Bechtel Corp., a construction company, brings together carpenters, electricians, pipe fitters and more onto its teams. But these skilled workers are becoming harder to find, and retention is hard to maintain.
Bechtel University built a blended-learning program called High Performing Crew, or HPC, which builds knowledge and experiences in leadership, safety, communication and more.
Shifting the paradigm from the idea that craft workforces are needed for their physicality rather than their knowledge was a major challenge. Other challenges included blending theoretical concepts with job site applications and creating activities that respect and engage workers.
Creating teams to design this program involved internal stakeholders like foremen, project managers and subject-matter experts, external research stakeholders, a design team and a senior leadership council. This program recognizes that many craft workers don’t thrive in traditional class settings, so leaders used interactive job experiences.
Teachers had craft backgrounds, ensuring their legitimacy for participants. Foremen also contribute to the creative process, identifying concepts and tools to increase leadership effectiveness.
After a comprehensive redesign the program dropped to 44 hours from 65 hours, with important topics reinforced throughout. HPC lessons involve five modular sessions followed by a comprehensive capstone where foremen evaluate situations, prioritize actions and generate solutions.
The initiative has saved as much as $1 million throughout a project life, the company reported.
General Motors Co.
From previous internal research, General Motors Co. determined that its employees want to connect with leaders in hopes of discussing and developing their own careers. Beyond training on career talks, employees needed to understand why it’s important to build business acumen, and technical and leadership experience through projects and role development.
With only five dedicated members of the career development team, the global talent and development department would have to make its initiatives simple, intuitive, effective and speedy. Employees would focus on career development via three D’s — design, discuss and develop — and three E’s — experience, education and exposure.
Online courses with videos and business book summaries were integrated with career development topics and GM’s career development website. Ongoing support from HR teams, business-unit leaders, employee resource groups and others helped enable the career development resource network.
Then, to get the word out to employees and continue education, GM created “Functional Career Guides,” “Career Talk Events” and “Career Days.” It worked.
Wells Fargo & Co.
An evolving workforce means changing client needs. Wells Fargo & Co.’s Next Generation Talent Strategic Initiative created the Associate Financial Adviser program to help new advisers yield higher success and retention rates, thanks in part to the business planning and performance coaching stages of the curriculum, and that ultimately helped the business. A diverse team of advisers with proven success track records came out of this new program.