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Aflac sets up its agents for success with a complete learning experience

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American Family Life Assurance Company (Aflac) believes preparation is power. For over half a century, they’ve been providing people with both the insurance and assurance they need to get ready for all life throws at them. So, it should come as no surprise that they want the same thing for their employees as they do for their customers.

Aflac prides itself on consistently being named one of the most ethical and all-around best companies to work for in the United States. To make sure their staff stays ahead of the curve, they know the importance of providing engaging learning materials to get them up to speed. That way, Aflac team members can greet both the everyday and unexpected aspects of life in the workplace with the knowledge they need to succeed.

Since 2011, Aflac has relied on Cornerstone Saba to support critical compliance and regulatory training for its sales force. In 2021, the company decided to expand the training and development resources it offered its agents with more sophisticated and personalized learning experiences. Their goal was to provide staff with the skills they needed to excel in their day-to-day responsibilities.

Prioritizing a complementary learning experience capable of delivering quick, absorbable, entertaining and dynamic content, they decided to supplement with another Cornerstone product (Cornerstone Learning Experience). After adopting the offering, their team members are more prepared than ever to meet the needs of every new day.

  • Main Challenge: Supplementing original LXP with additional sophisticated and expansive learning opportunities
  • Solution: Cornerstone Saba, Cornerstone Learning Experience
  • Results: More active engagement from team members, increased education around sales, greater organizational reach

The need for brief, efficient training options

Aflac’s employees are always open to skilling up but work an intensive schedule. Any additional trainings need to fit seamlessly into days spent interfacing with current clients and chasing after new ones.

“At Aflac, we have licensed agents who are appointed to sell our products and services,” explains Matthew Cook, Aflac’s sales training and delivery consultant. “Their main focus is being out in the field to sell, so they have limited time for training.”

Cornerstone Learning Experience allowed the company to customize learning paths filled with bite-sized trainings for both new and current staff members. These short, digestible training videos and courses make it easy for staff to train efficiently and effectively. That way, new agents can get onboarded fast and current staff members can fit in learning where it works for them in their busy schedules.

“If you want to learn something new,” says Cook, “you don’t have to wait for the next monthly training. You don’t have to wait until 8:00 a.m. on Monday to watch a video. You can read an article at lunch.”

A well-rounded partnership

The Cornerstone Learning Experience has also met Aflac’s more wide-angle needs when it comes to training materials. They can customize it to meet their precise needs as an organization. This means they can curate learning journeys with appealing UX and compelling content.

Still, even though customization can be liberating for an organization, it can also feel daunting. The freedom to design your own platform comes with a lot of responsibility. Cornerstone was there every step of the way to make sure this process went off without a hitch.

“We received great training and support from Cornerstone,” says technology manager Luke Mansour. “It was like a master class in enabling our team to be successful with the tool.”

This eased the process and freed Aflac to use the platform to its full potential. Rather than getting bogged down in learning all the ins and outs, they knew they could turn to their partners for assistance.

The road to the 
Aflac On Demand LXP rollout

The road to the 
Aflac On Demand LXP rollout

After customizing the Cornerstone Learning Experience, the team prepared for an internal rollout. They promoted it with rotating territory calls, supplemented by a strong communications framework (including emails and text messages to senior leadership) on how to get involved to ensure success.

80% of the market directors are actively-engaged users on the LXP, and about 75% of managers are active users. With senior leadership buy-in strong, the Aflac team turned their focus to driving the same type of learning engagement with the field agents. Positioning the value of a self-driven learning experience and peer knowledge sharing has been paramount.

From Cook’s perspective: “For our agents, the LXP is a place where they go to learn, grow, and develop — both professionally and personally — and they get to experience it all in a consumer grade streaming experience.”

Internally-developed, sales-focused content hits the mark

To supplement learning even further, Aflac took the initiative to supplement their new LXP (rebranded as Aflac On Demand) even further. If the platform would allow it — and it would — then why shouldn’t they use it to allow team members to learn from each other as well?

“Salespeople develop a lot of content and want training from their peers reflecting best practices being utilized in the field,” expressed Cook.

So, Aflac interviewed high performers and produced video content focused on improving sales performance. Additional content focused on developing soft skills like active listening, open communication, teamwork and leadership.

To date, Aflac has developed almost 400 pieces of content released on their LXP, while also utilizing RSS feeds to bring in outside content (in the range of 40,000 offerings) like articles, podcasts, and YouTube videos. Still, Aflac is proud a majority of views come from internally-developed content.

A popular LXP feature: Perfect Your Pitch

Since so much of Aflac’s business model relies on sales, they knew they would need to pay special attention to teaching their agents how to close deals. In addition to the material they’ve provided to agents themselves, one specific offering from Cornerstone Learning Experience (Perfect Your Pitch) has proven especially useful in achieving this goal.

Mansour points to why it’s proven so useful: “Probably the hardest part for a new agent is getting in the door, so effective communication with the gatekeeper in order to get an appointment with the decision maker is critical.”

Now, agents can record their sales presentation, share the video with trainers and receive feedback and comments in real time. This makes it much easier for Aflac’s agents to hit the ground running in the real world as soon as possible. And that translates to quicker sales for the company’s bottom line.

A powerful journey in Aflac’s LXP: National onboarding

Since time in classroom-style training is limited, they’ve made the most of Cornerstone’s offerings to gamify the training experience. Rather than pull employees away from work, managers can encourage them to engage with entertaining training materials on their own. This starts right out of the gate with their National Onboarding program.

“It consists of about an hour of brief, easily digestible videos,” Cook relates. “It’s something we came out with about a year ago.”

Gamification was used to drive adoption as participants received a badge on completion. Data analysis also showed substantially better production for new agents who fully completed the Onboarding Journey.

Extending reach and achieving maximum learning

When it comes to employee learning, Cornerstone Learning Experience (combined with Cornerstone Saba) has provided Aflac with comprehensive coverage. For that matter, Cook and his team are still finding new ways to get the customizable platform to reach its full potential.

For instance, one of the goals Cook has set for the next two years is to have onboarding at every level, ensuring every position in the company has its own journey for its own specific role.

“The success of the onboarding journey has led us to create the DSC Leadership Academy,” he says. “It’s basically the leadership version of National Onboarding. In just three months, we have 1,000 views so far, which is great in that we have about the same number of leaders who have access to the Academy.”

Aflac may help their customer base prepare for the worst, but their partnership with Cornerstone has helped their employees achieve their best. After all, a well-trained and highly engaged workforce is never an accident.

The impact on business

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