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Last April, we interviewed Gregory Gyorda, director of employee and customer training, Watts Water Technologies Inc. for our Off the Cuff podcast series. We talked with Gyorda about the company’s newly enhanced Watts Works Online elearning program open to contractors, engineers and wholesalers.
Thanks to the program, which Watts launched at the end of 2019, PHCPPros can easily do the following:
As a bonus, students can also earn tokens after they successfully complete any of the Watts Works Online training modules. Tokens can be redeemed for a wide selection of Watts Lifestyle Merchandise.
Our original Off the Cuff interview with Gyorda was one of our most popular podcasts. As a result, we wanted to check in with him one more time and share this interview in print:
PHC News: Since COVID-19 has put a stop to much of our traveling, let alone gathering in a traditional classroom, tell us more about what Watts is doing as a result with its Watts Works Online Program?
Gyorda: Watts Works Online is a great addition to our customer-training program. We launched our online learning system last September, never realizing how timely it would be. During these unprecedented times, our program’s mission remains committed as ever to help customers improve their knowledge of Watts products, services, and solutions to enhance their professional skills and meet evolving business needs in a smart and connected world.
Watts Works Online has emerged as an even greater industry resource. Its intuitive format helps us reach thousands of contractors, wholesalers, engineers and plumbing professionals who might not otherwise be able to access training; all while being 100 percent free, with unlimited anytime, anywhere mobile access. Customers are invited to register at www.training.watts.com.
PHC News: Can you briefly describe the program and discuss the additional focus Watts created with the CEU Center for engineers?
Gyorda: Currently, we offer more than 250 online technical product-training courses with new courses added weekly. Content focuses on specific skills such as product installation, troubleshooting, or application-based training. And as you mentioned, engineers have access to over a dozen industry leading ASPE-accredited CEU courses in Watts Works Online.
PHC News: We were able to log into Watts Works On-Line and one of our biggest surprises was the fact that a lot of classes are anywhere from 3-5 minutes long. What’s the reasoning behind this brevity?
Gyorda: Time is money and we pride ourselves tailoring courses to our customer’s demanding schedules, which is why our average course time is 5 minutes. When a customer needs to grab some quick knowledge, that’s what we aim to deliver. These “bite-size” modules can be viewed on any mobile device 24/7, even sitting in a truck between service calls. Some customers may take one course on a topic or a whole series to understand more. It all depends on their needs and how much time they have at that moment.
By the way, we’ve had tens of thousands of these courses completed, and by regularly surveying our customers, we’re told that the brief format is a benefit for their challenging schedule.
PHC News: Can you tell us more about the user experience? We know from the time we spent on the site that there are basically four product categories and a number of courses under each.
Gyorda: Yes, as you mentioned, when a customer logs on to Watts Works Online, they’ll land on the “dashboard.” From there, customers can choose their course of action—Course Catalog, Learning History, Digital Tools, or Learn and Earn.
Once they click on Course Catalog, they’ll find categories related to Plumbing and Flow Control, Drainage, HVAC & Hot Water, and Water Quality.
Each of these categories is further subdivided for quick course selection. Many of our courses contain video and interactive features such as animation, voice-overs, and close captioned text on screen to make the instruction as clear and engaging as possible. We want people to feel knowledgeable and confident after their training.
Clicking on Learning History, provides a record of their course progress over time; including completions and courses they’ve enrolled in. Selecting Digital Tools provides access to resources like Watts Mobile Apps, Product Configurators, and more.
And Learn and Earn is our way to encourage and reward people for investing in themselves by taking courses. The more courses a customer takes, the more tokens they accrue and can redeem for free Lifestyle Merchandise like our popular Carhartt Professional tool bag.
PHC News: So, tell us how contractors, engineers and wholesalers can earn tokens and redeem them for Watts Lifestyle Merchandise.
Gyorda: When customers successfully complete a course by passing the quiz at the end—they earn tokens towards some great leisure-themed Watts merchandise. We currently have more two dozen items such as electronics, clothing, fitness items—cool stuff you can enjoy at home. Once a customer completes about 15 courses, they can start redeeming their tokens.
By the way, customers are having a lot of fun with this—and some are even sending us selfies with the merchandise they’ve received. This program has been a big hit, and we want to keep adding to the items we offer.
PHC News: What have been the results of the Watts Works Online in terms of attendance? Any new additions planned since this was launched?
We’ve seen tens of thousands of course completions this year, and there’s certainly been an increase in training during this pandemic. We’re aware of the importance of online training during these extraordinary times so, despite shutdowns, customers can keep building their product knowledge base at their own pace.
Also, we have been adding regularly to our selection of courses, based on customer requests, and we fully intend to keep doing so. We are on track to add over 150 new courses in 2020; bringing our course library total to over 300.
PHC News: Finally, what’s your perspective on traditional classroom training in particular considering the impact of COVID-19?
Gyorda: Classroom training and “hands on” skills building in our Watts Works Learning Center is without a doubt a great way to learn, particularly for developing skills and gaining in depth product and applications knowledge.
Our Learning Centers are state-of-the-art, and we plan to open them again just as soon as we can do so safely. The safety of our employees and customers is our top priority.
Luckily, that isn’t the only way to deliver best-in-class training. Our “blended learning model,” including online training and “lunch & learns” also currently delivered virtually, helps bring training to our customers in a safe, convenient way.
They have no need to travel and can get the information or training they need on the spot. So, while we miss seeing everyone, we’re glad to still be able to be of help—and we look forward to the time we are all together again in our Learning Centers.