Four years ago, Ken Barber, the chief learning officer for Jiffy Lube, a wholly owned,indirect subsidiary of Shell Oil Company,knew he had to upgrade the organization’s training program. What emerged — Jiffy Lube University (JLU) — has exceeded his expectations.
With 10 levels of certification, JLU is accessed by 20,000 employees in North America. Last year, 1.54 million hours of learning were recorded, 940,000 courses completed, and 148,000 certifications earned. More than 100 different courses are offered, and Barber is in the process of adding more than 20 technical training courses this year.
“That level of training assures us that any one of our 22 million customers a year will be guaranteed a well-trained and qualified technician takes care of his or her vehicle,”says Barber today.
The concept behind the JLU portal is simple and straightforward.
“When someone comes in to take training or check status of training, the learner portal landing site is the first page they see. It’s highly branded with Jiffy Lube and JLU and laid out in roadmap fashion,” Barber notes. “It gives you a sense of where you stand personally in terms of the training standards that are set. Individual employees can now take control of their own development. Since we’ve done this, we’ve seen huge increases in the number of certifications completed.”
Jiffy Lube is different than most large corporations, because it’s a franchising organization, which places an even higher premium on training; franchise owners often have no background in the services their employees will be offering.
“New franchisees often purchase the business from an existing franchisee with a group of employees already working and already certified,” Barber continues. “So the transition can be more challenging for the owner than for the crew.” Support is provided by a local Jiffy Lube International (JLI) district manager to help get them up to speed and get the initial store opened.
What JLU offers the franchisees beyond that level of training is a certification system for new employees: “Turnover takes place, so it’s an easy, quick, standard way for team members to go through the training and get the consistent instruction on how to perform the positions and the services, the same way every time.”
CONVERTING FROM THE OLD WAY
“We started the conversion about five years ago,” Barber says. “Prior to this, we did computer-based training, but it was hosted on a computer in the store, records had to be uploaded at night, and there wasn’t much of anLMS, so those records were always suspect.When we introduced JLU and this platform,we overcame a lot of complications.
”Getting JLU up and running was a learningprocess for Barber himself. “I had a picture ofwhat we needed, but I had no way of puttingthe pieces together.” So he enlisted help fromtwo key vendor partners, Houston-based Intercom and Indianapolis-based Adayana.
JLU uses a highly customized SumTotal platform, for which Intercom helped design and develop courses and content. “Intercom knows our system and procedures,” Barber observes. Adayana, which also works with some pretty large government agencies,hared best practices and led the Jiffy Lube team through challenges in dealing with a new learning management system.
“We also have a training committee that work with every month,” says Barber. “It’s made up of franchisees and corporate personnel who offer ideas and improvements. JLU is a combination effort of all of those parties.”
HOW IT WORKS
Key to the whole system is a color-coded Certification Percentage Dashboard Report, a common reference point. Colors instantly reveal whether someone is doing well or not doing well in each entity group. The reports are consistent, standard and user friendly, so team members can quickly assess where they stand. Besides a macroview with all the franchising organizations involved, the system can offer tremendous detail down to individual employees.
For instance, an employee who wanted to be a “courtesy tech” would first click on the proper link on the landing page. He would take all the training for that position. At the end of the courses, he’d be given a certification test that would have to be passed with at least an 80 percent score. The candidate would then progress to on-the-job training, using the Daily Training Observation Guide (D-TOG), a printable document designating every step involved in performing that job. The supervisor who is observing and coaching the candidate will issue a 1, 2, or P rating. When that individual receives a P (proficient) rating inevery single step, the supervisor posts the certification in JLU, making it official. The posting date also starts the clock for a two year recertification.
“JLU has helped us to raise the bar with certifications year after year, to the point where it kind of sustains itself,” Barber says.
“We also weren’t quite sure how to manage the JLU database,” says Barber. But the answer was right under his nose.
“One of the guys on my team—Michael Phillips—took it as a challenge to learn this system. He’s now so astute at using the platform that he’ll sometimes challenge the people at Adayana with ideas. It’s been interesting to see the evolution of his knowledge and confidence in the system.” There was also the quandry of how to convey messages from top management to employees in an individual way. For that, Barber turned to JLU Tube.
“Initially, we only thought about it in terms of sharing best practices, but Jiffy Lube International (JLI) leadership began to recognize the fact that this is the only way we have for getting an unfiltered message to everybody in the system. They really take advantage of it whenever special announcements need to be made.
”How JLU became one of only three franchise organizations to offer college credits (the others being McDonalds and Starbucks) is another story unto itself.
“Two years ago, we asked the American Council on Education to determine whether our JLU courses were worthy of college credit,” Barber relates. “We were approved for nine semester-hours based on what we had at the time, but we found out that could get more credit if we had more of a capstone course that showed managers had taken and applied the training.
“Using Adayana’s expertise, we’re developing a simulation course to challenge ‘players’ with multiple scenarios both unusual and common. If they are successful in selecting the right action in a timely fashion and score enough points, we consider that a final exam to complete the requirements. But we’d also build it in such a way that it has a competitive aspect with a leader board. Once you’d passed the course, you could go back and play it as many times as you like to get a higher score. We’d build in competition and a recognition program. We figured that the more you play the game, the better you’d develop your decision-making skills.
”That simulation course will be in place the second quarter of this year, when Barber will go back to the American Council of Education to gain additional college credits for employees dedicated to earning an associate or undergraduate degree.
“The simulation course is something that everybody wants to have, but most companies don’t,” Barber says.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
JLU has assisted the company in reducing the turnover rate by about 30 percent in the last two years.
“We have determined that there’s a direct link between the number of certifications and employee retention,” says Barber. “As people start down the journey of their second, third or fourth certification, retention grows exponentially, so the more we get them engaged, the more they see a future and career path, the longer they tend to stay with the system.
” And consistency is not something that escapes customer loyalty, either. “Customers who come back to the store and see the same familiar faces are more comfortable with the environment and the people they’re dealing with.”
Going beyond specific training purposes, JLU helped raise Jiffy Lube’s public profile. In 2012, the company teamed with the Muscular Dystrophy association, with the goal of raising a $1 million to help those affected by neuro muscular disease.“Using JLU as the platform for a training course, employees were educated on the value to customers in making a donation and receiving a coupon book. We raised $1.2 million from customers and service centers across the country,” Barber concludes. “We feel very proud to have been a part of that. So JLU has served the business in ways beyond being a training platform.”