Training APEX Awards Best Practice: Transworld Systems Incorporated’s EPIC2 Program

The Effective, Powerful, Interactive Communication and Culture (EPIC2) Program is a three-day instructor-led certification for offshore employees that goes beyond language and communication skills to offer an immersive experience in the culture of the United States.

APEX Awards

Transworld Systems Incorporated’s (TSI) leaders challenged its Talent Development, Training Team (TD) to improve upon the business services company’s language skills program. In response, TD created the Effective, Powerful, Interactive Communication and Culture (EPIC2) Program, a three-day instructor-led certification for offshore employees that goes beyond language and communication skills to offer an immersive experience in the culture of the United States.

All front-line offshore employees—up to and including management staff—complete this program. TSI also offers the EPIC2 Program as an optional enrollment for all other offshore positions, ranging from administrative employees up to and including executive roles. The EPIC2 Program is one of TSI’s widest-reaching programs, extending to all 5,200-plus offshore employees located in the Philippines, India, and Guatemala.

Program Details

EPIC2 is driven by a Manila TD specialist who has an extensive formal education and experience in creating collateral for offshore learners working for U.S. organizations. This specialist works closely with a member of TD in the U.S. with a graduate degree in English to ensure the program contains unparalleled language lessons and activities that are customized for TSI’s offshore audience. U.S. and Manila TD Management reviews and approves the program to ensure it is calibrated with industry trends and business needs.

The first portion of each day begins with facilitator-led lessons outlining the English language grammar and pronunciation concepts that are most important to Filipino learners. These lessons introduce consonant and vowel production, tense vs. lax vowels, and diphthongs, followed by a discussion on American figures of speech and the nuances of American English. The activity portion of this lesson is a learner favorite, in particular the flipped-classroom approach where learners are encouraged to share appropriate American jokes with the class.

The second portion consists of concepts such as active and passive voice, articles, moods, prepositions, and verb tenses, along with a lesson on common and how to effectively remove or reduce them for professional communication. All language lessons are followed by interactive activities and games.

One of the highlights of these lessons is a series of narrative microlearning videos called Keeping up with the Americans. Each of these videos tells the story of a different family unit in the U.S., highlighting socially conscious topics such as diversity, poverty, life stages, same-sex marriage, gender pronouns, adoption, and blended and multi-generation families.

Another highlight is a series called Urban USA, which discusses rural and urban life in the U.S., along with the geography of U.S. states and cities. The videos include multiple genres of music with catchy lyrics intended to help learners retain geographic concepts quickly. The proprietary songs within these videos were written and performed by one of TSI’s instructional design specialists working out of Manila.

Successful completion of the EPIC2 Program is validated through the EPIC2 Grammar and Comprehension Assessment—a one-on-one language assessment in an approved template delivered by the facilitator.

The concepts delivered in EPIC2 are reinforced throughout employees’ tenure, beginning with the Nesting Program. Frequent coaching discussions take place to reinforce employees’ language skills, and microlearning videos are developed and published according to language trends. Leadership consistently involves the TD Team on a case-by-case basis whenever an employee needs reinforcement pertaining to language or U.S. culture.

In addition, videos such as Say This, Not That are developed and deployed each quarter to address common language trends found through call monitoring. TSI’s knowledge-based repository also contains long-term reinforcement on these skills, including a newly added pronunciation guide that provides both written and audio guidance on the pronunciation of TSI client names. Also on the knowledge-based repository is a series of “Did you know?” interactive bulletins that are published monthly to educate employees on current events within the U.S. and language-based updates and reminders regarding TSI’s clients.

Results

After its launch, the EPIC2 Program improved the average monthly revenue generated by TSI’s offshore new hires by 30 percent per employee. This figure improved by an additional 3 percent in 2021.

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.