The world’s leading security and facility services provider and trusted partner to more than 400 of the FORTUNE 500, Allied Universal® delivers unparalleled customer relationships, innovative solutions, cutting-edge smart technologies and tailored services that enable clients to focus on their core businesses. With operations in 100 countries, Allied Universal is the third-largest private employer in North America and seventh in the world.
Chances are, most people in the United States have seen an Allied Universal security professional —whether at an office building, shopping mall, industrial plant, college campus, bank, or hospital. The company’s security professionals are highly trained to protect thousands of customers every day.
Allied Universal’s security professional training needs are complex. The company’s large workforce is dispersed across the globe in a wide variety of industries with unique security challenges. Security posts range from the high-rise towers in New York City to museums with million-dollar art exhibits. From entry level security professionals to highly-specialized military veterans, new hires have wide-ranging levels of experience.
In addition, security professionals must comply with local, state, federal, and industry-specific regulations. Training also varies by role and even bycustomer. For instance, armed security professionals require different training than those that are unarmed; the training required by a nuclear facility is very different from that needed by property managers.
For example, an Allied Universal security professional at a petro-chemical plant in Texas must have the specialized training required not only to maintain security, but to keep the plant in compliance with the strict security regulations specific to the industry. Security professionals working for a public transportation authority in California need comprehensive training to ensure they’re prepared for any situation at the station or on board buses and trains.
For many years, Allied Universal’s learning consisted of instructor-led, classroom-style courses and on-the-job training delivered through the company’s branch offices. An internally developed system tracked some training, but it didn't provide the functionality or data that was really needed. As training needs escalated and became increasingly complex, company executives recognized that a more sophisticated and efficient approach totraining was needed.
In early 2009, Allied Universal implemented Intellum’s web-based Learning Management System (LMS), now called Exceed. Exceed is the foundation for Allied Universal’s blended training approach, called The EDGE.
The EDGE provides the tools for an optimal employee experience:
The EDGE incorporates a variety of training methods—including virtual learning modules, traditional classroom presentations, formalized on-the-job training, and podcasts—to provide the most effective learning environment possible. The 24/7 access is very important to the company’s employees, many of whom work untraditional hours and in isolated situations.
The EDGE serves a variety of learner needs, including training security professionals, management training, leadership development, supervisory skill development, and learning operational processes.
Also available through The EDGE are customized security programs developed by Allied Universal to meet specific client needs in a variety of areas including emergency plans, evacuation procedures, customer service, and operations procedures.
Since much of Allied Universal’s training is compliance-related, it’s critical the team can track and manage which employees have completed their training—and which have not. As employee training and certifications are completed, the employee's training record is automatically updated. The completion information is also passed on to the internal enterprise resource planning (ERP) via nightly updates. These compliance codes become schedule requirements and work in conjunction with the schedule for an entire customer site or could be tied to specific posts at a site. If an employee is scheduled and has not completed the necessary training required to work, the individual responsible for that schedule will receive an alert in the company’s LMS. These alerts will escalate via email to upper level management associated with the service location if an employee has not completed the training within a specified timeframe or as training and certifications need renewal.
With the many unique requirements at this service location, the scheduling system also has the ability to query security professionals based on required training completion levels, or where the security professional resides in proximity to the location so scheduling can be completed accurately and timely.
Over the years, Allied Universal has grown and changed through organic growth and acquisitions. The company needed more than just a solution to meet training needs; it needed a partner to adjust and grow alongside them.
As more complexity was added to the business, including different business units and thousands of new employees, Intellum has grown and adapted to continue to meet Allied Universal’s learning needs.
“We’ve been able to continue to scale our learning programs with Intellum as we’ve grown. It’s something we really appreciate about the partnership. We did another round of due diligence for an LMS, and we just couldn’t find anything comparable,” said Brent O’Bryan, senior vice president of Global Training and Talent Development at Allied Universal.
Another key factor for Brent and the Allied Universal team is the relationship they’ve built with Intellum’s team.
“It’s a relationship built on mutual trust and partnership,” said Brent. “We’re able to be open and honest about challenges and work with the Intellum team to address those. In return, we learn more about best practices they’re seeing in the industry.”
For learning programs to be successful, they must tie to overall business outcomes.
Brent’s team is able to achieve this by looking at the company’s overarching objectives:
Reduce safety incidents: In a field where coming home at night is not guaranteed, safety is paramount. The Learning and Development team’s goal is to ensure it builds a safety mindset for security professionals.
To measure the impact of learning on safety incidents, the Learning and Development team tracks course completions by branch (which they visualize in Domo, a business intelligence software). With this data, they’re able to evaluate the impact of safety training on worker’s comp, as well as the impact of use of force training to incidents.
Increase client retention: Allied Universal has had a strong client retention rate for years, thanks to its continued investment in cultivating a service mindset for all employees.
With Intellum, the Learning and Development team is able to compare service training completion to client retention numbers by branch—proving the value of learning for customer retention.
Drive employee retention: The security industry has an incredibly high turnover rate—averaging well over 100%. Allied Universal knows that employee retention impacts customer retention, and that opportunities to learn and grow are key to employee engagement.
The Learning and Development team offers a variety of learning opportunities at each stage of development to support each employee’s personal and professional growth. Many of today’s leaders and supervisors at Allied Universal have risen through the ranks, due to the investment in employee development, and employees as a whole are more likely to stay with the company than leave.
The goals for The EDGE were to provide security professionals and managers more convenience and accessibility to training, ease of use, and enhanced reporting and compliance functionality.
These goals were achieved (and exceeded): Prior to The EDGE, employees’ course completion rates averaged 10,000 per month. After launching The EDGE, course completions skyrocketed to an average of 108,000 per month. The EDGE is now seeing just shy of 585,000 completions for month—with the average learner completing 12+ trainings.
Benefits from The EDGE go far beyond course completions. For instance, online assessments replaced manual assessments in many instances. This resulted in a reduction in administrative tasks (approximately 10 hours per week per trainer)—freeing up trainers to focus on program facilitation and employee coaching. With the help of the Intellum platform, Allied Universal is now able to power learning for more than 300,000 employees with just one LMS admin.
New employee onboarding moved to The EDGE, alleviating trainers from the repetitive task of training new hires so they could focus on more specialized training.
Most excitingly, Allied Universal has seen a positive impact on customer and employee retention. In an industry known for extremely high turnover, Allied Universal boasts an employee turnover rate far below the industry average. Executives credit training and the company’s emphasis on internal promotion as factors that encourage employees to stay with the company. Customer retention is also very high—which is linked to the service quality facilitated and fostered by training.
Brent and his team aren’t slowing down the innovation anytime soon.
They’re implementing a Zoom integration that will support onboarding for frontline management—along with making sure that The EDGE becomes the go-to place for tracking employee’s schedules, assessments, and training completion.
They’re also working in close collaboration with Intellum’s CEO, Chip Ramsey, and Product team on testing new AI capabilities—as well as looking into how they can use Reputation-Based Gamification to further increase learner engagement.