BY JERRY ROCHE
The 2018 Learning! 100 award-winning organizations have one thing in common: their learning personnel and programs are undisputedly among the world’s elite.
“The Learning! 100 recognizes the top 100 global learning organizations for high performance, innovation and culture,” says Catherine Upton, awards chairperson and group publisher of the Elearning! Media Group. Learning! 100 Awards recognize the top 100 organizations for their best-in-class learning and development programs, with learning cultures that create outstanding organizational performance.
These honors have a solid, researchbased approach that offers organizations a level playing field despite size. The Learning! 100 provides organizations a benchmark for future development; is quantitative and qualitative; and is unbiased by size of the organization. Learning! 100 applicants are evaluated on three sets of criteria: Darden School’s Learning Culture Index, Collaborative Strategies’ Innovation & Collaboration Ratings, and overall organizational performance. Every submission is evaluated on the same criteria, scores totaled and ranked for the Learning! 100.
“When deciding what qualities constitute a truly exceptional learning organization, we define four categories of excellence,” says Jerry Roche, Elearning! magazine’s executive editor. “Those categories, upon which these awards are based, are innovation, culture, performance and collaboration.”
There is much to be learned from these winners, many of which had instituted thorough leadership development initiatives. These winners are delivering cutting-edge approaches to learning, reimagining their learning ecosystems and embracing the importance of engagement and performance.
Discover what makes these organizations best-in-class by reading this article and viewing upcoming Web seminars and stories hosted by Elearning! Magazine.
Learn more about the Learning! 100 Awards at: http://www.2elearning.com/awards/learning-100-awards.
Private Sector #1: Vi
Area of Excellence: Culture
Photo courtesy Vi
Leadership Drives Learning Culture at Vi
Over the last several years, Vi — a group of retirement communities with headquarters in Chicago — has made a gradual but significant transition of moving the culture from learning being “owned” by the learning organization to being owned by the entire organization.
Besides having “Employee Development” as a core leadership competency and key learning initiatives tied to company goals and competencies tied to compensation, Vi realizes high levels of business partner engagement in the development, delivery and ownership of learning initiatives tied to the company’s business objectives. This has created higher levels of engagement at all levels of the organization.
In addition, Vi has a strong governance process in place that aligns with its business planning process. Functional leaders from across the organization actively participate in development and execution of learning initiatives.
“In talking with my colleagues — hotel, senior living, hospitality, highly regulated health care and service personnel — I believe that our organizational development is unique to us, based on the level of executive involvement, money, front-line management and leaders as teachers,” comments Judy Whitcomb, Vi’s Human Resources and Chief Learning Officer.
In 2017, Vi’s education/learning focus centered in three areas:
1. More hyper-focus on career ladders, assessments, competencies and learning resources, reaching to high schools and community colleges to attract talent. “It’s not sexy or exciting, but that’s where we’re putting in a ton of time, and it works,” Whitcomb states.
2. A new emerging leaders program. “We’ve had really good success with the all-virtual program,” says Whitcomb. “It involves 50 to 60 leaders, and it goes into different levels of the organization. Vi has matured to where leaders are really seeing the value of being teachers.”
3. A recently-launched student loan imbursement plan. “We’re trying to use every lever available” to attract good talent,” Whitcomb emphasizes. Most important are basic skills training, like concierge, culinary and nursing. “We recently sent some cooks to a culinary institute by partnering with its executive chef. Skills are important to attract and retain the talent, and we’re working with Arizona State University to create a flow of talent for our organization.”
As a result of strong alignment and engagement with its business partners, Vi has realized:
>> Large increases in resident satisfaction after implementation of a comprehensive service enculturation program;
>> Scores rising from 82.6 percent in 2010 to 96 percent in Vi’s last resident satisfaction survey;
>> Significant increase in the number of internal promotions and a reduction in attrition, resulting in $2.1 million in savings;
>> Significant ROI of nearly $138,000 per participant from Vi’s Breakthrough Leadership Program;
>> Significant contributions to Vi’s external quality audits, resulting in zero tags related to training;
>> 9 out of 11 Vi locations recognized as “Best Places to Work” in 2016;
>> In 2017, all 10 of Vi’s continuing care skilled nursing facilities achieved five-star status (as determined by the Center for Medicare Services) for the first time in 30 years;
>> High level of employee engagement particularly related to training (“training to do job well” was 21 percent higher than U.S. norms; “ability to achieve personal career objectives” ranked 10 percent higher than high-performing companies; “training new hires receive” ranked 24 percent higher than U.S. norms); >> Most importantly, focus on sales training contributed to Vi achieving 168 percent of the company’s financial target in 2017.
