The global coronavirus pandemic has made businesses look at their work in new ways. The ALL Family of Companies is an organization that values continuous improvement, making it a part of the corporate culture. ALL, the largest privately held crane rental and sales operation in North America, was determined to continue its robust schedule of employee advancement programs through the pandemic, even if it might look a little different than years past.
The company has created a variety of focused teams from across the country that join to share best practices and learn new equipment and technology trends. The company as a whole has been subject to COVID-related travel limitations, but this team training was unabated thanks to pre-investment in virtual learning.
“It was like pulling the playbook off the shelf,” said Kris Kasparek, general manager of ALL Aerials, explaining ALL’s readiness when the shutdown hit in each of its territories.
“We embrace interbranch training in teams — service and sales. With a footprint as broad as ours, training was deemed necessary but expensive more than a decade ago. To manage these investments, we began a long and continued commitment to using technology to keep the teams bonded together, a real bonus during these work-from-home times,” said Kasparek.
Kasparek says decades-long investments in robust tech platforms make branches better able to act as one. These include universal phone systems with one-touch access between branches, smart boards in conference rooms at every branch, and greater individual access to computers and communication technology. This foresight paid off handsomely in 2020, easing the adaptation of training and communication efforts.
One of these is a set of lift-planning challenges, developed in-house by ALL’s business development specialist Hutton Strader. “Sales team members are presented with a hypothetical situation,” said Strader. “It takes the form of a word problem, describing a theoretical customer’s job parameters and objectives. From the information they’re given, each sales team member must develop their own lift plan.”
This includes specifying the appropriate crane for the work to be done, what form the rigging should take, how the crane will be set up, and they must explain their reasoning for the decisions they’ve made. After each challenge closes, Strader hosts an online forum with the team to go over the solution. During this time, the sales team can discuss different possible solutions and share insights they’ve gained in the field from past lifts. It continues to hone problem-solving skills while expanding knowledge by drawing from the experiences of ALL’s own personnel.
Meanwhile, a separate sales training program enhances and improves the customer experience. ALL rolled out a multi-part virtual training series covering topics related to mindset, time management, achieving goals, and building rapport. Sales team members in nine of ALL’s branches are enrolled, with additional branches to be added.
Josh Bacci, general manager of ALT Sales Corp., along with Kasparek, has led the training at the behest of ALL president Michael Liptak.
“Michael is a big believer in the positive impact continuous training has on the effectiveness and overall job satisfaction of members of the ALL family,” said Bacci. “Although the pandemic threw everyone a curveball, Michael was determined that we still use this time to continue moving forward as an organization.”
As part of that effort, ALL uses its regularly scheduled remote web meetings with each branch in the ALL family to discuss training needs that are identified based on peer reviews. General managers, sales staff, and other leaders are typically in attendance. “The result has been we’re fostering a greater sense of community and cooperation during a time when other organizations might be feeling increasingly distant,” said Bacci. “It’s bringing our organization closer together, which serves to make us even more effective for our customers.”
No matter what’s going on in the outside world, there’s no stopping the training train at ALL