Managing Partner, Human Resources
In order for employee education to make a significant impact on the enterprise, learning executives must ensure that workforce development is geared to create high performers. Jill Smart, managing partner, human resources, Accenture, currently leads the company’s Human Resources Delivery organization, which is responsible for personnel management and capability development for Accenture’s 90,000 employees worldwide. The company’s learning function is housed within the human resources organization, and in 1999, when Accenture’s CEO charged Smart with the task of “fixing” training, she jumped in with a plan to deliver phenomenal learning.
Using client experiences in human performance, integrating strategy and technology business process, Smart has aligned learning with Accenture’s core values and delivers information to the company’s key assets—its people. Smart understands which competencies are critical to drive business process improvements, what makes the learning business effective and how best to achieve the greatest impact on the bottom line. Accenture’s curriculum is customized for the workforce using a strategic blend of technology- and classroom-based delivery methodologies. The company’s learning program evolves along with its corporate strategy and focuses on the retention and agility of its workforce, as well as maintaining high expectations for education and development.
Accenture averages 80 hours of learning per employee per year, and more than 10,000 courses are available. At Accenture, learning is an investment, not a cost, though Smart did reduce the company’s training budget by more than $300 million. An ROI study offered further statistical evidence that learning was key to promoting a healthy bottom line in areas such as recruitment and employee satisfaction. To ensure that the company’s workforce would have the appropriate skills, knowledge and motivation to meet specific roles and challenges, Smart implemented a learning approach that would address skill gaps with the greatest business impact and allow for progress measurements. Learning at Accenture runs like a business, but remains essential to maintaining the corporate culture.