Challenge Unlimited Delivers a High Quality and Consistent Learning Experience
Who Is Challenge UnlimitedChallenge Unlimited has been committed to serving individuals with disabilities, through adult and youth programs, work skills training centers, employment services, and community-integrated living options. They believe in promoting people to achieve their highest level of independence through opportunities.
Primary ChallengeDeliver compliance and leadership training in a cohesive way to a dispersed workforce and improve how training and development is viewed within the organization.
ResultsImplement BizLMS and BizLibrary content to deliver the same training to every employee no matter where they are to achieve 35 launches of content/month per learner.
Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.
Let’s say you’re on a road trip across the United States. You stop at McDonald’s in every state and order the same meal each time. No matter the state or part of the country, the experience is the same, everything from the drive-thru script to the taste. It’s part of the reason you always stop. You know you can always expect the same quality, and it’s reliable (and who could turn down hot, crispy fries and a Big Mac – not us!).
The same concept applies when delivering a training experience to a dispersed workforce. It can be challenging to ensure that the same information is being conveyed in the same way across multiple different locations. But this is where an online learning management system can help.
A few years ago, our client, Challenge Unlimited, was going through a season of growth and needed assistance keeping up with training and development. Because their workforce is spread across many office locations and cities, they knew finding a partner to help them stay organized and on top of all their initiatives was key to ensuring a consistent training experience.
Michelle Matsche, Director of Training and Development, recalls that BizLibrary had “everything we were looking for in one place and an amazing implementation team and ongoing level of support.”
The ability to search content, track training, and have a dedicated partner was going to bring positive changes to their training experience.
Challenge Unlimited’s Menu of Programs
Training is a big part of the culture at Challenge Unlimited. No matter if it’s their day one or five-year anniversary, every employee is involved in training for their own personal and professional development. The learning programs fall into three categories:
- Risk and Compliance:
- All staff participates in risk and compliance training every year, and depending on which department an employee works in, they may have additional specific HR or safety training. Partnering with BizLibrary gives them content that can be accessed anywhere and is current and credible. By utilizing on-demand content, Challenge Unlimited saves time and money associated with travel or in-person training.
- Managing Accessibility:
- Challenge Unlimited’s mission is to provide opportunities to individuals with disabilities. Because of this, having off-the-shelf content that educates their employees on how to serve those with disabilities was of the utmost importance. Additionally, they also employ individuals with disabilities, so having a partner that provides accessible options like transcripts, closed captioning, or downloadable flyers were non-negotiable.
- Culture and Leadership Influence:
- Creating cohesive teams and a growth-minded culture is something that Challenge Unlimited values highly. This is not achieved overnight, but by empowering their leaders through development, creating cohorts for learning, offering hybrid training, and giving elective learning opportunities to all employees, they are able to increase retention and employee satisfaction.
As we dive into the specifics of some of their programs, you’ll see why in order to have a culture of continuous learning they needed to ensure development opportunities are offered to every employee in a consistent way.
From day one, employees are immersed in an onboarding training experience designed to showcase who Challenge Unlimited is, provide education surrounding serving those with disabilities, and assist with on-the-job training. On an employee’s first day, they used to attend training in person at their headquarters in Alton, Illinois.
The L&D team quickly realized that because of the growth their organization was experiencing, they needed to shift to virtual to save on travel and lodging expenses. Now, no matter where an employee is hired, they all “attend” the same training.
Training kicks off with a welcome video from the CEO explaining the importance and purpose of the development (we LOVE this idea). Next, employees are given time to go through their learning initiatives that include courses on everything they would need to know when beginning their career, like communicating with people with disabilities.
After they complete their general onboarding courses, they are provided location-specific training, depending on the role they perform.
Safety and Compliance
Every year employees complete the required compliance training. It’s extremely important that employees are continually educated on how to be safe and respectful while at work.
The emphasis placed on creating an equitable workforce allows them to achieve 100% participation from every single employee (I think we can all agree this is IMPRESSIVE!!). When compliance audits come around, the training team can easily pull the reports they need within BizLMS, and maintaining their accreditations is a breeze.
Don’t think we are finished yet! The program list keeps going. They offer a specific leadership training program to all of their leaders. Each year they conduct a needs assessment to identify any business challenges and use that information to decide on an overarching topic for their leadership program. The training team at Challenge Unlimited first assigned the Inclusive Mindset expert-led series from BizLibrary and asked their leaders the following questions:
- How does this apply to you?
- What are your challenges?
- What comes easily to you?
From the survey, they determined that this year’s big focus would be on psychological safety and inclusion. Then, each month covers a subtopic related to the focus. For example, one month was neurodiversity. Ahead of each month’s virtual discussion –hosted using hybrid classroom management within BizLMS—the leaders are assigned courses to watch on their own time. Then they come together to discuss what they learned in a space that promotes transparency and vulnerability.
Challenge Unlimited didn’t want to stop there with training opportunities for their leaders. They recently implemented a mentorship program as well. There is an application process where the leaders can lay out their personal development goals, and then five to eight managers are chosen and paired with a member of the executive team.
To kick off the program, they host a celebratory meet and greet where the mentors and mentees sit down and establish a goal plan. Once they have everything mapped out, it gets submitted to the training team who creates learning initiatives in BizLMS to assign content that specifically addresses each mentee’s unique goals.
During the course of this five-month program, the pairs meet and discuss progress made, and the participants complete their on-demand learning. Once the program wraps, there is a graduation – Alexa play, “Pomp and Circumstance!”
Training for Everyone
Last, but not least, each year the training team offers an elective learning series for all employees to participate in. This year they are coining the program the “Bizzle Buzz Coffee Talk” where they will go through the Science of Happiness at Work Expert Insights Series. Each month participants watch 12 to 15 minutes of the course, and then meet virtually on the last Thursday of the month to discuss what they learned.
To encourage employees to participate, they offer an incentive for those who attend every session in the series. We’re just over here wondering if we can come!
But Don’t Forget the Secret Sauce (aka The Taste of Success [Metrics])
The training team has put a lot of hard work and planning into creating a culture of continuous learning. Their success didn’t happen overnight but was built by believing firmly in the benefits of a consistent learning program experience. To help get the word out and continue usage of the platform and content, the team created a marketing strategy that ensures the expectation of learning is communicated effectively.
This strategy is “super intentional, always planned, and really diligent,” notes Matsche.
They leverage channels like live events, emails, flyers, and individual reminders. Because of this effort, they achieve 35 course launches/learner each year! Additionally, because they prioritize learning in their organization, the training team has been asked to create individual learning plans to help employees deepen their knowledge of a specific skill, assist with development goals, and help move the needle toward what’s next in their career.
BizLMS makes it incredibly easy to pull reports on which employees completed the training. The team also sends out assessments to measure the success of the program. Learners complete the assignment twice, once before they begin and again after they finish. The trainers track score improvements to have quantifiable data to prove the success.
Furthermore, they actively listen in cohort discussion groups if the participants use the language they were educated in. This shift in language selection allows their culture to grow into a more compassionate and understanding one.
All this to say that even if you start off as a check-the-box-based organization only looking at if employees complete the bare minimum for compliance, you too could evolve into a culture that shifts their view on training and development. It won’t happen overnight, but we can assure you we’ll be there every step of the way cheering you on to create your own McDonald’s experience.