In this special section, we recognize this year's Learning In Practice award winners.
by Site Staff
December 3, 2008
The editors of Chief Learning Officer magazine created the Learning In Practice Awards five years ago to recognize learning leaders who have improved performance in their enterprises through a combination of leadership, vision, business acumen and strategic alignment.
In this special section, we recognize this year’s Learning In Practice award winners, who embody those attributes and were judged by a select group of their peers.
Also, Chief Learning Officer magazine recognized distinguished service providers with Provider Awards for their close work with clients to design and implement innovative and effective learning solutions.
Chief Learning Officer recognized winners in each of the following categories:
LEARNING IN PRACTICE AWARDS
CLO of the Year Award: For the learning executive who is without peer in developing and executing learning and development strategies, marshaling and managing resources and achieving measurable success.
The Leadership Award: For learning executives who have demonstrably extended their power and influence within their organizations in the past year.
The Vanguard Award: For learning executives who have either launched a new enterprise learning function or completely overhauled existing workforce development initiatives in the past year.
The Innovation Award: For learning executives who have successfully applied emerging technologies and/or methodologies to create a stimulating and engaging combination of content and modalities in the past year.
The Business Impact Award: For learning executives who have demonstrated measurable business impact of their workforce development programs in the past year.
The Global Learning Award: For learning executives who have delivered development initiatives to geographically dispersed and/or culturally and linguistically diverse audiences internally and/or externally in the past year.
The Learning Team Award: For learning departments that have performed well as a team to help develop and deliver wide-ranging, effective employee development programs in the past year.
Excellence in Outsourcing Award recognizes providers that have taken over all or a portion of an organization’s learning and development function in the past year.
Excellence in E-Learning Award recognizes providers that have rolled out an innovative and effective new e-learning program or suite for a client in the past year.
Excellence in LMS Award recognizes providers that have rolled out a robust new learning management system (or equivalent) for a client in the past year.
Excellence in Simulations and Games Award recognizes providers that have rolled out innovative and effective branching, nonlinear and interactive learning programs for a client in the past year.
Excellence in Social Networks Award recognizes providers that have rolled out wikis, blogs, communities of practice, social networks and/or any other employee communication and collaboration platforms for a client in the past year.
Excellence in Content Award recognizes providers that have created superior customized and/or off-the-shelf learning content in the past year.
Excellence in Customer Service Award recognizes providers that have demonstrated a commitment to top-notch implementation, maintenance and support around a client’s learning solution in the past year.
Excellence in Academic Partnerships Award recognizes accredited academic learning providers that have partnered with an organization in the past year to teach several of its employees about a key business issue.
*Note: Division 2 companies are those with 10,000 or more employees. Division 1 companies have fewer than 10,000 employees.
LEARNING IN PRACTICE AWARDS
LEADERSHIP AWARD • GOLD • DIVISION 1
Andrea R. Huff
Executive Vice President, Chief Learning Officer, Lee Hecht Harrison
Though Lee Hecht Harrison offers its clients talent management services, what it lacked were talent management processes for its internal employees.
As chief learning officer, Andrea Huff’s leadership challenge was to oversee the creation and implementation of a brand new internal talent management system at the company to address its need for succession planning. Her responsibilities extended to the creation of a new high-potential leadership program.
Huff said her biggest challenge in implementing the new internal talent management process was ensuring all the components of the talent process were integrated and reinforced one another.
“For example, [we needed to make] sure that the results of the succession planning and development program — Leaders at all Levels — was directly connected to the performance management process to track the behavior changes that occurred,” Huff said.
“Our recruitment efforts needed to be connected to our diversity initiatives, and our learning management system needed to be a vehicle to support our on-boarding process to help our new hires become productive more quickly. Nothing operates as a stand-alone program without being integrated into all other aspects of talent, learning and HR, and this was the biggest challenge.”
Another obstacle was the absence of a team that could report directly to Huff. Instead, she developed the multifaceted talent management process by collaborating with a cross-functional team.
Huff was able to create a talent review process that identified high-potential and high-performing employees across all departments and even launched the leadership program for high potentials.
In addition, she included a diversity recruitment initiative into the process, as well as a career development portal and learning management system.
Huff said her biggest accomplishments throughout this process were the positive feedback and behavior changes on the part of employees, managers and the executive team, in addition to the way the results of these programs help employees achieve business goals.
“Our employees say we now are creating a development and coaching culture and that the investments we have made in them have helped them become more productive in their jobs and more engaged and positive about their future with [Lee Hecht Harrison],” Huff said.
Chief Learning Officer magazine recognized Huff for her contributions to the company.
“I was very excited to be recognized for the leadership award since it represented an external acknowledgement that our organization has created an industry-leading talent management process for our employees,” Huff said.
“We often create new programs and services to deliver to our clients, but this is the first time we delivered them to our own employees,” she continued. “Many organizations think that only large companies provide these services for their employees, and this award is tangible evidence of the importance of companies of all sizes investing in the development of their talent.”
– Deanna Hartley
LEADERSHIP AWARD • GOLD • DIVISION 2
Chief Learning Officer, Farmers Insurance
Annette Thompson recently was promoted to the newly created position of chief learning officer at Farmers Insurance as a result of her initiative and leadership role in creating a centralized learning unit at the company.
Years ago, Thompson noticed significant infrastructure and standardization challenges in several of the company’s learning units. Among them were unjustifiable differences in budget levels among the units, inconsistent training methods and a disconnect between each unit’s training complement and the impact on business results.
