Hydrite Chemical Co. Empowers Employee Development

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SilkRoad Results

  • Employees empowered to manage their own training, both mandatory and elective
  • Stronger tracking of metrics and mandatory training compliance
  • Greater manager visibility into training status
  • Scheduling that adapts to employee and compliance needs

Learning Challenges Solved

  • Complicated new hire training assignment process
  • Lack of reporting and metrics
  • Limited manager access and visibility
  • No support of training groups outside of organization units
  • Inflexible scheduling around a set date regardless of hire date

Old Technology Limits Flexibility and Engagement

Hydrite Chemical Co., a highly respected provider of chemicals and related services based in Wisconsin, faced a complicated learning challenge: 1,700 active and inactive users, 125 e-courses and 10 years of training history. An old learning system wasn’t up to the challenge. “There was a huge lack of reporting and metrics. Plus, managers had limited visibility into status,” explained Lisa Kowalske, training and development manager, Hydrite. “We also wanted to increase employee engagement in training by offering elective training in the system in addition to mandatory courses and the flexibility wasn’t there.”

Other flexibility issues existed. Mandatory training could only be scheduled on an anniversary date. The system also didn’t support an efficient approach to organizing employees into training groups.

Creating an Engaging, Flexible Learning Program

To take its learning program to the next level, Hydrite selected SilkRoad Learning. “ It offered more flexibility and also solved several of our reporting and training group challenges,” said Kowalske. “We knew that it could support greater employee engagement and would be incredibly easy for our employees to use.”

However, all the exciting new capabilities were meaningless unless managers and employees were excited about the system. “Especially in manufacturing, technology is scary,” said Kowalske. “We knew the branding and launch to the employees was really important.”

Critical Path—the Launch to Employees

To win over employees and experience the full benefits of the learning system, the Hydrite team developed a robust launch plan. “Every system launch is different. Who you launch an ATS to, for example, is not the same as who will use a learning system. We really focused in on the learning user—who they are, how often will they use the system and what did they need to know,” said Kowalske. “We also considered how often communication would occur, what methods were available and how to reach every employee, including those without computers.”

The Hydrite team built a plan based around 4 areas: brand, communication, testing and training. To build excitement, a company-wide naming contest led to branding the system as Catalyst, complete with its own logo used on all information related to the new system. The communication process included branded flyers, articles on the Intranet and preview demos as well as an FAQ document created as questions came in. The team made it really easy for an employee to get access using the Intranet with a QuickLink, so it was simply click and log in.

Testing also played a huge role in buy-in. “We set up a team of employees and managers. Testing included e-courses, self credit assignments and instructor-led classes–all of the main components we planned to use when we went live,” said Kowalske. “Each tester walked through how to get logged in, change passwords, use the course catalog and retrieve their training history. Managers also registered their employees for multiple types of learning content and accessed reports.”

The feedback told the story. One employee said, “Everything was incredibly easy-to-use and intuitive.” A manager shared, “It’s an easy way to track how many assignments are currently overdue and were completed late for me and my team.” For the training team, the testing helped direct next steps. “It gave us insight into how to train users, including employee and manager materials, FAQs, in-person training and webinar content,” said Kowalske. “However, SilkRoad Learning turned out to be so simple for the employees that we threw the detailed system training plan out the window.”

SilkRoad Learning turned out to be so simple for the end user that we threw the system training plan out the window.
– Lisa Kowalske, Hydrite

Result—Employees Empowered to Manage Their Own Development

After a successful launch, the Hydrite team maintained strong momentum. “About a month into the process, we started sending out reminder flyers to increase usage—check out the new Catalyst system, enroll and sign up for specific upcoming courses,” said Kowalske.

The team then took the next step of expanding the program. “We purchased new eLearning courses, which made everyone even more excited about the new technology and the opportunity to take more than the mandatory courses, said Kowalske. “People now feel empowered to plan their own training and development in one place, so our mission of engagement is well underway.”

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