Mutual of Omaha meets employees where they’re at with frontline-focused training
Mutual of Omaha has been a fixture in the financial services industry for over 100 years. But a lot has changed since those early days—and their training methods have changed along with the business.
“No longer do we have employees that do the same job for 20 years,” says Nick Schuler, Manager of Learning, Workplace Solutions at Mutual of Omaha. “We have to be able to adapt our learning to be quicker and more available to employees than ever.”
Starting in 2017, Mutual of Omaha’s Workplace Solutions business unit began using Axonify to deliver training that fits into the flow of work for their employees—while providing rich insights to leaders.
“Axonify offered a way to deliver training in a way we’d never done before—in little bits each day,” recounts Schuler. “We got to see how employees need to grow and provide training to grow them in the system. That’s what makes Axonify exceptional.”
Now key areas of Mutual of Omaha have a 91% participation rate, with employees logging into Axonify to train 10 – 15 times per month on average. This has fueled a 17% knowledge lift across the company and helped the company stay agile to their changing environment—including the recent changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Personalized learning, at scale
In a company like Mutual of Omaha, knowing the products and services is not enough. It’s equally important for employees to understand the company’s mission and how different departments work together to achieve it.
“Our work is not just about employee-specific technical training. We do that, but we do a host of other things in Axonify, too, and one of those is foster culture,” says Schuler. “We develop our employees not just in terms of how to do their job, but how we work together as an organization and collaborate, and we use Axonify to help deliver that.”
There’s also complexity in the many different roles that make up their frontline workforce. The Workplace Solutions Group alone has 24 different departments, each with their own unique job functions.
With Axonify, Schuler and his team can efficiently build learning paths for each role, leveraging relevant company-wide content as well as hyper-targeted department-specific content. These paths combine training videos and questions in Axonify with experiential learning tasks for employees to complete outside of Axonify—all in one easy-to-follow experience.
“Axonify allows us to bring it all together,” says Schuler. “We can start onboarding our Workplace Solutions associates with a video from our executive vice president to get people into our culture. Then, that takes people into their next steps in their specific department. We can share content across the board. It all connects, and it all feels like one common curriculum that people can easily go through and meet all the outcomes we have.”
They’re also able to put the power in employees’ hands to direct their own learning in areas of interest outside their current role.
“Let’s say we have an employee with an interest in a particular product that’s tied to our underwriting area. Since underwriting has done such a fantastic job of building out content, that employee can continue down the path of learning more about the underwriting area,” explains Schuler. “In the past, we’d have to try and figure out a classroom session. Now, with self-directed learning, people can go at their own pace and develop themselves further and faster than what we could have done before.”
“One of the key benefits of Axonify is being able to bring people together under one learning umbrella. Most recently, we used Axonify to help us transition to the new normal of working from home.”
Supporting the transition to remote work
The culture of learning proved to be a big advantage as Mutual of Omaha navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the outset of the pandemic, Schuler and his team were just about to launch their annual Learning Olympics, a company-wide contest in Axonify. Then, over the span of a weekend, all 5,500 Mutual of Omaha employees transitioned to remote work—and priorities changed.
“One of the key benefits of Axonify is being able to bring people together under one learning umbrella. Most recently, we used Axonify to help us transition to the new normal of working from home,” Schuler says. “We focused our Learning Olympics on content that was specific to working from home, dealing with the situation of the pandemic, how to interact with people via online tools—all those skills they needed in that moment.”
Schuler and his team pivoted quickly to get new content into the platform.
“Axonify was agile enough to allow us to do that. We used content from the Axonify Content Marketplace, all around how to work from home. Axonify had it built and ready for us, and we could implement it right away.”
With everyone settled into their work-from-home routines, they’ve used learning paths in Axonify to keep developing their employees remotely.
“Even a year ago, we would have scheduled a classroom session if training needed to be done. We’ve realized we’ve got to be more flexible,” says Schuler. “And that’s one thing that Axonify provides us—that flexibility to build a blended learning approach. It has been really key in helping us meet this new normal, navigating a world where people work across the country, and we have to be able to connect them all.”
Looking ahead, they plan to strengthen the relationship by bringing more groups within Mutual of Omaha onto the Axonify platform.
“What makes Axonify an exceptional company is that they openly seek input from their customers,” says Schuler. “We still work together to figure out how to continue to develop the system. That’s a relationship I greatly appreciate.”