As each learning unit operated independently and sought to create expertise in key areas, the absence of a centralized learning unit resulted in redundancies and inefficiencies. Each unit could not leverage the strengths and best practices of the other units to produce greater business results.
“The biggest challenge in bringing learning together for Farmers under one umbrella was creating an organizational structure that provided both the opportunity for efficiencies and best practices [while maintaining] tight connectivity with the business units we supported,” Thompson said.
Thompson conducted research to support her observations and brought it to the attention of senior leadership at the company. Thereafter an executive committee was formed and, under Thompson’s leadership, it devised viable solutions for the company’s learning challenges.
This resulted in the formation of the shared learning unit, which is responsible for ensuring employee needs such as on-boarding and supervision or management.
The move also was meant to reduce the redundancies that plagued the company’s learning structure by implementing best practices and facilitating the efficient use of learning resources.
Thompson also established a new system of accountability — an innovative hybrid direct/matrix reporting structure — that was vital to the smooth functioning of the shared learning structure. Representatives were required to report to the shared learning unit and were responsible for working with the technical business units to create curricula. In turn, the technical business units worked with shared learning to organize its learning needs and offer subject matter expertise.
“I am proud of the fact that we came together in a broader learning unit very quickly with clear understanding and excitement about the opportunity,” Thompson said. “We quickly formed a vision, mission, operating model, standards in design and evaluation, guiding principles and pulled together the organization to lead us into the future.”
During the careful transition to the shared learning platform, Thompson personally met with each unit’s leaders to share the vision for the new structure and answer questions.
Since then, the shared learning team has successfully undertaken two projects: implementing a new online content learning management system and developing core competencies for the company’s commercial field trainers.
Thompson was recognized by Chief Learning Officer magazine for her contributions to the company.
“Farmers is an organization [that] supports and believes in the importance of learning as a driver of business results,” Thompson said. “I am so honored to have the privilege to represent Farmers for the CLO leadership award, [and I’m] also very grateful for the support of the vision to bring learning together across our organization for even deeper and greater strategic advantage for our great organization.”
– Deanna Hartley
LEADERSHIP AWARD • SILVER • DIVISION 1
Vice President, Chief Learning Officer, St. Vincent’s Health System
Carol Maietta assumed the responsibilities of chief learning officer at St. Vincent’s Health System in 2006, just prior to a merger of one Catholic hospital with a system of three hospitals that weren’t faith-based.
It was Maietta’s job to provide guidance to the senior leadership team following a series of challenges the company faced as a result of the transition.
To begin, senior leaders who had never crossed professional paths had to work together as a team and learn how to role model spirituality in the workplace. The merger also called for the creation of a preferred culture model that could be applied across the organization and new decision-making and communications processes.
A number of initiatives produced positive outcomes, as determined by a variety of metrics used to track progress. And the senior leaders outlined 12 dimensions that helped the company develop a preferred culture model.
In keeping with the preferred culture, the company outlined mission integration plans, such as providing opportunities for leaders’ spiritual development. Efforts in system integration ensured a smooth transition following the merger, and specific actions were taken to improve organizational communications.
In addition, the senior leaders at St. Vincent’s Health System provided input in the development and implementation of a change leadership transition plan. A formal structure was put in place to deal with workforce planning and development issues such as recruitment, retention and learning and development.
LEADERSHIP AWARD • SILVER • DIVISION 2
Director, Sales Enablement, Microsoft
During his tenure as director of the Microsoft Academy — a peer-to-peer virtual learning environment that functions on a global scale independent of any formal learning organization — Phil Morel implemented a number of tactics that would result in the expansion of its scope.
Morel’s goal was to turn the Academy into a company-wide asset, but his challenge was to do so without alienating it from the more formal learning organizations within the company.
His first step was to create a business model that would bring in sufficient funds to facilitate the expansion.
A newly created sales force would sell Academy offerings to the product groups that were previously being supplied free of charge. Currently, the groups’ contract with the Academy when training needs arise and provide at least partial funding. In an attempt to increase the demand for Academy offerings, Morel created a job role that would focus on selling the services to the product groups.
As a result, the additional $2.7 million annual funding allowed the Academy to double its size and provide employees around the globe with nearly three times as many offerings.
He also developed the highly successful Academy Mobile, a Web 2.0 offering built on SharePoint Server 2007 that encourages company-wide collaboration and knowledge sharing. In essence, it is a social media platform — similar to YouTube — in which anyone can create and share online tools such as podcasts.
Furthermore, the Academy’s customer base was positioned for growth once Morel reached out to new internal and external communities. Under Morel’s leadership, the reach of the Academy greatly expanded both internally and externally while maintaining the quality of its offerings. In fact, most major job roles in the company — with the exception of the corporate staff — use at least one of the Academy’s offerings.
VANGUARD AWARD • GOLD • DIVISION 1
Senior Director of Global Learning and Development
Senior Director of Global Learning and Development, Nuance Communications
Call her Wonder Woman: In just one short year, she helped her company launch a state-of-the-art corporate learning organization from scratch — for less than $250,000.
For this reason, this year’s Division 1 Gold Award winner in the Vanguard category is Linda Landry, senior director of global learning and development at Nuance Communications, a technology company that creates speech recognition software and imaging products.
“Learning and development was brand new when I first came to Nuance almost two years ago,” Landry said. “The company had been in existence for about 10 years, but the focus had always been on moving forward. The executive team recognized that it was time to make a serious investment in employee development in order for the company to keep meeting its business goals.”
