Learning in Practice Awards 2016
For learning executives who have implemented a significant measurement or evaluation program
that has demonstrated exceptional business impact from their workforce development programs.
Potential results may include measures of employee retention, sales, revenue growth, customer satisfaction or cost reduction, among others.
Bechtel University, Bechtel Corp.
There will always be competition in the marketplace. But when playing on a global level, the stakes are higher. To secure a place at the table, excellence is a top priority. Bechtel, an engineering, procurement and construction company, knows this.
While Bechtel has always been proficient on the technical side of things, employees’ collaborative and interpersonal skills needed work. In the construction industry, building relationships is key to securing future contracts. When working on large-scale projects such as a power plant in Japan or a train station in India, collaborating with other companies is a given.
To improve these soft skills, Bechtel University created an interactive, business-relevant program that works for all types of learners. During eight hours of experiential learning that includes real-world applications of these skills, participants can reflect and share their own experiences. The program challenges participants to change their mindsets when dealing with clients, to automatically default to the question, What is best for the relationship?
This shift in attitude works. The program has received feedback from a variety of employees who have successfully used the new skills on a job site. Employees are more self-aware and able to solve problems, customer feedback has been positive, contracts have been extended and project delay times decreased.
The telecommunications industry has been moving at breakneck pace for the past decade thanks to technological advancements and high demand for mobile devices.
With more than 37,000 patents in the telecommunications industry and 40 percent of global mobile traffic running through its networks, Ericsson Inc. is a key player. Despite its influence in the market, the company’s leaders felt they weren’t living up to their potential.
To advance consulting skills, improve customer service and increase business savvy, the company created Accelerating Business Savvy for Project Engagements. The two-and-a-half-day experiential program received input from various departments in the organization and was created in part to enable participants to maximize the company’s margins. The program was designed to have an immediate impact but also to generate long-lasting results.
After one year, the program had an ROI of 807 percent.
— Alice Keefe
Defense Acquisition University
With the potential loss of tens of thousands of employees due to retirement looming over the Department of Defense’s acquisition workforce, Vice Adm. James D. Syring turned to Defense Acquisition University President James P. Woolsey. Together, they were able to create a program to develop young leaders by using a mix of faculty advisers, and online and workplace learning.
Yum University, Yum Brands
Realizing they had a shortage of mid-level managers in 2013, Yum Brands wanted to fill the gap. Yum University created Leadership Accel, a 24-week program that includes one-on-one sessions and workshops to promote leadership alongside critical and strategic thinking. Participants have seen an average of two promotions during a three-year span.
Value Offerings, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association
The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s mission is to further the advancement and impact of women in the health care industry. HBA does this by creating a network of businesses and individuals who participate in a variety of programs, including its chapter mentoring program, which some participants say has changed their professional career trajectory.
Although the mentoring program was successful and impactful for members, the sessions were led by chapter volunteers across the country, which created inconsistency in content. This became an issue as it occasionally gave HBA’s oft-praised program a rocky reputation.
In 2016, an intentionally consistent and comprehensive program revamp was launched to revitalize successful chapter-led mentoring programs. To get the best feedback and create the most effective program, HBA Director of Education Liz Stueck interacted with her customer base as well as HBA volunteers to identify what program components were most beneficial. Targeting her customers and responding to their input allowed Stueck to not only create the best program, but form stronger bonds and increase loyalty.
Using multimedia components and strategies targeting a variety of adult learners, the program effectively integrated engaging, consistent and diverse content. Because of Stueck’s all-encompassing approach to improve the program, productivity increased as did accessibility to resources. The number of mentees in the program is up 47 percent with almost 500 members.
Organization and People Development, General Reinsurance
When General Reinsurance’s sales environment became increasingly complex and challenging, Vice President of Learning and Organizational Development Ann Marie Sidman decided the company needed to make a dramatic change.
In an industry that is typically based on relationships, Sidman wanted to try something different. The goal was to stay competitive in the marketplace while working smarter and driving profit. She came up with an assertive, Challenger-based foundation that required a behavioral shift in how employees dealt with customers.
The program teaches employees effective skills and behaviors to use when dealing with clients. An online learning community offers various resources such as microlearning, articles, job aids and opportunities for collaboration.
With the help of company leaders, General Reinsurance was able to implement the Challenger model into every element of the sales process, which has led to new clients and increased revenue.
People and Culture, Suffolk Construction
Suffolk Construction doubled in size from 2007 to 2015 and is still expanding. To deliver consistency to clients and employees, the company needed a way to implement its core values into the onboarding process. A three-day immersive learning experience held at Suffolk headquarters in Boston helped drop the new hire attrition rate after the first year.
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