Chief Learning Officer magazine created the Learning In Practice Awards six years ago to recognize learning leaders who have made a tangible impact on their enterprises through a combination of outstanding leadership, vision, business acumen and strategic alignment.
Embodying those attributes are this year’s Learning in Practice Award winners, who were judged by a select group of their peers. We highlight them and their achievements in the following pages.
Chief Learning Officer magazine also created Provider Awards to recognize distinguished service providers for their close work with clients to design and implement innovative and effective learning solutions. (See “Learning in Practice Awards: Providers.”)
Winners were recognized in a special ceremony at the Fall 2009 Chief Learning Officer Symposium in each of the following categories.
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.
Leadership — Division 1 — Gold
Louise Korver-Swanson, Former Global Head of Executive Development, EMC Corp.
Louise Korver-Swanson received the Leadership Award for her vision and efforts in creating an integrated executive and leadership development framework at EMC.
“It’s a great honor and a pinnacle in my career,” she said. “It is especially rewarding to be recognized by professional peers in the industry. This award also enables me to acknowledge my staff in their achievements and their significant contributions to the work that we have done over the last two years.”
Korver-Swanson spearheaded the endeavor to generate an EMC Executive Assimilation Model that would help on-board and develop the next generation of high-potential leaders attuned to EMC’s evolving strategic vision.
The large-scale undertaking brought about a series of challenging circumstances along the way. Korver-Swanson was forced to navigate internal politics and a lack of leadership support while successfully rolling out a new program globally.
She said one of the biggest challenges she encountered in relaunching EMC’s executive development platform was trying to align the executive development strategy with cultural expectations.
“This was a ‘blank sheet of paper’ exercise, so we needed to rebrand the function,” she said. “That required significant engagement with executives at many levels to clarify objectives — both personal and corporate — and then [we needed to] create a comprehensive yet agile strategy that struck the balance between the business strategy and personal development needs.”
She and her team devised an executive development strategy that aligned with EMC’s business strategy and identified specific outcomes, which were then supported by assessments or pipeline planning activities. Under Korver-Swanson’s leadership, the executive development group also identified areas in which leaders needed to improve their knowledge, skills and performance.
She and her team established robust assessment and benchmarking tools to add credibility to the executive development process, thus revealing the business value of EMC’s integrated executive and leadership development initiative as a new component of the company’s talent development efforts.
As a result of the new approach, HR leaders and managers conducted more effective performance management gap analysis; it also provided the organization with a better way to identify and groom the next generation of leaders.
Korver-Swanson said one of the most significant achievements during this process was the formation of a cross-functional HR Business Partner Selection Panel for vendor selection.
“Since none of these HR partners had ever experienced the type of executive coaching services I was envisioning for the future, we were able to get engagement from 15 senior HR leaders who spent a full-day meeting with the final five vendor partners to select our executive coaching provider,” she said. “By the end of the day, these [business partners] not only understood the difference between what they thought executive coaching was and what it would be with the new strategy, they unanimously selected Lore/Korn-Ferry as the provider of choice. When was the last time you could get 15 people to agree to anything — much less something as complicated as this?”
The new, more holistic approach to leadership helps position EMC as a leader in the technology sector.
Leadership — Division 1 — Silver
Major General Erwin Lessel, Director of Plans, Programs, Requirements
and Assessments, Air Education and Training Command, U.S. Air Force
In the past year, Maj. Gen. Erwin Lessel was tasked with transforming a traditional learning environment at the U.S. Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command into a more learner-centric environment — without interrupting the flow of airmen entering into duty throughout the world.
Lessel articulated the learning vision, implemented a strategic communication campaign and created a new learning organization and governance structure. Due to his efforts, Air Force leadership allocated millions of dollars in support.
Lessel spearheaded the introduction of MyBase Public, a virtual environment for recruitment and orientation, as well as MyBase Education, a virtual training environment.
A live, virtual training capability also was put in place for F-16 pilot training that resulted in more than $30 million in savings in the first five years. Lessel also led the consolidation of more than 20 learning management systems with the introduction of an LMS road map. For the first time, an AETC Innovation Center was created with the goal of emphasizing and researching new learning technologies.
Additionally, approximately 23,000 students are currently able to gain access to various course materials whenever they wish to, thanks to the introduction of the AF.edu online program for open courseware. Lessel also worked to link future learning initiatives into the AETC Balanced Scorecard, as this enables ongoing progress and allows senior leaders to regularly measure and review the outcomes.
Leadership — Division 2 — Gold
Andrew Miller, Director, Training and Development, Sysco Foodservices of Canada
Andrew Miller, director of training and development at Sysco Foodservices of Canada, understands the old adage, “If life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”
Not only was he tasked with creating and sustaining a high-quality, comprehensive talent management strategy from scratch, but he was expected to do so on a shoestring budget.
About five years ago, because of aggressive growth plans — requiring as many as 15 new presidents, general managers and executive vice presidents, along with three new vice presidents, over the next 10 years — Sysco Canada’s leadership recognized an urgent need to develop future leaders.
