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Verizon

In: Business and Management

Submitted By joloshasta
Words 2028
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Running Head: VERIZON: STRATEGIC TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT REPORT

Verizon:

Verizon
Who doesn’t remember asking or being asked, “Can you hear me now?”? This phrase was used in effort to find a good signal so that both parties on a mobile phone conversation can be heard? Consequently, the commencement of the cell phone dance would continue until a successful signal was found. Verizon took the negative sting off of this phrase by breaking out the “Test Man” in 2002. The “Test Man” moved around to all sorts of weird places from manholes to the deep ends of a swamp, all while repeating, “Can you hear me now? Good!” (Test Man Launch, 2009).
Currently, “Can you hear me now?” is regarded in a positive and humorous light expressing that customers will not have the same experience as they did with other cell phone providers. This cutting edge approach of introducing those commercials was an ingenious way of highlighting Verizon’s products’ efficiency and greater coverage areas that well surpassed their competition. People that never heard of Verizon or was not too familiar with their products and services know now that this company is associated with excellence in the quality of what they deliver.
This communications giant is headquartered in New York City, New York and has an annual revenue $106.6 billion dollars (Freilfeld, 2012). Verizon employs almost 200,000 employees and touts an impressive 12th consecutive year of being recognized as one of the world’s top employers. This company has honors and recognitions to the liking of Best Quality, #1 in industry, Best in Employee Training, and the list goes on (About Verizon, 2013).
Along with a very savvy and poignant catch phrase, Verizon’s rise to the top stemmed from smart business endeavors that gave birth to what we now know as Verizon or Verizon Communications. Verizon was formed from a joint venture merging Bell Atlantic and GTE Corp in the year 2000 followed by the purchase of MCI Inc. in 2005. In subsequent years, Verizon invested billions of dollars into expansion and innovation projects positioning their company to be an industry leader in wireless communications (About Verizon, 2013). The “Test Man’s” commercial series was a springboard that increased Verizon’s customer base by 10% in 2002 and by 15% in 2003. The company grew from 32.5 to 37.5 million customers immediately. There was also a decline in their customer turnover from 2.5% to 1.8% after those commercials began to air (Howard, 2004).
Verizon offers several products and services such as the 4G LTE which is a means for Internet browsing, application downloads, e-mailing, sending pictures and video messaging through an avenue that is quick, safe and secure. On a side note, before Verizon implemented the 4G LTE program, they provided their employees with well over 60,000 hours of device and technology training to ensure their representatives had vast product knowledge and preparation (Freilfeld, 2012). Other products of Verizon are television, Internet and phone services which offer quick and efficient broadband connections with high quality and high definition video. Additionally, there is an assortment of interactive services that will also allow for the Internet capabilities on television screens. Lastly, Verizon offers products such as Global IT, Security, and Communications Solutions which services enterprises and global government customers offering a wide range of business strategies and solutions (About Verizon, 2013).
What is Verizon’s secret that would convince their customers, new prospects, investors and shareholders that they are the better brand to choose? Verizon’s mission is to be an instrumental vehicle in providing a means for people and businesses to communicate and are dedicated to providing transparency with their customers, employees and shareholders. Their vision is also quite simple with a goal to become the most respected communications brand within this industry (About Verizon, 2013).
Behind every good company and their products and services are employees who are charged with fulfilling the company’s mission and vision that will ultimately allow them to either succeed or lead to their demise. A lot is hinged on good training and development of the staff that are used to develop, make, maintain and represent a product or service that will be sold to a consumer. This industry leader claims the # 1 ranking in Fortune magazine as the “World’s Most Admired Company” within the communication’s industry (Verizon, 2013). Verizon probably has what is considered to be a competitive advantage which speaks to the training methods used to help a business grow and improve by providing employees with the knowledge and skills they need in order to achieve success (Noe, 2010).
In early 2013, Verizon was ranked at #1 on Training magazine’s 2013 Training Top 125 rankings of companies who have the best employee training program. The criteria for the company rankings was based on areas such as effectiveness, business impact, total budget for training and development, payroll percentages, employee program training hours and workplace assessments (About Verizon, 2013).
One of the standout methods Verizon uses is the Lean Six Sigma that is critical to the company’s success. The goal of using such a method helps save money, increase revenue and add shareholder value. Verizon’s training program now includes VZLearn which is a program that was consolidated to unify the company’s learning system and is a vehicle for online training and assessments, distance educational programs, classroom scheduling, participation logs and progress reports (Freifeld, 2012). Employees are sharing knowledge and adding value to the growth of their organization by taking advantage of social teamwork and networking technology (Noe, 2010). VZLearn compliments an older program known as VZTube (Youtube trainings), an Intranet video site that uses almost 3000 videos (Freifeld, 2012). These are interactive programs where employees get to work with one another, perform specific tasks and solve problematic issues.
