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Randstad North America Optimas Award Winner for Competitive Advantage

September 7, 2011
Confronted with 45 percent turnover and an aggressive expansion plan to open 100 new staffing offices in 2001, Randstad North America was compelled to find effective ways of getting new employees up to speed faster.

   Retention wasn’t the only issue. Even though its turnover was lower than the industry average of 60 percent, its revolving doors still were of major concern. The bigger issue was that with such consistently high turnover, the company wasn’t able to improve productivity.

   "With so many new hires coming in all the time, it was hard to maintain a high level of performance," says Alison McIsaac, national manager of learning strategies and management.

   Over the past six years, Randstad has developed a training program for new employees that has directly resulted in $4.1 million in sales revenue, or a 338 percent rate of return. By eliminating four days of classroom training and replacing it with a blend of online and face-to-face training, the company added the equivalent of 8,400 days of productivity to the company in 2005. Randstad was able to do this by designing a new training program that allows new employees to learn while they are on the job.

   Creating a centralized training program was crucial because Randstad’s 2,300 employees are spread around the globe. This often affected the way projects were accomplished, says Genia Spencer, director of human resources and operations. For example, managers would instruct employees to gather different kinds of information about clients, resulting in a database of inconsistencies.

   Randstad also wanted the training program to serve as a primer to new hires about the company’s culture. Having acquired 17 companies over the years, the organization lacked a single vision and voice. To address the issue, chief learning officer Vince Eugenio and his team developed an extensive training program. What started out in 2001 as a one-week on-site course for new hires has evolved into a 16-week program that combines e-learning, in-class training, on-the-job learning and mentoring.

   New hires start the training during their first week at Randstad with a virtual call in which executives welcome them to the company. Participants then take an e-learning module about the culture and the history of the organization. In the following few weeks, participants receive training from their managers on how to conduct sales calls or use the databases as well as more issue-based classroom training led by their district managers on the culture and values of the company.

   Within their first two months on the job, employees are expected to attend a one-week face-to-face training at Randstad’s Atlanta headquarters, where they meet the CEO and other corporate partners and participate in team-building activities. The rest of the training is done online.

   To help managers buy into the program, Randstad created a "subject expert group" composed of 12 business line managers who offer training ideas. Executives receive monthly reports detailing the status of their area’s training and which employees still need to complete which courses.

   Spencer says the new training initiative helps make the business run more smoothly and gives employees a sense of having a career, not just a job. "A few years ago when I would meet a talented new hire, I would worry that they would get lost in the shuffle," she says. "Today I am excited because I know they will succeed."

   For its accomplishment in creating a successful training program for new employees, Randstad North America is the winner of the 2006 Optimas Award for Competitive Advantage.

HEADQUARTERED IN ATLANTA, Randstad North America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Randstad Holding NV, a publicly traded company on the Amsterdam, Netherlands, stock exchange. The company has 455 offices and 2,300 employees throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company posted North American revenue of $1.4 billion for 2005.

RANDSTAD PROVIDES employment and staffing services to job candidates and businesses. The company concentrates on placing candidates in five core practice areas: office talent, industrial talent, creative talent, technical services and professional resources. Employment opportunities include long-term and short-term assignments, contract engagements and direct hires.

Workforce Management, March 13, 2006, p. 18 -- Subscribe Now!