But there was a catch. These highly skilled professionals needed to be able to hit the ground running, and they were expected to come from Canada, where the talent pool was notably smaller. To top it off, there was some risk of opposition from leadership because of the revolutionary nature of the initiative’s approach.
It was almost inevitable that Miller and his team would encounter challenges when designing and delivering a comprehensive talent management strategy that would impact the organization’s future growth and profitability.
“The biggest challenge has been pulling disconnected pieces together into one aligned, comprehensive strategy that delivers results,” Miller said. “We have many talented people who have been doing great work in different areas. The challenge has been to harness the power of our collective skills so that we have a process that efficiently creates high value for the organization.”
Nevertheless, in 2005, Miller embarked on the talent management strategy with a leadership development program — and the outcomes far exceeded initial expectations. For instance, 15 out of 20 graduates of the program were promoted to senior-level positions, and they agreed the program was a significant contributor to their success. The program also helped identify candidates who were not promotable, and it had a direct impact on executive turnover rates.
In addition, compared with 2005 when the Canadian region’s performance was ranked the worst in six regions, in 2008, under new leadership, it ranked first.
“It’s great to [be recognized for] the results we have achieved after five years of hard work,” Miller said. “I’m proud to accept this award on behalf of the senior management teams in all of our Canadian facilities. Their unwavering commitment to creating a world-class organization has been inspiring. This award is a very good tribute to them.”
Over the past year, Miller not only has refined the program, he has championed seven new initiatives to build on its success. Despite economic woes that reverberate across industries, the program continues to expand and excel.
Even though he has accomplished numerous tangible business goals during this process, he considers his greatest achievement to be obtaining unwavering executive commitment.
“I’m most proud of the level of commitment I see from our leaders to continue to build and improve on our talent management practices,” Miller said. “Starting with Kent Humphries, the president of Canada, I see in many of our leaders a desire to make developing talent a core competency of our organization. They clearly see our talent management strategy as a key driver of sustainability and growth.”
Leadership — Division 2 — Silver
Matthew Jones, Vice President, Leadership Development and Training, Essilor Labs of America
Until recently, training at Essilor Labs of America consisted primarily of peer-to-peer observation. It was only toward the end of 2007 that Essilor created a large-scale change initiative called APEX-Optics — or Achieving Professional Excellence-Optics — to improve training in the ophthalmic industry.
Some of the instructional strategies this initiative includes are Web-based training; “simulation suitcases,” or training kits that participants use to practice their skills; on-the-floor or live production environment training; observation; and bronze-, silver-, gold- and platinum-level certifications, of which the bronze and silver have been launched.
The company even uses strategic measures such as productivity, customer satisfaction and retention, employee turnover and employee capability to assess the performance of the APEX-Optics initiative.
Overall, the initiative resulted in improved key performance indicators, as well as a positive change in lab culture. Success did not come easily, however. Matthew Jones, vice president of leadership development and training at Essilor, and his team had to contend with several challenges along the way.
One challenge cropped up at the beginning of the project. After Jones articulated his vision and partnered with Allen Interactions, an e-learning solutions company, the champion of the project was promoted and his successor did not share Jones’ vision. The successor had to be convinced that employees’ personal growth would result in tangible benefits for the company.
Jones and his team conducted the required analysis and persuaded senior management to allocate the necessary funds.
Essilor will continue to expand and advance the APEX-Optics initiative in the coming year.
Vanguard Award — Division 1 — Gold
John Royer, Former Director of Sales Training Strategy, AstraZeneca
This year’s Division 1 gold winner in the Vanguard category is John Royer, former director of sales training strategy at AstraZeneca.
With more than 15 years’ experience in change management, Royer is an expert on open innovation effectiveness and enterprise knowledge mobilization using Web 2.0 technologies.
When he joined AstraZeneca in 2006, Royer found an adequate sales training program in place. Given the competitive nature of the pharmaceutical industry, adequate wasn’t going to cut it. As Royer put it: “[We needed to] get some recognition around the real competitive advantage that you can have from a good learning function.”
But this shift both in mindset and in operation wouldn’t be easy. “In the pharmaceutical industry, it’s hard to introduce change,” Royer said. “That industry’s had a lot of success over the last 20 years.”
Further, Royer and his team were introducing new technologies, such as virtual worlds and mobile learning, into the organization at the same time. It was a challenge, to say the least.
So Royer and his team got to work. First, they assessed the current state of the AstraZeneca sales training and development (ST&D) function, determining it to be effective yet mostly “reactive,” due to immediate market and sales demands. This was also leading to siloed projects and nonstandardized workflow processes.
One of the first things Royer and his team did was partner with the performance development group to create the Project Center of Excellence, which set, communicated and monitored standards for all brand teams. Royer then helped establish a new on-boarding approach for sales specialists — who typically join the experienced sales training team on a two-year rotation — to clearly define their role.
“We needed to simplify their role so they could add the most value,” said Matt Bruce, ST&D program manager at AstraZeneca.
