How Alcon reinforces in-person training using TalentCards
TalentCards is the mechanism we use to keep the learning alive.Tyler Snyder,
Global Director of Commercial Development at Alcon
Alcon is a medical device company, and the world leader in eye care. With about 20,000 employees across the globe, it is split into two divisions: surgical, and vision care.
From product knowledge, to technical training, to sales skills, training is an ongoing process at Alcon. That training happens in multiple ways, including workshops, webinars, conference calls, and instructor led training.
In-person training isn’t enough
Every year the company holds two major sales meetings dedicated to training their reps. But what was needed was a way to keep the learning fresh for all attendees, even after the conference had ended.
What we’ve learned is, we have the meeting or the training, great workshops, the learning is there. But then when people leave, a lot of the time some of that feels like a one-time event. It’s just not carried on.
This struggle isn’t unique to Alcon. Companies of all sizes spend money on hosting or attending training sessions, but without a way to reinforce the material learned, that investment yields little to no long term return.
Product training can’t be a one time event
As a company that schedules multiple new product launches throughout the year, Alcon’s sales reps are always attending training sessions. Typically, the company would conduct conference calls leading up to, and after the instructor-led training. It was at this point that Tyler asked,
Is it truly effective to pull the entire salesforce away from our customers for an hour, even though it’s once a week? Is there a better solution?
When searching for a better solution, Tyler had two requirements in mind:
For the learner, the app had to be simple. It had to be in local language, and that was really it.
TalentCards was exactly what Tyler had been looking for. In addition to checking off both of these requirements, it also solved the problems of in-person training feeling like a one-time event, and forcing sales reps to make time for weekly conference calls.
The way that we use TalentCards is creating card sets based on key topics, whether it’s technical and product focused, or skills based, and we’re deploying those card sets after these trainings and meetings. That’s the method we’re going to use to help keep that new learning, those new skills, alive, front of mind, for all learners … We actually make it more fun and engaging than a one-way conference call.
Scheduling is one of the most common hurdles facing management in companies that operate across continents. Ensuring attendance when people are spread out across different locations, in different time zones, speaking different languages, becomes nearly impossible. With this in mind, TalentCards was created to solve the problem for both learners and managers. Whether the person’s job is to create the training, or to complete it, attending an in-person event no longer stands in the way.
I would say the learning curve was little to none … When I think of unique markets like Europe or Asia where our training managers cover multiple time zones, and multiple countries, they can deploy content out to users and it’s self-based. So you don’t have to worry about scheduling … They can do it on their own when it’s convenient for them.
How is TalentCards different from a traditional LMS?
TalentCards is far from your traditional LMS. With only two sides to a card, and a limited amount of space for text, the platform helps you leverage the power of microlearning.
I don’t feel restricted … What it forces us to do when we’re creating that card set is really think about, what is the key point we want someone to walk away with?
TalentCards allows users to communicate information using text, images, audio, and video. Whatever the medium, the platform guides users to create content that is concise, and to the point.
And while Alcon continues to use a traditional LMS for onboarding and training, TalentCards offers something unique to learners— a convenient way to continuously reinforce those important concepts that should always be front of mind.
This shouldn’t replace the eLearning or the traditional LMS.
I think the number one benefit is engagement with learning. We’re just seeing that it’s fun, it’s getting people to engage in a different way, versus feeling like they’re forced to attend yet another conference call.
For Alcon, the key to engagement has been the platform’s gamification element. For every completed card set or quiz, users earn points and rank on the leadership board.
You know, these are salespeople— they’re competitive. And for them to see how they’re comparing to their peers, what we’ve seen is that it forces them to go back in and do that card set two or three times … just because they want to see their name on that leaderboard … It’s a great way to start getting them to reach for training, versus us having to push it out.
After experiencing these successes with their sales teams in Latin America, both on the learner and admin side, Alcon has begun rolling TalentCards out across the U.S. and Europe.
We are mass uploading users in groups, and it’s pretty seamless now … A TalentCards set will be part of our standard training launch materials.
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