Building a Strong Culture of e-learning

How a credit union used popcorn and the red carpet to promote a new strategy.

Broaden learning opportunities and dramatically change corporate culture while maintaining costs.
Develop a strategic, three-year marketing plan to create awareness of e-learning and bring about acceptance of this new learning opportunity.

While strong training and successful learning existed at PSCU Financial Services before e-learning implementation, its project team saw the importance of building a strategic marketing plan for the inception of an e-learning initiative. That’s when it decided to act.
PSCU-FS and SkillSoft’s account team put together a targeted strategic marketing campaign that was more than just incentives to create awareness. PSCU-FS wanted to integrate learning into the life of the enterprise and foster an environment where e-learning could blend into business objectives and corporate goals.
“For other companies looking to achieve similar goals, it is critical that they find a vendor that can support them through this process. We relied on SkillSoft as a resource. We didn’t have to create our own promotional materials; we just modified what SkillSoft provided to fit our business requirements,” says Todd Slater, director of creative media services.
In addition to the SkillSoft account team, Slater had four training professionals involved in the e-learning initiative plus one champion of e-learning.

Year One: Awareness
PSCU Financial Services purchased 40 SkillSoft courses, including MS Office and professional development courseware. PSCU Financial Services initially started with the marketing plan framework SkillSoft provided. It was then customized to fit the needs of the employee base.
The company chose a movie-themed marketing campaign, “It’s Coming,” as the vehicle to introduce e-learning. It created a kickoff, complete with a red carpet and popcorn. SkillSoft’s account consultant assisted with the program development and provided guidance about the program and launch. Approximately 150 employees attended the first program launch.
The initial campaign focused on benefits, ease of use and the value of e-learning to the employee. Once the program launched, PSCU-FS developed a continuous promotional program for ongoing marketing. Communication between the PSCU Financial Services’ team and SkillSoft’s account team was consistent and ongoing.

Year One Results
By the end of the first year, PSCU had extended its course offerings to a total of 250. At that time, managers were seeking advice about integrating courses into professional development plans.
The company developed numerous strong testimonials, and several departments (sales, project management and IT) requested specific e-learning curriculums.

Year Two: Integration
The company’s library of SkillSoft courses increased to include a variety of learning paths aligned with company competencies. The marketing team continued its mass marketing campaigns and used the company’s intranet and e-mail to promote courses and describe success stories.
Managers began to allow hours-per-quarter for learning. The company continued to implement targeted marketing promotions.
During year two, PSCU Financial Services president David J. Serlo presented a recognition award to an employee who completed an online certification program. This action communicated to the employees that senior management places a high value on education.

Year Two Results
During the second year of implementation, usage increased 50 percent over the first year. More courses were put into development plans, and online courses were put into formal offerings, including separate department curriculums, including finance, management development and call center.
By this time, courses began to replace traditional ILT for cost savings, online learning became a part of company terminology, and courses were used by PSCU’s organizational development group for competency development.

Year Three: Acceptance
PSCU-FS is a leading provider of traditional and online financial services to credit unions, serving more than 8 million credit and debit cardholders and more than 200,000 online bill payment subscribers. Its mission is to be the credit union industry leader in defining and delivering quality financial service solutions, by leveraging a member-owned cooperative structure, scale, specialized knowledge and strategic partnerships.
The company has continued its mass and target marketing campaigns. Online courses are now embedded into annual reviews. The company works toward fully integrating courses into formal training curriculums, including management development, leadership training, professional development and annual reviews.
Today, e-learning is embedded into the corporate culture to the highest levels in the organization. While e-learning is not mandatory, PSCU-FS reports 80-percent usage.

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