Fallstudie

Industrie

Government

Hauptsitz

Camden, South Carolina, United States

Anzahl Mitarbeiter

340

Kershaw County Takes Holistic Learning Approach to Improve Workforce Results

Ergebnisse dank Udemy Business

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Infos zur Fallstudie

Like most public sector organizations, the government of Kershaw County, South Carolina, consistently strives to improve quality of life and economic development for its citizens. Of course, the success of these efforts hinges in large part upon how well its workforce can perform. That’s why Kershaw County hired Stewart Kidd as Talent & Training Development Manager. Stewart had previously led learning initiatives for 79,000 employees at a global Fortune 200 company, he understood that education for education’s sake—while a valid pursuit—was not enough when it came to real career development. Rather, organizations intent on bettering their employees must take a more disciplined approach to training.

Long-term employee retention has its pros and cons

When Stewart first came on board, his initial L&D goals centered around succession planning. The county had a high number of legacy employees who had been working in the same positions for 15-20 years, many of whom were nearing retirement age. While this level of retention was a source of pride for the organization, it also posed several concerns. To begin with, the longer a person stayed in a particular role, the more likely it was that they were the only employee capable of performing the job. In addition, within a county government organization like Kershaw, people often needed to cover a lot of bases outside of their traditional roles. That meant employees were likely to be doing very important work that no one even knew about. The fear was that, when people left, they might take all their expertise with them.

But there was a deeper concern Stewart had regarding the longevity of Kershaw’s workforce. The idea that employees remained in the same role for so long meant they were at risk of stagnation. Not only was there little career progression taking place, but the lack of development hindered opportunities for internal promotions—which were strategic in keeping key positions filled.

Pandemic reveals hidden potential and a plan for new culture of learning

When the pandemic hit in 2020, these issues were only magnified. Remote work necessitated a lot of shuffling of tasks, making it clear that employees carried additional weight outside their primary roles and —perhaps more importantly— that Kershaw was harboring a great deal of untapped talent. “We wanted to capture the talent of our employees in a meaningful way,” he explained, “so we could further develop the workforce rather than keep them in their silos.”

This meant building a new culture of learning for Kershaw County that would enable the organization not only to hire and promote new talent competitively, but also to train existing talent so they could avoid stagnation and improve internal flexibility. “We needed to give our employees the mindset that without training and personal development, it would not be easy for them to advance toward any of their aspirations,” Stewart recalls. “Retaining talent was not an issue. Developing talent is where our focus needed to lie.”

To succeed the L&D group would need to conquer several obstacles. Kershaw had no consolidated training function to address the needs of the county, nor did it have any systems to deploy and track the acquisition of employee development. There was limited visibility into employee talent across the wider organization, and strategic HR functions related to talent management were, for the most part, non-existent.

Compounding these challenges was the fact that, even when they did get a learning system off the ground, a good portion of the county’s workforce would be approaching it from non-traditional standpoints. Many never looked at a computer all day. Some did not even have an email address.

Talent-mapping clarify specific development plans and technology needs

To identify learning priorities and program needs, the County Administrator assembled a cross-disciplinary project team composed of key stakeholders from HR, Finance, IT and Communications. Stewart and this Enhance U project team set about mapping the organization’s talent. “We focused on understanding competencies, rather than traditional skills, because we knew competencies could be applicable across disciplines and roles, whereas skills have a shorter shelf life,” says Stewart. “COVID made it clear that people could do more than that for which they were being recognized, and the county wanted to make use of those competencies in the most effective way possible — for productivity and for the sake of service.”

We needed a cost-effective learning solution that was built to recognize the importance of competencies while delivering relevant content in a user-friendly fashion. Better yet, if we could find the right online learning provider that had all the features and functions we were looking for, it would be a win-win. Thankfully Udemy Business delivered.
Stewart Kidd
Talent & Training Development Manager

From costs to content, Udemy Business delivers on every demand

Udemy Business quickly surfaced as the optimal choice for Kershaw County. “We had discussions with all the leading vendors but after an in-depth review, we decided that Udemy Business was the best fit for us,” says Stewart.

In addition to delivering superior customer support and cost savings over other providers, Udemy Business enabled Kershaw to maintain its focus on broader competencies rather than skills. “Using Udemy content, we began by establishing a custom learning path to train managers how to conduct employee development discussions. Udemy Business then allowed us to take this deeper understanding of our employees’ competencies and build skills within those competencies as part of an ongoing process to evolve employees’ roles and development,” explains Stewart.

Furthermore, Udemy provided the content Kershaw needed to deliver on its newly outlined employee development plans. “The fact that we were starting from scratch actually proved beneficial to us,” Stewart states. “We didn’t have to migrate or integrate any legacy courseware, so we could simply launch Udemy’s quality content straight to our workforce. When employees complete one course, they can move on to the next topic easily.”

Similarly, without any existing platforms to migrate over, deployment was also straightforward. “The fact that Udemy didn’t require an intensive implementation process or the installation of a complex LMS system was a huge win for us,” says Stewart.

