Here’s an experience you may identify with: the company you work for adopts an exciting new software or system to improve business efficiency, but employees don’t have the training they need to be able to leverage the system to its fullest potential. This can be a frustrating experience that impacts user adoption and broader success.
Enter Electra Learning. For more than 20 years, the company has worked closely with clients to guide them through the change management processes associated with adopting new systems or upgrading existing ones. Electra Learning provides customized training and creative learning solutions that help companies to maximize their use of systems and generate their desired return on investment.
Electra’s employees are learning and development professionals trained in delivering high-quality in-person and online training for programs like IBM’s Maximo and Microsoft 365. “Our key feature is that we really understand how learning works. That’s our unique selling point,” says Neil Summers, Vice President of North American Operations.
Summers joined Electra Learning in 2011, working out of the company’s Scotland-based office in Aberdeen. In 2013, Summers moved to Calgary, Alberta for a six-week project to open a Canadian office and ended up staying to oversee North American operations. Since that time, he’s grown the Calgary office to 20 employees, which accounts for more than half the company’s total workforce.
Summers says that growing the Canadian arm of the company was exciting, but also posed many challenges. Between establishing the office, developing a new client base, and keeping up connections to the Aberdeen office, Summers says he often felt like he was spinning six plates at once. One of the plates he sometimes found difficult to keep in the air was HR.
“I was actively working with clients. I was trying to do some business development. There was a lot going on, and I knew that I couldn't get a full handle on the HR and legal side of things myself with all the other time commitments that I had,” he says.
One of Summers’ biggest challenges was that he wasn’t familiar with Alberta and Canadian employment laws.
“I drafted up an employment contract based on the ones that we would have in the UK, and the person I was offering the job to came back with about 40 different queries,” says Summers. “I thought, ‘Maybe what I've drafted is not quite as good as I thought it might be.’”
Summers began looking for an HR service that could provide the advice and documentation he needed to give him more confidence around compliance, and to provide a good experience for new and prospective hires. He knew that having that support was key to continued growth and to establishing the business in the Canadian market.
After researching different options, Summers chose Ceridian’s Small Business HR Advisory Services, powered by e2r solutions, to provide guidance in its Canadian people operations. Joining at the mid-tier Support service level gave the company access to unlimited written counsel and support, as well as access to high-quality documentation like employment agreements, a staff handbook, and termination letters.
“When I started speaking to the HR Advisory team, I was really impressed with what they could offer,” says Summers. “And for us, the cost saving is huge. We get the same services we need through HR Advisory as we would through a permanent full-time HR manager, but at a tenth of the cost. That's really significant for us.”
Summers says being able to adapt the staff handbook provided by Ceridian’s HR Advisory service was particularly valuable. The handbook lays out the company’s health and safety requirements, expected business conduct, protocols for client site visits, and several other guidelines. It helps Electra define expectations for its growing workforce and provides a necessary framework for consistency. Being able to build on an existing document instead of creating one from scratch has been a huge time-saver.
Summers has also been able to depend on Ceridian’s HR Advisory expertise and support when dealing with disciplinary issues and employee terminations.
“Having HR Advisory on-call has given me peace of mind around legal compliance,” says Summers. “It has meant that we can do things by the book. Having their advice has been key for us.”
Electra also relies on Ceridian’s HR Advisory webinars and timely email alerts to stay current on changing employment regulations and employer obligations. The service provides the company with a written overview of changes, and the opportunity to speak to a representative to ask questions and learn how changes will specifically affect its operations and employees.
Issues related to HR often need quick action. Ceridian’s HR Advisory team at e2r prioritizes being quick and responsive to clients at all levels of service. Summers says he rarely waits more than a day for a meeting once he has placed a support request.
The other game-changer for Electra has been having a consistent and dependable contact that the company can count on. Knowing that the person on the other end of the line is familiar with Electra’s business means Summers can get accurate and relevant advice quickly and efficiently.
“Having one key contact that we regularly work with and have been working with since day one is a big benefit,” says Summers. “She really knows our business. It makes the conversation a lot quicker and easier because I don’t have to give a back story. We can talk through the issues, come up with a solution, and then she will draft up written documentation for us if needed.”
Electra’s track record and experience in delivering e-learning programs and online training positioned them well when COVID-19 hit. The company was able to move seamlessly into virtual work while maintaining the same high level of client service and support. But COVID-related employment changes have placed additional HR demands on Summers and the company. Luckily, they’ve had Ceridian’s HR Advisory team by their side the whole way.
“Our volume of calls to HR Advisory in 2020 has certainly been higher than usual. But it hasn’t affected the performance of the e2r team. The speed and quality of the responses are still as good as they ever have been,” Summers says.
As the company plans further expansion in the North American market, its experience in online learning means it is in a good place to build on its success. And with Ceridian’s HR Advisory service providing on-demand support, the company will have the HR counsel it needs so it can focus on smart growth and service excellence.
“I highly recommend the HR Advisory service,” says Summers. “It's been exceptional for us.”