Vi is an eight-time Learning! Award-winner.
Public Sector #1: VA Acquisition Academy
Area of Excellence: Performance
Photo courtesy VAAA
Deputy Chancellor Paul Gregory in one of the V.A. Acquisition Academy’s training rooms.
VA Acquisition Academy Drives Engagement and Impact
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsible for providing more than $20 billion of federal benefits to nearly 20 million veterans and their families. The VA Acquisition Academy (VAAA), which is soon celebrating its 10th anniversary, is tasked with training a wide range of those valuable VA employees.
The VAAA’s mission is to ensure the VA efficiently and effectively provides goods and services to veterans. It offers an integrated competency-based training curriculum to certify those employees and improve their work performance. VAAA is responsible for training VA’s program and project managers, existing and future contracting officers, logistics/supply chain employees, and facilities and construction managers.
“Our fundamental learning strategy reflects a commitment to stakeholder engagement and value measurement methodologies to ensure business results that support VA’s major initiatives,” remarks VAAA Deputy Chancellor Paul Gregory. His organization educates learners in realworld workplace scenarios, integrating personal and leadership skills and measuring strategic performance.
“The VAAA started out as a single acquisition intern school then added a contracting professional school, a program management school, a supplychain management school and a facilities management school,” notes Gregory. “The separate schools share services so that we can keep costs down and avoid duplication.”
The VAAA develops some training materials in house, but some are commercial lessons purchased off the shelf, and some are taught by government contractors. Not only does the VAAA conduct training that leads to federal acquisition certification, but it also offers employees career progression classes. “Our training is one part of getting certified,” Gregory further observes. (The other two parts are experience and continuous learning to maintain certification.)
“We have seen a tremendous need for leadership training in the contracting workforce.” says Terry Horst, Vice Chancellor of the Contracting Professional School. “Many people in that field have been promoted based on technical ability. Historically, most of the school’s courses have not focused on leadership for contracting professionals. In response to this critical need, we developed the Senior Acquisition Leadership Training program.”
The Senior Acquisition Leadership Training Program lasts nine months. The first class graduated in June. “It is centered on concepts like leadership agility and systems thinking,” Horst observes. “The program assists individuals in the development of themselves and then moves them to a more strategic way of thinking. They learn to turn their strategic thinking into action using contracting case studies. This kind of training empowers them to hit the ground running when they return to their contracting offices.”
Learners in that program undertook capstone projects, writing whitepapers and briefing senior leadership.
“It was very satisfying to both the students and the employees who worked so hard putting the program together,” Horst continues. “Students made comments like ‘it changed my life forever’ and ‘I’ll never be the same.’”
One of the VAAA’s other interesting projects is collaborating with 12 other agencies to reimagine senior level program management training. “We wanted to shorten courses where it made sense and do some blended learning,” says Gregory. “For instance, one course started out as four weeks; now it’s three weeks, because some elements are now done virtually, kind of like the flipped classroom approach. Frankly, this approach looks like it will be a great success.”
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy is a seven-time Learning! 100 award-winner.
Private Sector #2: Amazon Web Services
Area of Excellence: Performance
Amazon Web Services Leads Its Customers to Success in the Cloud
Cloud computing sales will top the $185 billion mark this calendar year. And by 2021, that market is expected to exceed $300 billion.
More than 11 years ago, Amazon Web Services (AWS) started as a Cloud storage service. Today it dominates that sector, with a sales volume that nearly equals the sum of its competitors’. Its growth continues to accelerate at an incredible rate.
AWS has also accelerated in other areas, like innovation. That innovation includes areas that will begin to shape our lives even more in the future, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and serverless computing. In 2017 alone, AWS announced more than 1,400 significant services and features, including Amazon SageMaker, a tool that radically changes the accessibility and use of building sophisticated machine learning models. This has caused an explosion of growth — more than 250 percent — as tens of thousands of customers started also using a broad range of AWS machine learning services. In 2017, at Amazon’s sixth re:Invent Conference, more than 40,000 attended the event live, with more than 60,000 more attending as streaming participants.