Landry had her work cut out for her. When she was hired, the technology company had not yet created a budget for learning, and the employee base was globally disparate and growing rapidly. And Landry was the only learning professional on staff. But her excitement and determination were not to be underestimated.
“I think I didn’t get a wink of sleep the first year — partly because I was so excited about the opportunity to create something from scratch and partly because of the effort it took to build a full-service employee development operation within 18 months,” she said.
Knowing she’d need resources for learning initiatives down the road, Landry first set out to develop relationships with Nuance’s executive team, soliciting their feedback and gaining their buy-in. She then personally surveyed one-third of Nuance’s managerial staff to determine where the biggest gaps in learning were and developed a learning and development plan to respond to those needs.
Landry’s strategic plan aligned learning to business goals and involved three main components: a Web-based corporate university — Nuance University — that makes training available regardless of location and time zone, a development planning process for each employee and a performance management program.
She also hired a global performance manager to develop programming around career ladders, high-potential and leadership development, and management development. This has resulted in a variety of initiatives, including new career-ladder and high-potential programs.
Landry also restructured Nuance’s competency model from 25 main competencies to five core and five manager competences, which were based on the skill gaps she identified through the needs assessment. This downsizing meant her team could measure progress through appraisal data year over year.
“We were able to link performance to learning and ROI right out of the gate,” Landry said. “This is making it relatively straightforward to prove ROI: We can see from our performance management data whether we’re helping employees become more competent or we’re not.”
Another of Landry’s notable achievements was her organization of the first-ever Nuance Research Conference in March. The conference brought the company’s global research teams together to brainstorm and network, and resulted in a 95 percent overall satisfaction score.
To better communicate progress on planning, funding and other activities within learning and development, Landry helped Nuance establish an employee communications function. This function produces a company newsletter, organizes quarterly meetings, administers the new Nuance global employee survey and more.
The impact of Landry’s work thus far has been demonstrable. Nuance has a full staff of 10 learning professionals and a corresponding $1.5 million budget. In its first quarter after launch, Nuance University witnessed 1,000 unique users download 2,000 courses.
Landry said winning the Gold Vanguard award can only enhance her team’s work in the future.
“For a young learning organization like ours, receiving this award has boosted our credibility in-house and helped to validate the sizable investment our executive team has made in learning programs,” she said. “It was a leap of faith for our execs, but Nuance University has quickly become our global learning hub. Winning this award has helped to validate our approach and will make it easier for us to keep building on our successes into the future.”
Perhaps it also makes those sleepless nights worth it, too. “All the heavy lifting over the previous year was considered important and worthy of recognition by my peers — professionally, it doesn’t get any better than that,” she said.
– Agatha Gilmore
VANGUARD AWARD • GOLD • DIVISION 2
Chief Learning Officer, Satyam Computer Services Ltd.
This year’s Division 2 Gold Award winner in the Vanguard category is Ed Cohen, chief learning officer for Satyam Computer Services Ltd., based in Hyderabad, India.
Cohen has more than 25 years’ experience in corporate learning and organization development under his belt. He is an international speaker and author of numerous articles on learning, as well as a book on leadership. Prior to his current role, Cohen served as senior director of strategic leader learning and development at Booz Allen Hamilton, a global consulting firm.
“Learning and innovation is embedded into the DNA at Satyam,” Cohen said. “Each time we transform from here to there, having the external recognition validates our efforts and impact.”
When Cohen joined Satyam in 2005, he was faced with myriad challenges. The company was growing both rapidly — doubling roughly every 18 months — and broadly, with Satyam’s 55,000 associates scattered across 62 countries.
Perhaps as a result, there was a high reliance on external talent for leadership positions, and a corresponding high level of leader turnover. In addition, the growth meant Satyam was gaining an increasingly global focus, and leaders had to be effective in this new context.
To address these issues, Cohen first conducted a survey of more than 250 C-level executives worldwide. To narrow down the specific characteristics that a Satyam leader would need, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) survey was performed. Cohen then used the findings to create three dynamic new learning programs.
The first key program, launched in early 2007, is the yearlong Full Life Cycle Leader Certification (FLCL) process, which tackled the issue of high-leader turnover at Satyam. Aimed at helping new leaders achieve success in their first year, the FLCL program is structured in four phases, each building on the previous one: “Fueling,” in which participants are given a general overview of the process; “Ignite,” which includes virtual learning, competency development and awareness; “Lift Off!” which involves strategic business simulations on various leadership topics; and “Orbit,” which includes further competency development and action learning.
To address the increasingly global focus of the company, Cohen partnered with Harvard Business Publishing and Universitas 21 Global to create the Certificate of Global Business Leadership (CGBL) program that helps leaders develop the business skills necessary for success in a global environment.
The MBA-like program is six and a half months long and almost entirely virtual, so students can study at their own time, pace and place. By the end of 2008, more than 2,700 FLCL leaders will have graduated from the CGBL program.
Cohen also helped Satyam institute an annual leadership summit for networking, best-practice sharing and other purposes.
The impact of Cohen’s work at Satyam has been tangible. The percentage of leadership positions being filled internally has gone up from 20 percent in 2005 to more than 60 percent today. And within the first year of implementation of the FLCL program, the leadership turnover rate dropped from nearly 9 percent to less than 3 percent, while the company saved $1.75 million.
Further, leaders who have gone through the CGBL process report enhanced knowledge sharing, higher productivity and increased global networking, and the company claims an ROI of more than $5 million on the program.
The future is bright for Satyam with Cohen at the helm, especially now that his work has been recognized publicly, he said.
