The 28 winning organizations in this year’s Learning Leaders Program sponsored by Bersin & Associates have shifted their focus.
“In past years, participants were consumed with managing learning and talent needs in the recession,” says Josh Bersin, president of Bersin & Associates. “Now, in the face of the recovery, organizations are looking at finding and nurturing talent with the right mix of skills, global capabilities and leadership. As workplace borders blur and evaporate, employees, candidates and alumni all work together and interact with HR through mobile phones, social networking and online content.”
The research-driven program, now in its fifth year, is designed to recognize innovation and excellence in critical areas of corporate training and talent management. Based on detailed criteria compiled over years of research, the program includes six categories: operational training and development, learning and talent initiatives, leadership development, learning and talent technology, learning organization and governance, and vendor innovation.
From its inception, the Learning Leaders program has recognized innovative learning and talent-related solutions to business challenges. This year’s winning organizations, selected from hundreds of applications, span virtually all industry segments: technology, financial services, health care, transportation and management consulting. Winners also include providers of training and talent management solutions and services.
Bersin saw several major themes among the 2011 winners: “They understand that deep skills specialization is a critical success factor in this economy. Their programs are designed for global, distributed workforces and leverage social and informal learning to drive value. Leadership programs focus on a new set of leadership skills: collaboration, empowerment, innovation, and global awareness.
“Technology is an increasingly critical component of learning and leadership development.Winners incorporate technology in blended solutions that emphasize performance consulting and end-toend change management to drive success.”
Read on for highlights about each winning organization.
Operational Training and Development Excellence
Accenture (www.accenture.com) is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. It has approximately 200,000 professionals in 52 countries and works with clients in nearly every major industry worldwide, including 91 of the Fortune Global 100, two-thirds of the Fortune Global 500 and government agencies around the world.
Accenture faces recruiting challenges like the geographic shift of supply and demand to developing and emerging countries and the need to retain a credible, well-trained, professional recruitment capability in a competitive market. These challenges and imperatives apply foremost to India — the company’s fastest growing geography with the largest head count.
In 2010, Accenture needed to hire a record number of people for an extended period of time in India’s competitive market. The strategic imperatives were to grow Accenture’s share of the world’s talent market, making it possible to identify and acquire 50,000+ people with the right skill set in a short timeframe and at a low cost.
The firm hired an India-based team that needed to provide the finest possible recruitment experience to candidates. This led to the design and implementation of the Recruitment Capability Development initiative, a training program designed to allow Accenture to meet unprecedented hiring targets in less than 12 months.
Recruitment Program Goals
Based on a needs assessment, a problem statement from the India recruitment lead, and on-the-job observations of the India capability development team, three program design principles emerged.
First, the program objectives had to be aligned to recruitment team goals. Next, given the high-pressure work situation for participants, different learning methodologies had to be used to ensure minimal time away from their core job responsibilities. Third, the content had to be tailor-made for recruitment to enable maximum learning.
The India recruitment lead was made executive sponsor of this program and remained involved from the needs assessment to the evaluation stage. He was responsible for articulating the problem statement, reviewing the solution, and approving the program design and budgets.
Blended Learning Accelerates Uptake
Accenture’s solution was based on a learning model that incorporates on-the-job, classroom and experiential learning. All new hires and current employees in the recruitment team started with instructor led sessions on Accenture’s Service
Delivery Model to familiarize them with the roles and responsibilities of different teams and the operating model.
This was followed by “process walk-through” sessions by subject-matter experts for new hires. Shorter versions of these sessions were run as refreshers for incumbents. These sessions were reinforced by learning bytes — snippets of information highlighting critical process steps delivered through e-mail, job aids and postcards.
Next, participants completed Improving Candidate Experience classes to familiarize themselves with the nuances of interacting with a recruiting candidate. Role playing, videos and case studies were used in these sessions to make them experiential.
The Improving Candidate Experience sessions were followed by “Synergy Week,” in which quizzes and various other competitions were run to bring rigor to the implementation of the learning objectives. A testimonial week was also organized, in which all testimonials received from candidates were displayed on large LCD screens in the team area to encourage the team, improve morale, and provide concrete examples of success.
All middle-level managers participated in a three-phase STAR Certification program. Phase One was composed of 40 hours of instructor-led classes covering 24 topics on operations management. Phase Two was a knowledge implementation phase, during which participants picked two metrics from their job role processes that they would improve. Support was provided to participants in the form of weekly coaching sessions by the Phase One trainers and by their supervisors, to help them implement the tools and techniques learned during the program. In the last phase, senior leadership verified improvements in performance through presentations made by participants in a structured format.
Hiring Goals Achieved
Approximately 600 employees participated in the Recruitment Capability Development initiative, and approximately 25,000 person-hours of training were delivered.
Accenture had several methods of measuring program effectiveness. Midway through the program, it launched a survey to the participants and their supervisors to assess the effectiveness of the program. Participant feedback scores were also captured after every training session. In addition to participant satisfaction, Accenture tracked the outcomes of key business metrics associated with the challenges facing the India recruitment team.
By the end of 2010, the India recruitment team had met 100% of its demand. Compared to 2009, there was a 206% increase in joiners, cost per person was 16% lower, positions filled per recruiter rose 82%, and candidate satisfaction increased 1%. Offer acceptance by candidates increased by 17%, reflecting the selling and negotiation skills of the recruitment team. In fact, the reduction in cost of hire was multiple times the cost of the program, resulting in a positive return on investment in less than 12 months.
Learning Organization and Governance Excellence
Air Products (www.airproducts.com), founded in 1940, serves customers in industrial, energy, technology and healthcare markets worldwide with atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, and equipment and
services.With 18,300 employees around the world, operations in more than 40 countries, and fiscal 2010 revenues of $9 billion, Air Products is ranked 273 in sales on Fortune magazine’s 2010 list of the 500 largest U.S. corporations.
According to Stacey Harris, principal analyst for Bersin & Associates, Air Products is a great example of how a large organization can manage the learning function with business-driven expected outcomes and goals. “This learning organization has shown its ability to run efficiently, through process improvement techniques that value the input of its entire learning function, while still focusing on delivering a quality outcome that uses resources most effectively,” she says.
“The ability to think beyond the classroom to create collaborative knowledge environments has allowed Air Products University to take ownership not only of learning programs, but true learning outcomes and support of a continuous learning culture.”
Air Products University was created five years ago to deliver strategic, globally consistent and impactful learning solutions to employees and business managers. The director of learning manages the university and has responsibility for learning initiatives worldwide.
The university uses a federated learning model, which consists of a Learning and Knowledge Management Center of Excellence (CoE) and 11 colleges that represent the businesses and functions across all regions. The colleges are led by leaders representing the business segments and functions who are selected for their business expertise, passion for learning, and ability to leverage influence in a global environment. A learning performance lead from the CoE partners with each college to provide expertise in human performance improvement, learning and development.
Over the past five years, the university has been able to capture more than $30 million in savings through targeted improvement projects and global consistency, including:
>>Migrating to a single global LMS to register, track and launch learning, run standardized reports for compliance, and provide self-service to managers, delivering a cost savings of approximately $18.5 million;
>>Developing learning standards, templates and rapid-development tools, which has allowed the university to create and deliver twice the amount of learning content in 17 languages worldwide with a 40% reduction in time and resources;
>>Synchronous and asynchronous technology platforms, which have allowed the learning organization to double its use of Web-enabled learning and cut participant and instructor time by 50%, with an overall cost savings of $8 million; and
>>Reducing redundancy by providing centralized vendor management, resulting in cost savings over the past four years of $3 million.
Knowledge Sharing, Continuous Learning
More than 100 communities of practice are aligned with the business and managed by the colleges. These communities use online tools to post learning documents, job aids, Webcasts, discussions for action learning projects, and project documentation. The impact of the virtual communities has been significant, producing approximately $5 million in savings annually.
This environment also promotes the sharing of best practices. For example, employees at a plant site in Canada identified a manufacturing best practice that saved $50,000. It was submitted to the company’s best-practice transfer process and released worldwide. Five sites adopted the practice, resulting in a net $250,000 annual benefit that was realized in less than six months. Similar best practices have been replicated worldwide, producing savings in excess of tens of millions of dollars.
Effectiveness KPI’s are collected through Air Products’ learning analytics partner, KnowledgeAdvisors. It measures 60% of all learning programs for Levels 1-4 and 10% of learning programs for return on investment through an automated survey via the LMS in six languages. These measures, with established targets for each level, are collected and evaluated quarterly by college and for the entire organization. Each college reviews a score card for its learning programs and has the ability to drill down in the data for improvements at the class level, course level and programmatic level. By tracking across time the learning organization has been able to identify significant trends and respond.
