Elearning! September

2014

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

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Elearning! September / October 2014 33 Cricket Wireless Accepts the Challenges of a New Merger with Aio Wireless When big corporate changes are made at the uppermost levels, big changes are inevitably in store at the HR and training levels. Tat's the challenge that Tad Kozak faced when what is now Cricket Wireless replaced the Aio Wireless brand due to the recent merger between the two wire- less service providers. Aio Wireless is a wholly owned subsid- iary of AT&T, which ofered its services us- ing AT&T Mobility's nationwide networks. Te new Cricket now works on Aio's AT&T wireless network while its previous LTE network will be merged into the AT&T nationwide network, and the CDMA voice network will be divested or dismantled over time. Additionally, Cricket customers now have the option of visiting retail stores to convert to new rate plans compatible with AT&T's LTE service. Prior to the acquisition, Aio Wireless operated approximately 600 retail stores with approximately 5,000 employees. Te new Cricket has approximately 4,000 stores and 15,000 employees. Te company's goal is to operate as one company. Kozak — Aio's training strategy manager — and his team designed an aggressive, three-stage training strategy for the approximately 10,000 Cricket re- tail dealer employees, which is now in the process of being rolled out. Kozak had seen AT&T through three previous merg- ers, so he and his team could apply many of "lessons learned" when designing this most recent training initiative. Tey also added a new mobile performance sup- port tool. Te acquisition training program is designed to address these challenges: >> Te need to train approximately 10,000 Cricket employees in new Cricket technology, sales tools and culture. >> Te fact that most employees work in small retail stores (one or two em- ployees on the foor at the same time). Employees must quickly become self-sufcient in answering customer questions, completing systems trans- actions, and handling conversions. >> How to make training be cost- and time-efcient. Cricket operates on a dealer model; therefore, its front-line sellers are co-employees. For this training, there is no charge to dealers. >> Making resources and performance support available via employees' mo- bile devices. Because the SEC limits interaction be- tween merging companies prior to acqui- sition, Kozak's team had less than 30 days to design and test the acquisition training program before rollout began. Te total dealer sales program, fnal- ized afer conducting two pilots, includes: >> One day of instructor-led training focusing on the new Cricket brand and culture. To supplement an in- ternal instructor staf, Aio worked with Wounded Warriors and other veterans groups to hire 38 veterans as temporary instructors. "Tis day is primarily a celebration of the new Cricket," says Kozak. >> A suite of WBTs and simulations cov- ering compliance and privacy issues, network and device training, point- of-sale system guidance, and custom- er support. All training resources have been optimized for mobile delivery. >> A performance support tool, also de- signed for mobile use, that employees can use on the sales foor to rapidly ac- cess (within three clicks) the informa- tion and guidance needed to handle re- al-time customer questions and issues. It also provides a step-by-step guide for all major systems transactions. A three-pronged approach was used to solve potential problems ahead of time, using a budget of $1 million: 1 Te three-part training program had to dramatically condense the training time and costs required for past acquisi- tions and new hires. (ILT reduced from three days to one.) Tis program has more emphasis on ongoing performance support and just-in-time information. 2 As new Cricket employees become integrated into AT&T, the perfor- mance support tool had to provide rapid access to information and resources needed to answer customer questions or perform specifc tasks (such as how to convert a telephone number to the new network) within minutes. In the future, this tool will provide just-in-time sup- port for new hires. 3 All learning resources had to be op- timized for mobile delivery, the pre- sumed preference for access by the young workforce. Cricket Wireless is a three-time Learn- ing! 100 honoree. AREA OF EXCELLENCE COLLABORATION Kozak's team had less than 30 days to design and test the acquisition training program before the rollout to 10,000 team members began.

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