“Moving forward, I am even more motivated by the recognition and the opportunity to demonstrate to the world the amazing things that we are emanating in learning from South Asia,” he said. “Each time we transform from here to there, having the external recognition validates our efforts and impact.”
– Agatha Gilmore
VANGUARD AWARD • SILVER • DIVISION 1
Senior Director of Organizational Effectiveness, NetApp
Director of Executive Development, NetApp
This year’s Silver Division 1 winners in the Vanguard category are Kathy Hennessy and Steve Wilson. Hennessy is senior director of organizational effectiveness, and Wilson is director of executive development at NetApp, a technology company that provides network storage, delivery and management solutions.
Rapid growth and the need for a unified focus prompted NetApp’s learning executives to revamp the company’s learning organization. NetApp more than tripled its revenue in the past three years, from less than $1 billion in 2005 to $3.3 billion today, and has experienced a 37 percent increase in head count each year.
It was clear that the factors that enabled past success at NetApp would not be sufficient going forward. So Hennessy and Wilson devised a strategy to help managers understand the need for a new approach, highlighting the cross-functional coordination that would be required for success and demonstrating the interplay between short-term execution and long-term decision making.
This involved the development of a highly customized simulation for the top 125 executives in the company. Participants were divided into teams and were required to manage the growth and profitability of a fictional business over the course of three days, with each day signifying a year in the business. The teams were required to assess market conditions and revise their financial forecasts to adapt to unexpected events. Ultimately, the teams began to understand how to address immediate challenges without derailing the long-term business strategy.
The simulation experiences were so successful that Hennessy and Wilson’s team was obliged to roll them out first to director-level employees and then to the NetApp professional services staff. The proactive approach is particularly effective because NetApp leaders are forced to look beyond their functional areas and gain an understanding of other areas of the business, while the expanding workforce has a common, tried-and-true toolbox with which to address various business challenges and opportunities.
VANGUARD AWARD • SILVER • DIVISION 2
Vice President of Organization Development, ConAgra Foods
This year’s Division 2 recipient of the Silver award in the Vanguard category is Lucy Dinwiddie, vice president of organizational development at ConAgra Foods.
Dinwiddie has been instrumental in helping ConAgra improve internal placement and ultimately unify its corporate vision and methodology. Prior to initiating enterprise-wide learning programs in 2006, the company had been highly disparate and business-unit-centric. Not only did it fill 70 percent of director-level and higher positions with external talent, but market challenges such as the high cost of commodities and energy, and acquisitions and divestitures also contributed to a fractured focus.
To create a more unified outlook, Dinwiddie and her team — with the support of senior executives — created the Leadership Excellence Series (LES). Geared toward the company’s top 150 executives and running six months long, the LES program had three primary goals: to bring together all business units under the umbrella of the One ConAgra identity; to facilitate leaders’ success in a new matrix organizational structure; and to identify and develop leadership competencies specific to ConAgra’s current challenges, which included an increased customer focus.
The results of the LES program to date have been promising. In the past year, Dinwiddie and her team have reduced reliance on external talent in director-level and higher positions from 70 to 50 percent, with an ultimate goal of a 30 percent. Further, users have rated the program a 4.4 out of 5, and 99 percent of participants said they would recommend the program to others at ConAgra.
Thanks to the LES program and Dinwiddie’s leadership, ConAgra gradually is eradicating siloism, improving bench strength and uniting workers under a common vision.
INNOVATION AWARD • GOLD • DIVISION 1
Anthony V. Codianni
Director, Education and Development, Toshiba America Business Solutions Inc.
With an impending talent shortage, many organizations are trying to figure out how to ramp up the next generation of leaders quickly but effectively. Toshiba America Business Solutions (TABS) is no exception: The company recently launched the LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) program to do just that.
When developing LEAD, the document imaging solutions provider targeted the upper levels of the organization, ranging from frontline leaders to the executive team, through various tracks. Next, four pillars of leadership were identified: manage self, manage projects, lead teams and lead business. Sets of hierarchical competencies were then created for each of the pillars within each of the tracks.
Although the program was initially aimed at TABS leaders, it eventually was implemented throughout the enterprise.
“It was so successful that [President Mark Mathews] decided to deliver it throughout the entire corporation to all 3,500 employees,” said Anthony V. Codianni, director of education and development at TABS, who is in charge of LEAD. “I have total support from the president down.”
Participation rates for LEAD have exceeded expectations. In the first eight months of its existence, 98 percent of the company’s 500-plus management-level personnel completed level-specific courses within the program. In addition, more than 70 percent have furthered their education via optional training after finishing the courses around required competencies.
Moreover, participants have responded positively to the action-learning component of the program. Codianni cited one team’s work in action-learning workshops around the President’s Challenge: Identify new, innovative ways the company can continue to grow its brand and market share in the future. The team identified benefits that would attract Fortune 1000 businesses and integrated them into the company’s strategy map for 2008. This resulted in significant changes to the future sales direction of the company. It also produced one of the largest sales in its history within the Fortune 1000 category, which nets approximately $1 million per month in revenue.
For these reasons and more, Codianni was recognized with Gold in the Innovation category in this year’s Chief Learning Officer Magazine Learning In Practice Awards.
“I was pretty humbled by it, but more importantly, I was proud for my company,” he said. “Our whole worldwide model is leading innovation. It was consistent with our philosophy. We make sure that everyone isn’t just trained in innovation but really embraces the concept of innovation. We try to go beyond what’s expected.