According to Harris, keys to success of enterprise learning governance at Air Products are its foundational principles of participative governance at all levels, globally consistent learning and development of talent, and financial accountability.
Operational Training and Development Excellence
Amway (www.amway.com), launched in 1959, has more than 600,000 distributors
in more than 80 markets. Its business model rewards independent business owners for selling products and sponsoring others who do the same in the areas of home, beauty and nutrition products.
The majority of independent business owners (IBOs) join Amway with no prior sales experience. The company has found that if new IBOs don’t learn quickly enough to gain some level of success in their first months, they typically drop out at the end of their first year. The resulting turnover and low productivity restricts income for their sponsors, the leaders mentoring them, and Amway.
The challenge for Amway is to provide sales skills training that increases new IBO productivity and retention rates. To address this problem, a recent initiative focused on the business goal of increasing productivity and ultimately the first-year renewal rate of IBOs.
Early Success is Key
Amway analyzed the business need over a 10-year period. In 2000, Amway built a business information warehouse and established an analytics department to mine the data generated by the company’s transaction systems that processed orders, paid IBO bonuses, and handled sponsoring and renewal activity.
The company gained great insight over the next four years. For example, even a slight increase in first-year renewal rates had a significant impact on the size of the IBO force. Not surprisingly, the IBOs who earned the most income were also the most likely to renew. Additionally, IBO’s productivity in the first three months was the factor that most influenced the probability of renewing at the end of the first year. Consequently, improving the sales skills of new IBOs became the focus of this operational program.
Based on statistical models, Amway’s most immediate goal was to increase IBO productivity by 20% in their first three months in the business. The long-term goal was to increase rates of first-year renewals to 73%.
In 2005, Amway engaged a consulting firm to conduct primary research to understand the realities of the IBO experience. Through focus groups and survey research, two realizations emerged: no consistent sales methodology existed within the field, and, while IBO leaders recognized they needed help engaging the new IBO, they did not believe the corporation understood what it took for IBOs to succeed.
Consequently, Amway formed The Learning Lab (TLL), sponsored by the vice president of sales and marketing. In addition to full-time team members, high potential employees from multiple functional areas including sales, marketing, finance, customer service and communications devoted up to 10 hours a week to this endeavor. Resembling an anthropological study, TLL required extensive field work with a small number of IBO leaders who agreed to experiment with new approaches. Success was defined as the replication of positive results with three IBO leaders.
At the end of the study, Amway had a sales training model for the field, and TLL members learned how successful IBOs sold product and taught others to do the same. Amway executives created a training department and hired a director; the TLL lead became the manager of instructional design, and the company hired a vendor to develop the introductory sales curriculum based on the prototypes developed in the lab.
Blended Learning Suits Different Styles
Given that Amway IBOs are geographically dispersed and not accustomed to attending Amway training, the company wanted to develop e-learning curricula in addition to traditional instructor-led training (ILT). This would give IBOs the option of taking the training that best accommodated their learning styles and schedules.
Amway developed training materials packaged into 10 modules for both the ILT and e-learning curricula. The modules were organized by three major functions — preparation, make the sale, and followup — and covered a variety of topics from
finding and connecting with customers to creating a script and closing the sale. The
modules were short, easy to understand, and intuitive for learners. To use the strengths of each training method, the ILT provided an environment that promoted networking and skill sharing while the e-learning ensured easy-to-follow modules with clear navigational buttons that could be taken in any order.
While Amway did not expect its IBOs to take both forms of training, the e-learning was referenced in the ILT as a refresher the learners could use when they returned to the field. Comments from individuals at the ILT sessions indicated that more IBOs wanted to take advantage of this option than Amway originally anticipated.
Keeping it Simple
To assess the impact of the sales training, Amway’s customer analytics department used a matched control group, based on attributes such as time in business at point
of training, number of customers, first month revenue, and number of individuals sponsored in the first month. The program was highly effective. The average productivity of the IBOs participating in the training was 27% higher than the matched control groups. Renewal rates were 76% — 46% higher than previous overall first year renewal rates.
According to Josh Bersin, keeping it simple was a key to Amway’s success. “The company knew that helping IBOs get that ‘early win’ was key,” he says, “and they were laser-focused on only the skills and information absolutely necessary for the new IBO to achieve early success.”
Learning Organization and Governance Excellence
BJC HealthCare (www.bjc.org) is one of the largest domestic non-profit health-care organizations, delivering services to residents in the greater St. Louis, southern Illinois and mid-Missouri regions. With net revenue of $3.2 billion, BJC includes 13 hospitals and multiple community health locations.
Launched in 2003, BJC’s central learning function — The Center for Life Long Learning (CLL) — aligns its efforts with key business initiatives to reduce hospital risk, save budgetary dollars and increase hiring opportunities. A learning and development staff of 18 serves a learning community of more than 26,000 employees.
In 2008, the CLL proposed to senior leadership a structural shift that more closely aligns the group with functions such as performance improvement and clinical
excellence. The company created the BJC Learning Institute, a high-impact, cross functional team focused on transformation, innovation and process improvement efforts throughout BJC. In 2009, a building with three floors of classroom and event space opened as the nucleus for learning.
The Institute organizes learning across five tracks: business skills, clinical professional skills, leadership development, process improvement and personal development. The CLL provides curriculum development, logistical support, instructional design, content development, facilitation, faculty training, classroom logistics, learning management system administration, and communications/marketing support for all five tracks.
Effective Governance Models
A governance council ensures the CLL’s alignment with the organization’s strategic direction, identifies high-impact initiatives, decides where the CLL will focus its other resources, and prioritizes assignments. Membership of this council is composed of the CLO and senior executives from IS, HR, finance, process improvement and clinical operations. Each executive is responsible for prioritizing
learning within his or her track. The CLO leads the personal development track and serves as a coach to the other learning track executives. The group president for innovation chairs the council.
For each approved project, the CLL and council members agree on measures
of success and budgetary constraints. Regular reviews are held to assess the effectiveness of learning interventions. Success measures include employee engagement impact, information retention, and process improvement measures such as variance reductions. Cost reductions and industry benchmark data are also scrutinized. Effectiveness data is presented in a dashboard format similar to the organizational scorecards used to report clinical quality and patient satisfaction scores.
In addition, a learning cooperative — composed of hospital managers and clinical educators across BJC’s multiple hospitals and service organizations — brings forward more immediate needs from the front line. For example, this group recently requested a curriculum to equip nurses acting as shift leads to handle the ambiguity of assigning tasks to their peers without having formal managerial authority.
Since 2003, the focus of the CLL has expanded from its focus on entry-level employee and mid-level managers to cultivating programs for all employees at all
levels. Academic partners provide degree or certificate programs ranging from an
online high school diploma to a doctorate degree. The learning group offers custom developed work and life skills courses on effective communications, service excellence, personal and team effectiveness, and business acumen. The spectrum of opportunities is a significant differentiator for the organization when applicants compare health systems in the surrounding area.
CLL also supports other system-wide initiatives. For example, in 2009, the CLL led a project to consolidate four learning management systems into one. It now provides a learning map for employees and managers to find appropriate learning opportunities within all five tracks, link to available courses and enroll directly. The LMS consolidation was completed on time and 32% under budget. Annual cost savings for one system versus four is $185,000.
As soon as the LMS implementation was complete, the CLL began a project to standardize nursing competencies throughout the hospitals to allow nurses to pick up open shifts at any of the system’s hospitals. Previously, each hospital had a slightly different set of requirements. As a result, a nurse wishing to pick up extra shifts in a hospital outside of his/her home hospital was required to complete the requirements again.
The CLL worked with the LMS vendor to help design an online performance observation checklist that is specific to health care. The functionality debuted within the LMS in August 2010, and the CLL is currently working with the nursing education groups to develop a standard set of observable behaviors to build out this new functionality. By assigning a central set of education requirements and a standard performance observation checklist, the CLL expects the cost of using agency nurses to cover open shifts to decline by $3.7 million annually.
According to Stacey Harris, “BJC’s efforts not only serve patients, but help enrich employees’ lives with a belief that everyone can become critical talent when given the opportunity. In the midst of these noble goals, BJC has also managed to run an efficient and business-focused organization that aligns its efforts with enterprise goals to reduce hospital risk, save budgetary dollars, and increase hiring opportunities.”
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT BANK OF CANADA:
Leadership Development Excellence
BDC (www.bdc.ca) is Canada’s business development bank. From more than 100 business centers across the country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing, venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs.
