Eckert Seamans Launches Savvy Academy LMS
to Rave Reviews (and Results) Across 11 Offices
When Eckert Seamans launched their learning management system in Spring 2019, they weren’t fooling around. The law firm’s C-Suite (upper management) was involved and supportive. The Marketing department provided communications and design support for the program. The Human Resources Director and Training Coordinator traveled together for three consecutive weeks to each of the firm’s 11 offices.
A few short months later, Eckert Seamans was reaping the benefits of a more engaged support staff and was in the beginning stages of the Phase Two rollout of the program.
How were they so successful in such a short time? Read on.
A great learning management system rollout requires a strategic investment in professional development, communication, and incentives. The adage, “If you build it, they will come” does not apply to LMS rollouts. You cannot expect to blast a single email communicating, “We have an LMS! Check it out!” and expect any response whatsoever. Instead, like Eckert Seamans, you have to build excitement, train users, and reward their involvement.
Here are a few tips from the Eckert Seamans LMS rollout.
GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE INVOLVED
Carla Healy, the firm’s Training Coordinator, says that it was critical to get support from the C-Suite, Human Resources, Marketing, and a committed LMS vendor before rolling out the program to the firm.
- C-Suite: “Our upper management played a huge part in our success. We had their support from day one,” says Carla.
- Human Resources: Carla and the Human Resources Director, Myra Kilgore, committed themselves to working as a team during the most intense weeks of the rollout.
- Marketing: The Marketing team participated with energetic communications, eye-catching banners and logo designs, and consistent messaging across the firm’s 11 offices.
- LMS Vendor: Savvy Training & Consulting provided the Savvy Academy LMS and also offered “tremendous” support to Carla as she learned the LMS system and traveled to introduce it to the firm’s offices.
MAKE IT PERSONAL AND POSITIVE
Carla passionately believes that an LMS must first be introduced to staff personally, not launched electronically and introduced via email. Here are the steps she took to make it personal and positive:
- Roadshow: Carla and Myra spent three consecutive weeks on the road, traveling to each of the firm’s 11 offices.
- Make it Fun: The duo offered presentations, trinkets, and demonstrated to the staff a brief lesson on how to login and navigate in the Savvy Academy LMS portal.
- Build Trust: “At first, the Legal Assistants were hesitant but then realized how the firm made a significant investment in their professional development. This was when we started to sense the excitement.”
START WITH BASELINE ASSESSMENTS
Carla cannot emphasize enough how important it is to conduct baseline assessments for every user. This enables the firm to offer individualized training through the LMS rather than having users take courses they will not use (and undermining the rollout).
Here’s how she did it:
- Baseline Assessment: Carla and Myra wanted the Legal Assistants to first complete the baseline assessment, which consisted of basic knowledge checks for skills that are essential in conducting everyday work. The assessment helped Carla to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, so that she could enroll users in the most appropriate training courses in the LMS for their skill level.
- Baseline Example: Carla explains, “MS Word is the most popular application. All Legal Assistants completed a baseline assessment in MS Word, consisting of 20 questions, randomly assigned from a larger pool of 75 total questions.” Other required baseline assessments were conducted in Excel, Adobe, and Worldox, the firm’s document management system.
- Vendor Support: Savvy Training & Consulting produced all of the training content. Carla developed the baseline assessment questions with support from Savvy. All of the baseline assessment questions refer back to Savvy course offerings, and all of the training content is already loaded in the Savvy Academy LMS on ESource (the firm’s intranet site).
Myra Kilgore, the firm’s HR Director, played a critical role in the rewards strategy for the rollout. Here are the incentives the firm offered users:
- Annual Review: A portion of users’ annual salary increase is dependent on successfully passing the baseline assessment with a score of 80% or higher on each required knowledge check or course quiz.
- Ongoing Incentives: For each additional training course that users take (that is not part of the baseline assessment mandated by the firm) in which they complete the corresponding quiz with a score of 80% or higher, the individual receives one Technology Education (“TE”) Credit as well as personalized recognition for their efforts. Credits may be redeemed for various prize rewards, such as firm-branded swag.
- Feedback: Carla generates enrollment reports and creates emails with positive messages to any staff member who earned a credit in the prior month. “For every course quiz they completed with 80% or higher, they receive a special message that opens up with balloons or fireworks. Each message is different, and the support staff loves and looks forward to their special message.”
MAKE IT QUICK AND PAINLESS
Carla understands that everyone in the firm is busy, so she did not want the training content to be a burden. Here’s how she made it quick and painless:
- One-Stop-Shop: All application training content and mandatory training is available through the Savvy Academy LMS (technology, security awareness, harassment prevention, compliance, etc.).
- Make it Familiar: Users access the LMS through the firm’s intranet site, called ESource, with which they are already familiar. “The Savvy logo is available on the homepage of ESource. They click the logo, and the Savvy LMS launches the user right on the dashboard. It couldn’t be easier.”
- Make it Engaging and Speedy: The Savvy training materials are designed for busy law firm staff. “The feedback has all been encouraging. They love the fact that they can watch a video, read a handout, or take a quiz quickly and get back to work.”
SELECT THE RIGHT LMS VENDOR
Carla knew that she needed to select the right LMS vendor from the get-go, or the entire endeavor would have failed. What does she say about Savvy Training & Consulting?
“Savvy’s support is awesome! Terry [Aurit, Chief of Instructional Design] is one-of-a-kind. She is so intelligent, but she’s also warm and always available.”
She added, “The entire Savvy team has been fantastic. Their level of communication is amazing. They are always very responsive, and they are interested in getting to know our culture as an organization to become a strategic partner, rather than just a vendor.”
Finally, Carla noted, “All of the training materials we need are included in the Savvy Academy LMS. We are in the middle of rolling out Windows 10, and all the training materials we need are waiting for us in the LMS.”
Now that Phase One of the rollout is complete and was deemed a huge success, Carla and Myra recently rolled out Phase Two to the firm’s Paralegals, which will be followed by Phase Three, to the firm’s other Administrative Staff.
“This training program has the potential to transform our firm’s learning culture,” says Carla. “We think it’s going to distinguish us on many levels from our competition. Ultimately, providing more efficient and effective administrative support will allow us to serve our clients better, and that is incredibly important to Eckert Seamans.”