For the employees of New Indy Containerboard, training had long been an afterthought. For nearly five years before the New Indy ownership took over, the previous owners had neglected to maintain their training programs, only doing the bare minimum they needed to get by. Preparing to sell, they stopped investing in the facility. They started terminating people, and they stopped training.
Lawana Palmer, HR Manager at New Indy, was there when the new ownership took over. It was soon clear they needed to begin training again.
"When New Indy took over, we started to stabilize more because they started to hire," says Palmer. "Within my first two months, we hired like fifteen operators. Of course, then you're training from the bottom up, but that's where it all began. It was survival training. You know, 'we need someone to fill this position, so we're going to train' -- it was a line-of-progression type system, with position one being the lowest. Two would train one. Three would train two. And so on.
"The biggest problem with that approach is that you're only as good as your trainer. And because there was minimal standardization as employees moved up in rank, as they move up the ladder into position six, seven, eight, you can see some of those deficiencies. You can see who was trained by a very knowledgeable operator as compared to somebody who wasn't. So you end up with skill gaps and incomplete and inaccurate knowledge."
"You can see who was trained by a very knowledgeable operator as compared to somebody who wasn't. So you end up with skill gaps and incomplete and inaccurate knowledge."
In the Convergence LMS, New Indy found a solution that was flexible enough to allow them to put together a standard, consistent training message for each of their various job roles and to run reports letting management know who was up-to-date with their training and who was behind.
"We knew it was important to have a system that was flexible enough to allow us to import many different types of training to help us standardize everything," says Palmer. "Reporting, too, was really important to us and Convergence checked all those boxes."
As a bonus, New Indy was able to build off of Convergence's corrugated packaging training, which they began assigning to employees right out of the gate.
"The fact that Convergence had paper-specific off-the-shelf courses was a plus," says Palmer. "Like I said, we're basically building our training program from scratch, so we've started off just using what Convergence has provided within the system and we're going to build off of that."
"We knew it was important to have a system that was flexible enough to allow us to import many different types of training to help us standardize everything."
With the use of the LMS and off-the-shelf training courses, New Indy has begun to send out a consistent training message to employees in different job roles so that everyone is operating with the same information.
"Convergence has been crucial in helping us develop standards for internal training timelines and required documentation," says Palmer. "For instance, all operators now have a standardized safety program where they have to complete specific eLearning courses, watch a specific video, and pass the same tests. The Convergence LMS really allows us to standardize our training flow and make sure that everybody is being trained according to the same timeline."
According to Palmer, New Indy's reporting woes have become a thing of the past as well.
The reporting has been fantastic," says Palmer. "I can pull up an employee and I can pull all of their safety training. I can see whether they've completed it or if it's in-progress, and I can see all of their positional training and certifications. All that info is right there in the LMS.