AstraZeneca had also taken the initiative to invest in mobile learning, and the company was receptive to using new technologies such as simulations, games and virtual worlds for learning.
“In addition to supporting these functions, we’ve actually built a framework to support our emerging culture of innovation,” Royer said.
Thanks to these initiatives, AstraZeneca has developed higher trainer effectiveness; stronger leadership; better integration among brand teams; and productivity increases between 2 to 6 percent, resulting in a potential cost savings of $52 million.
Vanguard Award — Division 1 — Silver
Frank Anderson, President, Defense Acquisition University
A retired brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force, Frank Anderson, president of Defense Acquisition University (DAU), the corporate university for the U.S. Department of Defense, has been recognized numerous times for his accomplishments in the field of learning. At DAU, Anderson saw the potential brain drain that could result from the DOD’s aging workforce. To remain dynamic and engage workers at all levels, he supported the implementation of a games and simulations (G&S) program.
The G&S program included games in curriculum, which are those aligned with a course’s learning objectives; continuous learning modules, which target specific career-centric information related to process-oriented performance characteristics; and mini-games, which are simple, downloadable games that students can access on their own to brush up on core topical knowledge.
Thanks to Anderson’s work, this new learning focus at DAU has resulted in increased online training hours; a record number of graduated students; 24×7 knowledge sharing; and higher survey scores.
Vanguard Award — Division 1 — Silver
Lou Tedrick, Senior Vice President, Verizon Business
In her current role, Lou Tedrick, senior vice president for Verizon Business, is responsible for enterprisewide curriculum design, including training on products, sales skills, systems, compliance and leadership development, as well as network and technical training.
Two years ago, Verizon Wireless began an initiative to consolidate and centralize internal systems and processes to improve customer service effectiveness. In late 2007, Tedrick and her team — the Learning and Development Council — took on the task of realigning the learning organization to better meet the needs of the business.
First, they established a clearly defined communication and change management plan that addressed the company’s workforce, business partners and key stakeholders. They also introduced new tools to consolidate content, and worked to create a single, unified mission and vision. These activities have resulted in a fully aligned learning organization that has been able to deliver on 30 percent more training initiatives with 10 percent fewer resources.
But Tedrick’s work is never done. In late 2008, with this new structure in place, she and the L&D Council began to focus their attention on learning effectiveness. The resulting “training deliverable” audit is still under way, but the organization is already following up on survey feedback.
Vanguard Award — Division 2 — Gold
Donal Conn, Global Learning and Development Leader, Momentive Performance Materials
This year’s Division 2 gold winner in the Vanguard category is Donal Conn, global learning and development leader for Momentive Performance Materials, the world’s second-largest producer of silicones.
Throughout his 17-year career in global talent management, Conn has designed and delivered learning for more than 20 Fortune 100 organizations.
“Early in my career, I had a mentor who helped teach me the ropes of this business,” Conn said. “[He] would say, ‘Don’t waste any time worrying what others think of your performance. Just focus on doing your job to the best of your abilities [and] the recognition will come.’
“As it turns out, he was right. For such a prestigious group of judges and experts in the field to choose to recognize us after reviewing our year’s work tells me that we have the early makings of a best-in-class learning organization.”
When he joined Momentive in March 2008, Conn certainly had his work cut out for him. The company itself had been created just a year earlier from a fusion of joint ventures between General Electric, Toshiba, Bayer and Shin-Etsu.
From day one, Momentive “had 5,000-plus employees, $2.6 billion in sales and operations in 30-plus countries, but we didn’t have a formalized L&D function with an LMS, consistent training policies or strategically organized curricula,” Conn said.
However, within just nine months, Conn and his team launched an LMS with more than 1,200 courses available to employees in their local languages via personal home pages.
“I’m proud of how quickly we were able to align our resources and training collateral into cohesive L&D programs that meet our many regulatory and organizational requirements,” Conn said. “Essentially, we accomplished in nine months what I expected to take about 18.”
Conn and his team first identified core areas: internal communication, content development, tracking and enrollment, training resources, budget and metrics. They then selected and implemented a learning content management system (LCMS) and partnered with internal IT staff to standardize procedures and workflow. Conn also created and rolled out an intensive training-the-trainers classroom workshop to ensure instructors had hands-on experience before joining the faculty. Each participant received a personalized recognition e-mail from the company’s CEO, which demonstrated the executive support Conn and his team had garnered. In fact, despite overall business declines due to broader economic conditions, Momentive centralized and increased its L&D budget from $1.95 million in 2008 to more than $3 million in 2009.
“Now that we’ve created a strong foundation for our core L&D deliverables, I’m really looking forward to introducing the types of talent development programs that can truly help define our corporate culture,” Conn said. “In 2010, I expect to launch a robust leadership development program for all levels of leadership at Momentive. I’m also planning to introduce a variety of professional development elective courses and more formalized career path options.”
Vanguard Award — Division 2 — Silver
Betty Bergquist, Vice President of Education, American Family Insurance Group
The winner of this year’s Division 2 silver award in the Vanguard category is Betty Bergquist, vice president of education for American Family Insurance Group.
