Raven Increases Team Member Engagement 15% and Becomes an Employer of Choice – Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

inflating weather balloon

Highlights: Raven Industries

Need

  • Develop its first formal supervisor and management training program.
  • Become an exceptional place to work and an employer of choice.
  • Attract, retain, and effectively manage top talent.
  • Develop consistency in management style among all supervisors and managers.
  • Find a program that aligned with company values and culture.
  • Use across three divisions in manufacturing and office environments.

Implementation

  • Audience – Current and emerging supervisors and managers.
  • CurriculumThe Leadership Journey™
  • Delivery – Blended learning. E-learning with group discussion every two weeks.
  • Discussion – During group sessions.
  • Facilitators – Participants took turns leading group discussions.
  • Application – Two weeks to apply personal action plans.
  • Follow-up – Participants’ managers held them accountable for applying their personal action plans.

Results

  • Composite scores on leadership effectiveness increased 10-15%.
  • Team member engagement increased 15%.
  • Marked improvements in communication, team building, and motivation.
  • Improved and strengthened employee loyalty.
  • Raven became an employer of choice in the communities they serve.
  • Feedback from participants and their managers has been exceptional.

The Company

Tackling Tough Challenges in Engineering, Manufacturing, and Technology

Raven Industries solves top challenges in engineering, manufacturing and technology settings through innovation and precision. Raven is a leader in precision agriculture, high-performance specialty films, and aerospace and defense solutions.

It’s a business that has to be focused on the details—one that must attract, retain, and effectively manage top talent in a rapidly changing world market.

Since 1956, Raven Industries has designed, produced, and delivered exceptional solutions, earning a reputation for innovation, product quality, high performance, and unmatched service.

Over the past several decades, the company has grown and expanded its services to meet new needs and now operates through three distinct divisions:

  • Raven Applied Technology: focusing on feeding a growing population by improving agricultural efficiency around the world.
  • Raven Engineered Films: a leading provider of polymer films and sheeting for agriculture, construction, geomembrane, and industrial applications.
  • Raven Aerostar: serving the stratospheric platform market with the world’s most advanced and reliable lighter-than-air technologies.

With staff in both office and manufacturing environments, and employees with a wide range of responsibilities, Raven has very specialized management training needs.

The Challenge

Developing Their First Comprehensive Leadership Training Program

Despite its long history, Raven had no formal training program in place to develop its supervisors and managers.

Many of Raven’s 125 managers had come up through the ranks without any previous formal supervisory training or experience of any kind. Even those with management training and experience had different backgrounds and different approaches to leading others.

Raven wanted to develop consistency in its management style in alignment with the company’s values and culture. They also wanted to become known for being an exceptional place to work and an employer of choice.

They knew that their leaders were key to establishing the type of environment that would get them there.

But finding a solution to meet their unique needs proved challenging. While plenty of stand-alone classes and training programs were available, they struggled to find a comprehensive leadership curriculum.

They recognized that it would require a significant amount of time for them to pull these diverse materials together to adequately address their leadership development needs.

They needed a training roadmap. Their search led them to The Leadership Journey .


The Leadership Journey exceeded my expectations. It is a very easy way for very busy people to get some very valuable information that can really make a difference in their company.”

Jennifer Schmidtbauer, Director of Organizational Development, Raven Industries

The Leadership Journey™

Holding Supervisors Accountable for Learning and Applying Practical How-to Skills

The Leadership Journey’s solution was exactly what Raven was looking for. It offered a comprehensive, relevant solution that Raven felt was dynamic and interesting. And it went far beyond simply asking staff to “watch a video.”

  • Short, succinct videos are an important element that lays the foundation for skills application. Participants watch short videos and take notes using a note-taking guide.
  • Quizzes and open-ended questions help them think about and then apply what they’ve learned to their own personal leadership challenges.
  • Personal action plans ensure that leaders are held accountable to actually use the skills and techniques they’ve learned.

The Leadership Journey allowed Raven to reach a lot of people across its three divisions who had varying levels of management knowledge and experience. The shared training ensured a consistent message from the top to the bottom of the organization.

Whether supervisors, managers, or emerging leaders in manufacturing or office environments, Raven wanted its leaders to have a shared language and to work together to support shared culture and common values.

fabric rolls in manufacturing plant

One key differentiator of The Leadership Journey from other leadership training offerings that Raven especially appreciated was the national renown and variety of its speakers. Participants hear from many experts, not just one—all leading authorities on management practices.

The variety offers diversity and a wealth of information that can be quickly consumed and put into practice.

But the action plans component really sealed the deal. Participants are challenged to commit, in writing how they will apply what they’ve learned back on the job.

Action plans are shared with their managers, and they’re held accountable to complete what they’ve committed to. “It’s a way to ensure people are really understanding and internalizing what they’re learning,” says Jennifer Schmidtbauer, Raven’s director of organizational development.

The flexible nature of the program means that organizations can implement the training in ways that work best in their environments and for their trainees. At Raven, that meant delivering content online where participants could review and complete it based on their schedules and preferences and then bringing them all together to share and discuss.

Participants had a two-week window to complete each module. They were provided with binders and asked to fill out printed note-taking pages and assignment materials. Participants were asked to bring their binders to live group sessions.

Group training and discussion sessions were led by rotating facilitators giving everyone the chance to gain experience in leading discussions.

Too often after training sessions, the course material is never revisited or referred to again. Through The Leadership Journey and the process they used, Raven was able to ensure that the material stayed fresh, was referred to, and was used to guide actions back on the job.

The Results

15% Increase in Team Member Engagement with Improvements in Communication, Team Building, and Motivation

The results Raven has achieved through The Leadership Journey are both tangible and cultural. They made great progress in two areas:

  • Composite scores on leadership effectiveness increased 10-15%.
  • Team member engagement increased by 15%.

Action plans are contributing directly to observable behavioral changes. Raven is experiencing marked improvements in communication, team building, and motivation. Employee loyalty is strong, and feedback from managers about their experience and the impact of the training has been exceptional.

Raven believes that through their ongoing use of The Leadership Journey to nurture and develop current and future leaders, they are effectively positioning themselves to be an employer of choice—a company that employees will seek out and one where they’ll be eager to step up into leadership roles as they emerge.

The Leadership Journey has provided a model that Raven Industries will continue to use to strengthen the company and its culture consistently across all three of its divisions.


The Leadership Journey helped me “get to go” a lot faster than something I had to build myself. It is a comprehensive, extremely relevant solution that is dynamic and very interesting. I didn’t see a lot of other vendors out there that provided something worthy of investing in.”

Jennifer Schmidtbauer, Director of Organizational Development, Raven Industries

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