Video interview with Aflac’s Product Training Manager
At the Training Industry Conference and Expo (TICE), I had the opportunity to speak with Deidre Williams, Aflac’s Product Training Manager. In the highly competitive employee insurance and benefits industry, Aflac has made training a strategic priority. While the Aflac duck has made the company well known, Deidre needs to make sure that their agents capitalize on their brand awareness by effectively consulting with their clients about their wide variety of products.
When it comes to new technologies and approaches, Aflac has begun to see the value in mobile learning, games and gamification. They also recognize the need to have diverse offerings to reach agents who like to learn differently or who live in different parts of the country. Deidre points out that catering to the general characteristics of salespeople with techniques like gaming has led to greater adoption, engagement and success.
To evaluate training effectiveness, Aflac uses the five levels of the Kirkpatrick evaluation model. By doing this, they ensure that their training aligns with the company strategy and is focused on delivering measurable results. Deidre discusses how they also use their evaluation strategy to help filter where to invest their training efforts in order to have the highest impact on the organization.
The Aflac brand is strongly established and known by just about everyone. With this awareness comes an expectation of quality. Employees, agents, clients and consumers expect Aflac’s marketing and communications to be creative and clever. In such a competitive industry, Deidre explains how Aflac’s training must also meet the expectations for high quality.
As Aflac moves into the future, they recently rolled out a new model for sales and training, called EDGE – Engage, Discover, Guide and Execute. The EDGE model provides an overarching methodology for the salesperson to follow. As Deidre discusses, the product training group uses the EDGE model to identify and address specific performance needs with custom learning solutions.
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