Bergquist began her career at American Family Insurance 20 years ago, working as a product training intern while earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration. Throughout her career progression, Bergquist continually demonstrated a passion for learning. When still in a sales role, she worked with the company’s education division to design a scenario-based training program that complemented an existing sales manager development program. In 2007, Bergquist became vice president of education, overseeing the learning of the company’s nearly 8,000 employees.
In 2008, Bergquist led the education division through an organizational realignment that was heralded by several key business challenges: a new business strategy and the need to continuously develop critical skills; changes within the insurance industry; market and broader economic conditions; changing customer demands; and the need to develop leaders as well as improve employee engagement.
In response to these issues, Bergquist and her team established a new leadership learning and development department, which educates 1,100 managers, directors, vice presidents, senior vice presidents and even the CEO and COO of the company each year. The leadership learning program involves three key phases that together comprise a comprehensive development initiative: strategic leadership learning, which integrates corporate strategy into leadership development; leadership curriculum, which is charged with building core knowledge and skills; and leadership immersion, which focuses on broadening leadership perspectives.
Through this realignment, Bergquist helped American Family Insurance achieve higher levels of leadership knowledge, a stronger commitment among leadership to the company’s mission and vision, and more efficient and effective operational function.
Innovation — Division 1 — Gold
Charles Beckham, Chief Technology Officer, Senior Director of Web Business and Technology Services, Sun Learning Services, Sun Microsystems Inc.
Charles Beckham is responsible for designing, building and operating the global learning and documentation technology infrastructure that Sun Learning Services (SLS) and Sun strategic initiatives rely on every day. As the CTO for Sun Learning Services, Beckham leads the development of all online offerings from the e-learning products group and oversees the 50 online stores that sell Sun learning offerings worldwide. Beckham’s team created the learning.sun.com portal, which provides Web-based courseware for all Sun employees worldwide, and developed the Social Learning eXchange (SLX), an online content-sharing platform originally designed for Sun employees, customers, partners and community members and now available as a commercial offering.
Sun has more than 27,000 full-time and roughly 500 part-time employees, but the number of learners it impacts extends further, to a total of roughly 900,000, including customers, partners, employees and students.
SLS was challenged by Sun’s sales division, reducing its training hours and budget. It needed to solve both an operational problem — that its sales teams didn’t have product and services information when they needed it — and a business problem — as a result, it was harder to close sales. Observing Web 2.0 popularity, increased peer-to-peer information sharing among employees, and sales team demand for learning in the field, SLS met learners where they already were: informally finding and sharing information in a range of media, often via their cell phones.
By doing so, SLS leveraged open source technology to create SLX, a YouTube-like collaborative multimedia portal where employees can post, view, rate, tag, share or download content to a computer or iPod.
SLX was initially designed as mobile learning for sales professionals — customer-facing early adopters with little time or patience for formal classes — who wanted quick access to product and selling tips, especially right before a pitch. SLX was created to enable them to access content 24 hours a day and to share content, like posting a narrated slideshow for teams worldwide.
SLX became a companywide initiative driven by SLS. SLX was thus enlisted to help address a range of organizational challenges beyond the need for on-demand mobile sales training. Sun’s service employees around the globe — heavy information users like their sales colleagues — needed more timely data to support products and services. Similarly, its marketing division sought faster, more efficient ways to share campaign plans, messaging and other key strategic information with teams worldwide. Sun’s customers, partners and members of its learning community — including students, professionals and universities — also expected new and engaging ways to connect with Sun Microsystems online. SLX was used to assist with telecommuting employees as well. It combines multimedia file sharing, mobile content and social networking built inexpensively and in-house with open source technology. Sun refers to this as “corporate YouTube,” an online content-sharing platform integrated with a community software platform that optimizes interaction and collaboration. Users can watch multimedia content online or download it to iTunes for offline viewing — all from their computer, iPhone or iPod Touch. Like YouTube, SLX leverages key social networking capabilities: content sorting, ratings, tags, comments and content filtering. In addition, it features channels that enable targeted content distribution for cross-functional teams, special Sun initiatives, developer groups and The Help Channel, which offers SLX hot tips, getting-started guides and help videos.
Confidential channels are members-only. Privacy controls determine access, content contributors and distribution permissions, thereby protecting confidential company and partner information while allowing public access and interaction. Flexible content creation options make generating content easy. SLX offers multimedia file uploads, video and audio authoring, and screencast capture tools. Employees can also record audio content over the phone.
Innovation — Division 1 — Silver
Marquam Piros, Senior Director, Learning on Demand, Seagate Technology
In 1995, Marquam Piros came to Seagate Technology, a company with approximately 45,000 employees worldwide. The employee population is comprised of almost 29,000 employees in the manufacturing organization and nearly 16,000 employees in the executive, management, sales, engineering and support divisions.
Piros leads the performance management and learning operations team and is ultimately responsible for defining, managing and deploying the global strategy for performance, learning, succession and development planning to enable business strategy execution.