In the early 2000s, BDC was facing some significant workforce challenges:
>>50% of its first-level leaders had fewer than three years of management experience;
>>Often promoted for their technical skills, these leaders were not prepared adequately to make smooth professional transitions;
>>A major wave of retirements and loss of expertise was expected in 25% of key positions; and
>>An employee engagement survey and HR exit interviews revealed that leadership skills and opportunities were lacking.
BDC needed to improve bench strength, reduce skill gaps, attract new talent, and grow and retain leaders. To address these challenges, BDC formed a team of 10 cross-functional employees at different levels who made a commitment to spend a year developing and perfecting their leadership skills and collaborating to help define the leadership competencies necessary to drive business goals.
After an extensive analysis that included benchmarking and visits with leading-edge companies with reputed leadership development programs (Johnson & Johnson and Weyerhaeuser, among others), the team proposed that BDC develop a leadership development program focused on improving success of professional transitions in the organization.With the support of an external consulting firm, BDC established a blended learning leadership development program called the Transitional Leadership Program (TLP). To date, approximately 400 individuals have participated in either:
>>The Leading the Future path, available to directors and above across the organization; and
>>The Emerging Leader path, available to newly appointed managers and promising individual contributors who are viewed as having the potential to move into a management position within a year.
All program elements were developed according to BDC’s leadership competency profile while taking strategic objectives, values, skills and culture into consideration.
The TLP is a concrete example of blended learning as it offers numerous formal and informal activities. These include online leadership potential assessments; personality inventories; feedback and coaching by managers and external consultants; cohort training sessions delivered by external facilitators; customized case studies; role playing and simulations; special projects, developmental and rotational assignments; opportunities for peer networking; and pod-coaching. In addition, participants have access to the Harvard Manage Mentor online management tool to build on concepts they have learned in a real-time mode. In April 2010, BDC launched an evolved platform of its learning management system that includes social networking capabilities to which all employees and leaders have access.
Executive Support and Integration
After the pilot of the TLP, the newly appointed president of BDC asked HR to accelerate the implementation of the program and increased the budget envelope
accordingly. The leadership development investment has since remained high, even during the financial industry meltdown of 2009 and 2010.
The program is supported by champions, including the president, the senior management team and senior vice presidents of the business units. As a result, it is not seen as an HR initiative but as a corporate initiative. The champions make sure that the participants play an active role in their own development and live up to their personal commitments. In addition, the TLP is tightly linked to other talent processes, including succession and performance management, career development and learning plans.
Participants for leadership development are identified by senior leadership after assessment of their succession and performance management data. BDC also links leadership development competencies to individual learning plans and career development plans.
High Impact on Progression
Nearly 75% of former and current participants have been promoted to a first-level management position or a more senior position after taking part in the TLP. BDC has also experienced improved level one through three results, lower turnover rates and improved employee engagement survey results. More than a retention tool, the TLP also serves as a strategy for attracting new talent and is a key branding component.
Barb Arth, senior analyst for Bersin & Associates, says that BDC stood out among Learning Leaders candidates for its very strong executive engagement and robust alignment of program content to business goals. “BDC showed a tight linkage to other talent processes including succession and performance management, career development and learning plans,” she says. “It also was able to demonstrate strong business impact of the TLP program both qualitatively and quantitatively.”
Leadership Development Excellence
Cisco (www.cisco.com) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco’s growth expectations are to double the revenue and global footprint of the company, from $40 to $80 billion.
Concurrently, the organization is undertaking three massive shifts in its technology, business model and organization. Its strategy is to build a “Dynamic Network of Leaders” prepared and positioned to lead Cisco’s transformation. The goal is to bring an innovative and replicable talent model that mines global talent reserves
and develops sustainable pipelines, positioning the company to fully seize market opportunities. To achieve this goal, Cisco created the Center for Collaborative Leadership (C3). C3 serves to establish global talent strategy and create leadership needed to effect this transformation. Additionally, C3 serves to provide thought leadership to Cisco’s largest and most important customers and partners.
A C3 Advisory Committee, composed of seven of Cisco’s highest potential senior executives, serves to accelerate the vision and strategy for Cisco’s executive talent planning and development efforts. The committee ensures business relevance and broad-based executive engagement across the enterprise. These leaders provide business, industry and market intelligence to the C3 Team.
Cisco’s leadership development model is collaborative by design and in implementation. Three foundational elements interact with each other: C3 solutions, products, and services; executive/functional accelerators; and key rotations and board/council assignments.Within the C3 solution set, executives are offered business- aligned development opportunities, including robust and customized executive assessments, action learning forums, the C3 Leadership Channel, and the CEO forum.
The C3 Leadership Channel
In May 2010, Cisco launched the C3 Leadership Channel. The Channel is a dedicated learning environment leveraging the best of Web 2.0 social networking technology, video, and 24x7 on-demand global access to create a unique experience for executives to learn from and engage thought leaders on the
topics of strategy, innovation, globalization and transformation. The goal is to change the way executives are developed while building a platform that could radically change education throughout the world.
The launch featured change-management expert John Kotter. Other participating experts include Madeline Albright, Deepak Chopra,Warren Bennis and other world leaders, emerging entrepreneurs, university professors, consultants and customers.
Additional thought leaders and executives regularly host online office hours in order to provide just-in-time consultation on important questions, issues and situations. Participants can see who is online (and the subject-matter capabilities that they have) in order to encourage networking and discussions between executives who do not normally work in proximity.
In addition, leaders can network and share best practices using Cisco’s social networking solution, called Integrated Workforce Experience. An internal directory helps connect people, communities and information. Users can easily access a full list of all leaders who share a specific tag, thereby creating an instant network for a common interest.
Comprehensive, Integrated Approach
The leadership development process begins with a customized 360 assessment, which leads to a tailored learning plan. Relevant C3 Leadership Channel content is mapped to this plan. This could include participating in live events, watching videos on demand, and participating in chat room discussion with other executives.
While the C3 Leadership Channel targets only executives and high potentials, Cisco’s leadership strategy includes programs and resources that support the development of every layer of management. For emerging leaders, these resources include: grass roots efforts to bring communities together around common career topics; mentoring and sponsorships for specific groups; company- wide portals and by-job categories for social networking, blogging and sharing (internal versions of YouTube and Facebook); and technology-enabled “coffee rooms” to casually connect leaders around the globe.
The C3 Leadership Channel operates on a market economy. Executives subscribe to the channel through their own budgets, at a cost of $3,500 per year. Although executives are not required to enroll, the program is on track to reach 100% executive subscription.
“This is Cisco’s third year in a row to be named a Learning Leader,” says Barb Arth. “The company demonstrates outstanding executive engagement and focus on business alignment, and it uses state-of-the-art technology with a focus on collaboration and innovation. This year, Cisco showed remarkable business results with billions in value creation and millions in savings.”
For example, C3 has produced $25 billion in proposed value creation through the action learning forum; $87 million saved by reducing the cost of low capacity performers; and $30 million give-back through cost reductions and productivity gains. The C3 initiative has succeeded in enhancing its leadership pipeline and increasing the confidence of its board of directors in the depth of its succession pipeline.
Learning & Talent Initiative Excellence
In the U.S., Deloitte LLP (www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/index.htm)and its subsidiaries employ 45,000 professionals serving clients through Deloitte & Touche LLP, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, and Deloitte Tax LLP.
In 2008, Deloitte made a bold commitment to build a state-of-the-art learning and leadership development facility — Deloitte University (DU) — which represents a $300 million investment in its people. The firm envisioned the campus in Texas would serve as the centerpiece of the university’s brand and the heart of its organization. For this initiative, Deloitte created an ambitious new talent development strategy and transformed the curriculum across each of the firm’s businesses to align with the new direction. The process of building a world-class development environment has served as a catalyst for change across the entire organization.
Beyond Technical Expertise
To create a revised talent development strategy, Deloitte held a series of strategy summits with representatives from all businesses and channels. These summits were co-led by the chief learning officer and chief strategy officer and included
interactive exercises and polling questions as a way to collectively identify common themes and high-level capability gaps.
Out of the summits came a key goal: to expand the scope for learning beyond technical skills (which typically includes topics such as tax regulations and accounting methodologies) and improve employee competency development. Deloitte categorizes employee competencies into four areas — technical, industry,
professional, and leadership skills — and places particular emphasis on leadership skills, especially for high-potential partners, principals and directors. The firm aimed to develop not only world-class technical experts but business leaders, and set out to make a wholesale change in its talent development.
For example, each of the company’s three milestone schools (for new managers; for new senior managers; and for new partners, principals, and directors) has been re-engineered to extend over several months or, in the case of new partners, a full year. Changes include greater emphasis on building leadership skills using competitive-team gaming, simulations and interactive scenarios. In addition, real Deloitte clients participate in exercises to enhance business development and relationship-building.