“The fact that I was recognized as an innovator convinces me that what we have done at Toshiba is the right thing to do. I value the fact that Toshiba empowers me to take risks and allows me to develop programs for our customers (internal and external). Sure we make some mistakes, but we have a tremendous track record of successes due to [leaders] empowering us with decision making to do the right thing.
“The recognition from Chief Learning Officer magazine is an indication that I have been doing the right thing and is a validation of my work. It gives me the added motivation to continue and develop better programs.”
– Brian Summerfield
INNOVATION AWARD • GOLD • DIVISION 2
Head of Learning – Technology, Thomson Reuters
In April, the Institute of Technology was launched as a learning, information and performance support center for technologists at financial intelligence and media firm Thomson Reuters. Specifically, the Institute was designed to skill up this employee population on Web 2.0 and 3.0 concepts; Microsoft, Sun and other supplier-specific technologies; and process-based disciplines such as IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), Six Sigma and project management.
The Institute of Technology was a critical project for Thomson Reuters, which has a globally distributed group of technology workers that previously didn’t have the capacity to effectively collaborate with each other or find experts.
“We’re a very diverse and geographically spread organization,” said Andrew MacGovern, head of learning – technology at Thomson Reuters. “Because we’ve got so many development sites around the world, people were finding it hard to access the content that was relevant to them and navigate their way around the various tools that were available.
“The Institute was really driven by a number of different requirements that were coming in from large numbers of technologists we support in different locations, as well as the managers of those technologists. The Institute was designed to develop and build knowledge in different areas, but also to consolidate a number of those resources in a single location.”
The Institute of Technology was developed and delivered over an eight-month period. Interestingly, it started out as a Reuters project, but was continued when Thomson acquired the company. Throughout this stretch of time, technologists from key centers around the world were involved in its development from concept through implementation. In just a few months, visits to the Institute’s site have more than doubled on a month-to-month basis, with thousands of hits since its launch.
One important feature of the Institute is that it informs employees when corporate partners are hosting learning events, puts partner content on the Thomson Reuters learning portal and even links to some of those organizations’ learning portals.
The productivity benefits of making tools, content and communities more accessible to the newly merged organization are significant. For instance, by increasing its Books24x7 offerings threefold, the company has saved more than 726 hours spent in training per month. MacGovern said this translated into an ROI of about $1 million per year.
For his efforts with the Institute of Technology, MacGovern earned a Gold award in this year’s Chief Learning Officer Magazine Learning In Practice Awards.
“It’s just fantastic to get that level of recognition from that sort of peer group. It really means a lot to me. I was very surprised and honored,” he said.
– Brian Summerfield
INNOVATION AWARD • SILVER • DIVISION 1
Senior Manager of Global Technical Training, Applied Biosystems
Although the traditional training formats that had been employed at Applied Biosystems (AB) during the past decade worked well for the business, customer expectations changed as the company expanded into new areas, particularly in emerging markets that had strict government regulations. AB’s customers started to demand service training certification and qualifications, as well as fundamental operator training upon installation.
These and other changing circumstances placed tremendous stress on AB’s service organization. The field service organization began transforming its teams to accommodate market trends by placing specialized service teams and working with other departments to support their initiatives. Meanwhile, the training organization continued to deliver traditional training on how to install and repair products.
With the support of a cross-functional team, the training organization developed a blueprint for addressing these challenges. It conducted SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the field organization with the support of senior management. The outcome of this process defined a Field Service Engineer certification program based on four fundamental pillars: knowledge, ability, sustainability and accountability.
Although the certification is still in its early stages, instructors who mentor and sign off on it observed that training programs are becoming more relevant to the field service organization.
INNOVATION AWARD • SILVER • DIVISION 2 (TIE)
Corporate Senior Manager, Global Learning, Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts represents 44 nationalities and 17 official languages around the world. Research conducted by the company not only showed the value of improving customer engagement scores by reducing guest problems, but also by personalizing approaches to resolving those problems.
Melkart Rouhana, corporate senior manager of global learning, realized maximum improvements would be derived from a high-touch learning approach. However, the recent economic downturn meant that less time and money were available for training.
To make the program both high touch and cost-effective, the learning function, devised the All Aboard program, an interactive workshop that uses blended learning offerings designed around the company’s Emotional Engagement Service Values.
Between Jan. 1 and July 1, results have included a 76 percent reduction in problems reported to the corporate office, and a nearly 2-point rise (on a Likert scale) in employees’ perceptions of their problem-resolution abilities.
Chief Operations Officer, Hyatt Hotels
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts’ overarching business goal is to be the preferred brand for owners, employees and guests. During the past few years, the Hyatt Hotels & Resorts senior leadership team, together with the learning team, have defined and refined how leaders within Hyatt contribute to that goal and what qualities and skills general managers (GMs) and other leaders need to be successful.
A day on the job for a GM at a Hyatt Hotels & Resorts property is nonstop. A critical challenge for Chuck Floyd, chief operations officer at Hyatt, was delivering GM training in a way that works within this busy environment. Blocking an extended period of time for development proves to be difficult and impractical.
Floyd and his team knew they needed an innovative solution to further develop the leadership qualities of these on-the-go GMs. They turned to podcasting and videocasting and distributed iPods to this employee population.
Along with the first collection of leadership content, each iPod was preloaded with an introductory video from Floyd. He explained that “solid leadership is a critical component to every successful business” and that he was committed to “continuing to invest in [the employee] in order to support [his] growth and build [him] into the best leader.” Due to his dedication and the learning team’s assistance, Hyatt’s GMs now experience development in a quick, accessible way that works within their daily schedules.