This year, Seagate, like many other companies, experienced a significant reduction in workforce. In addition, Seagate has reorganized to a functional structure to better align core strengths and to enhance the company’s decision-making process to make smarter and faster decisions to improve execution.
In response to these changes, Piros led the creation of the performance management and learning operations team.
Innovation Award — Division 2 — Gold
Rob Hennigar, Director of Education, Constellation Wines
For Rob Hennigar, director of education at Constellation Wines, winning the Innovation Award serves as validation for himself and his team. “When you’re this close to what you do, you’re always wondering, ‘Well, how leading edge is this?’” Hennigar said. “We try to pay attention [to] what other people are doing, but we don’t have as much time as we’d like [to do so]. So it’s a bit of a surprise, because we think we’re doing great work, but this is a great validation to remind us that what we’re doing is very interesting and very good.”
But at the same time, Hennigar views the award as a challenge. He said, “It’s daunting, because now how do we keep going? How do we keep improving?”
Constellation Wines faced a challenge in that it had no cost-effective way to share knowledge or provide employees with the time to gain greater familiarity with the various wineries, winemakers and other wine country information it handled. Wanting to better leverage technology for training, Constellation looked to revamp its approach to training by adopting more integrated, accessible e-learning programs.
Hennigar said he thought Constellation absolutely accomplished that goal. “As a matter of fact, we’ve reduced the number of training sessions we used to do to bring people out to the valley to experience wines, because the online programs and opportunities that we run fulfill the need perfectly well,” he said. In fact, the programs have moved from Constellation’s internal workforce to its customer base.
“A large portion of our efforts now are to our customers. For instance, [at] Marriott Corp., we’re training all their waitstaff in their wines. And there are hundreds of Marriott properties that if we were to travel to and do all instructor-led training sessions, we couldn’t do anything else.”
This expanded reach has enhanced Constellation’s effectiveness with all its clients. “With a small team, we’re able to do a lot more than we would if we had to do this all face-to-face training,” Hennigar said.
The technology Constellation is using to accomplish this is a hosted version of Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro for its training staff, partners and customers around the globe.
The company initially deployed only recorded courses online. Hennigar credits this gradual rollout with the lack of pushback the company saw from its staff. “We didn’t roll it out full scale to start with,” he said. “We rolled it out with a logical first approach and learned from that and evolved it.”
Today, with approximately 850 employees and partners actively engaged in online training, the company is blending a series of live presentations into its learning model. Live sessions with experts are recorded and then made available to people worldwide, helping to ensure consistent delivery and wider distribution of expert knowledge inside and outside the company.
Innovation Award — Division 2 — Silver
Teri Olsen, Director, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, University of Utah
Teri Olsen directs the education and development department for University Health Care, an academic medical center at the University of Utah. Two years ago, she brought together the technical training team and the clinical staff education team to create the foundation for centralized education for the university’s hospitals and clinics. This year, the centralization efforts continued as the team added unit nurse educators and organizational development to the core team.
In her role, Olsen facilitates learning for 4,500 employees. Prior to the new learning and development initiatives, the center had been struggling to meet patient satisfaction targets. In addition, senior leadership was regularly receiving letters and other communication from patients indicating poor experiences at the hospital.
Members of the center’s nursing leadership felt strongly that change needed to start at the grass-roots level, so a bedside nurse from each unit was identified as a “unit champion” to lead change in the way nurses treated patients. The team created a two-day immersion training for 40 unit champions so they could understand the problems and the needed change. Then, the team condensed this experience into a four-hour mini-retreat for all nursing staff. The primary educational tool was an empathy exercise that guided nursing staff to realize they had the answers to the problems within themselves.
“When you think of innovation, it usually brings to mind a new technology,” Olsen said “Also, when you think about nurses, you picture someone who is very empathic and caring. However, nursing is really a task-based profession, and nurses can become so focused on task and timing that they forget about patient needs and feelings. What I feel is most innovative about this program is that we had very little technology and went back to the basics.”
Business Impact — Division 1 — Gold
Dan Braunm, Vice President of Global Learning, CA Inc.
Negotiation training is a key component for success at global IT management software company CA Inc. The company’s sales professionals work in a complex, extremely competitive environment, and effective negotiation skills equal better customer relationships and long-term business partnerships, as well as the potential difference between hitting and missing the company’s revenue goals.
As a result of its employee development initiative to enhance negotiation skills, CA has brought in some $42 million in top-line revenue. And that’s only from April 2008 through March 2009 — last fiscal year’s deployment.
“That’s the return after we paid for the program and our delivery,” said Dan Braunm, vice president of global learning at CA. “That came because the program was executed a little differently than negotiation skills had been delivered in the past. [In the past], we had used lots of vendors and courses that talked about winning negotiations as you get to the table. We didn’t sit down with executives and talk to them about business objectives in terms of expanding the deal.”
Braunm said negotiation starts from the moment the sales professional says hello, the moment the software is installed and successful. His mission was to get people to think differently about that to promote give and take, and to always consider how to expand the size of each deal being made without giving away unnecessary concessions. Further, these actions should be standard, a part of the salesperson’s DNA, not an activity performed at a certain point in the deal.
