by Rick Bell
November 13, 2015
From Left: Kuntal McElroy, Michelle Isaacs, Detlef Hold
Head of Learning and Development, Ericsson North America
When it comes to pioneering organizations in the communications technology industry, few can touch Ericsson. From its humble beginnings in 1876 as Lars Magnus Ericsson’s telegraph repair shop in Stockholm, Sweden, the company boasts iconic benchmarks such as the world’s first fully automatic mobile telephone system, hands-free speaker phones and now mobile technology.
But there are certain challenges to being on the razor’s edge of the global tech communications revolution. Over the past 15 years, Ericsson has been a leader in Information and Communications Technology — the space where telecom and IT meet. The company had the tech part down pat. Communications, however, was a slightly different story.
Executives realized they needed to develop customer relationships, rather than depending solely on traditional sales resources. Service vs. sales needed to intersect to achieve the new ways of working. Once it identified problems, Kuntal McElroy, head of learning and development, and her Ericsson Learning & Development North America team got to work.
Opting to develop a program with internal resources, traditional instructional-led training fell before a new performance-based e-learning design using cloud technology. Five months in development, the course produced stunning results. Add-on sales showed a 1,453 percent return on investment from 2013 to 2014, and nearly 7,200 service pros were trained by the end of December 2014.
Perhaps most importantly, a stronger customer understanding to solve complex challenges also grew out of the training — how sales can be increased beyond traditional sales process. As recognition that partnerships can lead to effective learning solutions that deliver business results grew, so did appreciation for global learning solutions and best practices.
Vice President and Head of Global Learning and Development, Thomson Reuters
Shopping sprees can be a blast. Plop down the cash and walk away with the goods. Once home, however, the euphoric high of “Let’s Make a Deal” can lead to a shopaholic hangover.
Thomson Corp. acquired Reuters Group in 2008, part of an acquisition bender encompassing some two dozen companies that carried well past the Great Recession. Post-acquisition the company experienced a serious case of corporate malaise: siloed, introverted tribes of employees lumped together and managed by a hodgepodge of managerial whims and styles.
Teetering on the brink of employee unrest, executives launched MaTR — Management at Thomson Reuters. Some 7,000 managers were equipped with the context, energy and capabilities to coalesce the fragmented factions. Led by the chief people officer and driven by Michele Isaacs, vice president and head of global learning and development, various communications channels including video, briefings, an intranet and online learning has so far led to positive reviews, including 89 percent of those surveyed saying that MaTR had a positive effect on their engagement, while 93 percent agreed it was a worthwhile investment for the company.
Call it a post-hangover purchase with a purpose.
Global Organizational Development Leader, Genentech Inc.
Few practices are more highly regulated than drug development. South San Francisco-based biotech company Genentech Inc.’s Detlef Hold, global organizational development leader, helped create its Filing Team in Action initiative to accelerate team members’ understanding of the complex process to seek new-medicine approval. Since its launch in late 2013, the program has filled a gap in education, boosting the speed and effectiveness of the company’s filing process.