University of Panda Online is Panda Restaurant Group’s online home for elevating employees’ skillset, mindset, and toolset. It supports more than 2,200 restaurants, as well as the growth and development of almost 46,000 associates around the world.
The new online learning portal offers associates easy access to online courses, videos, books, articles, and more to equip them to better their lives through a wide range of learning experiences.
At the heart of this portal is an interactive development planning tool that, for the first time, makes it possible for associates to identify, register for, and complete learning experiences that help them develop the specific competencies necessary for success at each job level within the company. Structured around the Panda Competency Model, the Plan Builder helps associates and their supervisors develop useful and relevant Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to guide an associate’s growth.
Panda’s Competency Model has been a core component of the company’s Panda Talent Management System (PTMS) and is used to assess an associate’s performance against the competencies required at each job level in the organization. While these competencies—which include mindset and leadership behaviors—have been part of annual performance review conversations and IDP work for several years, associates were not consistently educated on what success looks like for each competency. Also, development resources to equip associates in their efforts to elevate their competencies were not always easy to locate and training wasn’t always available for all competency gaps.
With the launch of University of Panda Online—which also included the addition of 9,371 new learning resources—associates now have extensive resources at their fingertips to develop all of the competencies required to advance through each job jevel at Panda. This also helps supervisors determine which development opportunities to recommend for their team members as part of ongoing development conversations.
The resources support and reinforce the company’s performance management process and a comprehensive communications program that includes ambassadors in each department who are continually working to make associates aware of the learning and career development resources available to them.
Some 85 percent of associates agree with the AIM engagement survey statement: “I have received enough training to do a quality job.” And in the most recent audit (Panda’s mystery shop program conducted by an outside partner), 89.5 percent of restaurants received a passing score on their Operations Service Audits.