“That’s what made this program a little different,” he explained. “There were great measures against business objectives established upfront. We looked at a baseline: Here’s how many points we’re giving away currently, and here’s the average size of our deal now. We explain that to folks as they go through the class. There are no slides, just four simulated negotiations, and you understand from the beginning how you need to interact differently with customers to ensure this is going to be successful.”
Further, there is a series of post-workshop follow-up activities for managers as well as sales professionals, including coaching to ensure the new skills and behaviors remain active throughout the life cycle of a sale. There is also post-measurement to examine deals made and how they might be improved, along with how negotiation contributed to their success.
Braunm said the company will continue to roll out its negotiation training to other populations to capitalize on the competitive spirit that already exists within the sales ranks.
“You hire sales folks who’ve been selling for years. To force them to go through something really isn’t our M.O.,” he explained. “We put a sales academy out there and ask them to self-diagnose where they need the most help based on performance feedback. This class was scheduled to go out to about 10 percent of the population. Because of the results we are seeing, it became competitive in the field. Different regions want to go through it because those numbers are things they want in their regions. We’re going to deliver to 50 percent of the field this year alone.”
Business Impact — Division 1 — Silver
Barbara Keen, Senior Director of Global Learning and Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Prior to Barbara Keen’s appointment as head of global learning and development, biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb had no centralized global learning function. Instead, the company worked with 75 different learning teams that didn’t always share or align practices.
When Keen arrived in 2007, she and her team not only aligned the company’s learning efforts with its global business strategy, but they also generated a high level of efficiency, productivity and cost reduction.
“We really had to focus on getting visibility into where everybody was spending money to identify areas where we could capitalize on potential savings opportunities,” she said. “It was a lot of work because much of the savings comes in very small bites. We have been taking lots of bites at the apple, looking for efficiencies, redundancies and opportunities to standardize and globalize.”
Keen said equally important was the company’s focus on building standards of practice so that learning professionals could be both consultative and strategic in their work, as this facilitates organizational effectiveness.
“We built a tangible annual learning plan process whereby we analyze the business needs, translate those into performance needs, and then identify ways we can build skills, knowledge and performance capabilities in order to drive business impact,” she said. “Putting all of that in place has taken us to a new level.”
Business Impact — Division 2 — Gold
Dan Clark, Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development, Silliker
The primary positions at Silliker, a food testing and consulting network that helps manufacturers, restaurants, caterers and retailers ensure the quality and nutritional value of food, aren’t exactly sexy jobs, said Dan Clark, vice president of human resources and organizational development.
“Our people work in a laboratory where they stand all day. It’s kind of high volume, very repetitive, so for a good number of our people, it’s just a job,” he said. “We used an initiative to counteract that by forging a new relationship with their immediate leaders and focusing on what really drives that individual’s engagement — which may be different than [that of] the person standing next to them — and encouraging our leaders to treat those two people differently yet appropriately.”
Following a recent spate of organizational change that included 63 percent growth in revenue and significant acquisition activity, Clark said turnover had increased to 35 percent. Leaders spent much of their time training new employees, some of whom left within three to six months of hiring. Silliker, which has 45 locations in 15 countries, launched a strategic initiative in the U.S. and Canada to improve engagement and retention.
“We knew we really needed to focus on driving engagement and retention, and it also took us to things like selection, orientation and managing performance,” he said. “It was the thought of what could we achieve if we got this 35 percent turnover rate down to a manageable level.”
The initiative, which Clark and his team began planning in late 2006 for implementation in mid-2007, is an ongoing effort to systemically develop all company leaders on new ways to relate to employees and boost employee engagement.
“It wasn’t just learning that could be delivered in a classroom setting,” Clark explained. “We went beyond that and looked at all of our internal processes and revised them to make sure they supported engagement and retention.”
Some of those processes included extensive one-on-one coaching, formal “stay interviews” for each leader and establishment of retention and engagement goals — that are reviewed and have attached bonus incentives — to promote accountability.
Clark said results appeared immediately via engagement metrics as well as real-time data collection on how employees felt about pay, among other things. Shortly thereafter, in mid-2008, additional measurements revealed significant improvements across the board.
“The data continues, the feedback to our leaders and organization continues, and we’re still seeing improvement, so the reinforcement of our learning is paying off,” Clark said. “Our turnover was at 35 percent at the beginning of the initiative in July 2007, and it’s down to 13 percent today — below the national average for total turnover. We’ve seen improvements in our efficiencies that we value at almost $700,000. We know our turnover has saved up over $800,000 annually.”
Business Impact — Division 2 — Silver
Anthony Sandonato, Manager of Leadership Development, Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Hospitality Owner Services
Wyndham Vacation Ownership, a time share hospitality division within Wyndham Worldwide, operates a call center engine responsible for reservations and general customer service for more than 830,000 members and their guests. The Frontline Leadership Development Initiative was created in 2008 to move the call center division toward a more performance-based service culture.
