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Diverse training content builds tomorrow’s leaders at Delta Air Lines

KC
Kerrie-Anne Chinn
Jan 30, 2020

As one of the world’s largest commercial airlines, Delta is experiencing significant year-over-year growth. On a single day in June 2019, a record 704,000 passengers flew with Delta. Rapid growth such as this requires effective and empathetic leaders to ensure smooth and efficient operations and consistent customer satisfaction.

Central to Delta’s operational and customer service success are its Airport Customer Service and Cargo (ACS) frontline employees, led by Operational Service Managers (OSMs). From check-in to baggage claim, OSMs are highly visible leaders who ensure Delta’s airport operations run seamlessly. They direct, train, and support ACS personnel, monitor contractor activities, and support administrative duties. To be successful, OSMs need to have excellent operational, leadership, and soft skills.

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With their unique environment and demanding responsibilities, the company’s OSMs needed support to “build on their leadership capacity and capability,” says Brandon Carson, Director of Learning in Delta’s ACS division. To meet its immediate personnel needs and keep future leaders in the pipeline, Delta launched the ACS/CGO Leader Academy, a 15-month leadership development track focused on providing comprehensive learning experiences designed to elevate the OSMs’ leadership skills.

Obstacles along the way:

Sourcing, curating, and delivering the right content

Building an effective leadership development curriculum requires curating an extensive and diverse library of mobile-friendly, digestible content that can be consumed quickly and on-the-go. But a problem arose: How would Delta source, acquire, organize, and deliver the training it needed? Carson’s L&D teams wanted to augment their customized learning content with additional resources for OSMs to access on-demand so they could strengthen their leadership skills. The content resources needed to provide practical value to leaders with high-quality, actionable information that reinforced the desired leader behaviors.

The team selected GO1 to support the on-demand content library based on GO1’s diverse content formats, its curation and customization expertise, and its seamless technology integration capabilities.

The solution:

Curated, easy- to-consume, and diverse content

Over the course of several months, Delta and GO1 experts worked closely to identify and deliver the most appropriate content for the Leader Academy. GO1 was able to provide strategic benefits to Delta due to its deep knowledge of L&D processes and effective, high-quality, and highly specialized training content. Delta also benefited from ease of integration, accessibility, and cost-efficiencies, which allowed it
to launch the Leader Academy on schedule.

“Across each level of the 15-month learning program, GO1 got to know the employee audience and identified the right supportive content according to [the skills] employees at each level must learn to progress,” says Carson.

GO1’s Global Learning Strategist, Caroline Brant, explains in more detail how the company supported Delta’s learning needs: “GO1 went through and matched all of their instructor-led topics to e-learning and found micro-learning — 5- to 10-minute classes — that would either add onto or reinforce the knowledge that Delta’s OSMs received through the Leader Academy.”

GO1’s cloud-based and flexible software also addressed Delta’s integration concerns. The platform worked seamlessly with Delta’s own enterprise technology systems, enabling OSMs to quickly access, download, and store learning content regardless of their environment. The current software allows the learning team to continue developing, adjusting, and refining the participant experience, free from the effort of content acquisition, management, and delivery.

Looking ahead:

Future-proofing Delta's OSM leaders

Delta piloted the Leader Academy in April 2019, and its first cohort of more than 300 leaders is progressing through the program. The Leader Academy is still young, but Carson is already reporting that GO1’s content is being significantly leveraged by employees.

Looking to the future, he states: “Our business is evolving rapidly to meet the needs of customers and employees. We had our busiest travel season ever in 2019. Our leaders made that happen. And, their work is not getting simpler — meaning we’re really having to rethink how we deliver training so they can get the work done confidently and successfully. We are launching the next iteration of the Leader Academy in the next quarter. We can’t wait to have GO1 continue to be part of the journey.”

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