With all that growth and innovation, how does AWS service such a broad range of customers and customer needs? The answer is its focus on customer success.
Amazon Web Services is being honored for its global OutcomeBased Account Management (OBAM) program that provides AWS sellers with the Amazonian way to sell. The selling process starts with the customer’s needs and works backward to define the correct solution, all while using a common language, process and methodology.
This year, a new program component was added called Momentum. The aim of this additional program was to provide spaced learning reinforcement for the disciplines previously taught. This reinforcement series runs for nine sessions every other week and is unique to every team, in every country. This allows the associates to fine-tune their Amazonian talent by focusing on specifically targeted skills. Momentum, in turn, provides a continuous trickle of desired behavior reinforcement over the span of six months.
OBAM program is the process, tools, competencies and dialogue architecture for initiating and solidifying Amazon Web Services’ customer-obsessed relationships, fixated on the journey of transforming the seller-customer engagement into a lifelong strategic relationship. The program includes a pre-call, pre-work, a live one-day collaborative training-day session, three post-workshop coaching calls, and an on-demand OBAM playbook.
The program, which has been delivered globally in all geographies, is being met with great success, achieving a global average score of 4.5 out of 5.0 from participants. The program has now been successfully rolled out to 2,500 sellers, and its overall impact can be seen in the continued growth of Amazon Web Services.
As was evident from its Annual Report, Amazon Web Services is a major contributor to Amazon’s overall growth. AWS continues to draw more small, medium and large enterprises to its Cloud platform and growing line of tools and services.
AWS is a three-time Learning! 100 award-winner.
Public Sector #2: Defense Acquisition University
Area of Excellence: Culture
James P. Woolsey is president of Defense Acquisition University.
Photo Courtesy DAU
It takes a wide array of learning professionals to assure accurate, efficient delivery of information to the DAU’s learners, students, stakeholders and business units.
Defense Acquisition University: A Strategic Shift to the Customer
Starting in 2017, the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) of the U.S. Department of Defense engaged in a year-long strategic planning effort to take a closer look at changes that would be necessary to ensure success for the Defense Acquisition workforce in the future.
The leadership team used the Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema Value Discipline Model. There are three primary value disciplines successful organizations have used to narrow their business focus to better serve their customers: customer intimacy, product leadership and operational excellence. So those became DAU’s organizational imperatives (value disciplines) for the future of its learning program.
“We didn’t invent this,” notes Dr. Christopher Hardy, DAU Director of Strategic Planning and Learning Analytics. “The very best companies lead with one of those — Apple and Google lead with product innovation; RitzCarlton leads with customer intimacy; Southwest Airlines and Dell lead with operational excellence — but they still do the other stuff. We liked this approach so much, we nested all our initiatives in those three areas in our strategic plan.”
Customer intimacy means cultivating relationships and being adept at giving the customer more than he or she expects; staying ahead of their customer’s rising expectations, targeting markets precisely, and then tailoring products to match the demands of those customers.
Product leadership/innovation means offering customers leading edge products and services that consistently enhance the customer’s use or application of the product, thereby making rivals’ goods obsolete.
And operational excellence means providing customers with reliable products or services at competitive prices and delivered with minimal difficulty or inconvenience.
DAU leadership decided that a customer intimacy strategy best aligns with its vision for the future — that is, to focus on the needs of individual customers by offering a unique range of customer services that allows for the personalization of service and the customization of products to meet differing customer needs.
“We break our customers into learners, students, stakeholders and business units,” notes Hardy. “We’ve always been customer oriented, but we’ve taken it to the next level.”
In embarking on this strategic direction, the organization will listen to its valued customers to better understand them and their needs, enable communication and collaboration, and provide a comprehensive solution at the point of need. The organization also listens to stakeholders and consumers (the learners who directly use products and services).
But what is captured and how it’s captured depends on the target: stakeholder, customer, consumer. How data and intelligence from a source are handled also depends on the source. For example, what is learned from consumers may inform the questions customers are asked, and vice versa. Or what is learned from customers can be shared with stakeholders to help inform their decisions on priorities, resources, and the direction they give DAU.
This new strategic direction — which is being developed and implemented by several “tiger” teams — ensures that we provide customers with the products and services they need to give the warfighter a decisive edge. Not surprisingly, the tiger teams have representation from faculty and staff across DAU.