BUSINESS IMPACT AWARD • GOLD • DIVISION 1
Alan A. Malinchak
Vice President and Chief Learning Officer, ManTech International
Director of Knowledge Management, ManTech International
Perhaps one of the biggest complaints executives have about the learning function is that its efforts are not easily quantified. In other words, what can a person point to say, “Here is how the application of learning positively impacted the organization’s bottom line”? Technology and technical services company ManTech International doesn’t have that problem.
As a provider of mission-critical national security programs for all branches of the U.S. military and several of the alphabet agencies — CIA, NSA, DEA — ManTech manages projects for a living, and the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is critically important. Employees with the PMP credential help ManTech maintain its contract incumbency, as well as win new contracts. But certification maintenance can be costly.
“Once you’ve gone through the exam and are certified, you have to maintain 60 professional PDUs in a three-year period. The average cost of maintaining that with our current employee base of 250 employees, over a three-year period, it’s $1.5 million. And as you get new employees in who are also PMPs, that number can’t go anywhere but up,” said Alan A. Malinchak, vice president and chief learning officer at ManTech International.
When ManTech University was established in 2006 Malinchak said it began to develop a variety of high-quality online courses. There are nearly 200 currently, all of which were created by subject matter experts.
“How can we use these same courses to reduce our certification expenses for PMPs? We contacted PMI and found out what it would take to acquire status as a registered education provider,” he said.
ManTech submitted live or online courses to PMI for use as PDUs and then hired an external PMP to evaluate existing courses and determine which fit knowledge areas important to maintain that credential.
Malinchak said after working with the external consultant to determine what worked, didn’t work and how to bring the courses that didn’t work up to speed, the company will have roughly 100 courses for more than 125 hours of PDUs at the end of 2008. That’s enough course work for six years of learning, which means no PMP has to go to an external vendor to maintain certification.
ManTech plans to import its PMP certification maintenance process to other certifications such as the Computer Information Security Systems Professional (CISSP). And Malinchak said if employees are both PMP- and CISSP-certified, the same courses count to maintain either certification.
“Multiply those cost savings over a five-year period: We’re projecting to save the company almost $8 million,” he said.
Further, ManTech’s LMS, which records the company’s nearly 200 certifications, has become a source of input for its resume library and expertise location systems. That means quick responses — with information from multiple business units — to calls from request for proposals the company responds to.
“If you need to know how many PMPs we have with top-secret clearances with experience with this certain customer, you come to ManTech University, and we can tell you in three minutes,” said John Hovell, director of knowledge management at ManTech International.
In addition to significant cost savings realized, ManTech’s certification courses may bring in revenue for the company, as well.
“It’s not going to happen in 12 to 18 months, but at some point we will become a global rep for PMI, which means we can now offer those courses to the public for revenue,” Hovell said.
“Our plan, as we laid out the business plan in 2006, was in five years to become self-sufficient and not need any corporate overhead funds. So we’re working our way there, and we see that in our very viable future.”
“It’s a twofold blessing,” Malinchak said. “Internally, training and education is not seen as an expense but rather as an investment that has financial impact on the bottom line, the profit margin. Externally, it’s always great to be recognized by your peers. To be recognized in this way shows we’re seen as part of the financial information needed to go forward as we grow the business and think how we’re going to spend overhead dollars in a very positive way.”
– Kellye Whitney
BUSINESS IMPACT AWARD • GOLD • DIVISION 2
Senior Sales and Product Training Manager, Chrysler
The American auto industry has been struggling for some time, battling against increasing pressures from global competitors. And with the current economic situation worsening, things are likely to get worse.
Chrysler’s former Senior Sales and Product Training Manager Fred DePerez, who has since moved on to another position in the company, thought training might help the company move past the economic crunch and increase sales consultants performance.
There was only one problem: Sales consultants aren’t Chrysler employees. They work for more than 3,300 independent dealerships. Therefore, there’s no way to mandate training. And that was only the first challenge.
“The second challenge is, we went into skills training, and for a very, very long time, that’s always been the job for the dealership,” DePerez said. “The manufacturers do product training on our products and skills training for their employees. That’s been the mold for a long, long time, but it wasn’t working.
“You don’t get consistency across dealerships in terms of the skills they were giving their sales consultants. It was in our interests to do something to break the mold and assist these independent franchises, our dealerships, to create some value in the learning proposition.”
The objective was to improve sales performance in two stages: applied selling time (“What am I doing when I’m with a customer?”) and unapplied selling time (“What am I doing when I’m not with a customer?”). But DePerez said the environment made it tough to gain funding for the initiative.
“It’s very, very tough to sell cars right now,” he explained. “There’s a lot of economic pressures on dealers and consumers. In that type of environment, it’s very difficult to sell the company and the dealerships on change.”
But the numbers didn’t lie. Over two years, the Chrysler Academy put together a blended sales consultant curriculum to teach everything from key interpersonal skills and new product information to more advanced skills such as prospecting and negotiating.
Then DePerez commissioned a statistically based experiment with roughly 33,800 sales consultants. Some 8,500 sales consultants were fully trained, 11,600 were partially trained and 13,700 untrained sales consultants served as a control group.
“We looked at those three metrics: customer satisfaction, turnover and sales volume,” DePerez said. “Everyone that got trained blew away that metric versus those that didn’t get trained.”
Trained consultants sold 35 more units per year, but DePerez said the underlying metrics were perhaps more important.
“Sometimes basic and more traditional metrics are not telling you the whole story. Almost 40 percent of our sales consultants had unacceptable monthly sales volumes. The reason was there were so many more untrained ones than were trained ones,” he explained.
