Training Top 125 Best Practice: CenturyLink’s Road to 30 Program
In September 2017, U.S. communications provider CenturyLink’s vice president of Consumer Sales and Care asked the Learning & Development (L&D) team to partner with her operations team to reduce the overall onboarding time for new hire representatives to reach full production performance for key performance indicators from 120 days post-training to 30 days post-training across 23 Consumer contact centers.
In response, the Road to 30 initiative was launched to capitalize on opportunities to enhance training curricula and production floor experience. The teams utilized the performance consulting approach to understand the work environment, what resources were available to the agents, and current training program results.
Over three months, the L&D team held focus group sessions, sat with employees in a “ride-along,” interviewed supervisors to identify trends, and analyzed the performance metrics to design and plan a new program. Design thinking was incorporated into the onboarding curricula to reflect the production environment throughout the training.
One specific performance metric addressed was average handle time because the supervisors revealed agents had a hard time actively listening, typing, and problem solving at the same time. An innovation in the training was to include 10-minute (the average amount of time agents spend on a call) skill drills that are observed and timed by the trainers.
After the intensive training program, agents spend 30 days supervised by a special transition team. During this time, agents receive reinforcement and support, including four 20-minute team huddles; weekly calls to evaluate performance and action plans; and six one-hour coaching sessions in addition to the 90 minutes of product, compliance, and policy update training all agents receive. An example of just-in-time resources is a library of videos covering short topics, with more than 6,000 hits year to date.
By mid-year 2018, 589 new hire agents had completed the Road to 30 Program. The skill drills resulted in a decrease of agent handle time by 11 percent, while simultaneously achieving graduation requirements and production-level attainment of additional key performance indicators. Additional results show an increase in sales effectiveness from 49 percent to 68 percent. Business results include a reduction in operating costs and a 19 percent increase in sales.