“Our mission is to help our learners; their leaders and the stakeholders complete their missions. If we can do that, we become a strategic asset,” Hardy concludes.
This is the eighth time that the DAU has been named a Learning! 100 winner.
Private Sector #3: T-Mobile USA
Area of Excellence: Culture
Photo Courtesy T-Mobile
The T-Mobile telesales staff is a hearty and happy bunch, thanks to the company’s Sales Training and Sales Management Transformation project.
Comprehensive Telesales Training Unifies T-Mobile Teammates
T-Mobile, the third-largest wireless carrier in the United States with 74 million customers, is one of the most recognizable brands in the land. T-Mobile provides wireless voice and data services in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands under the T-Mobile and MetroPCS brands. The company, which has annual revenues of more than $40 billion, also serves as the host network for many mobile virtual network operators.
In 2017, T-Mobile was ranked No.1 in customer service satisfaction by Nielsen. And this month, it is named the thirdbest corporate learning organization among the Learning! 100.
Its sales division is a large part of the company’s success. Last year marked a continued ramp-up and implementation of a massive sales training and sales management transformation for T-Mobile Telesales. Officials claim that enthusiasm is now at an all-time high, “and the team feels completely empowered to take on any and all competition.”
T-Mobile USA Telesales was nominated for this list because of its comprehensive effort to unify all telesales call centers and team members in how they interact both internally and externally with customers to communicate T-Mobile’s Un-Carrier vision.
In 2017, Bart Ons, general manager of the E-commerce and Telesales Department, launched an initial pilot engagement of Pathways to Growth. The intended outcome was to change the sales management and coaching approach used by managers in six key T-Mobile call centers for more than 1200 telesales agents. The project grew to include all call centers as well as a comprehensive and highly customized sales training curriculum, media campaign and rollout. Branding focused on promoting the Un-Carrier culture with a theme to “Unleash, Empower and Excel U.”
The program consisted on a series of e-learning preparation modules, on-site and virtual learning classes, coaching modules, reinforcement e-learning and multimedia solutions, promotions and more. The goal was cultural change, excitement and a focus on working cohesively as one unified T-Mobile to delivery an outstanding customer experience.
And it has worked.
“I’ve turned all my one-on-one sessions to self-realization moments,” claims Jake Cline a T-Mobile supervisor. “I love it when an agent says, ‘This is hard,’ and then figures out something that they can do better without me having to point it out to them, like I was doing before.”
Adds senior manager Charlotte Clevenger, “The UEE Initiative has brought a complete transformation.”
T-Mobile is a three-time Learning! 100 award-winner.
Public Sector #3: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Area of Excellence: Performance
Anthony Gagliardo is head of HR &Technical Training at NASA’s JPL.
Jet Propulsion Lab’s ‘Destination 2025’
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a unique national research facility that carries out robotic space and Earth science missions. JPL helped open the Space Age by developing America’s first Earth-orbiting science satellite, creating the first successful interplanetary spacecraft, and sending robotic missions to study all the planets in the solar system as well as asteroids, comets and Earth’s moon. In addition to its missions, JPL developed and manages NASA’s Deep Space Network, a worldwide system of antennas that communicates with interplanetary spacecraft.
The JPL human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) team serves as the primary JPL organization responsible for satisfying leadership, organization learning and development, as well as technical training needs of more than 6,000 JPL personnel and 7,000 contract affiliates.
Like many technical organizations, JPL faces challenges in managing the transference of deep technical and institutional knowledge while experiencing an unprecedented growth in JPL mainline mission and a drastic shift in its multi-generational workforce. JPL must address the changing learning styles of new and existing individuals and the constant employee expectation of a commerciallike learning experience.
In 2015, JPL’s Chief Human Resource Officer Cozette Hart formed the “Destination 2025” working group dedicated to exploring and advancing the future of working and learning at JPL. Since then, JPL’s business case for modernization of learning has been contextualized. The primary areas of learning modernization were identified as:
>> Modernization of the JPL learning environment; consistently improve on the availability and quality of training while enhancing the learning experience.
>> How to significantly modernize talent acquisition and management in the most technically advanced place on Earth.
Change awareness was raised among stakeholders through early communication related to JPL’s needs for change in learning technology and its rapidly evolving capabilities. At JPL, the scope of change was full employee development and a new training ecosystem. The change team provided support and resources and set the direction for various efforts to increase value in specified business areas.
