After Implementing Their First In-house Leadership Training Program, Eastern Propane & Oil’s Frontline Leaders Learn to Communicate, Coach, and Manage with Respect

supervisors standing next to a propane truck

Highlights: Eastern Propane & Oil

Need

  • Develop its first leadership development program for frontline leaders.
  • Build supervisory and management skills.
  • Deliver practical and engaging content that is customizable.
  • Establish a common language and knowledge.
  • Create accountability.
  • Deliver a consistent message across seven locations over the same period of time.
  • Serve blue-collar leaders like drivers, technicians, and utility workers.
  • Develop executive leaders.
  • Use a turnkey program that is flexible and customizable.

Implementation

  • Audience – All leaders, from the CEO to frontline supervisors.
  • Curriculum The Leadership Journey™
  • Delivery – A three-tiered blended approach. Self-paced e-learning with face-to-face or virtual meetings.
  • Discussion – During group training.
  • Application – Apply new skills on the job within two weeks.
  • Follow-up – Participants send personal action plans to their bosses and meet with them before the next course.

Results

  • Supervisors lead, coach, communicate, and manage with respect.
  • Managers are consistent in the way they lead and manage, regardless of their physical location.
  • Quickly rolled out a comprehensive leadership training program for leaders at all levels.
  • A common leadership approach and emphasis on continuous improvement.
  • Increased communication throughout the organization’s hierarchy.
  • Increased retention and accountability.

The Company

Reaching Leaders in Five States with Practical and Engaging Content

How does an almost century-old company with blue-collar staff dispersed across multiple locations ensure that leaders:

  • have the knowledge and competencies needed to follow and apply policies consistently,
  • remain compliant with all relevant labor laws, and
  • support a culture that will drive employee engagement, loyalty, and longevity?

That’s the question Eastern Propane & Oil was facing as they embarked on a journey to train more than 75 leaders across five states.

Despite decades of business experience, this was the first time they were offering a leadership development program.

A Family Serving Families, Contractors, Builders, and Commercial Businesses

Eastern Propane & Oil is a round-the-clock, 365 days a year, full-service propane and oil company that covers five states in the Northeast. A family-owned business, the company has been delivering energy services to customers for more than 85 years. Established in 1932, Eastern has a family-focused culture and a good neighbor vibe.

For the families they serve, they believe “memories of home should be of the important people in your life and spending time together—not of time spent thinking about energy bills or the reliability of your heating system.” In addition to residential homes, Eastern serves contractors, builders, and commercial businesses.

Eastern’s employees are blue-collar, and most work outdoors at all hours of the day and night in all kinds of weather. Their on-the-job attire consists of jeans and boots, not suits and briefcases.

The company’s commitment to its customers extends to its staff, with the recognition that strong leaders are critical to retention and accountability.

The Challenge

Starting a Leadership Training Program for Frontline Field Supervisors Who Were Promoted Because They Were Great Workers

While Eastern was committed to developing and supporting strong leaders, they faced a challenge—to deliver practical and engaging leadership development content to more than 75 leaders in multiple locations over the same period of time.

Frontline leaders were skilled at doing their work in the field, but most had no formal training or experience in supervising or managing others. The staff they managed served in a variety of roles, from drivers to technicians to utility workers.

It was clear that a one-size-fits-all solution with no option for customization wasn’t going to work.


“The action plans were a definite benefit to aid both retention and accountability.”

ML Hannay, VP Team & Leadership Development, Eastern Propane & Oil

The Leadership Journey™

Practical and Engaging Content Delivered How, When, and Where They Wanted

Eastern turned to Business Training Experts for a solution. The Leadership Journey is a customizable turnkey training program that combines face-to-face learning with large or small group sessions, webinars, and individualized online learning to help supervisors, managers, and leaders develop 10 core leadership skills.

technician fixing a furnace

Training was customized to reflect Eastern’s unique language, culture, and values, with a focus on the specific knowledge and skills their supervisors and managers needed. The Leadership Journey offers variety, flexibility, and accountability:

  • A blended training approach that combines face-to-face interaction with virtual video meetings and self-paced online learning.
  • Flexible delivery methods to suit various working conditions and work settings. Content is tailored to an organization’s unique culture, language, stories, and examples.
  • A focus on accountability driven by personal action plans that supervisors create and use as they manage their team.

The opportunity to learn practical leadership skills from featured experts, combined with opportunities for interaction with colleagues, created a shared experience and commonly understood expectations.

The Results

Connection, Consistency, Retention, and Accountability

Eastern was able to quickly roll out a comprehensive leadership training program to all leaders, from frontline supervisors to executives.

No matter where they were based, supervisors and managers received the same information and learned the same skills. They emerged armed with the knowledge and skills to engage their staff members in the creation of personal action plans to boost both retention and accountability.

Personal action plans serve as a shared point of focus for communication between leaders and their managers as well as their employees.

Eastern has embraced a focus on continuous development, extending the program for three additional years to ensure that new leaders receive the same training and to build bench strength among potential leaders.

Effective leadership shouldn’t be left to chance. At Eastern, sharing The Leadership Journey has established the foundation for a shared focus, a cohesive leadership community, a common culture, and an emphasis on continuous improvement. While miles may separate them, the leadership team at Eastern Propane & Oil is closer today than ever before.


The Leadership Journey was a definite success. I would definitely recommend the series.”

ML Hannay, VP Team & Leadership Development, Eastern Propane & Oil

How can we help?

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