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Gold Stevie Award Winner 2019, Click to Enter The 2020 Stevie Awards for Great Employers

Company: Sykes Enterprises Incorporated , Tampa, FL USA

Nomination Category: Most Innovative Deployment of HR Technology


Nomination Title: Thinking Outside the Class: Using AI to Transform Customer-Care Training


Achievement Essay

A guiding principle in modern learning and development holds that employees learn 70% of what they need to do their jobs through practice (actually doing their jobs), 20% from peers and managers through coaching and mentoring, and just 10% from formal classroom and e-learning training.

How can companies stop wasting so much time and budget on that 10% sliver of formal training, and instead provide more of the crucial 70% — the real on-the-job learning that employees need to master their jobs?

How can companies keep workers engaged, up-to-speed and retained when we live in a streaming on-demand world?

These are the challenges SYKES TalentSprout is solving with our new precision learning system, launched in SYKES customer-care centers in 2018. By combining artificial intelligence (AI) and data science with adaptive microlearning techniques, precision learning is giving SYKES customer-care agents effective on-the-job training and coaching on-demand when the need is identified.

By linking our internal service and workforce management platform with our OneLEARN learning management system (LMS), the precision learning system automatically and intelligently delivers on-the-job learning to agents. This is how it works:

First, our powerful AI engine constantly monitors agent activity, inter-center communication, call escalations, product searches and contact drivers

Using this information, it identifies real-time gaps in agent knowledge and queries our OneLEARN LMS for relevant microlearning segments

Then, the platform’s predictive system offers the microlearning modules to the agent’s desktop when call volumes are low to complete at their own pace

This is a cost-effective and efficient practice that allows for agents to continuously improve without having to go to a training environment

While the technologies that power precision learning are complex, the experience is wonderfully simple. Consider this real-world example:

Enter Brian, a 25-year-old call-center agent whose typically chill personality has gotten him through most tough spots on his three months on the job. But today, our platform detects that Brian has taken three difficult calls within an hour, as measured by real-time sentiment analysis and overly long average handle time (AHT). The platform asks OneLEARN for any microlearning on how to handle difficult callers. OneLEARN returns a five-minute session on mindfulness and a 10-minute module on tips to de-escalate a call. When there’s a lull in call volume in the next hour, our platform offers Brian the mindfulness module. After he accepts, the system doesn’t route any calls to Brian while he completes the exercise. After a chance to practice his newfound skill, he returns to taking calls, now more relaxed and ready to deal with the next difficult caller.

The key is all this happens automatically, almost magically. If you’re Agent Brian, you've got a bite-size chunk of learning that came to you because you needed it — not because someone thought you needed it or even because you knew you needed it. Most important, it came to you at the point of need, right after those difficult calls, as opposed to something scheduled in the future. Requiring no management intervention, it’s personalized. You’re not getting the same training as the agent who sits next to you. You’re getting the training you specifically need at that time.

With precision learning, SYKES is seeing measurable results in increased productivity and retention by:

-Solving for context and immediacy
-Meeting learners in the moment of motivation
-Supporting continuous, informal, active learning

At SYKES, this translates into happier employees and happier customers for our business partners, who are among the world’s leading brands. We expect to be deploying precision learning for other companies ready to transform their learning — providing instant training and performance support, customized to the individual and delivered at the point of need.

Achievement Summary

Here’s a little more about how precision learning works:

The system delivers training in three modes:
-Automated by rules: AI chooses what segment to send to who, based on set rules
-Automated by competencies: AI chooses what segment to send to who, based on competency gaps
-Manual: Manager or coach chooses what segment to send to who
-Delivery can be pushed or pulled by management

Duration can be:
-Micro-tasks (<5 minutes)
-Micro-learning (<10 minutes)
-Long-form learning (>10 minutes)
-Learning assets can be created via:

Webpage Link