The initiative also included expansion of Deloitte’s industry development programs for sectors such as technology, media, telecommunications and financial services. The programs now include a one-day, live simulation game in which participants join the executive team of a fictional global company in a given industry and compete in teams to create shareholder value.
In addition, Deloitte launched a robust program for leadership development among partner, principal, and director populations, as well as a completely revamped new hire program for newly admitted or promoted people at these levels. The centerpiece of the program is an interactive business simulation that puts teams of six in a competition to oversee a complex fictional organization much like Deloitte. The game requires participants to wrestle with challenges similar to those regularly faced by the firm’s executive committee.
Underlying DU’s strategy is the belief that learning within Deloitte should be led by its own people. Consequently, DU needed to develop an entirely new style of teacher — not the lecturer at the front of the classroom, but the facilitator/coach who takes an active role in guiding learners. To ensure that “only the best teach,” Deloitte created a multi-pronged new faculty excellence program that includes rigorous selection criteria and offers customized development tracks designed to enhance teaching skills.
More Effective Leaders
The Deloitte University initiative has increased the number of employee learning hours from 2.7 million to 3.4 million. Feedback has been vastly positive. For example, 94% felt that they were able to become more effective at their jobs. Further, feedback has shown several instances in which program participants have pursued and successfully won new business for the organization.
Response to the new leadership development program for partner, principal and director populations has been positive. Eighty-four% of learners reported that the event exceeded their expectations, and business unit CEOs now want to use the simulation exercise with their own leadership teams.
Today, Deloitte University has deep bench of qualified teachers, with 1,742 employees now certified and facilitating learning programs across its businesses. Learners today experience something qualitatively different than they did in the past. The old-style lecture is gone, and in its place is rich, interactive, experiential learning built on simulations that replicate real life challenges and allow people to roll up their sleeves and practice new skills.
Learning and Talent Technology Excellence
Diebold (www.diebold.com), a leading global supplier of ATMs, employs more than 16,000 people in more than 90 countries. In 2009, Diebold reported total revenue of $2.7 billion.
A few years ago, Diebold found that 27% of new service technicians were leaving the company within the first 90 days — costing the company continuous replacement and training while compromising customer relationships. Diebold also faced strict state, federal and international regulatory audits around required training compliance. In addition, employee surveys revealed that associates felt no control over their career paths.
Working with Indiana University, Diebold created a Six Sigma team and came up with a list of improvement metrics. The company focused on two immediate objectives: improvement of recruiting and onboarding and giving employees more ownership of their career paths. These goals required the expansion of the company’s learning and development program into a broader talent management initiative.
Diebold used Bersin & Associates’ Seven-Step Process (which had proven valuable during Diebold’s LMS selection process in 2007) to help define needs and identify the type of technology to address the company’s specific performance management issues. The team decided that any technology chosen would need to “bolt on” to Oracle ERP, used throughout the Diebold enterprise.
Diebold was also looking for talent management technology that could handle multiple languages. In addition, the technology needed to be highly automated since Diebold’s learning and performance team included just four full-time staffers who would be responsible for rolling out the initiative and managing the technology to serve the company’s large, global workforce.
Diebold was committed to adding robust recruitment and performance capabilities without any customization. The Diebold team was rigorous in defining those requirements and developed a qualitative scorecard against which every vendor could be evaluated.
Diebold ultimately selected Plateau Performance. As a hosted solution, Plateau Performance is easily manageable for Diebold’s small learning and performance team, whose four members are not technical experts. In addition, the hosted solution takes away the burden and cost of upkeep and gives Diebold priority status for technology upgrades.
As part of this technology initiative, Diebold was also looking for aWeb 2.0 social media environment with wikis, forums, blogs and information sharing. For these functions, the company chose SharePoint because of its robust architecture — again, a key factor in light of the “no customization” priority.
In addition, Diebold had been using Taleo for 10 years as the company’s only applicant tracking system. Diebold decided to add on to Taleo’s managerWebTop feature, agency portal (to manage third-party recruiters), and employee referral tool for tracking candidates.
In May 2010, Diebold completed the integration of its Oracle ERP with Plateau Performance, SharePoint and the Taleo recruitment and on-boarding modules. The initiative has been a major success. The overall return on investment of Diebold’s talent management technology initiative is estimated at millions of dollars. Measurements include:
>>Turnover within the first 90 days has been reduced to 1%, down from 27%. The competency-based approach has helped Diebold identify and recruit candidates who are better matched to the job, and the onboarding process offers a better “day one” experience.
>>Overall turnover has been cut in half, from 13.9% to just 7.8%, and the promotion rate of supervisors and managers has tripled, from 27% to 90%. By combining competencies with clear development paths, Diebold believes
that employee ownership of its career goals and paths has led to improved job satisfaction.
>>Speed-to-competency is six times faster. Previously, it took 18 months for a new employee to meet minimum training requirements; it now takes just three months.
Diebold also reports value of the new system that goes beyond talent management. For example, the company is avoiding significant fines and other costs associated with non-compliance in the area of licensing. The system provides a single repository for information on the status of all employees’ licensing worldwide and automatically notifies employees of the need to update their licensing, provides required coursework, monitors progress and documents completion.
Further, the Diebold sales force has used Plateau’s reporting capabilities for a competitive edge. For example, when customers want to know how many technicians Diebold has trained on a particular product or who are licensed in a particular area, the sales team can get this information quickly from the Plateau system.
“Like Diebold, many companies are implementing and integrating talent management technologies,” says David Mallon, principal analyst for Bersin & Associates. “What set Diebold’s initiative apart was its focus on primary business goals and its highly practical and efficient approach.”
Leadership Development Excellence
Founded in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (www.grantthornton.com) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd., a global accounting, tax and business advisory organization. Through more than 30,000 employees globally, including 5,400 in the United States, Grant Thornton (GT) serves public and private clients in more than 100 countries.
In 2003, against a backdrop of rapid growth, the firm’s senior leadership team recognized the need to build bench strength. GT developed an innovative learning and leadership development initiative, called LEADS, to develop leaders who live GT’s global vision and values, excel in client service and technical expertise, actively deliver the GT experience for employees and clients, develop the firm’s people, and support continuous leadership development. A key component of LEADS is the firm’s “campus to partner,” approach, a set of leadership and
technical development programs delivered through Grant Thornton University (GTU) and designed for every level from college interns to partners with a decade or more of experience.
One of the most visible LEADS programs is the firm’s Senior Manager Development Program (SMDP), a fourday sales simulation that has impacted sales training company wide. GT launched SMDP in 2008 in response to economic pressures and newly-created senior manager financial targets. Targeting all newlypromoted senior managers, the program’s key objective is to identify innovative ways in which senior managers can link their daily actions to the firm’s strategy and lead profitable engagements.
Live Sales Simulations
SMDP begins with a pre-work online sales simulation lasting 90 to 120 minutes. Learners gain consultative selling skills by formulating client questions and determining next steps based on responses. The right decisions advance the deal; bad decisions prompt elimination from the next round of client meetings. Participants have access to an Ask the Expert video library with more than 100 two- to three-minute videos of 25 thought leaders addressing topics such as asking probing questions, getting the appointment and closing the deal.
A few weeks after completing the prework simulation, participants gather for a
three-day event, which includes sessions led by the CEO of GT and other executives. Topics include global vision and values, expectations of the role, firm strategy, leading profitable engagements, the GT client experience, and exemplary leadership. Throughout the event, all participants have polling technology touch pads to respond to surveys and quizzes, making sessions more interactive and keeping learners engaged.
The centerpiece of the live event is a sales simulation during which teams prepare and present to a board of directors made up of senior leadership team members. The board later provides feedback and determines winners. Teams of 10 senior managers, aided by a partner or business development coach, compete for business by researching, preparing and presenting a proposal to the client’s board. To win the business, teams must achieve high scores on criteria such as teamwork and aligning GT services to client needs. They must assign specific roles (such as lead presenter, lead researcher), divide intensive work among newly acquainted colleagues and prepare a sophisticated pitch in a very compressed time frame.
To make the learning as realistic as possible, the simulations include several unexpected twists and turns. Board members throw curve balls, client meetings are cut short, or news announcements are issued that may impact the deal. However, if the boards feel no team has made a compelling enough case, no one wins the business.
Post-work includes 360-degree feedback and new development plan, plus continued learning through a community of practice and regularly-scheduled online learning events.
Higher Win Rate
Grant Thornton measures the effectiveness of leadership development using Kirkpatrick Levels 1-5 and qualitative inputs such as coaches’ feedback and unsolicited feedback from participants and partner/instructors. The firm also gathers Level 1-3 quantitative and qualitative participant feedback electronically. Level 4-5 metrics include increased sales/revenue, improved utilization rates, lowered costs, improved client satisfaction, and ROI.
