Since 2013, ASA University has offered members its Advisory Service program. Members who want to implement any talent-related initiative can get the help they need, customized to their organization. Matt Robison of National Wholesale Supply. in Dallas Texas has taken advantage of this service and shared this: “We believe our culture, more importantly our people, is our greatest asset. Investing into the lives of our employees by establishing career paths is something we saw as a critical step for the growth of our company and for our employees. The ASA-U Advisory Service helped us establish the qualifications needed for an employee to move to different jobs like from a driver to the counter. Employees now can take the initiative to become prepared for their next step.” While this approach resulted in addressing the issues of the membership, its one-company-at-a-time delivery only allowed for a small number of members to benefit.
With a goal to assist as many companies as possible to build and implement their internal training programs, ASA University is pleased to announce that an expanded model for ASA-U Advisory Service is in the works. It is no secret that ASA-U has great eLearning content for its members. Training modules can be effective for individual employees who have knowledge gaps to fill and role-based training tracks can be an efficient way to onboard new employees. And while many ASA Member companies utilize the training available, few have taken the critical step to create an organization-wide structure and process for developing their people. This will be the focus of the new Advisory Service model.
This new version tackles previous constraints with a group of ASA members and provides a structure and process to make it come to life in their business. It starts with pre-work, includes an in-person event where all the interested members come together, and action plans for them to execute back home. Phone support is included by ASA staff after the event. This structure provides the opportunity for distributors of like need to come together, understand structure and scope, plan their rollout, share best practices, and receive the support they need through implementation.
As a way to find out if we were on the right track, ASA University put together a pilot group to test it out. Distributors sent their internal champions of their training initiatives to Chicago and got to work.
“I was happy to participate in the pilot,” shared Colin Folk, director of training at PACE Supply Corp. “It was a natural next step for what we needed to accomplish as an organization, and the tools proved to be very helpful. My participation in the pilot provided me an avenue to have meaningful conversations with our leadership team that ultimately helped us move our program forward.” Gary Bosley of Erb Co., also participated in the pilot program. “I found that interacting with other ASA members who were also struggling to establish a company-wide training initiative was invaluable,” he says. “We’re not alone!”
Following the Advisory pilot, staff was able to complete an extensive review to construct an even more relevant and successful program. Folk shares: “I believe the current changes being made to the program since our participation will strengthen the viability of the program for others who will participate. I look forward to talking with other distributors who complete the program in the future.” Bosley’s experience left him ready to launch. “With this process, I’m now ready to put all warehouse employees through the right courses for us in the new year.”
The work of ASA University is overseen by the ASA Education Foundation Board of Trustees, which fully supports the new Advisory program. “ASA-U has a great model for members to serve themselves with content and resources on our website. With Advisory Service, we also have a solution for full customization and a hands-on approach for members who want it. Now with this expanded version, we’re providing an option where members with similar needs can get extra help while we ensure staff resources are available to a larger audience,” says Christopher Fasano of Torrco, and president of the ASAEF Board of Trustees.
Staff is currently preparing to launch the program in 2019 to help ASA members create and deploy an organization-wide training initiative. Stay tuned for more information.
Later in 2019 and subsequent years, additional versions will be offered with different content, based on member needs. Suggestions include: creating career paths, establishing a performance management initiative, driving succession planning, identifying and using pre-employment assessments, and more.
If you are interested in participating in an ASA-U Advisory Service event next year or would like to share subjects for which your organization has a need, contact Doug Dillon at 630.467.0000 x111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.