The Strategy Award is for learning executives who have demonstrated exceptional business acumen combined with forward-looking vision to develop and execute a comprehensive learning strategy that clearly aligns employee development with broader organizational strategy.
DIVISION 1: For companies with 10,000 employees or more
Samantha Hammock, Chief Learning Officer, American Express
During a period of business transformation, American Express has been executing against a multi-year corporate strategy that addresses external and internal business challenges. Increased competition due to technology, regulation and a demand for transparency has created an urgency among the organization to continuously reexamine the business and determine how to offer more services to customers.
Hammock introduced an enterprise view of leadership development in a way that inspired business and embraced new approaches for implementing leadership behaviors across the organization.
Due to their strong commitment and belief in leadership, American Express launched the American Express Leadership Academy in 2017, devoted to building a foundation of leadership for all employees. The virtual design allows colleagues to participate in a global community across American Express. The academy blends live, virtual discussions with self-paced modules, allowing participants to connect with global peers to share perspectives and expand their network. The program focuses on learning techniques that enhance work at any stage of their career and developing the skills to effectively lead in anything they do.
American Express is now expeditiously building a strong foundation among their next-generation leaders that encourages innovation, speed and agility, all required to succeed in today’s marketplace.
Tracie Ybarra, Senior Consultant, Talent Management & Organizational Development, Dell Technologies, Services & Digital
Dell Technologies has recently gone through large-scale acquisition and integration due to the Dell-EMC merger in 2016, which caused a lot of confusion among end users and stakeholders. This circumstance highlighted their need to integrate distinct talent strategy efforts and initiatives across a variety of business units and needs.
Ybarra comprised a team of three talent strategists to make progress in three key areas, which included leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and recent graduates. The outcome helped build strong talent pipelines, inspired leaders, enabled the next generation of talent and built a brand that attracts innovative leaders.
Chris Hall, Assistant Commissioner/Chief Learning Officer, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection
One of the deadliest time periods in Customs and Border Protection’s history was between 2010 and 2012. This sparked a national dialogue regarding the use of force by law enforcement, including when force is appropriate, how it is investigated and how the results can be made transparent to the public. Hall developed a multi-year strategy to reform and improve policies, training and transparency.
When this strategy launched in 2012, there were 55 uses of deadly force by CBP agents along the border. Since then, there has been a significant decrease in the use of deadly force with each year. In 2018, there were 15 uses of deadly force by CBP officers. CBP officers have used their firearms 73 percent less.
Alignment of resident and field-level training and performance-based training that was implemented at the Field Operations and Border Patrol Academies were two key changes that were made to push the culture toward adapting the de-escalation of force tactics. These reforms were recognized by the Department of Homeland Security and the White House.
DIVISION 2: For companies with less than 10,000 employees
Melissa Janis, Vice President, Leadership & Organizational Development, McGraw-Hill
In order to transform McGraw-Hill from a traditional textbook publisher to a digital learning technology enterprise, they needed to realign the organizational culture to a new business strategy. The first step in this transformation was conducting a leadership development program and then amplifying the desired behaviors throughout the organization. This was encouraged through their new core values that were introduced in 2017: Speak Out, Stretch Forward, Own It, Deliver Value and Win Together.
Of the core values, Stretch Forward was key for McGraw-Hill because it encouraged employees to step outside of their comfort zones, take calculated risks and continuously learn. The Stretch Forward initiative was designed to help employees embrace iteration and implement a learning culture across the workforce that would result in greater innovation. The program provided webcast presentations, learner self-assessment, interactive webinars, personalized learning plans, e-learning, on-the-job learning, meetings-in-a-box and mentoring.
Stretch Forward made substantial progress in implementing McGraw-Hill’s new core values, helping employees invest in their own learning and creating an advanced learning culture. The program increased career planning and development activity and sparked manager-led team building. It has also established a strong base for the change within upcoming management work to support the recently announced merger.
Meriya Dyble, Managing Director, Connected Learning & Change, ATB Financial
To navigate the changing landscape of the financial industry, ATB Financial began to focus on connecting their employees to people, information and experiences that would help them evolve, which in turn benefited their customers. Instead of looking at change as something to manage, they began to think of change as a constant, thus building adaptability into the foundation of the organization.
Dyble led the strategic shift from traditional learning and development and change teams to a connected learning and change team that provided these connections for employees. The team focused on creating a system that could react efficiently to changed circumstances.
ATB launched Degreed to support this strategy. This created a personalized and adaptive learning experience that helped employees thrive through change. Degreed allows employees to control their learning, highlights peer-to-peer learning and provides the opportunity to learn in whatever way works best for them.
Rachapol Lamee, Industrial Training and Education Manager, E. & J. Gallo Winery
Before 2017, E. & J. Gallo Winery had no established learning and development departments at the Fresno Winery. The organization decided to establish training departments throughout the production sites in 2014, which led to the development of a new learning and education organization that developed and standardized training programs.
Once the Fresno training team was established, a five-year plan was built to align with the organization’s strategic and operational goals. To supplement adopting the Training Within Industry (TWI) methodology, on-site training facilities that offered programs with fully integrated TWI practices were established. A computer lab was also created to support the development of e-learning courses and make training more accessible to employees. In addition, two training professionals were hired, which resulted in high-quality training programs, higher retention of employee learning and a decrease in work-related costs.
By 2018, the Fresno Training Department had one of the most effective training organizations. The team at E. & J. Gallo Winery continues to collaborate with other departments for progressive approaches to learning and development.