For those who participated in the Senior Management Development Program, win rate was 84% — nearly twice the non-participant rate of 43%. The average win size tripled, as did the average total wins. This represents nearly $12 million in additional revenue since the program began. Based on program costs (development, direct costs, lost billable hours for participants and partner/instructors, and creation and delivery of four related Webcasts), Grant Thornton measured a return on investment of more than 1,000%.
Learning & Talent Initiative Excellence
IBM (www.ibm.com) is a multinational corporation with 400,000 employees operating in 170 countries. IBM’s global capabilities include services, software, hardware, fundamental research, and financing.
To remain competitive in a dynamic marketplace, IBM strives to give employees a quick and easy way to find and launch relevant learning. But following the launch of a unique new enterprise learning Website, the learning organization began receiving anecdotal feedback that productivity suffered when employees tried to find and launch activities on the new site.
The learning organization recognized that in order to achieve full value from the new Website, it had to make some fixes. But, rather than basing revisions on guesswork, the organization took the time to develop a toolset to capture clear, concise, and meaningful feedback about the learning Website.
Widget Collects Input
In order to collect more data on the user experience, IBM developed a new interface for users to submit feedback and strategically placed it throughout the learning site. Called the feedback widget, the interface was much easier to find and simpler to use than the previous feedback system on the learning Website. It required no marketing; users quickly found it and began reporting what they liked and disliked about the learning Website. The learning organization collected nearly 5,000 data points of feedback per month that were used to identify the Website’s strengths and weaknesses.
The feedback solution required implementing several new software components.
The feedback widget also gives learners the opportunity to provide written comments. IBM also implemented a feedback management tool to capture comments and give appropriate managers and site stakeholders an efficient way to review these comments. This tool also provides a configurable workflow engine to track the status of any feature requests or issues that are reported via the feedback widget.
In addition, Unica NetInsight was implemented for learning site traffic,Web analytics and Web metrics reporting. This tool provides a robust view of Web traffic
from a variety of perspectives, including a breakdown of traffic by site, site section and individual page, as well as user demo graphics such as country, job role and
More Intuitive Website
As the team gathered more data, analyzed it and prioritized the issues, it found that user productivity suffered the most when users visited multiple pages to find and launch an activity; couldn’t determine how to launch an activity; and encountered failed searches and needed multiple searches to eventually find an activity.
Based on this information, the learning team’s goals were to reduce the number of failed searches, the average time required to find and launch an activity, and the average page views needed to find and launch a learning activity.
The team determined, for example, that search was the most frequently-used function of the Website. Yet its placement on the home page made it difficult for users to find. In addition, many users visited the home page looking for a way to bookmark and track their learning, but these features were not available there. To simplify and create a more intuitive Website, the team moved the most commonly used content and functionality to the center of the home page and eliminated the sections that were infrequently used.
The response to the initiative was immediate. User satisfaction improved by 12% on the learning Website overall, 40% on the learning home page, and 22% on the
learning search page. Furthermore, the learning team conducted a standardized corporate survey about workplace effectiveness before and after it implemented
the changes to the learning Website. The workplace effectiveness survey also showed a 10% overall improvement in employee satisfaction.
More importantly, the team measured the impact of the changes to productivity savings. It found that simplifying and improving the learning user interface generated more than $5 million in annual productivity savings for employees. These included an average 28% reduction in the page views required to find and launch an activity, a 35% reduction in the time needed to complete a search and launch activity, and a 62% reduction in the total number of failed learning searches.
Operational Learning and Development Excellence
JetBlue Airways (www.jetblue.com) has created a new airline category based on value, service and style. Since start-up in 2000, the New York-based airline has expanded to serve 63 cities with 600 daily flights, accommodating more than 23 million customers annually.
In 2008, it became clear JetBlue needed a more sophisticated customer service system (CSS) to support its growth, build loyalty and enhance the customer service experience. But CSS system migrations in the airline industry are extremely complex and mired with risk. JetBlue University (JBU) played a significant role in mitigating that risk. JBU developed and implemented a training program that ensured that JetBlue reservations and airport operations crew members were ready to serve customers using the new CSS system from Sabre on the day of changeover to the new system. This effort targeted more than 6,000 crew members and business partners across 63 cities served by JetBlue in North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
The JetBlue training team faced several challenges: the ongoing development of business processes to support the new system, keeping crew members updated on the processes that continued to change, and the sheer number of crew members that needed training.
Blended Learning Solution
JBU developed a four-month learning experience. It began with three online learning events designed to introduce crew members to the system, followed up
with either a 10- or 12-day instructor-led program (varied based on position). A variety of learning techniques were incorporated into the instructor-led training,
such as “Jetpardy” (a form of the game “Jeopardy”). Both programs provided students with hands-on training in the Sabre system using a cloned flight schedule in a simulation environment.
The learning experience continued with refresher training that was provided on a weekly basis to employees once they completed the training course. In addition, a post-training coach team was created to provide individual coaching to those who needed it.
Complementing these activities were a variety of informal learning opportunities,
such as a blog for students and trainers to communicate; a portal page for all employees to review and provide feedback on the status of the training implementation and curriculum; team Websites for specific teams completing the training; and communities of practice with trainers from other airlines.
JBU developed a number of frontline crew members, dubbed “SuperUsers,” to supplement the faculty and teach courses. Super Users were also provided with additional training to solve problems at the airport and in the call center during the first weeks of changeover to the new system. Instructors were especially effective at eliciting feedback from class participants and sharing it with the development team and Sabre to inform the development process.
All registration for classroom training was done via the JBU Portal (JetBlue’s LMS), which includes a reporting feature to provide training registration numbers. Completed training was tracked through ATMS, the Aviation Training Management
System used by JetBlue to track training records. The JBU Portal highlighted classroom training dates, locations and a class roster for line management, who were accountable for ensuring the participation of their crew members. This program was sponsored by all levels of leadership at JetBlue and had the full support of executive leadership. This support, combined with the work of JetBlue’s CSS change management team as change champions, ensured the success of the program.
For the CSS training initiative, JetBlue measured class registration numbers, classroom training completion numbers, skill checks completed by students in training, refresher training completion, operational readiness, crew member post-event feedback, crew member follow-up feedback, crew leader feedback and crew member engagement. These measurements were conducted using JetBlue’s Assessment, Measurement and Evaluation (AME) Team, the Metrics that Matter (MTM) survey tool, focus groups, change champion group surveys, and ATMS and JBU Portal reports.
From the program’s inception in January 2009 to the changeover in January 2010, JBU met all of its targeted milestones for training programs and employee completion. Crew members performed excellently on the new system once it was implemented. The Wall Street Journal heralded the transition to the new CSS as one of the most seamless in the industry.
Learning and Talent Technology Excellence
MetLife, Inc. (www.metlife.com) is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to millions of individual and institutional customers throughout the United States. The company is ranked 43rd in the Fortune 500 list of largest companies by gross revenue.
In 2008,MetLife’s learning and development faced several challenges. The company was putting too much of its budget toward a learning system that was not providing
desired results or the customizable development opportunities needed to be effective. It was spending several hundreds of hours tracking completions that were not tied to results or role-related competencies. And it conducted development sessions on an ad hoc basis as opposed to building an appropriate and on-point targeted development curriculum.
The company’s learning organization set an overall goal to implement a “one stop
shop” LMS that could assign and deliver a targeted development experience focused on driving advisor productivity. But no one believed that a single platform could provide the solution it needed. The challenge was to select multiple best-of-breed products and then seamlessly integrate them.
Three-stage Discovery Process
First, MetLife’s learning organization hired a third-party vendor to conduct a thorough business analysis and provide an outside perspective on current operating and management systems. Second, the learning organization conducted a series of focus groups, interviews and surveys with associates and business partners, asking
about stakeholders, process, governance and technology. Third, the learning group contacted more than 30 organizations from various industries about the technology platforms they were using to support learning and organization development functions.
Based on this extensive analysis, MetLife identified several key requirements and goals for the technology initiative. The system had to have the ability to deploy targeted learning rapidly and efficiently and support a broad suite of organizational development services that went beyond large, in-person training events. The company also expected to use the new system to support unique development opportunities for the top advisor population (responsible for 47% of Metlife’s overall production), increase retention by providing organization development support to the advisor channel and the individual firms, and reduce the cost of unnecessary travel with development content that could be delivered via e-learning or interactive WebEx sessions.
