, every month.

Client: Garney Construction

Industry: Construction

Top challenges: dispersed workforce, skill gaps

About: Garney Construction is a 100% employee-owned general contractor with over 55 years of wide-ranging experience in the construction of waterlines and water supply projects. Currently, Garney has more than 1,100 employee-owners spread out across the United States, as they work to build the ideal employee-owned company. By operating under Garney’s Goals and Philosophies, they have created a unique culture that revolves around ownership. Customers and employees embrace this culture and the result is growth and success while building systems that provide clean water for communities.