Join us at the CLO Breakfast Club where we’ll be discussing the trends, technologies and practices transforming employee development into an even more powerful force for sustained success.
Developed and driven by the editors of Chief Learning Officer, the CLO Symposium is where learning, training and development professionals come together to learn from each other. By connecting with people and teams who have faced similar challenges and goals, you can learn practical applications that will help you and your team achieve the results your organization expects. This conference isn’t just for CLOs, though. Get the most out of the experience by bringing your team so you can all learn together. The Symposium is held in the spring and fall in different locations each year, so if one event doesn’t work for your learning department, consider attending the other. We look forward to seeing you there!
Accessing third-party experts to help develop leaders across a global organization is certainly possible, but is that the best option for the company and those leaders who need real world skills, wisdom and insights as part of their development? Using talented internal trainers is an option as well, but again is that the best option? Can you instead leverage an internal faculty of senior executives and combine that with a focus on virtual peer learning sessions as a strategy to supplement your traditional learning options? If the answer is yes (hint: it is), what are the benefits of these initiatives and how can you measure the cultural and practical impact.
Join Jay Rhodes, senior director of global learning and development, and Victoria James, director of learning and development UK/IE and EMEA for BCD Travel, as they share insights into the development, implementation and measurement of leadership faculty and peer learning initiatives across a global organization.
Walk away with practical suggestions on:
• How to impact the learning culture with nontraditional learning initiatives.
• Designing and implementing a formal leadership faculty program.
• How to utilize peer learning as a creative and effective solution to practical training and social learning needs.
• Using a simple impact assessment approach for measuring the success of current and new learning initiatives.
From digital technologies to the evolution of workplace culture and the rise of talent expectations, learning practitioners see a tidal wave approaching. Do you worry whether you and your talent will sink or swim when the wave hits? Are your leaders prepared to surf this wave?
As a learning and development professional, you’re passionate about ensuring that your workforce is prepared to face the demands of today’s ever-changing business environment. How do you prepare for the wave of change? You may already struggle to quickly identify learning opportunities and build impactful programs that connect to business objectives and drive employee engagement. You may be challenged with ensuring your leaders have the skills they need to support the workforce.
As the demand for increased talent intensifies, employing an ecosystem of support will enable your organization’s agility to inspire continuous learning for both leadership and talent development. Join us to learn best practices that will help you overcome common challenges with implementing a strategy focused on talent maturity in all employees
In this session, you will:
Identify the common challenges facing all leaders today
Learn best practices others use to ensure their talent swims to success in their careers
Take away practical ideas for how to leverage professional services to drive the most business value for your learning function
Who is tapped to lead next at your company? Are they interested in jumping on the leadership pipeline? What do they expect from leaders? They may define “leadership” differently than we’re used to seeing it.
Join us as we debrief our findings on our new study: The Leadership Challenge: How Different Generations See It. In this exhaustive study of more than 2000 workers spanning the range of generations, we look at how views differ and what it will take to lead the next generations.
Specifically, we’ll discuss our findings related to:
• How generational views of leadership vary, including expectations of leaders and their ideas about the best ways to develop leaders.
• How interested employees, by generation, are in becoming leaders in their organizations, and what does that entail?
• Are there important differences by generation or do other differences matter more, like Career Stage, Education Level, Family Status.
We investigated all of these important questions and will share them during this webinar.
Employee engagement is often viewed as the proxy for employee well-being. The line of thinking is that if engagement is good, that means employees are good, resulting in better business outcomes for employers. But, is employee engagement the best construct that employers should use to positively impact productivity and performance?
New research suggests while engagement is important, it’s only one piece of the broader picture—the entire employee experience. In reality, people want to work for a company that enables them to bring their full selves to their job and helps them grow and thrive. Creating this kind of workplace goes beyond just ensuring that employees are engaged—discovering the ingredients that create the most positive employee experience, then creating the conditions to cultivate them. When companies enhance the employee experience, business benefits directly.
