Elearning! September

2014

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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18 September / October 2014 Elearning! OR, HOW A SMALL TEAM DEALT WITH QUADRUPLING ITS NUMBER OF CORPORATE LEARNERS BY LINDA GALLOWAY AT&T closed on its acquisition of Leap Wireless, the parent of the Cricket Wire- less, on March 13, 2014. Te company's intent was to merge Aio Wireless, AT&T's prepaid wireless subsidiary, with Cricket Wireless, which at the time of acquisition had approximately 5 million customers. A few days later, Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, stated that he wanted the acquisition to be "the fastest and most successful acquisition AT&T has ever done." He set the goal of operating as one company within 60 days. Tis story is about how a small team of training and communication professionals pulled of a massive merger training initia- tive that touched approximately 20,000 employees, contractors and third-party support personnel in less than two months. Te initiative was built around many of the latest learning trends —social learning, collaboration, performance support tools and ongoing reinforcements — as well as a solid understanding of the needs and interests of diverse learning audiences and a commitment to refect and reinforce the legacy Aio business culture. DAVID MERGES WITH GOLIATH "Te news of the potential Cricket acquisi- tion was a bit overwhelming, given that the company was many times bigger than Aio," says Michelle Randolph, director of pro- cesses, training and communication for Aio Wireless and now Cricket Wireless. "Te frst thing we did was to sit down together as a team and look at our best practices. We talked about what could scale — and what couldn't. We also spent a lot of time think- ing about what we might want to do difer- ently and better." Te Aio team came at the project with a very modern mindset, one that was fos- tered by AT&T. "When AT&T spun of Aio Wireless, it encouraged us to create a culture that was based on mobile access, emphasized self-serve learning, and sup- ported ongoing business change. AT&T viewed Aio almost as a test lab, where new technologies and practices could be tried out," says Randolph. Consequently, according to Randolph, the Aio culture also accepted well-inten- tioned mistakes as a part of "selling fast." "We know that being wrong is part of the process. When we make a mistake, we quickly pivot," she says. Prior to the acquisition's ofcial close, the team had limited information about Crick- et Wireless for planning. In any merger or acquisition transaction involving public companies, the SEC prohibits the sharing of operational details until the deal is fnal. "In order to get started on planning as soon as possible, we made many assumptions. It turned out that many of them were wrong, so of course, that set us back a little." Aside from the aggressive timeline, the team's training and communication plan for the merger was infuenced by these pri- mary factors: >> Most Cricket employees work out of small stores with only one or two co- workers at a time. Terefore, store reps have to be highly self-sufcient. Cricket Wireless Sales Training Goes Tribal

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