By: Manuel Rivera León

Bogotá, Colombia

Article based on our interview with Jairo Giraldo Londoño, Training Director, Compañía Colombiana Automotriz-Mazda.

More than six years ago Compañía Colombiana Automotriz-Mazda began transitioning from onsite to online training aimed at developing competencies amongst all of their dealership employees, but especially those of technical personnel, client service representatives and spare parts consultants – many of whom are not comfortable using computers.

Employee training is a critical contributor to high client satisfaction

In order to add value to their products, Compañía Colombiana Automotriz-Mazda began introducing onsite training classes and workshops more than 30 years ago aimed at providing improved sales and post-sales services. The success of this training has been a key factor in gaining high client satisfaction marks and has, in turn, lead to an increase in financial results across all business functions.

Mazda’s corporate training department, though, needed to balance the value of training with the cost and limited coverage of the onsite modality. In turn, they began to pursue and develop online training.

Jairo Giraldo, Mazda’s Training Director shares, “At this point, we have reached a fair balance between the two modalities of learning – to the point that both onsite and online courses complement each other and contribute to the improvement of employee competencies across the dealership network.”

Breaking the paradigm

Though many Mazda employees transitioned to online learning easily, there was a large group of automotive technical employees who were not accustomed to using a computer. Their comfort level with a computer and therefore online learning was low. So, when introducing online learning, Mazda’s training team had to account for a change in modality as well as overcoming the barrier of educating employees on how to use the computer to access and complete the training successfully.

It is worth highlighting that each and every one of the courses is part of the academic program that all workers must successfully complete in order to be certified.

Finding expert guidance

“When faced with change and breaking paradigms, the initial phases will always be less certain and full of obstacles. In our case, we were well advised by Moodlerooms (formerly Nivel Siete) from day one which allowed for a smooth transition. The solutions proposed by the Moodlerooms experts contributed to overcoming obstacles in an agile and timely manner, so that the transition from onsite to online training was neither traumatic for our instructors nor for the online learners, who for the most part were just beginning to get started in the online world,” states Jairo Giraldo.

The numbers speak to success

Today, Mazda has a sound training program with nearly 1,400 registered learners. Learners use it to take courses as well as to keep updated on news, sales manuals, vehicle data sheets, owner´s manuals, newsletters, driving techniques videos, etc.

The course completion rate is 85% – a huge testament to the degree of commitment and responsibility by both learners and instructors, especially given that the training is free. This completion rate is also a testament to Mazda’s success in adapting their organizational culture to become one where workers value these online training courses and view them as a key tool for improving their competences and for personal growth.

Finally, it should be noted that Mazda´s training, teaching and coaching model is the result of long, ongoing and innovative work. At this point, online training has become the ideal complement to onsite training as it enables mass training, cost reduction and a high availability of learning as it is delivered anytime, anywhere.

*Jairo Giraldo Londoño, Mazda. Training Director Compañía Colombiana Automotriz-Mazda

Photo by: Victoria Holguín