Keeping Learning Well-Oiled: Jiffy Lube University Offers 10 Certifications-Including Training Courses on Customer Service, Management, Technical Procedures, and Service Standards-To Prepare 21,000 Employees to Serve 22 Million Customers Each Year

Article excerpt

Most car owners know to have the oil in their cars changed every three months or 3,000 miles. Last year, Jiffy Lube International (JLI) served 22 million customers who did just that.

Employee training and development plays a critical role in preparing 21,000 workers in more than 2,000 U.S. franchise locations to provide consistent, correct technical services with a strong focus on customer satisfaction. Although some of that training is required by the policies and procedures that govern the franchise, JLI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell Oil Corporation, doesn't have to mandate much of it.

"Training is not a hard sell," explains Kenneth Barber, manager of learning and development for the past five years. "Franchisees are hungry for training, and just as engaged as we are. There's no pushback."

Jiffy Lube University (JLU), branded as a corporate university in 2009, offers 10 certifications comprising 60 courses. Training courses on customer service, management, technical procedures, and service standards are based on procedures and best practices agreed to by franchisees and the business.

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All employees have training paths and must achieve certifications at certain milestones during their employment tenure. For example, all technicians must be certified in safety and product knowledge within 30 days after hire. They get a snapshot of their progress via the Roadmap, the learner portal in the learning management system. More than 150 hours of training are available during the employee's first year. A gas gauge shows an employee's progress, while store managers get color-coded LMS reports that show their location's overall progress toward the requirements.

More than 95 percent of training content is delivered online, on demand. Once a course is completed, employees take an online test to demonstrate knowledge mastery, and then managers provide on-the-job coaching to ensure learning transfer. They use Daily Training and Observation Guides created for each service. Learners must pass a proficiency exam to earn certification.

"Although we have always had an extremely strong commitment to learning and development and its value proposition, that focus has become more precise over the past five years," says Henry Flores, the organization's chief learning officer. "We are making a significant effort to become world-class."

Barber oversees seven full-time staff members--one who manages the LMS and six trainers who travel 75 percent of the time. The six traveling trainers focus on advanced management training, which is available to assistant managers and managers in instructor-led training (ILT) classes throughout North America.

These advanced management training classes last three days and include courses on leadership, goal setting, time management, finance, and people management.

Initial supervisory training totals 51 hours of e-learning and classroom training. The e-learning skills are refreshed every two years, while classroom training is recertified every five years with 24 hours of training. District managers take an additional eight hours of professional skills training each year.

"Our award-winning training program is an incentive for a new franchisee to join the business and is used aggressively to recruit new franchisees for the business," says Stuart Crum, president of JLI.

It also helps franchisees tackle one of their most pressing challenges: employee turnover. In retail businesses, annual employee turnover can exceed 100 percent. JLU's web-based training reduces training costs and time, while metrics help store managers and owners identify and focus retention efforts on top performers. …

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