“What was special about this particular initiative is before we went down that road, we realized the environment needed fixing,” explained Anthony Sandonato, manager of leadership development for Wyndham Vacation Ownership and a 15-year veteran of the learning industry. “We found out the environment was toxic. People were telling us that, but you don’t believe them: [Instead], it’s because they’re not working hard enough or communication [isn’t good] or we’re not open to change. Well, it was that the environment was not conducive to the performance we were looking for.”
Sandonato said in the call center environment, almost everything can be measured, and everything often is. This produces so much information that it’s easy for managers to get lost in data. He said it was theorized that supervisors should be developing customer service call agents — observing them, monitoring quality, executing demonstrations and providing them with coaching, feedback and job shadowing opportunities to enhance skills — but the time-intensive nature of the measurement and administrative functions was prohibitive.
“The search for the problem was the problem,” he said. “You’re not going to shut all that data and administration down in a call center, but we needed it off the supervisor because this analysis and administrative work was competing for the time and talent needed to help develop call agents.”
Once the environmental issue was identified, Sandonato and his team clarified job tasks, and even created new jobs, before focusing on individuals.
Global Learning — Division 1 — Gold
Matthew Peters, Chief Learning Officer, Defense Intelligence Agency
As CLO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Matt Peters heads up a team of more than 250 staff members focused on delivering development to more than 16,500 DIA employees. When DIA merged operations with 10 combatant command units located across the world under the Defense Intelligence Enterprise, the move added more than 2,000 new civilians and 7,500 partners, including military and contract workers. For added complexity, each of the merged units had its own local learning organization, collectively responsible for 30,000 employees worldwide.
Under the direction of Peters and the global learning solutions group, DIA adopted a unified organizational model for the merged operations in order to take advantage of the best of decentralized and centralized operating models. The goal was to flexibly meet the individual units’ learning and development needs while allowing an enterprisewide review of resources and best practices.
“The best mechanism to take that enterprise approach was through creation of the DIA-Combatant Command J2 Learning Council that brought all the Combatant Command J2 learning leaders and DIA’s Office of Learning and Career Development together to identify strategies for expanding access to mission-aligned and high-impact learning, while leveraging our learning resources,” said J. Keith Dunbar, the executive director of the DIA-Combatant Command J2 Learning Council.
The council aimed to preserve the trusted advisory role of local learning leaders; strengthen the individual organizational units; localize and customize learning solutions developed at the enterprise level; gain critical mass to invest in advanced learning technologies and capital-intensive programs; establish enterprisewide standards; and create the capability to share best practices across the organization.
“Any change effort requires significant investment in time and communication to ensure that everyone understands why we are doing it and the impact it will have on each organization,” Dunbar said. “In this team’s case, we had to collectively overcome some historical perceptions of each other and focus on how we could support each other.”
Dunbar said organizations often are reluctant to share information because of the fear that individual unit resources will be taken away for enterprise learning requirements. With that in mind, DIA brought together the learning council leaders for an honest discussion and exploration of the future.
“We can look back to the February 2009 summit with the learning council as one of those defining moments where we shared what each other had for resources and had some great discussions about how we could leverage them for the greater good of the enterprise,” Dunbar said.
After overcoming that initial roadblock, the council initiated a centralized planning process that included a learning architecture and measurement strategy, developed an enterprise services model, defined learning needs from three pivotal job families and implemented a collaboration portal to share information. The unified model resulted in $8 million in additional funding, along with savings of $1 million in travel expenses and $21 million in acquisition and implementation costs. The council also reported a 450 percent increase in utilization of learning opportunities.
“Next steps are to tackle the highest-priority requirements and continue to focus on building the right Combatant Command J2 workforce capabilities and capacity to overcome challenges to executing the mission of protecting our country,” said Dunbar.
Global Learning — Division 1 — Silver
Michael Lux, Vice President, Global Learning, CA Inc.
CA Inc. faced significant challenges as the company looked to develop training for its 6,800 research and development and technical support employees around the world. The company needed a platform that could flexibly accommodate the variety of time zones, conserve valuable time for work projects and be more economical than traditional classroom learning.
To meet these needs, the New York-based technology management software maker rolled out an online collaborative learning model that melded Web-based learning with the hands-on approach needed to develop technical skills. The objective was to shift the research and development and support teams from a formalized, event-based learning model to a collaborative, self-driven one, and do it in a way that saved travel costs, but also delivered more value to the end user.
Under the direction of Michael Lux, CA created a learning model that delivered both live and recorded instructor-led webcasts to employees around the world and tied instruction into a collaborative online platform that allowed learners to post questions, upload course work, engage with instructors and enable further mentoring opportunities.
The new online model delivered on its intended results. CA estimates the company saved $900,000 in expenses and 1,800 employee days of work. Learners are also responding favorably to the new model. Surveys reveal increased student recommendations of courses to fellow employees and increased demand for collaborative courses.
Global Learning — Division 2 — Gold
Joe Lepore, Head of Global Technical Training, Life Technologies
At Life Technologies, Joe Lepore develops and delivers service training programs to the biotechnical device provider’s field service engineers charged with providing services to researchers around the world.
