As Rev-A-Shelf grew, company leaders knew they needed to invest in employees in order to scale. Rev-A-Shelf partnered with University of Louisville Professional Development to develop a comprehensive leadership development program built to empower front-line leaders to deal with personnel issues immediately and effectively, to enhance employee communication skills, and strengthen all aspects of performance management.
In 1978 Rev-A-Shelf was founded as a division of Jones Plastics and Engineering. Today, the company is a leading designer and manufacturer of home storage solutions. Rev-A-Shelf has experienced significant growth in recent years. With plans to move its three facilities into a new, central location, executives seized the opportunity to invest in employee growth as well.
The company did not have a formal training program in place and knew that in order to sustain growth, it needed to invest in its employees. Director of Operations Suzy Whatley and Human Resources Manager Joe Weis began the search for a learning and development solution.
“We weren’t looking for canned training. We were looking for something that was going to be specific to our needs and address the areas we needed to grow. We wanted to make sure the managers knew how to perform their functions,” Joe shared.
“We weren’t looking for canned training. We were looking for something that was going to be specific to our needs and address the areas we needed to grow.”
With a partnership in place, UofL facilitated a working session with Rev-A-Shelf’s executive team to define the desired outcomes for the program. First, they wanted front-line leaders to be equipped with the tools to deal with employee issues immediately, rather than relying on resolutions from upper management or human resources.
Second, in a fast-paced production environment efficient communication is critical. Executives wanted employees to learn how to better communicate with one another and encourage collaboration.
Finally, in order to sustain the company’s growth, clear performance objectives needed to be outlined for employees. Rev-A-Shelf leaders wanted managers to communicate expectations and identify specific goals for employees in performance reviews.
“We looked for a comprehensive training program,” Suzy said. “A lot of programs are more focused on one aspect of training. We wanted something that would address the whole gamut of personnel issues, from dealing with conflict to setting clear expectations and goals, and managing yourself and your daily responsibilities.”
A Collaborative Partnership
UofL Professional Development worked closely with Rev-A-Shelf to create a customized learning program that would meet their outlined needs and goals. “When Rev-A-Shelf asked for a specialized program, we saw the opportunity for a great partnership,” shared Robbie Chitwood, director of UofL Professional Development. “We assembled an instructor team from our deep bench of real-world practitioners and started customizing the content. Rev-A-Shelf had ideas of what they needed and we had the resources and know-how to help.”
Program participants included a cross representation of operations staff – everyone from front-line supervisors to department management. UofL delivered the leadership development series onsite at Rev-A-Shelf to accommodate work schedules and to ensure that the executive team members could attend training sessions.
Seminar instructors ensured that the class content was tailored to Rev-A-Shelf’s business. “The instructors were very open minded. They incorporated some of the situations and the issues that we face here at Rev-A-Shelf on a daily basis into the training so we could learn how to deal with real-life situations in our day-to-day operations,” said Sales Support/Training Coordinator Creighton Jones.
The program included interactive seminars that focused on communication styles and skills, teambuilding, conflict resolution and leadership. It ended with group capstone projects that were sponsored by an executive team member and tackled issues important to the growth of both the company and its employees. In all, over 40 employees completed the program.
According to Suzy, the impact of the training is already being realized. “The result is less involvement from upper management on smaller issues that can be resolved on the floor. Employees now know how to approach situations to get to the bottom of it. To work through those issues on their own without relying on upper management to help resolve the issue,” she shared.
“The result is less involvement from upper management on smaller issues that can be resolved on the floor. Employees now know how to approach situations to get to the bottom of it.”
Employees routinely cited increased communication as the main factor leading to greater efficiencies. “I think this has helped us grow as a company, our communication and overall leadership has developed greatly,” said Gina Bibbs, business unit manager.
This is just the beginning of Rev-A-Shelf’s learning journey. At the start of their partnership with UofL, the company envisioned a sustainable training and development program. “I am looking forward to extending the program,” said Suzy. “This was just our first pass to provide basic tools to our managers and supervisors. There is a lot more training that is available from UofL. We hope to build a program that is ongoing.”
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Whether you have specific learning goals or are looking for supplemental training, we can help strategically develop all levels of your workforce. Contact us at 502.852.4620 to learn about partnering with UofL Professional Development.