Innovations: Custom training

Training employees is critical to the success of many businesses. However, Tim Hagen, president of Mequon-based Sales Progress LLC, says the problem with traditional training models is that employees will usually spend two or three days in a classroom training session, and a few weeks later will either forget what they learned or they don’t know how to apply the things they learned to their everyday work.

To solve that problem, Sales Progress has designed an innovative training system that is both convenient and able to be personalized. Employees are able to receive notification of a training lesson and complete it on their own time, while still being held accountable by their managers.

Training Generator 2.0 allows employees to log on to an online workbook to complete a five- to eight-minute training lesson given to them by a company or department manager.

“Managers are able to control the time a lesson goes out, what content is covered, how frequently lessons go out, and can even customize who gets the lesson,” Hagen said. “The lessons are completely customized for the industry and can even be customized for certain situations familiar to a company or a specific employee.”

Managers can then read employee responses, or at least know that the lesson has been completed, he added.

The software also has the capability to implement the technology that allows companies to send articles, videos and MP3 files to communicate messages to multiple employees at their computers or even their cell phones.

“Eighty percent of training is lost once employees get back to the real world,” Hagen said. “This program allows managers to train their employees every day, if they want. They can utilize it in a way that best suits their company’s model. It allows for real adult education. Adults don’t want to be sitting in a classroom anymore.”

According to Hagen, the training generator can be used by all types of companies and departments.

“All of the content for the software is customized per user. So, manufacturing companies can use it to train people, HR people can train people on how to better communicate with customers, sales managers can even walk though specific situations with their sales representatives and teach them how to react,” Hagen said.

Sales Progress sometimes partners on the content for the training generator and asks the companies to fill out a brief survey to better understand the content to be included. Other training companies are also able to purchase the software for use in their own company with their own clients, he said.

Sales Progress has launched the product nationwide and typically targets large to mid-size companies, but smaller companies might find the product useful as well, Hagen said.

“This software is designed to be able to assist with traditional training programs or be sustainable on its own,” Hagen said.  “So, employees can go to the classroom for a day or two and then receive lessons via the Training Generator for the next few weeks to actually apply what they learned, or they can simply conduct the training from beginning to end using the lessons.”

According to Hagen, Sales Progress is currently working with the Milwaukee Brewers, West Bend-based Gehl Co., BRP (Evinrude Johnson), Muskego-based Inpro Corp. and others in the Midwest and across the country.

“Mechanically, it takes about a half an hour to learn how to use the software, but we go through a brief three-course module to show companies how to put stuff together, author new questions and content and send items out,” Hagen said. “Plus, we are always available to assist in the use of the product after the initial training. This is a very innovate way to train your employees. It gives you full control over content, activity creation and frequency to train your employees how you want them to be trained in ways that best fit your company’s needs.” 

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