To bring resources together, integrate processes and communicate effectively, goal-oriented change management was designed to guide individuals and organizations at JPL. The desire for change was reinforced through employee engagement and participation with the aim to overcome resistance through a cross- functional sponsorship program.
The proposed learning approach was designed to provide flexibility and support that complements the capabilities of JPL’s unique workforce. The learners of today expect a digitally rich learning environment, and implementation of new technology enabled a personalized learning experience to JPL employees anytime and anyplace in real-time. The HR team and its laboratory partners prepared to shift and integrate resources by focusing on the new learning ecosystems in terms of the operational support, technology and curriculum. Each pivot area evolution was based on application of advanced technologies and approaches.
JPL is a federally funded research and development center managed for NASA by Caltech. From the long history of leaders drawn from the university’s faculty to joint programs and appointments, JPL’s intellectual environment and identity are profoundly shaped by its role as part of Caltech.
JPL is a first-time winner of the Learning! 100.
Private Sector #4: Shaw Industries Group, Inc.
Area of Excellence: Collaboration
Photo Courtesy Shaw
The Shaw Learning Academy (SLA) provides employees with 1 million hours of training each year.
Shaw Learning Academy Helps Employees Reach Full Potential
Shaw Industries Group, Inc. — a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. — is a leading floor covering provider and the world’s largest carpet manufacturer. It supplies carpet, resilient, hardwood, laminate, tile and stone flooring products and synthetic turf to residential and commercial markets worldwide.
Shaw Learning Academy (SLA) is a key to that success, providing more than 1 million hours of training annually through diverse learning solutions and platforms to meet the diverse learning needs of Shaw’s associates, customers, suppliers and community. SLA, by design, promotes innovation, fresh thinking and dedication to quality.
“Education and training are instrumental to how Shaw helps create a better future for associates, customers, communities and the company,” says Danny Crutchfield, Shaw’s director of corporate training and organizational development, who also leads the Shaw Flooring Network. “It’s a critical component in helping associates and customers reach their full potential and succeed amidst an ever-changing industry.”
The company’s 22,000 associates are engaged in a wide variety of roles (manufacturing, R&D, product design, engineering, sales, distribution, transportation, sustainability, I.T., HR, marketing and communications, management, etc.) to ensure superior customer service and high-quality products.
Additionally, Shaw recognizes its retailers’ success is inextricably linked to training and support. The company has designed comprehensive and customized educational programs offer to help retailers meet their business objectives. More than 15,000 customers engage with the Shaw Learning Academy each year through regional training, online sessions, markets, the Shaw Flooring Network Convention, and other offerings in addition to extensive continue education opportunities offered to commercial customers worldwide.
This dedication to education and training is not new.
“We’ve always been an industry leader in a variety of ways, like product innovation, community involvement and sustainability,” notes Brian Cooksey, Shaw’s director of Operations, Training and Development. “We have had speakers present at different conferences all over the country on different topics. We’re also heavily involved in leading workforce development efforts, technology and innovation efforts, so our speakers are often asked to come and share their stories.”
The Shaw Learning Academy plays a significant role in helping develop business initiatives. For instance, Shaw celebrated its 50th year in 2017; as a result, leadership began to consider the next 50 to 100 years, “what we need to do to continue to be successful,” Cooksey says. “Like business objectives, culture — things we might want to tweak.”
To that end, Shaw’s upper managers published a “Shaw Way” document last year that captures their vision, their mission and their values as they pertain to high-level business strategies.
“The document contains business and cultural imperatives designed to continue our success but also take us to a new level,” Cooksey reveals. “Because we have a diverse offering of products and diverse customer bases all over the globe, we have to make sure we keep up with the times.”
The process involved conversations across the entire Shaw organization and with customers and with research in marketplace. “It was really a good process for the organization, and from that we developed a new competency model,” Cooksey continues. “It’s really helped to align some of the training support we provide — online or instructor-led or virtual—to give clarity to the organization. And it was nice for our group to have a seat at the table during the process of brainstorming the business.”
Shaw is an eight-time Learning! 100 award-winner.
Public Sector #4: American Heart Association
Area of Excellence: Collaboration
Photo Courtesy AHA
AHA employees take a chance to signal their delight with what they’ve learned.