New Technology Platforms
MetLife conducted a formal RFP process with a variety of vendors and
conducted a series of industry reviews. Ultimately, MetLife selected three new technology platforms and implemented them in July 2009: Cornerstone OnDemand LMS with interactive WebEx technology, a proprietary data mart with business intelligence/analytics solutions from MicroStrategy, and the Taleo recruiting platform fully integrated with a virtual job tryout selection tool.
Several integration points aligned these three platforms into one system, which MetLife named MAX (for Maximum Impact). For example, with a link to the report data mart, the LMS provides advisors and management teams with the ability to target specific development opportunities based on production feedback profiles. This customized feedback provides an individual with powerful daily feedback that can help create targeted goals and customized development opportunities.
Each of MetLife’s more than 100 firms across the U.S. is uniquely organized and structured, based on current market opportunities and goals. There are more than 7,000 advisors and more than 400 managers and directors with various levels of expertise requiring individual approaches to development. To address these challenges, MAX provides segmented development based on one’s length of service, book of business and role within the firm. In addition to accessing virtual and self-paced courses, MAX strategically aligns specific development opportunities to these audiences based on business results.
Increased Sales, Reduced Costs
As of August 2010, the new system had delivered 946 instructor-led sessions and 232 e-learning courses to 2,971 advisors and 1,286 managers. Leadership receives real-time feedback on firm-level results, which drives a leadership development strategy aligned to the overall firm productivity. Employees at all levels of the organization have customized development plans within the LMS.
In addition,MetLife’s top sales advisors who participated in a business coaching pilot increased production more than 15% and were well ahead of plan, in comparison to the 16 top advisors who chose not to participate and whose results were essentially flat.
The company has also achieved significant cost savings by delivering content via e-learning or interactive WebEx sessions and reducing unnecessary travel. For example, it was able to eliminate a one-day program that was part of a three-session series conducted throughout the year.
Since July 2009, the learning organization has been able to increase the amount of training hours it offers by 10% while adding services to support business planning, bench development, and organizational structure consulting. At the same time, the group has reduced its total budget more than 10% (slightly under $3 million) and reduced technology spending 5% (just under $1 million).
“MetLife’s initiative was more than a traditional learning solution implementation,” says David Mallon. “It was part of a complete transformation of the learning organization that encompassed not just technology but how it is structured, the
services it delivers and its impact on enterprise-wide talent.”
Learning Organization and Governance Excellence
Nationwide Insurance (www.nationwide.com) provides a full range of personalized insurance and financial services. Over the past 80 years, Nationwide has grown from a small mutual auto insurer to one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world, with more than $135 billion in statutory assets.
The company was recognized for its organizational structure, governance models and supporting process improvements, all focused on creating a single approach
to managing talent needs from recruiting to development to rewards. Nationwide’s key strategy elements — capabilities excellence, customer focus and people engagement — emphasize the company’s belief in this connection and overall focus on people, culture and performance.
Integration All Around
Nationwide’s Learning Services organization is structured into five operating areas: planning and governance, business acumen and strategy, leadership and behavioral learning, IT and technical tools learning, and learning and delivery operations. As work requests enter its demand-management process, the effort is aligned to one of the above operating areas and the resource allocation process is initiated. A cross-functional team representing design, development and delivery of learning solutions allows Nationwide to provide a high level of support to the overall enterprise.
Learning functions are overseen by a single vice president in charge of corporate talent management. Those initiatives include all of the enterprise-wide initiatives
such as leadership development and associate orientation. The other strategic business units such as sales and claims call centers have their learning and development functions reporting up through a business unit vice president as well. Each of the company’s learning and development organizations has business-unit committees composed of a learning council or steering committee that provides
input and guidance so that they maintain alignment with the overall business strategy.
A centralized learning services organization is governed by Nationwide’s HR Portfolio Management Council to ensure it is working on the most important learning needs. This group approves the service delivery plan, the annual enterprise learning needs assessment, the decision-making criteria used for ad hoc requests, and metrics used to measure learning.
Business Partnerships Help
Nationwide’s learning professionals partner closely with leadership, centers of expertise, user groups and technical experts to identify the knowledge and skill gaps impeding the desired performance of associates. From front-end needs analysis to evaluation, these partnerships ensure that performance improvement solutions remain closely aligned with organizational business goals. Advisory groups, talent management consultant and human resource business partner positions have also been established to provide advisory functions and committed sponsorships.
Nationwide also delivers innovative e-learning programs designed to reach employees regardless of where they are located. One course includes a state-of-the-art, online simulation which allows teams of managers to explore strategies and test their business plans to profitably grow their insurance operations.
Efficiencies without Compromise
The mission of the learning organization is to advance individual and company performance by creating a continuous learning environment through innovative and engaging learning solutions aligned to business strategy. For example, learning services recently led an effort to move appropriate learning events away from instructor-led sessions to a virtual environment. Over the past year, 14 classroom- based courses were converted to a virtual offering. This has achieved cost savings of $20,000 for instructor travel and approximately $35,000 in participant travel. More importantly, the learning services organization is able to reach a broader audience of associates who would have otherwise not been able to participate in the training.
To verify its progress, the learning organization uses several tools.
>>Resource allocation and monitoring is aided by the use of CA’s Clarity Project & Portfolio Manager. All staff members are required to allocate their time to project and consulting tasks. This provides a high-level understanding of how resources are being used and who may be available for upcoming projects.
>>To measure the group’s ability to provide excellent customer service, the demand management process has service level agreements established from
beginning to end. By managing the compliance with the SLAs, the team is able to locate bottlenecks, improve processes and set customer expectations.
>>A Knowledge Advisors’ Metrics that Matter application provides a view of where the “rubber meets the road.” Learning services can see if its products and services meet the needs of clients and the enterprise. This measurement tools allows the group to fine-tune its learning design, development and delivery to create the optimum solution for learners.
Leadership Development Excellence
Raytheon (www.raytheon.com) is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems; and a range of mission-support services.
As of four years ago, leadership training at Raytheon was episodic and decentralized due to mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, the leadership competency model was in need of updating. The company set out to establish a common enterprise philosophy, framework and approach to leadership development.
Raytheon has achieved its goals, according to Barb Arth. “Today, Raytheon has a robust leadership development strategy based on business goals and focused on development of all leader levels, with an orientation towards building individuals, teams, and organizational capability,” Arth says. “Its strong, comprehensive program design includes true action-learning projects at both the individual and team levels. Raytheon also presented quantifiable metrics demonstrating strong impact in four separate areas: programmatic, talent management, culture, and external benchmarks.”
Aligning with Business Strategy
At the highest level, Raytheon’s long term strategy informs the need for a
robust bench of leaders and a full complement of developmental experiences and capstone programs. To execute its strategy, the company must identify, acquire, develop and actively manage a robust pipeline of leaders who possess critical knowledge, skills, capabilities and behaviors, and then deploy them into the right jobs at the right time. This investment in leadership development is part of the company’s overall commitment to talent management.
The company’s “Leader of the Future” profile describes desired leadership experiences, behaviors and competencies. These include experiences with multiple industries or Raytheon businesses, multiple functions, international, leading teams in various challenging environments, and proven success driving business growth. Behaviors include clear vision, courage, integrity, global mindset, inclusiveness,
commitment to develop talent, innovation and appropriate risk, strong relationships
and board-room-level presence. Competencies include strategic and visionary thinking, influential communication, people development, innovation and creativity,
customer focus, business acumen, performance/ results, ethical leadership, courage, alignment, diversity and integrity, and self-management.
Raytheon has designed a strong comprehensive leadership development program,
with true action-learning projects at both the individual and team levels. One of the more impactful learning activities is the Strategic Challenge, where participants
work in cross-business, cross-functional teams to develop solutions to real Raytheon issues. Projects are selected by the CEO. The teams are sponsored by members of the senior leadership team.
These strategic challenge teams are expected to show high-level strategic thinking and reflect the vision and future direction of the enterprise. Past strategic challenge projects have related to supplier management, international growth, and “green” strategies.
One of the best practices employed by Raytheon is a unique, story-telling approach of “what has worked for me and not worked for me” at various leader levels. For example, at the company’s Executive Leadership Summit, the “leaders teaching leaders” philosophy comes to life: leaders share their personal stories, their failures and their lessons learned alongside world-class external thought leaders.
This approach is being replicated in other programs. For example, Summit graduates become part of the coaching faculty of other programs and leaders share their personal journeys with the early-career leadership development classes.
Attention to Metrics
Level 1-5 metrics are presented in dashboard and presented to senior leadership in an HR scorecard. Raytheon’s leadership development programs have produced quantifiable metrics demonstrating strong impact in four separate areas: programmatic, talent management, culture and external benchmarks.
For example, 57% of front-line leader program participants says they were staying at Raytheon as a result of their leader having attended front-line leader training. Metrics also show that the company has reduced cycle time on cross-functional projects, reduced turnover and increased promotions. About 40% of Executive Leadership Summit program participants have been promoted, rotated or given increased responsibility, including four who have moved into senior leadership positions. The company has doubled the number of employees identified as high-potentials, and the number of “ready-now” successors has increased 35%.
The company’s efforts have been recognized externally as well: In 2009, Raytheon was named among the Top 25 Companies for Leaders in North America by Fortune magazine.
Operational Learning and Development Excellence
Teradata (www.teradata.com), the world’s largest company solely focused on data warehousing and business analytics, was named a Learning Leader in two categories: this one and Learning and Talent Technology Excellence.With approximately 6,000 employees in more than 60 countries, Teradata has a client base of more than 900 customers worldwide.
In order to increase sales, Teradata management decided in 2010 to increase the
size of the company’s sales force worldwide to accelerate sales productivity. But the legacy new hire program was not training new hires quickly and thoroughly enough. Teradata Learning, with sales management sponsorship, developed a sixphase program called Teradata MBA for New Hires.
Using actual sales tools and processes, the program starts with basic concepts and then systematically delves deeper into skills, knowledge and practice using a variety of learning formats to quickly immerse new sales hires into Teradata’s work environment.
Comprehensive Needs Analysis
The Teradata Learning team used a business- focused needs analysis process that
included a survey about the current program and interviews with industry vice presidents, previous new hires, facilitators who worked in the current program, and
the program manager responsible for managing new hire training. Based on this input, the team’s goal was to equip new Teradata sales associates with the skills,
tools and knowledge to accelerate their assimilation and productivity in the field. In addition, it aimed to support territory expansion, partner with sales managers to
help them reinforce their new hire’s learning experience, and provide new hires with a roadmap for continuous learning beyond the new hire training program.
To achieve these goals, the team needed to make key changes in program design. This included more structure, with checks and balances such as regular touch points with facilitators and managers. The new program also needed to provide knowledge, skills and practice to new hires in a logical sequence that starts with a highlevel framework and then gradually provides more detail as the new hire progresses through the program. Additionally, Teradata wanted to build in just-in-time learning opportunities rather than force new hires to take a course at a specific point in the program.
MBA: Continuous Learning
The company launched Teradata MBA (“Moving Business Ahead”), a new-hire development program to accelerate the productivity of new sales team members and provide them with a road map for continuous learning. The program, which
takes six to nine months to complete, is broken into six distinct phases. Every
phase starts with a conference call with facilitators and peers and cannot be completed until the new hire completes a “touch point” with a manager. Once the manager review is complete, the new hire receives credit for completing a specific phase and can progress to the next phase in the program.
The new hire program incorporates a blended learning approach that includes facilitated conference calls, virtual facilitated workshops, virtual breakout sessions, SharePoint training Websites, recorded audio and video sessions, Webcam technology, and face-to-face workshops. This blended learning approach enables sales people to do much of the program on their own time and schedule.
Collaborative and informal learning activities are also used to drive results. These include Teradata’s proprietary learning technology that allows new hires to submit assignments online and lets them see each others’ assignments; teaming activities and role plays; interviewing of experienced colleagues; and contributing to a wiki site to share experiences.
The program also promoted a culture of accountability. For example, the program manager for Teradata MBA e-mails quarterly status reports to sales managers about new hire progress, communicates directly with new hires on a regular basis, and tracks program progress for each new hire. At the end of each program phase, new hires complete a deliverable that represents tasks they perform in their job. To keep the new hire and sales manager fully engaged, new hires review these deliverables with their sales manager for input and feedback.
According to Barb Arth, another element that makes this program successful is the ongoing engagement of sales managers throughout the program. “Sales management is there to support, facilitate and reinforce this program. They engage with each of their new hires throughout all six phases of the program.”
Accelerated Sales Productivity
Providing new hires with the opportunity to learn about Teradata creates an immediate impact on every associate hired at the company. Learning starts the first day on the job, with a defined curriculum for the following six to nine months. In addition, the Teradata MBA for New Hires helps sales managers with the onboarding process by encouraging them to participate and manage their new hires’ learning plans.
According to Teradata’s Level 1-2 measurement tools, the Teradata MBA for New Hires program achieved its goal of accelerating the sales team’s productivity. As a result of participating in the program, sales managers reported that their new hires were more confident, had gained a better understanding about the company, were more knowledgeable about Teradata’s competition, better equipped to work with sales tools, and more productive when they begin working in the field.
Overcoming Travel Restrictions
As a provider of large-scale data warehouses in an international market, one of Teradata’s significant challenges is to train customer services (CS) associates to install, service and maintain customer systems worldwide. CS associates are the first line for customer support, troubleshooting, upgrade and problem-solving.With frequent upgrades of Teradata’s hardware platforms and software applications comes the need to train hundreds of global CS associates to support the new systems. In addition, it’s critical that associates have the opportunity to practice scenarios prior to performing tasks on an actual customer system.
In 2009, faced with travel restrictions, Teradata decided to explore creating a virtual classroom for CS associates. The challenge for both platform and application
training was to give associates the equivalent of a classroom experience, even though they would not be in the same location as the equipment.
In January 2010, the company successfully deployed a global solution that combined simulations, conference call “syncpoints,” and hands-on access to
remote systems for platform training. The model also included computer-based self-study and individual access to virtual machines to perform guided labs for application training.
A Virtual Machine ‘Cloud’
Teradata’s Product Realization Team (PRT) focused on gathering training requirements for new application releases. The team included representatives of global operations, product management, customer services, engineering and the CS field organization, the target audience for the training. The PRT held a series of training strategy calls and formally requested input from key subject-matter experts from all of the company’s global regions. The learning organization used this input and worked closely with engineering to create a virtual machine “cloud” environment to use for online lab exercises. The team also collaborated with Teradata’s learning technology group to determine the best way to deliver and track the virtual training.
The end result was a self-paced, computer-based training course with the opportunity for associates to practice guided labs on a virtual machine. A pilot
course gave key associates in each of the regions an opportunity to take the course
and provide feedback. The team made changes based upon pilot feedback, and then the course was deployed worldwide in January 2010.
The PRT used a similar approach to identify training requirements for new
platform releases. The result was a three day virtual workshop that included lecture, access to remote systems for labs, self-paced simulations and downloadable videos. As of October 2010, more than 115 global CS associates were successfully trained on the latest platform release using this new method.
A Combination of Tools
Teradata incorporated into the new remote model many of the tools already familiar to its audience, including Microsoft LiveMeeting and MeetingPlace, and used them in new ways for the full virtual classroom experience. It also used the company’s existing LMS to deploy courses, handle registrations, access online work, and track completions. Teradata based the course structure on its Blended Learning Architecture for Distance Education (BLADE), an internally developed application that enables the development, delivery and tracking of Web-based content.
Teradata purchased a new platform for capturing videos, performing demonstrations and creating the simulations. Students access the system remotely to perform the labs, using the same tools that they use to support customer systems.
For application training, the application server runs on a virtual machine
that uses VMware’s ESXi software. Lab sessions are set up through the learning
portal and students are assigned a virtual machine for one week. The next step will be for students to be able to request the virtual machine lab environment on demand.
According to David Mallon, the integration of existing technologies was vital to the
delivery success of these courses. “Although Teradata had used these tools separately, it was new territory for the company to merge these technologies as part of the remote training solution,” he says.
Effective Learning, Efficient Costs
Level 1 survey results confirmed that students were able to learn through virtual delivery the tasks needed to perform on the job just as well as they did in the traditional classroom. In addition, the company estimates it saved $130,000 on travel alone for 2010. The virtual classroom also removed the need to purchase additional systems for each of three regions (at a cost of $180,000 each), offered greater accessibility to hands-on practice and more scheduling flexibility.
Teradata invested approximately $186,000 in its virtual classroom: $6,000 for tools to assist in the development of the remote platform and application training, and $180,000 for the system for the development and delivery of the platform training. To deliver the same application and platform training in the traditional classroom would have cost $948,000 in 2010. The net result is that Teradata has already realized a cost savings of $762,000.
Operational Learning and Development Excellence
Underwriters Laboratories (www.ul.com) is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing standards for safety for more than a century. UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products,
components, materials and systems annually with 20 billion “UL Marks” appearing on 66,000 manufacturers’ products each year.
To keep pace with its organic grow rate, in 2009 UL made the decision to hire and train approximately 1,000 product safety engineers throughout 19 countries within three years. Previously, new hires were trained by apprenticeship, an approach
that took one year to qualify the new hire as a product safety engineer. Senior engineers were usually responsible for getting the new hires qualified.
