Training and Development

At Advanta, our workplace values are principles that drive our organization. They define how we approach people, new ideas, initiatives and courses of action. They include Mutual Trust and Respect, Integrity, Collaboration and Open Communication, Innovation, Flexibility and Adaptability and Pursuit of Personal Excellence. With these principles we strive to build a team of committed and dedicated employees to service our customers demonstrating these values. In conducting a needs assessment in the Operations area of Advanta several “pressure points” were discovered.

They include the rapid growth of the company, the changing technology and the focus on attendance and punctuality of employees in the customer service area. In order to obtain a fair assessment of the departmental needs I conducted a question and answer survey with a total of 6 employees in the Customer Service Operations area. They included the: Joe Dooling, Director; Derek Jones, Manager; Tony Nisson Quality Analyst; Shonta Young, Harry Sears and Maureen Foley Customer Service Representatives.

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The employees were asked similar questions geared toward their current role at Advanta. First, the organizational analysis proved that managers and employees have the willingness and desire to stay informed on the changes that occur and welcome the Advanta values. The customer centric focus is a welcomed concept. Change is often a hard thing for many to accept but with the right delivery and guidance it can be an experience to improve and excel beyond expectations.

The organizational analysis referred to the situation of the business operations in relation to good business practice. The processes and tools used to conduct the operational analysis included focusing on the business goals and long term forecasting of the desired outcome, all employees play an important role in the success or failure of the company. Thru the employee survey questions I discovered that all employees believe that thru the training offered the skills required can be obtained thereby,creating a strong tool to reach desired goals.

The collaborative effort of the training department working with the customer contact center helps to identify specific needs that employees can learn, strengthen or improve upon. In the customer service area, much of the success of the employee is built upon the knowledge the employee has on meeting objectives such as the hold time of customers, reaching goals of customer satisfaction while cross-selling and dedication to the job that each employees shares.

Next, I identified thru the person analysis whether the performance deficiencies where a result of employees lack of knowledge and who would benefit most from the training offered. Each of the three Customer Service Representative employees were assessed individually. The responses received established that the training programs offered should challenge the development of the associates and provide cross training duties, which would break up the monotonous daily routine of taking call after call daily and non-stop.

Management felt that time management was the most important aspect of the success of the Customer Service Representatives. Supervisors and Quality Analyst provide constant coaching and feedback to employees as calls are randomly monitored. The one-on-one time allows for training, in areas, which may focus on the independent need of the Customer Service Representative. The representatives interviewed felt that the success of a manager could be judged by his/her management style and ability. Which encompasses training and development of the staff.

Finally, I discovered that employee’s first area of training would begin in training them in the importance of attendance and punctuality on the job. I further discovered that absenteeism in the call center has more to do with environment, management practices and workforce culture, rather than the size of the operation.

In considering the demographics of employees and responses to the employee survey about their commitments and activities outside of work, I feel thru training and development an attendance policy can be designed that addresses areas of potential absenteeism while the employees learn how important they are to the driving impact of the daily operations of performance. The training design would be coordinated in house in collaboration with the operations management and statistical data differentiating between being fully staffed during a work shift versus having fewer employees to service the needs of the incoming call volume from customers.

Lastly I reviewed the job description to review the tasks and behavioral aspects of the position to evaluate what qualities an individual must possess to perform the customer service representative job successfully. I worked in a subjective manner according to the behavior, attitudes/values and/or the motivations. This enabled me to conduct a task analysis of the department and its employees and potential employees.