“Udemy’s courses allow for bite-size learning,” Stewart explains, noting that employees don’t always have the time or inclination to sit through lengthy courses. “We liked the fact that people could log in, get the content they need, and get back out again. We’re looking to engage a younger audience, too, so we didn’t want to have a lot of electronic page-turning. Udemy courses feature a lot of video and have an easily consumable look-and-feel about them in a very beneficial and welcoming way.”

Udemy’s courses allow for bite-size learning. We liked the fact that people could log in, get the content they need, and get back out again. We’re looking to engage a younger audience, too, so we didn’t want to have a lot of electronic pageturning. Udemy courses feature a lot of video and have an easily consumable look-and-feel about them in a very beneficial and welcoming way.
Stewart Kidd
Talent & Training Development Manager

Enhance U: New learning program quickly secures employee support and ROI

Since Kershaw County officially rolled out its Udemy Business-powered employee university, called Enhance U, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. Together with their Udemy Business Customer Success Manager, the Enhance U project team evangelized the program to the County’s approximately 400 learners using everything from training sessions to free snacks. Additionally, every employee had a course recommendation waiting for them based on the development plans crafted earlier, making the experience positive from day one. Within the first four weeks of rollout, more than half of employees had already logged into their training. And within the first month of use, Kershaw County had realized an astounding 7-to-1 return on investment for the courses accessed.

Udemy Business eases access, training for non-traditional learners

Even the organization’s non-traditional learners have become avid users. 911 operators, for example, now eagerly turn to learning when not receiving calls. “They’re even training in preparation for calls, which has been a huge benefit to the whole department,” Stewart notes.

As for those workers who don’t have computers or email addresses, Kershaw County took extra steps to ensure the Enhance U program was easily accessible. The project team filled a mobile unit and a conference room with workstations where these employees could go for their training, and they helped people who were online-averse become more comfortable with the login process. Fortunately, for those folks who are not particularly computer savvy, or for workers who are on the road, learning content can also be accessed easily via cell phone on the Udemy mobile app. Consequently, Kershaw is now seeing as much as 24% of total usage delivered over the mobile app which is well above average for eLearning.

Kershaw County sees advantages around succession planning, safety, and savings

The renewed dedication to employee development powered by Udemy Business has also helped Kershaw County evolve its hiring appeal toward a younger audience, while assisting current employees in advancing their careers beyond their existing siloes of expertise. This makes succession planning much simpler and more effective for the Enhance U Steering Committee which evolved out of the original project team.

The county has also leveraged Udemy course content around OSHA competencies to improve safety and compliance for employees in higher risk jobs. As a result, the organization is better able to protect its workers, reduce the number of insurance claims, design and track department-specific compliance training, and —equally importantly— cut insurance premiums. “This capability is critical to the success of this program,” says Stewart, “and the Risk Management director is thrilled not only because of the savings potential, but also because of how efficiently Udemy has positioned him to reach his goals.”

Empowered by Udemy, Enhance U doesn’t just begin and end with training. It leads. We want people to realize that it’s not just about taking the courses, it’s about the growth opportunities. That’s our employee value proposition, and it helps us be good stewards of our taxpayers’ dollars.
Stewart Kidd
Talent & Training Development Manager

Award-winning development program paves way for the future with Udemy Business

Kershaw County’s new focus on competencies and learning as a whole has enhanced the overall wellness of its employees, and Stewart’s team credits Udemy Business for helping to make it possible. “One employee, after losing her spouse during the pandemic, has reflected on courses she’s taken on topics such as life mastery, health, and wellness,” Stewart says. “Another employee used courses to earn a certification in nutrition. Such instances not only bolster high ratings for job satisfaction but also provide testimonials in support of our external employee value proposition, and have massively and tangibly supported the culture of learning we’re proud to have built at Kershaw County.”

The L&D group now continues its focus on development by rolling out SWAT teams —under the banner of KC solutions— that teach employees how to use six sigma processes to solve problems. In addition, the group has created a playbook to help other county governments achieve similar results through their own online learning initiatives. “It doesn’t matter if you have 100, 500, or 3,000 employees,” states Stewart, “we believe our playbook can be replicated in scale for any organization.”

Other counties would do well to follow suit. Kershaw County’s Enhance U program won a first-place award for counties with 50-150K residents for its ability to implement operational improvements and enhance their citizens’ quality of life in a unique way.

Udemy Business will continue to play a key role in the county’s journey, according to Stewart. “Empowered by Udemy, Enhance U doesn’t just begin and end with training. It leads. We want people to realize that it’s not just about taking the courses, it’s about the growth opportunities. That’s our employee value proposition, and it helps us be good stewards of our taxpayers’ dollars.”

The fact that Udemy Business didn’t require an intensive implementation process or the installation of a complex LMS system was a huge win for us.
Stewart Kidd
Talent & Training Development Manager

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