‘Building Powerful Partnerships’ Meets American Heart Association’s Objectives
During 2017, the American Heart Association (AHA) wanted to establish a unified fund-raising process and culture across its organization for both volunteercentric and direct groups. Besides this unified fund-raising process, AHA also wanted to support its staff in articulating its mission, impact and programs, as well as reach critical thresholds in areas of revenue and health goals.
These business outcomes led to the creation and then extension of the Building Powerful Partnerships program.
“After we conducted the initial rollout, we found that we had to adjust to specifically serve new employees,” says Amanda Haggerty, the AHA’s Learning and Development Trainer. “The difference in 2017 was a shift to new employees and new supervisors. We also needed to continue reinforcing the content, so training now consists of a suite of ‘refreshers,’ 15 sessions that last 60 to 90 minutes that any supervisor can host during team meetings. These rich coaching sessions are a ‘deep dive’ into the relationship development concepts that allow employees the opportunity for continued application of best practices.
Some of the learning objectives that needed to be achieved were:
>> Demonstrate ability to lead conversations that will offer value to partners and volunteers by focusing on their needs;
>> Apply best practices for creating rapport, earning trust, and aligning the AHA message and mission with partner and volunteer needs;
>> Discover and practice proven ways to leverage LinkedIn for establishing credibility and making connections with prospective partners and volunteers;
>> Define four typical human behavior styles useful for enhancing conversations with partners, volunteers and team members;
>> Identify and practice proven strategies for each behavior style resulting in better communication and increased trust;
>> Apply the Powerful Partner Research concepts during the engagement process with prospective partners and volunteers;
>> Evaluate and develop plans for transitioning relationships to the next level of stewardship and involvement.
>> Describe and practice the fivestage SMART engagement model to plan and execute high-impact conversations with partners and volunteers;
>> Practice the five-step HEART Conversation process;
“The five-stage SMART engagement model is the entire relationship development process,” explains Haggerty. “It begins at the prospecting stage and lasts all the way to transformational growth.” It’s a year-after-year program, from inception, to growth, through continued maintenance.
“Within the SMART framework,” Haggerty continues, “the HEART conversation process gets into the meat of an external meeting with someone, including the art of the conversation, how to articulate the corporate mission, and how to make the ‘ask.’”
This “Building Powerful Relationships” program exceeded all expectations and helped the American Heart Association achieve its critical goals, which in turn helped the Dallas-based non-profit organization continue its work.
“We’ve seen numerous staffers tell us through surveys that they were more comfortable with the mission and with making ‘asks’ on our behalf,” says Haggerty.
“This program, has really stuck with the staff. We are excited to continue to bring them the curriculum year after year.”
This is the seventh trip to the Learning! 100 for the American Heart Association.
Private Sector #5: Navy Federal Credit Union
Area of Excellence: Culture
Thomas Greek, VP Learning & Development Communications
Photo Courtesy Navy Federal Credit Union
Leaders learn to work together through experimental activities at monthly ‘Follow the Leader’ events.
Navy Federal Credit Union: Growth Starts at Point of Hire
The Navy Federal Credit Union has staked its reputation and growth on the belief that professional development and education start at the point of hire and continue throughout each employee’s career. To that end, the organization continually invests in its employees to drive their engagement, commitment and quality of service to members.
“We have about 17,000 employees all across the world servicing the military and their families, and most participate in the learning environment in any given year,” observes Thomas Greek, vice president of Learning, Development and Communications. “Our learning strategies are tied into the strategic plan. The mission of our team of about seven trainers is to be scalable and sustainable.”
Many of the Navy FCU’s employees joined the credit union at entry-level positions and have since grown professionally within the organization. Some senior leaders, who started as entry-level employees, even grew into their current roles with the help of the learning opportunities available to them as their careers progressed.
“Our employees are instrumental to our continued success, and much of their loyalty, skill level and engagement can be attributed to the training and development they received,” Greek continues. “Navy Federal has a robust learning culture, which is cascaded throughout the organization.”
It’s not an easy task, either, to offer valuable learning and training to so many employees with such a wide range of skillsets, from communications to marketing to back-office support to finance.
“New hires come to us with a lot of technical skills,” Greek admits, “so most of what we’re doing is helping teach soft skills like communication, leadership and time management. We reinforce those technical skills and add to them through our soft skills library.”
That extensive learning library primarily based on in-house-generated content.