Join Chief Learning Officer magazine and BetterUp for a lively discussion where we’ll discuss:
• Key findings from our research of over 17,000 workers
• What the Employee Experience Index (EX Index) is, and why you’ll want to use it
• Why the EX Index will change how you think about traditional Learning & Development
• Strategies for optimizing 6 key experience areas for better business outcomes
Whether you are creating and leading strategy for your organization or have a role in driving adoption of a strategy there are three, easily avoidable mistakes that many organizations and leaders make: (1) not being clear on intent, (2) not understanding if all leaders are on-board with the strategy, and (3) not predicting and mitigating failure points.
In this webinar, Erica Tetuan, Change Management Practice Lead, will explore:
• A formula to ensure the intent is clear and you know your role in bringing the strategy to life
• A method for thinking about who needs to be engaged in leading the strategy and how to determine if their support of the strategy and aptitude for leading the change is where you need it to be and how to assess yourself
• The power of being predictive to be preventative – how to see around corners to make better decisions and plan for things that might go awry
“Don’t be a know-it-all; be a learn-it-all.”
This statement exemplifies the culture change that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been instilling within his organization. And it seems to be working. Since he took over the role, Microsoft’s share price has almost tripled. The company, recently considered a laggard in the fast-paced tech landscape, is now the world’s fourth most valuable company, behind only Google, Apple and Amazon.
Organizations in every industry are recognizing the need to reskill their workforces to compete in an evolving business world. For example, AT&T has famously shown its commitment to internal development through its $1 billion Future Ready initiative. Sourcing talented professionals from outside the company will always be important. However, building on your internal capability is more budget friendly. It’s also a great way to retain critical factors, such as institutional knowledge and cultural integrity, that are lost when people are replaced.
But can an organization ever really be “future ready”? After all, the future is a moving target. No one really knows what’s coming next. Therefore, reskilling cannot be viewed as a temporary initiative with a specific end goal. Continuous learning must be a sustained priority to ensure people are always ready to execute, regardless of what comes next. This is where the real potential for artificial intelligence lies in the workplace — helping individual employees stay knowledgeable and skilled as the business changes around them.
AI is already changing the way work is done through the automation of tasks that are more quickly and accurately completed by a machine. Fears regarding the mass replacement of humans with robots have started to calm. Organizations are shifting instead to focus on a future in which people work alongside machines and focus on the skills that are uniquely human. However, while business leaders are recognizing the potential for AI, only 3 percent are planning significant increases to their training budgets to support employees during the transition. The writing may be on the wall, but employees are mostly unprepared to enter this new world of work.
Thankfully, the same technology that is changing the nature of work can be applied to support this change. Traditional training is limited to one-and-done, one-size-fits-all activities, such as classroom sessions or e-learning, that are a disruption to the daily workflow. Most employee training is frontloaded in onboarding, when they are overloaded with information that they are unlikely to retain long-term. AI gives organizations the ability to provide personalized learning opportunities to individual employees when and where they need help. It essentially flips the workplace learning paradigm on its head, providing right-size-fits-one support at the scale of a global business.
Companies like Bloomingdale’s, Merck and BT are using AI-enabled technology to provide personalized training to their employees as part of their workflow. These organizations are leveraging the mountains of data that are already available regarding employee performance to target learning and support to specific people. Then, rather than consume entire courses on irrelevant topics, employees are able to review just the information they need in the limited time they have available.
AI helps management see how training is specifically impacting performance so they can be more proactive. Not only does this approach directly impact bottom-line results, but AI-driven learning also makes companies more agile. They can now quickly pivot employee development in the direction the business needs to go without spending months developing and deploying formal training programs. Learning has become a recognized, valued part of everyday work.
With the speed of technology advancement and business change, any organization that has not started to consider AI implications and applications is already falling behind. However, business leaders can also not afford to approach this discipline in a hasty or irresponsible manner. AI must be applied with purpose and in alignment with business goals. This includes considerations around how employee data is collected and used. Human bias can quickly become machine bias. Organizations must be open and transparent regarding their AI initiatives in order to foster trust with employees. While it is a technology-enabled concept, people and their needs must remain a central focus.
You don’t need to be Microsoft to foster a learn-it-all culture, and you don’t need a $1 billion initiative to reskill your employees. Rather, operations and human resources must work together to reimagine the role of learning in the employee experience. With AI-enabled technology, a well-crafted data architecture and a cultural focus on people, any company can prepare their employees for the workplace of the future (and beyond).
Ekpedeme “Pamay” Bassey, CLO of The Kraft Heinz Co., has held many different personas, both in her career as a learning and development professional and beyond.
Born in New York, she studied psychology and computer science with an emphasis on artificial intelligence at Stanford University. She later earned her master’s in computer science from Northwestern University with the goal of working toward a career in technological development.
At Northwestern, she was selected to be an Andersen Consulting Corporate fellow, which was her introduction to L&D. The program, sponsored by Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) focused on applying technology as a tool for the L&D industry. It demonstrated to Bassey how technology could be used in L&D, which ignited a passion in her for individual learning. Although she is a bit more agnostic about the way learning is delivered now — through technology, face-to-face or a blend of both — she’s remained in L&D ever since.
As she progressed down her newfound career path, Bassey launched her own e-learning design and consulting company in 2003 called The Pamay Group. More recently, she was the global head of learning for investment management corporation BlackRock in New York. Now, after coming on board as CLO for Kraft Heinz in Chicago last December, Bassey is reimagining the company’s approach to corporate learning.
“As a learning designer, you should think about what you want when you’re creating learning,” she said. “You don’t want to be sitting in a room, bored to tears because you’re listening to something that’s totally irrelevant to your job. One of the things I love about Kraft Heinz is that it’s a company that is really hungry for learning.”
Bassey is bringing a new energy to the learning space at Kraft Heinz, said Lisa Alteri, the company’s chief people officer for the U.S. and Canada.
“Kraft Foods and the Heinz Co. were two amazing legacy companies, and together The Kraft Heinz Co. has been really focused here on our agenda internally,” Alteri said. “What she’s done for us in the short amount of time she’s been here is to really bring the outside in.”
Learning Like an Owner
Alteri said Bassey is good at paying attention to mega-trends that are happening across the learning landscape and is apt at tailoring them to Kraft Heinz’s own learning platforms. For example, in February, Bassey decided to commit herself to learning something new and relevant to her job and professional career every day and share it on the company’s internal networking mobile app, the KetchApp. In four months, Bassey’s daily commitments, which she tags using the hashtag #LearnLikeAnOwner on the KetchApp, have become a companywide movement.
“When I travel for work, people recognize me as the lady who’s learning every day and posting to the KetchApp,” Bassey said. “It’s a great conversation starter. I like to reach out to those who are engaged in the movement.”
Bassey also shares a lot on the KetchApp from the company’s own corporate learning platform, Ownerversity, which was launched in 2017 using terminology from Kraft Heinz’s core values, which are ownership and meritocracy. Organized into different academies, Ownerversity has lessons in exercising functional skills, such as sales and marketing, as well as academies on leadership and methodology training for its entire global workforce.
One of Bassey’s areas of focus as the company’s CLO is developing the framework for new academies in Ownerversity. She and Alteri are also bringing their teams together to build out the company’s diversity and inclusion agenda. In the United States, they recently launched new Ownerversity learning sessions on both inclusive leadership and identifying unconscious bias.
Alteri, who worked for Kraft Foods nearly two decades before it merged with Heinz, said Bassey’s “by example” leadership style works well in the company’s fast-paced environment.
“As leaders, of course we’re all time-crunched, but we still need to make time for learning,” Alteri said. “And it starts with the leaders. She’s been doing an amazing job setting the tone with simple reads and courses available on our Ownerversity platform. She shows people how they can incorporate them into their daily commute on the train or [while] sitting in an airport.”
An Unconventional Background
Bassey has used her background in computer science to her advantage. But she is also a trained comedian and improviser through The Second City Conservatory program in Chicago, and she feels strongly that it gives her an advantage at her job. While she doesn’t perform as much anymore, Bassey said she remains close with the people she met through the program and brought many of the lessons she learned during training with her to a professional setting, especially the power of laughter.
“Comedy is my first love. When I was in college, I wanted to be a stand-up comedian,” Bassey said. “I still process things through comedy, and I think laughter is a superpower. That is actually something I bring to my role every day. When you are someone who is constantly at the front of the room for an instructor-led training, or if you’re creating a digital learning experience, being able to make people laugh is always a good thing.”
Bassey also has her own passion project surrounding cultural and interfaith diversity, which she based off a year of traveling to different places of worship in North America, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom in 2010 after experiencing a series of personal losses in 2009. Bassey called the project “My 52 Weeks of Worship” and released a book about the experience. In 2018, she was invited to give a TED Talk about her journey.
“It’s amazing to me how relevant it is [to my life] even though initially you might not think it is,” Bassey said. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving, even nearly 10 years later.”
Selena Cuffe, an entrepreneur, co-founder of Heritage Wines and strategic developer for Oh My Green, met Bassey in 1997 through their sorority at Stanford, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., when Cuffe was finishing up her last year of undergrad.
A year or two later, when they both ended up in Chicago for their jobs, the two women shared a peer-to-peer mentorship and became close friends.
“While we never worked together, we did develop a mutual mentorship where she would mentor me at my job at United, and vice versa for her at Curious Networks,” Cuffe said, referring to Bassey’s then position as vice president of experience management at the software company. “We became compadres really in trying to navigate the space of being the only woman, and the only black person, all at the same time in our work environments.”
Bassey’s 52 Weeks of Worship project and subsequent book left a lasting impression on Cuffe, who was experiencing loss in her personal life at the time. Cuffe found lessons from it useful in a professional setting, as well.
“I’ve always felt, as a professional, that the beauty of teamwork is being able to rely upon others who have strengths where you have weaknesses,” Cuffe said. “And so I think that [Bassey’s project] tells that same story, but in a way that is actually hilarious and feels good.”
Teaching Others to Teach Themselves
Bassey is looking forward to leading by example and showing what it means to be a lifelong learner at Kraft Heinz. Her role gives her the opportunity to do something she really loves: empower others and be an advocate.
A lot of the focus in L&D right now at Kraft Heinz targets the company’s managers and leaders. Bassey said this is a business imperative for the company because a leader can make or break employee excitement and engagement.
As a learning leader, she said she is also doing her part to provide employees at Kraft Heinz with what they need following the company’s tumultuous couple of years in the stock market — shares dropped by 60 percent in the past two years, according to published reports — and a recent investigation into employee misconduct that resulted in Kraft Heinz announcing a restatement of its financial reports for 2016, 2017 and the first 9 months of 2018, according to Reuters.
Bassey said her department is working closely with Kraft Heinz’s new CEO, Miguel Patricio, in aligning the company’s business strategy with the training and learning opportunities they currently have or want to provide. She added that together they are also evaluating their L&D mission, vision and value proposition to see where it works and what adjustments they need to make.
“An effective approach, from a learning and development perspective, is to invest in our people and provide them high-impact opportunities to learn, grow and develop personally and professionally,” Bassey said.
A Perfect Match
When Bassey joined Kraft Heinz, the company had just started tracking the impact of its L&D initiatives using satisfaction surveys and skill growth assessment.
“From the launch of Ownerversity through the end of 2018, when I joined Kraft Heinz, our measurement of learner impact primarily fell under Kirkpatrick level 1 — reaction,” Bassey said. “Through surveys, we measured satisfaction with courses. We are now moving into Kirkpatrick levels 2 and 3 — measuring learning (skill development) and behavioral change. We are also asking questions that give us an indicator of level 4 (organization performance) results, both predictively post-event and later via follow-up survey for our key programs. This expansion beyond level 1 is part of the upgrade to our measurement approach that is happening this year.”
She’s already seen in a span of less than a year how much employees at Kraft Heinz value learning opportunities. With the data, Bassey said they can ensure employees are learning in ways that are both engaging and that will advance them professionally.
“If you are a proactive learner, and you seek out learning, what impact does that have on your success at the company, or professionally?” she said. “That’s a fun thing we’re trying to create a business case for.”
Bassey said the growth measurement project has been a resurgence of her self-proclaimed “nerdy” core nature. After leaving AI, she didn’t think she would return to the space, but so far her role at Kraft Heinz is proving to be a professional step that culminates everything she has learned from her past roles, including her travels for her 52 Weeks of Worship project.
“When I took this job, I was really giddy at the fact that there was so much potential for impact at a company that has such amazing history, amazing brands and really motivated people,” Bassey said.