The Trailblazer Award is for learning executives who have either launched a new enterprise learning function or completely overhauled existing workforce development initiatives in the past year.
DIVISION 1: For companies with 10,000 employees or more
Patricia Aquaro, Managing Director and Head of Risk and Professional Excellence, BNY Mellon
In an effort to assess and train 6,000 managers, Patricia Aquaro at BNY Mellon led a team to create EmpowerTheUser Simulations. The bank offers investment and investment services, meaning its workers must understand and manage risk to have continued success.
After seeing the success of a 2015 session, “Managing Risk in Your Team,” BNY Mellon created its next program in 2017, Effective Risk Management for Managers, in three simulated sessions. The first taught them to act as relationship managers to meet with prospective clients to negotiate contracts and onboard the client. The second simulation acted as operations managers to onboard the client, take ownership of their issue and find next steps. The third had participants act as risk managers to examine an issue. These simulations helped staff understand their role in mitigating and managing risk.
These simulations centered on the Kirkpatrick Model, following four levels: measure engagement and satisfaction, assess transfer of learning, determine behavioral change and quantify business impact. A new level of the model that uses neuroscience and artificial intelligence to predict future behavior was also created.
To build this program, BNY Mellon had to host design workshops with stakeholders, consult on design, script the simulations, produce the simulations, edit them and launch the program to 6,000 managers globally.
The simulations proved successful, saving more than $700,000 and rolling out 350 percent faster than industry benchmarks, according to the Learning In Practice application. User satisfaction was also high, with 80 percent of participants agreeing that the program delivery “was an effective way for me to learn the content.” Feedback included requests to deliver the training to direct reports, resulting in the program rolling out to an additional 10,000 participants in 2018.
Charles Atkins, Vice President, Dell EMC Education Services
After Dell Inc. and EMC Corp. merged, their learning functions also needed to combine. Dell EMC Education Services then faced the challenge of having a globally dispersed team that must serve stakeholders efficiently. To do so, Charles Atkins led his team to open communication across silos and define a new operational model, while helping employees understand their roles in the new company.
To start, the leadership in Education Services mapped out the learning function as it was, followed by identifying gaps and requirements from stakeholders. The operating model that came out of this needed to manage customer needs and portfolios of learning offerings, then develop and deliver courses. The organizational structure then needed revamping to support that model.
The resulting plan, “Designing Our Success,” involved a leadership workshop, an online course and an ongoing communications plan with the goal of every member of the team fully understanding the new operating model and their individual role in the changing company and business unit. Results from these efforts include 99 percent of participants finding value in the leadership workshop and the intranet site having an 84 percent participation rate.
David Sylvester, Principal, Leadership and Development, Booz Allen Hamilton
When Booz Allen Hamilton wanted to become a leader in data science, the company needed to create a learning initiative and employee value proposition to both upskill current employees and retain them. The business decision meant retaining the existing 600 data scientists and training 3,500 data analysts at the company through a Data Science 5K Challenge, which featured a 110-hour course. This effort was in conjunction with the company launching its employee value proposition, which promises “to invest in employees’ career growth and satisfaction in return for their commitment to the firm’s success.” Although the DS5K is still in progress, a communication plan and partnership with 10 subject matter experts aided in making this multiyear effort an early success.
DIVISION 2: For companies with less than 10,000 employees
Tim Tobin, Vice President, Franchisee Onboarding and Learning, Choice Hotels International
As a leading hospitality franchising firm, Choice Hotels International needed to better serve its nearly 50,000 franchisees through elective and required content about proprietary systems, operations and brand programs. The LMS, ChoiceU, originally launched in 2008 and has since grown to include videos and e-learning modules. Students of the platform grew frustrated with the ChoiceU experience, sparking a need to change while connecting learning and performance.
In stepped Tim Tobin, who joined Choice Hotels as dean of Choice University in 2016. His first assignment was to evaluate the program, finding out through more than 75 interviews that learners wanted user-friendly navigation and content that is short and aligns with their roles. To start on implementing these necessary changes, Tobin had a multiday offsite meeting with all 30 members of the Choice University team, working to identify a new vision for their program.
The first priority was the LMS, and creating the new program involved regular communication with the company’s executive team, quarterly sessions with owner groups, creative sessions with the LMS provider and, finally, user experience testing. New features and functionality began to go through changes, resulting in new learning taxonomy organized in four areas: systems/operations, brand/service, leadership/management and functional topics. The new ChoiceU.com also features five language options, curriculum road maps and business solution maps. Videos, branded as ChoiceU TV, are between three and 15 minutes. Additionally, ChoiceU.com is mobile-enabled and has an enhanced search functionality, as well as many other add-ons and improvements.
ChoiceU.com went live in May 2017. The results from these efforts include more than 47,000 active student accounts and an increased completion of content from 336,000 in 2015 to more than 1.7 million in 2017.
Ross McLean, Global Program Manager, Veeam
Veeam Software, a company that develops backup, disaster recovery and intelligent data management software, is growing quickly. Between 2016 and 2018, the team swelled from 2,000 to 3,500 employees. This, along with customer growth, meant the sellers needed a strong onboarding program.
Ross McLean, global program manager, faced creating onboarding for salespeople that meets the following criteria: flexible to various hire dates, unique to different geographies and roles, provides critical knowledge, reduces travel costs and more. The program, called RAMP, features an LMS and knowledge reinforcement app, which is released at 30, 60 and 90 days after employee start-dates to remind new salespeople of key topics.
At the time of the application submission, RAMP had only 16 weeks of post-training data that already proved a 6.16-times return on investment.
Anil Santhapuri, Director, Learning and Development, Altisource
Anil Santhapuri led Altisource’s L&D team to support initiatives at the real estate and mortgage services and technology provider. A learning initiative for more than 7,500 employees involved three main pillars, which aligned to business initiatives such as supporting objectives and key results, creating compelling learning experiences and launching a new-hire onboarding program. To accomplish necessary goals, Santhapuri’s team needed to shift company culture for the employee population spread across five countries, organize to reach all workers and redesign existing course material. This all proved successful, with participants reporting effectiveness scores of at least 4 out of 5 regarding the material and usefulness of training.