“Our team of instructional designers come with an incredible skillset and are well versed in learning theories,” Greek continues. “Their mission is to create good content that includes how to train effectively in a virtual environment with content that is relevant and entertaining.”
Since 1933, Navy Federal Credit Union has grown from seven to more than 7 million members. And during that time, its vision statement has remained focused on serving a unique field of membership.
“Simply put, our team members are remarkable, and they truly understand the important responsibility we have to serve our members,” says Cutler Dawson, Navy Federal’s president/CEO. “For 85 years, we’ve listened to what our members want and will continue to provide an exceptional experience.”
Employees at all levels of the organization have the opportunity to attend employer-sponsored workshops with curriculum that includes leadership, interpersonal communication skills, “emotional intelligence,” workplace creativity and supervisory skills. Graduate-level instruction and executive skill development is available to those employees at the supervisor/manager level and above.
Additionally, there is a Career Ambassador Program that “trains up” volunteers from the business unit on how to be career advisors so other employees can get that kind of career advice from colleagues or peers when they need it.
“We’re growing quite rapidly,” Greek says. “We have a lot of internal promotions, so our people need a lot of just-in-time resources. We give them on-demand career development resources that employees can take where and when they need them.”
And employee satisfaction is astounding: “Surveys and business outcomes let us know if training hits the mark. Employees take courses because they want to, so we see high scores in engagement, well higher than industry benchmarks.
Navy Federal Credit Union, which is owned by its members, is a seven-time Learning! 100 award-winner.
Public Sector #5: U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Area of Excellence: Collaboration
U.S. OPM’s USALearning Offers Critical Cybersecurity Training
Cybersecurity is becoming more of a threat, especially to U.S. Office of Personnel Management, U.S. OPM) and other federal, state and local government agencies. Every day, new security issues gain the attention of the computer security community, including loss of data, new malware, and/or new ransomware, which is a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction. Just recently, the City of Atlanta, Ga., had its systems compromised by ransomware.
The challenges of cybersecurity are changing rapidly with new vulnerabilities being discovered and systems previously thought secure being compromised.
So U.S. OPM’s USALearning is now working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to develop and offer more than 60 online cybersecurity courses to federal, state and local government employees, including U.S. Department of Defense personnel and U.S. military veterans. These courses can build skills and support any career transitioning to the cybersecurity field.
The “Cybersecurity Awareness” course introduces the automated information systems (AIS) environment and the threats and vulnerabilities faced when working within the government or defense industrial systems. It provides a working knowledge of cyber intrusion methods and cybersecurity countermeasures to assist employees in preventing cyberattacks and protecting their systems and information. The user experience centers on a single, large-scale, disastrous event. Several contributing scenarios are presented to show different vantage points related to the large event. Through the large event and associated contributing scenarios, students learn about different cyber threats and methods of operation, targeted information, countermeasures, and reporting requirements. This approach demonstrates for users that even small events can contribute and lead to immeasurable consequences.
More than 600 hours of courses are hosted in a secure FedRAMP environment. Already, more than 200,000 government employees and veterans have self-registered and are taking courses with more than half-a-million course completions or courses in-progress. The self-registration is free, and there is no cost from USALearning to access any of the courses.
These courses provide instruction on how to lock down sites, perform vulnerability testing, address patches, lock out hackers, and hundreds of other key security topics—practices that are fast becoming requirements for anyone working on computers, especially those taking advantage of the Cloud.
The USALearning program is operated out of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and is a part of the HR Solutions Directorate, in the Center for Leadership Development. The program was formerly called the GoLearn Program and has been active since the creation of 24 E-Gov initiatives by President George W. Bush’s e-training initiative in 2002. The purpose of the program is to leverage simplified acquisition processes and allow agencies to expeditiously acquire a myriad of support services via Intra/ Interagency agreements under the authority of the Economy Act and Revolving Fund.
USALearning supports the development of the federal workforce and advances the accomplishment of agency missions through simplified and one-stop access to high quality e-learning products, information and services. Some of its offerings include the development and delivery of customized learning management systems (LMS); learning content management systems (LCMS) and associated services; e-learning/testing platforms; communities of practice; and other customized content and collaborative platforms to include object and document repositories, course development, and innovative software engineering services.
This is the fifth time that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been awarded Learning! 100 status.
View the full list of 2018 Learning! 100 Award winners below: