Empower HR Teams to Develop Agile, Independent Workforces  

Incorporate Acadia as part of your HCM for better employee outcomes   

The business environment has proven itself to be increasingly volatile and unpredictable, particularly over the last 4 years. Tight labor markets combined with unexpected economic events have created a dire need for employee and team agility. In response, companies are turning to their HR teams to rise to a new level of adaptability and responsibility.1

Highly capable HR groups are empowering frontline operations by providing capabilities2 that:

  • Reward expertise and upskilling behaviors
  • Support equitable compensation
  • Uncover personalized team development opportunities
  • Recognize team accomplishments and feedback
  • Sustain high employee retention

There is, however, a gap in the current Human Capital Management (HCM) toolset that impedes an HR team’s ability to have a more direct and meaningful impact on the business. Most of HR’s influence happens outside of day-to-day operations:

  • Training and Onboarding is geared toward common policies and procedures that cover the entire workforce – not individualized to a person’s role or personal needs
  • Learning happens away from work in a classroom or LMS and frequently focuses on soft skills or generalized capabilities – instead of improving practical capabilities on the job
  • Manager evaluations are performed at specific time intervals leading to subjectivity – rather than objectively observing capabilities when skills are attained
  • Employee feedback is captured in surveys or in systems that employees must seek out – rather than presenting the opportunity to provide it in the course of work   

These limitations hinder the reach of HR. They also obstruct critical data collection that could be used to improve the employee experience.

To effectively develop an engaged workforce, HR needs to be closer to business operations, where the work gets done.

Tools to fill the gap

At the core of the Acadia Connected Worker Platform is a set of tools that meet employees where they work and support their ability to thrive in their roles.

Single Source of Truth – all information an employee needs to do their work safely, accurately, and efficiently is easy to find and access.

Digital Work Instructions – step-by-step instructions with videos and images guide employees through critical tasks, ensuring work is done according to company best practices.

Compliance – all activity performed in Acadia is tracked and available through reporting to help managers see who is compliant with standards and who needs more training. Acknowledgements require employees to confirm receipt of information and drive home its importance.

Feedback – the opportunity to provide feedback is incorporated into every Acadia document, making it easy for employees to provide meaningful insights about the documentation, the work itself, or the procedures driving it. Feedback management tools help managers act on feedback, ensuring employees that their voices are heard.

Learning & Development – training needs to be specific to an employee’s role and accessible as they do their work. When incorporated into a training program, the tools above reinforce initial classroom or shoulder-to-shoulder exercises. Quizzing helps cement important concepts and provides managers with insight on employee comprehension. Injecting these self-service tools into the workflow enables employees to help themselves. Training managers spend less time answering simple questions, freeing them up to focus on more meaningful work.

Skills Management – define the requirements for the roles on your team – training to take, procedures to complete, policies to acknowledge, etc. Then assign skills progressions to team members to execute. As employees advance, managers can use evaluations to confirm competency and create a formal record. Both employees and managers will have visibility as employees progress through each skill level.

When combined in a skills matrix, managers can see all employee capabilities and the gaps on their teams. They can also see who’s closest to achieving the skills needed to fill the gaps, prompting opportunities for coaching.

Rich Data for Reporting Models – every employee activity in Acadia is captured to provide insight on employee performance and training opportunities. Employee compliance and skill data can be combined with operational data to correlate employee activity with business performance metrics. It can also be used to feed machine learning models to drive new insights across the organization.

Acadia in practice

77% new hire time to proficiency improvement

At a small company with an enviable retention rate, team members with 30+ years of experience were beginning to retire.

Because of previous low turnover, the training program wasn’t designed for a large influx of new people. It relied heavily on shoulder-to-shoulder mentoring and time spent in the company’s library reviewing manuals.

The team turned to Acadia to transform their paper-based system into a dynamic knowledge repository where the entire workforce can find the information they need, the moment they need it.

They also developed an onboarding path with step-by-step, on-the-job training for employees that allows new hires to learn their roles independently. Work instructions are delivered digitally with videos and other job aids that employees can access as the need arrives. Tracked work instructions, quizzes, and evaluations provide visibility for every team member’s proficiency in their required skills.

Learning & Development trainers have drastically reduced the time it takes to onboard new employees and make them an intermediate contributor requiring no assistance. What used to take 500+ days has been reduced to 125!

That’s just the benefit the company has experienced. For employees, the new system has made a world of difference as well. One of the company’s lead trainers is a single father who used to be on call 24/7. Now that technicians can go to Acadia to find the answers to their questions, he says he’s gotten his life back. Before, he’d have to come in on weekends if team members couldn’t remember how to complete tasks. Now, they have the answers in the palm of their hands.

Reskilling an entire workforce

Last year an Acadia client launched a transformation project to improve customer order fulfillment.

Project success was critical as the company was experiencing growing demand and a shrinking workforce that wasn’t easily replaced.

To increase efficiency, operations leaders re-engineered their entire fulfillment process. They also automated significant portions of the process using autonomous vehicles and vertical lift modules.

Such a radical change meant that everyone on the team immediately had a skills gap. 250 employees’ jobs changed entirely. Others needed to be trained to operate, maintain, and troubleshoot the new equipment. In total, 600 employees had to be re-trained to do part or all of their job.

Another concern for management was to help employees feel comfortable and confident with such a major change. Acadia helped them simplify complex procedures, close the skills gaps, and do it in a way that employees didn’t become overwhelmed.

The team created comprehensive SOP documents that were used in training employees and as a reference on the job. They made sure everyone was aware of critical developments using acknowledgements. And they checked comprehension with quizzes.

Training and the transition to the new system happened quickly. Employees felt connected to the change and confident that they understood their new roles. There was minimal disruption in the facility and no orders were delayed during the transition period.

“Employees now think, with the help of Acadia, the changes have been personally beneficial, an opportunity to simplify work and learn new skills. Some employees have even earned promotions during the process,” said the operational project leader.

Connecting a global workforce

Several years ago, a training manager at large manufacturing company was about to be laid off when she heard of an opportunity. A new training program was being designed to train new leaders who had never worked in the industry before. The idea was to expose the new hires to each of the major functions in a facility. After learning more, they could select the roles they wanted to pursue.

The training manager knew that trying to train a group of people on such a wide range of topics in a short amount of time would be challenging. Having recently been exposed to Acadia, she felt this was a perfect opportunity to try it out.

The training cohort went through traditional classroom training, but when they went into the facility to get hands-on training, they were provided tablets with Acadia. The new managers could quickly pull up information they needed on the fly. They were quizzed to check for comprehension. And they were sent acknowledgements for critical information.

The program was a huge success, the new employees spread out across the company and many went on to become leaders who would lead transformative projects of their own.

The training manager was given the opportunity to bring Acadia into a facility to replace their paper-based system. That eventually turned into several other plants, the region, and eventually the enterprise, with the training manager becoming the global product leader.

Now, as nearly all facilities have converted to Acadia, paper has been eliminated and replaced with a robust digital platform. It provides job aids to team members as they complete their daily tasks and enables them to provide feedback on process improvements. It also helps managers see which team members are following One Best Way procedures and which ones need more training support.

Today, the client sees advantages beyond the line efficiency improvements at individual locations. They’re able to share best practices across all locations, making their global continuous improvement program even more powerful.


  1. HR’s new operating model – McKinsey
  2. Magic Quadrant for Cloud HCM Suites  – Gartner

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