For learning executives who have either launched a new enterprise learning function or completely overhauled existing workforce development initiatives in the past year.
Director, Booz Allen Hamilton
Booz Allen Hamilton prides itself on the firm’s dedication to diversity. But diversity goes further than hiring women and minorities. It should serve as a means to respect the way people identify themselves and how they approach tasks and challenges. Under the direction of David Sylvester, the firm set out to embed diversity into the firm’s culture and foster a community of respect and opportunity through a new leadership program.
Leadership in Focus, a series of programs, develops skills for leaders at all levels. The first program, “Be Inclusive,” focused on the behaviors leaders need to build and maintain an inclusive work environment. For extra impact, the program was facilitated by 260 leaders at all levels rather than external facilitators.
Most diversity programs attempt to control leader behaviors but this often tends to activate unconscious biases rather than minimize them. Instead of focusing on controlling behaviors, Booz Allen reinforced inclusivity by giving leaders the skills to foster a sense of belonging and respect. Leaders were taught to recognize how and when unconscious bias may show up, understand methods to mitigate personal situational bias and develop behaviors and make commitments to create a more inclusive culture.
The 90-minute workshops centered on topics such as being thoughtful about leveraging different skills, backgrounds and experiences; assembling diverse teams; developing people and making promotions based on merit; modeling and insisting on mutual respect and fairness; creating a sense of support, safety and community; and making conscious actions and decisions.
Of the 1,951 participants, 93 percent said they will apply what they learned, 92 percent reported they learned how to recognize unconscious bias and its impact and 91 percent said the program taught them to be a more inclusive leader.
Director of Global Learning Solutions and Development, Valmont Industries
New employee onboarding at Valmont Industries was typically done through a one-day class featuring PowerPoint presentations. A lack of standardization from a corporate level led to inconsistencies in application. Patrick Angel led an initiative to make onboarding a continual process rather than a one-day experience.
Along with the training, human resources, safety, operational excellence, manufacturing and information technology teams, Angel and the learning team mapped out what onboarding should look like in an employee’s first week and ensured it was relevant to all divisions and met basic training needs for all employees.
The new programs include in-person training every morning after which new employees are assigned an online curriculum broken down by day to tell them which training to complete throughout the week. Each course can be translated into multiple languages and is aimed at improving engagement and performance among employees.
Executive Director, Global Leadership Acceleration, Laureate Education Inc.
To deepen the leadership pool at Laureate International Universities, the learning team under the direction of Adriana Holt created the Laureate Leadership Excellence Academy. This global online learning initiative created a common consistent language of leadership and included on-demand and cohort programs which have reached more than 2,000 learners.
Chief Learning Officer, Suffolk Construction
When Dave DeFilippo was hired in 2015, Boston-based construction firm Suffolk had no CLO. With an eye on the firm’s aggressive growth plan, company leaders tasked DeFilippo with establishing a best-in-class learning and talent function that would support business growth.
Over the course of his first 100 days, DeFilippo met with executives and stakeholders and found a high level of dissatisfaction with existing learning and a lack of confidence in the team’s ability to keep pace with business demands. He then crafted a three-year strategic plan focused on six priorities: culture, core business optimization, succession planning, performance management, developing a talent platform and professionalizing the learning and talent function.
The plan included a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures to gauge program effectiveness in all six areas identified in Suffolk’s three-year learning and talent plan. Reported reactions, usage, application and effect on retention and promotion rate have all been significant. Within the learning team, the employee engagement survey showed an engagement rate of 96 percent, the highest in the firm.
Senior Director, Learning and Development, Ellucian
Software company Ellucian set out to change its approach to talent management in order to increase engagement, fuel innovation and collaboration and encourage constant learning while simultaneously becoming more agile.
Tracy Saunders and team launched I-Venture, a new talent management program that combined performance management, employee development, talent planning and compensation. The program, which included
elements for both leaders and individual contributors who worked in parallel through the program included social learning, bite-sized learning, multiple modalities, pre- and post-learning sprint activities, pre- and post surveys, executive and operational sponsorship and gamification.
Team Leader, Boy Scouts of America
When leaders of the Boy Scouts of America challenged the organization to lower costs, grow membership and improve standards, Steve Yackel and the learning team set to work to create ScoutingU, a blended and e-learning delivery strategy to improve learning access for volunteers and employees in a mobile-friendly environment.
Prior to ScoutingU, employee learning was a one-size-fits-all but now programs are specifically designed for each position, featuring custom defined e-learning modules for key knowledge followed by in-person courses. On the volunteer side, it was difficult to train large numbers of volunteers efficiently. With ScoutingU, volunteers can now be trained remotely with 200 modules and 940 minutes worth of learning.
Vice President, Head of Talent Development, Lincoln Financial Group
Led by Pearl Sumathi, Lincoln Financial Group designed Lincoln’s Management Development Program, a 12-week virtual program aligned to three core competencies: strategic skills, talent management and execution. Satisfaction with the program was rated an average 4.52 out of 5 and assessments completed by participants and managers before and after the program noted an average increase of 14 to 16 percent in competency-related behaviors.
Marygrace Schumann is an editorial intern at Chief Learning Officer magazine. She can be reached at editor@CLOmedia.com.