“From a retail perspective, it’s nice to know the training works and that a trained consultant can sell more and satisfy customers better. The downside is most stores didn’t have enough trained sales consultants. That was the last challenge that we faced.”
During the experiment period, the Chrysler Academy performed a gap analysis, talking to sales consultants with superior performance to determine what they did on a daily basis to satisfy customers. A performance map followed that outlined the behaviors top performers executed to get the desired result.
“At the very highest level we tried to prove that training was not an expense; it was an investment,” DePerez said. “We are obviously very happy with the results because it gave us a way to come back to customers.
“In the Chrysler Academy, our customers are our dealers, our sales consultants and sales managers, service advisers — all the people a retail customer meets when he or she enters a dealership. Our sole purpose for existing is to make sure they do the best job possible, not only to satisfy our retail customers but to ensure the profitability of our dealerships.
“It’s about profitability; it’s about the business. And satisfying customers is great business. That’s our role: teaching people how to do that. We proved that skills’ training does work.”
– Kellye Whitney
BUSINESS IMPACT AWARD • SILVER • DIVISION 1
Director, InterCall Unniversity
As a conference-call solutions provider, InterCall has built its business online. So it makes sense, given its geographically dispersed employee base, that e-learning is the source of 95 percent of employee training. But like many learning
organizations that have made e-learning a staple of their program offerings, InterCall University had to ensure the training was impactful, interactive and encouraged content retention.
InterCall University also had to roll out an LMS to its entire North American employee base and expand its learning portfolio to include new-hire training, career development, continuing education and product training. Now managers have the ability to assign specific classes through the LMS, and they have real-time access to learning plans, attendance reports and test results for all employees.
Company managers also helped create a management development program to build their knowledge bases of key management practices and learn proven strategies to take team performance to the next level.
As a result of changes to the learning function, InterCall’s sales grew 19.9 percent from 2006 to 2007, and increased levels of communication between the sales team and customers led to the development of a new product, InterCall Web Meeting, that launched in January. New employees’ ramp-up time also increased. More than 72 percent of newly hired sales reps are at quota within six months from date of hire.
The company also realized significant savings with its learning-related green initiative. Trainers used conferencing rather than travel to deliver courses and saved InterCall $58,000 per month.
BUSINESS IMPACT AWARD • SILVER • DIVISION 2
Head, Satyam Learning Center
Satyam, a global business and information technology company based in India, has experienced rapid growth in the past few years. In 2007, the company hired more than 20,000 associates, and retention is key given the extreme competition for labor in India’s IT industry.
The learning organization had to refresh skills, cross-skill, up-skill and build new skills to maximize talent. Working in conjunction with human resources and recruiting teams, the Satyam Learning Center developed its Re-Skill Service, which set several goals for itself, such as minimizing the time associates wait for project assignments, enhancing the organization’s skills diversity, aiding competency development, promoting associate retention and reducing the number of new hires required.
This year, Satyam’s Re-Skill Service achieved more than 1million associate learning hours, more than 12,000 associates earned internal and external certifications from leading vendors such as Microsoft, Sun and IBM, and at less than 12 percent, turnover is among the lowest of the company’s competitors. The company also estimates that developing its internal staff saved roughly $32 million in new-hire costs.
There were many intangible learning benefits, as well. Re-Skill Service learning initiatives promoted collaboration and teamwork between associates working on competency projects; offered early exposure to a real-life project environment; created opportunities for more experienced associates to act as mentors in specified technology areas; and increased associate confidence levels in their ability to perform their job tasks, as well as their accountability for and ownership of project outcomes.
GLOBAL LEARNING AWARD • GOLD
Vice President, Learning Solutions, Convergys Corp.
As a relationship management solutions provider, Convergys Corp.’s customer service is a key driver of future success. But as a global company with nearly 75,000 employees worldwide, the company has to apply that same commitment to internal support services. Contact-center agents are the key to success on both fronts.
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Convergys delivers outsourced customer management and human resource management solutions to clients in 35 languages from its 84 global contact centers in the United States, Europe, India, the Philippines and Latin America.
In most regions, the contact-center agents are working in multiple languages or languages not local to their regions. When dealing with customers, agents face challenges with rapid research and development cycles, integrated functionality and multiple product dimensions that require deep product knowledge.
When dealing with employees, agents struggle to keep track of compensation, benefits and HR administration programs, which can be broad and varied. Adding further complication, customer and employee training content and processes may differ by region due to regulatory and compliance requirements or cultural norms.
Recognizing these challenges, Marianne Langlois, vice president of learning solutions at Convergys, led a team of 100 global Convergys employees in developing a business case for communications and culture training aimed to drive improved agent capability and effectiveness.
“As the result of several business wins globally, we needed to find a way to take the learning approaches that had driven successful business results for our clients and to scale them more quickly,” Langlois said. “The technology advances in content development tools over the past few years, our experience in developing performance-based solutions and our strong global talent pool helped us to achieve our goals in building out our global curriculum.”
Implemented in 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, the global curriculum focused on new-hire training for agents in three key aspects: Convergys processes and technologies, customer processes and products, and communications and culture of the customer or employee populations served.
The redesigned HR management global curriculum features a global module to provide an overview of tools, policies and procedures. A country-specific module provides an overview of each country and training on applicable HR support processes. A client-specific module provides training on service-center tools; client and country-specific HR policies; and client and country-specific HR administration issues.
The initiative also transformed communications and culture training programs into a performance-based communication and customer-service training program. This new approach provides training in a real-world context and features a revised curriculum that maps to tasks performed during an actual call life cycle. It also provides a blended learning approach, delivers coaching and supports evaluation.
