Episode 39

Successfully Launching a Program

Cara Austin

Brought to you by your hosts:

Hannah Brenner
L&D Specialist
Derek Smith
L&D Specialist
With special guest:
Cara Austin | Talent Development Specialist
Cara Austin is the Talent Development Specialist at Club Fit, located in Briarcliff Manor and Jefferson Valley, NY. Club Fit is not your typical gym. Club Fit is a full-service fitness facility that sets apart fitness as usual while also focusing on customer service, community, and wellness for the past 45 years. In her role, Cara oversees all training, benefits, performance management, and staff events for 460 staff members at both locations. In her first year at Club Fit, Cara has established a training program for staff by introducing BizLibrary and upgrading the currently offered in-house training. Since launching BizLibrary in April 2018, Cara has been working hands-on with departments and managers to establish individualized micro-learning plans for each department. Club Fit won the Best New Program Launch Award at BizLibrary's 2018 ALIGN conference.


On this week’s episode of The BizLibrary Podcast, we welcome Cara Austin to discuss launching a new program. Cara Austin an L&D professional working for ClubFit in New York City, New York.

Cara tells us immediately that her program was planned and phased out in advance. Her first phase was heavy on communication.

First, she met with managers, asked questions about desired outcomes, and then presented a realistic preview of what the program would look like.

Cara emphasized that part of the planning process was considering how training would impact the learners. For instance, in October, when intense budgeting was happening, Cara planned more light-hearted content, like short, microlearning email etiquette content.

For her launch, Cara focused on her organization’s values. Leadership indicated that superior customer service was a priority for the team, so Cara’s first priority was customer service training.

To measure the success of the customer service training, Cara used an already existing customer satisfaction survey, with the goal of never falling below 8/10 on customer-reported customer service. To date, the program has been successful on that metric.

In phase 2, Cara created effective marketing tools to increase engagement in ClubFit’s new training program. In addition to email marketing and signage, Cara created additional marketing tools like lanyards and t-shirts, which she says helped create additional interest in the nascent program.

Finally, Cara looked to increase completion rates and elective training. In this, she aimed to show executives how management uses her training program to the benefit of the company.

As a parting thought, Cara says that program managers should understand that things will go wrong, and despite great planning, trying to achieve everything at once can be too much. Instead, temper your expectations and plan your successes in phases.

When you’re finished listening to this week’s episode, be sure to download the related resource below! Thanks for listening to The BizLibrary Podcast!