Verizon appears to have mastered the formula on how effective training programs contribute to lowering employee turnover. This is achieved by equipping their employees with the necessary tools to not only be successful, but to be a meaningful contributor to the success of the company overall. Verizon made an investment of well over a quarter of a billion dollars in educational development and training. The company also offers incentives for their employees to gain more educational learning by providing close to $100 million in tuition assistance (Cohen, 2010). It appears to be a rather easy task for them to ensure training and development is in line with their strategic goals. Not only does Verizon provide the tuition assistance for their employees, they also monitor turnover rates of these graduates who utilize this program (Cohen, 2010). Their findings are such that graduates have turnover rates that are in the single-digits which proves that while other companies are cutting programs as such from their budget, Verizon is showing a direct correlation in the retention of their employees (Cohen, 2010). This most certainly is an added value incentive and a recipe for an employee’s longevity.
As an integral part of training and development, Verizon adopted Data Certification along with several other training and development programs. More specifically, the goals for these programs provide incentives for learning and motivation. These incentives marry training goals with the company’s mission and vision, offer a variety of training methods to meet differing needs, and help the company provide the best customer service to their consumers (Effective Training Boosts, 2013).
The Data Certification program consists of four stages which are: Learn It, Show It, Prove It, and Earn It. These stages are related to online instruction, a demonstration of what is learned, certifications and customer-service quality goals being met, and financial rewards for reaching targeted goals (Effective Training Boosts, 2013).
Using these certification programs are great incentives that provide an advantage to better retain employees. These training and development programs help to develop their staff into a more experienced and skillfully trained workforce that maintains longevity with the company and directly results in lower turnovers (Effective Training Boosts, 2013).
Another unique feature Verizon has incorporated was to place their training and development program under the Marketing department instead of the standard of placing it under Human Resources. This effort is a training and development initiative that also aligns training and development with the company’s main goals and objectives (Effective Training Boosts, 2013). Marketing is more closely related to the services and products offered by Verizon which allows for better focus on the company’s growth. The training program’s success is measured by increased sales revenue and the use of services and products by Verizon’s customers. Another contributor to their training program’s success is allowing for a more flexible infrastructure. Utilizing online learning portals due to third-party partners selling and servicing the company’s products that represent Verizon also stays in tune with the company’s business objectives (Effective Training Boosts, 2013).
Through the company’s certification programs, employees are rewarded for mastering the company’s services and products. There is an encouraged motivation to learn more and stay on top of the company’s new and evolving innovations. Working for Verizon, employees are rewarded by receiving incentives such as financial rewards for a job well done or perhaps completing various certifications in addition to formal recognition and other benefits. These are great incentives for employees to stay and grow with the company. Employees have a tendency to want to remain with a company or organization where they feel that their efforts are noticed, rewarded and appreciated (Effective Training Boosts, 2013).
Other techniques used by Verizon for training and development would include how they customize their training methods based on the audience they are serving. The employees from various departments are included in the process of developing specific training programs. This company recognizes that there are several types of learning methods that may not work in all areas and customizes their training accordingly. For example, training is sometimes conducted in a classroom environment or maybe online simulations (Freilfeld, 2012).
Incorporating new innovative training methods like MP3 players and CD-ROMs or mobile devices can be used to provide training based on a specific need. This is a smart use of products coming directly from the company’s product line that is another selling feature internally as well as externally (Freilfeld, 2012). What better way to show customers how great a product is then to incorporate the products right into the training program. This is also a good method for employees to gain hands on experience in learning how to use that which the company sells and have a direct knowledge to translate to customers. This too will not only increase their employees’ awareness, but it will also instill a confidence in the products they are promoting by having this direct experience.
Verizon’s success is a direct result of investment in their people, technology, and innovative creations. There is an obvious return on this investment by way of profits, low turnover rates, shareholder value, and quality of product. Verizon’s success is an example of how lining up strategy and vision/goals with training and development, this is a recipe for achievement at its highest level. If the trend with this company continues, no longer will anyone have to ask, “Can you hear me now?” They will just say, “Good!”

References
Cohen, J. (2010). Business as Usual. Training, 47(2), 46-50. Retrieved from Business Source Complete September 30, 2013 with Full Text database.
Freilfeld, L. (2012). Verizon's New # is 1. Training, 49(1), 28-32. Retrieved from Business Source Complete September 30, 2013 with Full Text database.
Howard, T. (2004). Can you hear me now? A hit. USA Today Advertising & Marketing. Retrieved September 18, 2013 from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/advertising/adtrack/2004-02-22-track-verizon_x.htm.
Inside Indiana Business (2013). Effective Training Boosts Employee Retention and Bottom-line Success. Retrieved from http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/contributors.asp?id=1007.
Noe, R. (2010). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Verizon (2013). About Verizon. Our Company. Retrieved September 30, 2013 from http://about.verizon.com/index.php/about/our-company
Young, J. (2009, Jan 26). Verizon Wireless Test Man Launch [video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPwPo-IAQ-E

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