As a result, the standardization of training content and delivery worldwide has resulted in improved efficiency and effectiveness. The new curriculum also allowed for flexibility in training delivery, ensuring the ability to customize training to a region or client.
The transformation has reduced training length by 33 percent and generated more than $1 million in operational savings. Convergys clients also have benefited from agents who are trained faster, provide higher-quality service and are more responsive to customer needs. A key financial services client saw agent graduation rates increase by 11.5 percent, topping 85 percent, with a one-week reduction in training time.
“While the initial work was done within one of our business units to support their new business wins, we quickly saw the synergies of leveraging that same framework and process to our other business units,” Langlois said.
“We are in the process of applying the right mix of learning technology, process and content development expertise across the company, both internally and externally to our clients to create new efficiencies and drive improved performance.”
– Mike Prokopeak
GLOBAL LEARNING AWARD • SILVER
Vice President, Seagate Technology
With more than 55,000 employees around the world, Seagate Technology has a need to deliver advanced training designed to address real international business realities while continuing to align its multinational workforce to business priorities.
With that goal in mind, Dr. Debbie K. Hancock structured the company’s learning organization to mirror Seagate’s global model, with central development functions at the company’s headquarters in Scotts Valley, Calif., and development presence at key geographic sites.
This model allows learning team members to respond nimbly to site needs while reinforcing global strategy with consistent messaging and common goals that address the company’s three main global challenges:
• Driving flexibility and responsiveness to change while maintaining technological leadership.
• Effectively managing a dispersed global workforce and virtual teams.
• Recruiting and retaining high-performing talent in strategic locations.
To address these challenges, Hancock’s team developed an approach to leadership development that allows content to be customized based on business need. The leadership development program enables the appropriate individuals to have the authority and tools to make the decisions that impact Seagate’s technological leadership. Seagate drives the use of a common vocabulary across the globe through a blended learning approach that synthesizes e-learning, live peer discussion and leaders-as-teachers-based facilitation.
The implementation of Seagate’s global leadership development program has helped the company make a successful organization-wide strategy shift and continues to encourage its employees to think both globally and locally. According to calculations by Harvard Business Publishing, the global program will save approximately $23.6 million during the program’s lifetime, with average annual training cost-savings of more than 50 percent compared to other site-specific or localized programs.
– Mike Prokopeak
LEARNING TEAM AWARD • GOLD • DIVISION 1
HD Supply Utilities
The learning team at HD Supply Utilities takes great pride in what it does. In fact, its members created a nickname for themselves that captures their spirit: the ULTimates (Utilities Learning Team).
Their cohesiveness is even more exceptional when one considers that the organization is comprised of 37 companies that were combined via acquisitions during a 10-year period. Moreover, HD Supply did not have a history of formal learning processes, and personnel in the field and at corporate were reluctant to participate in and support new development programs.
However, that didn’t deter Senior Learning Specialists Kathee Kelly and Joe Malta and Learning Manager Vicki Ryan. Beginning in 2006, the three began extensive needs analyses of all regions, levels and roles in the organization. They also began to establish themselves throughout the enterprise.
“For me, the challenge was to fit in with my clients and become part of their team,” Malta said. “I had to establish credibility, demonstrate value to a diverse and sometimes skeptical sales organization. Early on, I spent as much time in the field as I could with the sales and operations teams, and in the branch locations asking questions, observing customer calls, learning the business and the challenges. While I still have much to learn, this did help me to get a working knowledge and gain respect and credibility with my clients.”
After determining the greatest development needs, the ULTimates then developed a blended-learning suite with various programs that aimed to fill those needs. They’ve been developing new offerings ever since, and demand for training continues to grow.
“We truly were a start-up, and that energy enabled us to be extremely creative with our approach to providing solutions to the business,” Kelly said. “Our team has chartered its own path, found its own way, created great partnerships and many inroads along the journey.”
For Ryan, who attended the Learning In Practice awards ceremony at the Fall 2008 CLO Symposium, being recognized with a Gold award in the Learning Team category was a special honor.
“Leading up to our category being announced, I found myself literally sitting on the edge of my seat with my heart not just racing, but pounding,” she said. “Forcing myself to sit back and calm down, I kept saying, ‘It’s OK if we get the Silver.’ But in my heart, I knew that our core team of Kathee, Joe and I wanted Gold and that our extended team (internal partners and customers) did, too.
“It took at moment to sink in that we had won Gold, as the two Silver Award winners were announced first. After heading offstage, I did what I had committed to doing: sent a one word e-mail. It said, ‘Gold!’ According to two to three Symposium participants who came up to me later that evening, I was ‘filled with great energy’ up on stage. In fact, my energy was collective — it was Kathee, Joe, our internal support and our (internal) customers that were with me up there.”
– Brian Summerfield
LEARNING TEAM AWARD • GOLD • DIVISION 2
Sun Learning Services
Just a few years ago, Sun Microsystems had a highly decentralized learning structure: More than a dozen legacy distributed learning functions supported a corporate university, sales training, management development and other elements, resulting in redundancy and a lack of an overarching vision.
However, all of these pieces were brought together into Sun Learning Services (SLS), a centralized learning organization, nearly three years ago. This move coincided with the arrival of Karie Willyerd, who was brought on as the company’s first enterprise-wide chief learning officer.
Sun has come a long way in a short time. This year, SLS took Gold in the Learning Team category of the Chief Learning Officer Magazine Learning In Practice Awards.