In a bid to extend its reach with current customers, the California-based company, which employs 9,500 people in more than 100 countries, created the Field Lead Incentive Program (FLIP) to encourage field service engineers, who have the most contact with the company’s clients, to deliver leads to the company’s sales team. But while it gave engineers a financial incentive to generate leads, in practice the program led to only 18 percent conversion of leads to actual sales.
“The field lead incentive program was conceptually sound [and] brought in several millions of dollars in revenue within a 17-month period,” Lepore said. “However, this revenue was the result of a relatively small number of very active and successful field service engineers. We recognized the potential for revenue growth should the majority of the field engineers actively and effectively participate in the program.”
Acting under the direction of the vice president of global service, Joe Lepore and the global technical training team were asked to develop programs that would ensure that all the field engineers would be able to engage their customers and communicate the value of Life Technologies’ services. After performing a gap analysis involving members of the marketing team, regional managers and field engineers, the training team identified a lack of buy-in from management and engineers, inconsistency in how customers were qualified and poor comprehension of the service products being offered.
“There were several challenges prior to implementing this program, but one of the major challenges was the service engineers’ perception of ‘selling’ services to our customers,” Lepore said. “They found that this would jeopardize their personal relationship with their customers. Secondly, how do we ensure we can perpetuate the learning and customer engagement in the field? And finally, would this process be appropriate for a global audience?”
To address these problems, Lepore and the training team developed Blueprint for Success, an intervention program that would encourage global buy-in from field engineers and provide additional training, multimedia resources and coaching. The program included:
- Soft skills training on the value of customer loyalty and communication for promoting value through service.
- Product training on products with high revenue potential, incorporating and repurposing some existing materials into individual learning modules.
- E-learning module on how to use the FLIP database.
After development, Lepore and the global training team piloted the program in Singapore, China and South Korea. This pilot provided favorable early results and allowed the team to learn from assessments and refine delivery.
Lepore said managers felt their concerns were addressed and incorporated as part of the inclusive development process. They also reported that field service engineers were using the program in their interactions with customers. According to an internal survey, 98 percent of field engineers reported the soft skills component of the program helped their customer interactions.
“The success of the rollout was the result of field management buy-in and their participation in delivering the program to their teams, which also addressed cultural and language challenges,” Lepore said. “We are definitely seeing improvements in customer engagement and lead generation. The success of this program has also generated interest from other departments within the company.”
As a result of the training, the China region reported 80 percent lead conversion, and the sales team said the quality of the leads they are receiving from engineers has improved. As a result of the success in Asia, Life Technologies has now launched the program in Europe and plans additional implementations in North America.
Learning Team — Division 1 — Gold
ManTech International Corp.
Keeping track of learning and development for 8,000 employees within numerous federal agencies would be a tough assignment for a team with dozens of members, let alone one of just three individuals.
The trio of ManTech International Corp., a technology and technical services provider to federal government customers, faced this challenge as they aimed to turn ManTech into a high-performance company that optimizes customer relationships.
The three are armed with diverse backgrounds that, when combined, created a cohesive and invaluable collection of competencies: John Hovell, director of knowledge management, is a certified knowledge manager and project management professional; Barry Krauss, executive director of learning and leader development, is the former CLO for a Florida government entity; and Alan Malinchak, vice president and chief learning officer, is a retired FBI special agent and former college professor.
Their skill sets were put to the test when the results of a 2008 employee engagement survey revealed that ManTech’s employees desired more opportunities for development through education, certifications, training and other learning activities. As a result, the team implemented several programs centered on individual and organizational learning and leader development.
To satisfy the needs of this first objective, the team — in collaboration with various ManTech business unit executives, program managers and other leaders — developed and converted to Web-based delivery 13 courses in systems thinking and engineering, U.S. export control, corporate security and business development. Through its ManTech University LMS, the team also developed 14 courses in project management, 50 in business operations, 12 in financial reporting integration and three in compliance.
The team also sought university alliances and worked with its existing alliances to explore degree completion programs for employees who were shy of completing their bachelor’s degrees. In the past year, ManTech formed new alliances with Kaplan University, DeVry University and the Defense Acquisition University.
ManTech’s learning team was also involved in the ManTech SRS Conversion Project (MCP), which dealt with two recent acquisitions into ManTech’s human resources information systems platforms for operational and financial reporting (ManTech SRS Technologies — also known as MSRS — is a division of ManTech International Corp.). An initial third-party assessment of current training needs was deemed insufficient by the company’s chief information officer, so the learning trio was asked to put together a thorough analysis of training available to assure the MCP’s success, and to develop training courses that would meet the project’s standards — in only two months’ time.
The team discovered many holes in the external consultant’s review and realized that ManTech’s training resources did not align with successful completion of the MCP. There was much work to be done, and they set out to complete a new training program featuring a combination of instructor-led and Web-based courses. They focused also on making sure the new programs were flexible enough to reuse in the event