Financial Services Firm Integrates Questionmark with SAP® SAP Human Resources and Learning Management System to Support Compliance and Human Capital Management
|Sanlam Personal Finance provides a wide range of individual life insurance and personal financial services and solutions, including estate planning and trusts, home loans, personal loans, linked products, money transfer and financial services in South Africa, Namibia and the UK. The company is committed to providing cost-effective learning solutions that promote compliance and improve performance.
As a Financial Services company, Sanlam is continuously challenged to demonstrate its compliance with regulatory requirements by submitting detailed reports to the government to prove compliance and in many instances the competence of employees.
Sanlam had been running standalone assessments via Questionmark for 10 years when it was decided to integrate Questionmark with the SAP Human Resources and Learning Management System. This combination would make it easier to document compliance-related activities. The integration has enabled Sanlam’s training team to record training interventions against the qualifications and learning profiles of learners and at the same time allow the team to give learners feedback within Questionmark at a detailed topic level. Not only does the integration allows access to Questionmark's full range reporting features, it also gives facilitators and trainers access to the more comprehensive question types.
Mark Julius, Sanlam’s training technology support consultant, says Questionmark helps the company’s brokers and advisors demonstrate a solid understanding of Sanlam’s financial products. Also, call center staff need to show that they understand internal systems. Questionmark Hot Spot or Drag-and-Drop questions ensure that employees know where to record information on official forms, and questions incorporating Adobe Captivate reinforce basic computer literacy skills. Quizzes reinforce learning throughout both online and classroom training courses, and percentage scores from summative assessments at the end of each course provide a permanent record of achievement.
“We provide ‘real life’ assessments that allow learners the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to practical application as if they were back at their work station, explains Julius. “This makes it much easier for them to perform well when they are live on the job.”
Each of Sanlam’s seven business units has one or two assessment authors responsible for the development of assessment in their respective units. Authors, based in offices throughout South Africa, use a shared repository, a single server and a SQL database. Some create questions and assessments using Questionmark Windows Authoring while other use Word documents that are converted to ASCII files for importing into Questionmark. Each high-stakes assessment starts with a Declaration of Authenticity. Other standards ensure that assessments throughout the company adhere to certain basic practices.
At any one time, about 4,000 people in Kenya, Botswana, South Africa and Namibia are taking surveys, quizzes or tests. On average 14,000 assessments are taken per month. A robust server handles these assessments smoothly and efficiently. The company has used a wide variety of delivery platforms, from an intranet to CDs for those training facilities without a network. Questionmark has enabled offline delivery to some 2,000 individuals; the company is testing Questionmark to Go as a newer means of delivering assessment offline.
In addition to identifying knowledge gaps for employees and trainers, Questionmark reports help the training team convey the significance of employee survey results to business units. Frequent staff surveys help business units understand employee attitudes, opinions and needs.
One of the benefits of integrating Questionmark with SAP HR is the ability to access the company’s Organizational Structure. Org structure level reports generated on SAP can determine specifically who completed the assessments; business unit heads can be informed of those individuals who have not completed the assessment as well as those deemed competent or not yet competent.
Questionmark's Question Statistics Report reveals which questions received the most incorrect answers in bi-monthly product knowledge tests. This prompts trainers to include the most frequently missed questions on the next test. The Coaching Report helps trainers provide important feedback to employees about how best to focus their learning.
With Questionmark’s help, Sanlam has made a complete transition away from paper-based assessments. SAP has made possible the increased use of eLearning. The integration of the two solutions has helped the company reduce training costs while improving its results and how they are reported.
Online assessments have enabled us to administer more quizzes, tests and surveys while saving time and money,” remarks Julius. “People are able to stay on the job more, because they can use elearning resources and take assessments at the times most convenient for them.
“It’s been proven that during training the process, learning is facilitated more effectively when an employee who completes an assessment receives immediate feedback. We aim to focus more on formative assessments whereby we consistently assess employees’ knowledge levels. This is contrary to having employees take only summative assessments with longer time intervals between tests. Assessments therefore form part of the employees’ daily tasks to ensure quality of productivity and excellence in learning.”
Although participants receive automatic online feedback for Questionmark open, diagnostic and workbook tests, the results of certification exams are conveyed by email and/ or letter. Successful candidates receive a recognised Sage Certificate that contains the Sage brand and accreditation stamp. On the rare occasion when a participant questions the test results, the team can pull detailed results using Questionmark’s reporting tools to track the participant’s performance in each topic area.
Questionmark is also used in various other business areas of the Sage Group. The application of tests, accreditation and exams is growing progressively across the wider business and this includes meeting the learning and development needs of several internal departments as well as external partners and individual customers.