Although this approach worked well with small numbers, it would have tied up a significant percentage of senior engineers given the large number of new hires planned. UL was concerned that senior engineer productivity and financial goals would suffer.
Detailed Job Analysis Forms
To meet its goal of training and qualifying new hires within 12 weeks, UL University needed to create a new learning experience. The learning organization conducted a detailed job analysis to understand job tasks and competencies. Team members also conducted interviews with hiring managers to ensure their expectations were fulfilled in terms of hiring schedule, qualification readiness, new hire fit, and their particular industry recruitment needs. Through observation, interviews and surveys with qualified and exemplary product safety engineers, a job task analysis and competency model for the job was developed.
The team also mined UL’s ERP systems for task productivity data over an engineer’s career, which gave the team a development benchmark to exceed. In addition, the team asked engineers hired within the past two years about their training and qualification experiences in terms of what worked well and what could have worked better to get them to productivity faster.
In the final phase of this process, the UL University team collaborated with two senior engineers from each region to address and formulate the learning program’s approach and content based on the job task analysis, competency model and survey data.
Boot Camp for Engineers
Using the ADDIE instructional design model, with modifications for rapid development, UL University developed a 12-week “boot-camp” program. The blended learning approach included selfstudy, hands-on laboratory experience,
lecture, small-group problem-solving, practical and written assessments, and field experience at customers’ manufacturing facilities.
Using e-learning modules, instructional designers moved knowledge-based content to self-paced training. This opened up more time during face-to-face meetings for discussions of practical application. The new e-learning modules replaced five days of general technical engineering content. So the team developed real-life case studies to give students a better understanding of how the technical knowledge is applied in a safety engineer’s daily work. Small teams of two to four engineers work together under the direction of the facilitator to troubleshoot the issues in the case study, apply what they learned in the e-learning modules, and come up with a resolution.
UL University’s knowledge management system provided support for informal and collaborative learning through online communities, blogs for Q&A, wikis, and a global community of experts.
Working with a psychometrician, UL refined its assessment to be sure it was measuring what the program was delivering. Year over year, the product safety engineer training program has met or exceeded the goal of cutting the speed to qualification, and therefore speed to productivity, by 50%.
According to Stacia Garr, senior analyst for Bersin Associates, the UL program is successful in part because it is structured and measured. “Compared to UL’s instructor-led apprenticeship model,” she says, “the boot camp is a much more interactive and dynamic learning environment and gives new hires a much richer experience.”
The new learning program also provides an opportunity for other functional areas of UL to meet the new employees. During informal presentations given during the first week of training, the CEO and several vice presidents introduce themselves and share a bit about their role and career at UL, providing a richer orientation to the company. These visits, which are rare for employees outside of the regional office or corporate headquarters, have had a lasting and positive effect.
Additionally, the program has become a communication vehicle for numerous change initiatives, corporate direction and leadership philosophy for these new UL employees. Often, they have been the first to hear of a new branding campaign or a new operation’s mission statement.
Learning & Talent Initiative Excellence
Vestas (www.vestas.com) is the global leader in development, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance of wind power plants. The company has installed more than 41,000 wind turbines in 65 countries, and every three hours a new Vestas wind turbine is installed. These turbines generate more than 60 million megawatt hours of power per year.
The company faces several external communications challenges, which range from negative misperceptions of wind power, to growing outside requests for learning materials, to the need for improved employer branding. To meet these challenges, Vestas decided to make a five-hour technical training program available to the public for free. Accessible to anyone who has an interest in wind power technology, the portal supports the corporate goals of public education, public relations, and brand building.
Employer Branding, Market Education
Based on experience and input from numerous external and internal stakeholders
over a number of years and in many different areas of the business, the Vestas learning organization identified three business challenges that it could help solve:
>> Corporate Social Responsibility: As leading manufacturer of wind turbines, Vestas is by nature a “green” company. However, like any other producer of
large-scale energy supply technology, its products and behavior impact the
world. Wind power plants generate a certain amount of noise, impact animal life (i.e., birds striking the blades), and their production requires the use of natural resources.
>> Providing knowledge to external stakeholders: Vestas is approached daily by
schools, universities, nongovernmental organizations and other institutions
around the world with requests for materials that can be used in presentations
and curricula about wind power. Vestas needed to streamline the process of providing uniform high-quality materials to stakeholders without spending excessive resources.
>> Employer Branding: The company’s global brand value as an employer has
grown with its success. Vestas wants to keep improving its employer brand value, anticipating a future when the word “wind” alone will not be the key factor in building employer brand value.
The learning organization’s strategy for meeting these goals was simple:With award-winning content for new hire onboarding courses already available through its Vestas World e-learning offering, the team knew it was sitting on a foundation of high-quality content, ready made to be used externally. (The company was named a 2008 Learning Leader for Vestas World, a virtual environment where learners get to know the basic values, culture, and business facts about the company and wind power.)
The e-learning program “Technical Training — Basic Courses” was selected as the first project to be used externally. This five-hour introduction to wind power technology is aimed at the lay employee, other categories of non-technical Vestassuch as salespeople, general staff and staff. Vestas worked with Denmark-based firm Effective-Learning to edit the five hour program into small modules appropriate for general, external audiences. Each module is approximately three to seven minutes long. In November 2009, Vestas launched the modules on the company Website via a simple interface similar to YouTube. Vestas also hired Denmarkbased Empatii to manage quality assurance for the project.
The Vestas learning organization deliberately kept the interface extremely simple.
To launch the desired e-learning component, users click on a small graphic representation. Vestas’ intention was to focus on providing the facts about wind power and to avoid overwhelming users with other features or marketing lingo.
Since the launch of the first version of the Website, Vestas has implemented new content rating and content generation features based on requests from users and ideas generated by the team responsible for the portal. These features include the
opportunity for users to login via Twitter and comment on each component of content, download components, and upload their own content. Vestas also uses Twitter as a channel to keep users up to date on new developments from the team behind the portal.
Extending Value and Brand
The impact of the project so far has exceeded expectations: In 2010, the learning components were launched 100,000 times by 25,000 unique users since launch of the portal. Additionally, Vestas has initiated a number of cooperative projects that leverage content from the portal, including:
>> Microburst Learning, a provider of hosted,Web-based training, uses Vestas’ e-learning components to provide virtual job shadowing for students in South Carolina. It expects to reach 250,000 students within a year.
>> Umeå University in Sweden uses the Vestas e-learning components in a university course on energy sources. Each lecture is linked with one of the learning components on the portal.
Vestas e-learning is being used increasingly by schools, both as part of their wind technology programs and as a source of knowledge about renewable energy in general. This provides powerful long-term employer branding as the students get insight into the world of wind and the challenges of the wind industry.
Fast Company magazine recently named Vestas among the Top 10 most innovative companies in the global energy industry, citing its e-learning initiative as an example.
Learning Leaders 2011: Vendor Innovation in Learning and Talent Management
The Learning Leaders program recognizes providers whose learning and talent management solutions have delivered clear, positive impact for customers. Participants are evaluated on a range of criteria including business value, effectiveness, price/performance, flexibility, maintainability, and ease of use and implementation. This year, the Learning Leaders for Vendor Innovation are:
>> Altus (www.altuscorp.com), for Altus vSearch, an on-demand learning environment specializing in video and audio, combining an internal “YouTube”-like channel with strong search capabilities.
>> Blackboard (www.blackboard.com), for Blackboard Learn, a single, open platform for course delivery, community engagement, content management and assessment.
>> BlueVolt (www.bluevolt.com ) for its mLMS platform, a training hub for
industries including building and construction, electrical, plumbing and telecommunications.
>> Expertus (www.expertus.com) for ExpertusOne, a learning platform for social and collaborative, informal and formal learning.
>> Infosys (www.infosys.com), for its Sustained End-user Adoption & Learning (SEAL) solution, a formal approach for adoption of corporate change initiatives.
>> Intuition (www.intuition.com), for Intuition Mobile, a platform that enables organizations to securely deliver courses, surveys, assessments, podcasts and videos to hand-held devices.
>> Jambok (www.jambok.com), for its hosted online social learning platform that provides the ability for anyone in the organization — subject-matter experts, trainers, and employees — to easily develop and distribute rich media content.
>> KnowledgeAdvisors (www.knowledgeadvisors.com), for Metrics That Matter, a core talent development reporting and analytics platform.
>> Saba (www.saba.com) for Saba Live, an integrated enterprise networking platform that integrates Web 2.0 social tools with Saba Centra Web Conferencing.
>> Trivantis (www.trivantis.com), for Lectora Inspire, an e-learning development
tool that integrates Trivantis’ authoring software with e-learning development tools Camtasia, Snagit and Flypaper.