Leadership skills are not just for executives or even just people managers. Developing leadership skills is critical for any successful organization, from individual contributors to team leaders to senior executives. We, at Coupa, understand that the number one challenge for businesses is to improve leadership throughout the organization and provide employees with the training, resources, and community to become successful leaders and grow in their leadership skills throughout their career.

Several years ago, Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn wanted to invest in his growing team at Coupa. There were three core values he helped establish for the organization – Focus on Results; Ensure Customer Success, and Strive for Excellence – and these were well understood and practiced by the core team. These three principles are the lens by which we look at all of the challenges and opportunities that come our way.

With the growth of the team, Bernshteyn wanted to ensure the message retained its clarity. He and the executive team wanted to make sure that we keep focused on these core values and keep our entrepreneurial spirit while we scaled and evolved as a company. “We see leadership as supporting the people on your team and giving them space and opportunities to grow in their own personal and professional platform. We believe leadership is helping our employees leverage their strengths, as well as showing them where their blind spots might be. It’s about giving each person direction so he or she can achieve the most out of their personal and professional aspirations. It’s an extremely important role and we take it very seriously, "says Bernshteyn.

COUPA LEADERSHIP  EXCELLENCE PROGRAM

Bernshteyn tasked the training and development team to build a Leadership Excellence Program in 2016. Since its start, we have conducted worldwide workshops across a number of different disciplines from core Leadership and Communication Skills to Hiring Excellence. The most exciting thing about this program is that it enables those who show leadership qualities anywhere in the company with the opportunity to learn and sharpen these skills and visualize their journey.

At the core, the program has four stated outcomes:

>>  Clarify what Coupa expects from  leaders

>>  Gain insights regarding each person’s leadership skills

>>  Determine a leader’s role in ensuring culture is sustained

>>  Create a community of leaders across the organization

Each of these outcomes is designed to present the core values in a practical way, to make sure that each and every participant understands the expectations we have for leaders.

BUILDING AND TEACHING  COMPANY CULTURE

Before we can invest in our employees and enable their growth, we must first ensure that they have a complete understanding of the underlying culture of the company. Coupa’s culture is successful because we thrive on scaling to work with the strength of a big company and the soul of a smaller and more nimble organization. Our CEO’s point of view is that we should run our company and customer interactions as if 100 employees are 1,000 employees. In other words, provide 10x value and success across the organization. This value creates a hard-working, collaborative, and most importantly, the transparent team all working to fulfill the same goals.

The organization is also a “bottom-up” org, where all managerial members are at the bottom of the org chart, supporting their teams and the rest of the organization.

“We believe the top-down org chart is optimized for the Industrial Revolution,” according to Bernshteyn. “This works in a manual labor environment when there’s a supervisor telling people what to do. We’re living in a knowledge revolution where everyone has an opportunity to make an outsized impact to the organization and the world. And so, we believe in an upside- down org chart, which is best described as a tree with its roots, branches, and leaves. The CEO and executive team are at the bottom – at the roots of the entire organization, providing financial guidance, general direction, and broad support for the rest of the team. But the execution occurs at the individual contributor level – the leaves and the branches of the trees. When the wind blows, the leaves and branches feel it first. We want everyone at every level to understand their place in the market, the competitive landscape, and be able to provide quick action based on what they know and what they’ve learned.”

This mindset enables employees to make quick decisions that are results driven which allows them to accelerate at their job and lead a team that follows suit.

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USING AN OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT

Attendees complete a prework behavioral assessment to provide them with valuable insights into how their personality traits play into their work communication and relationships. These qualities and the assessment are then discussed in the group to give an understanding of communication and leadership styles and adapt to the behaviors of others on the team. Their challenge at that point is to incorporate those working styles into the needs of the organization. We recognize the importance of having a diverse group of people working together towards a common goal and giving clear message to all employees that no matter what disagreements are had throughout the process, everyone is working toward the same purpose.

ROLE OF EXECUTIVE SPONSORSHIP

Each Leadership Excellence Program course has an executive sponsor in attendance, providing guidance and real-world examples of the core values. We have received a profound response from attendees regarding the Leadership Journey exercise with the executive sponsor. The executive sponsors for each class kickoff this exercise by sharing their own career journeys. Through a timeline diagram, they have an authentic dialogue with attendees about their positive and negative experiences throughout their career and how those shaped who they are today and how they deal with situations and relationships.

“One of the framing statements I like to focus on is leading with conscious intention,” offers Jonathan Fear, VP of Coupa University, the training and development team at Coupa. “Conscious intention is inseparable from self- awareness. It requires a commitment to see the world around us clearly and be present in the moment. Leading with intention is the intersection of four cardinal points: What I say, what I measure, what I prioritize, and what I do?”

The executive sponsor shares a pivotal moment or moments in his or her career that teaches a valuable lesson. This gives an opportunity to reflect on the positive and negative experiences those leaders have created for their teammates, taking the opportunity to take a step back and see how each decision has made an effect on those around them. By sharing these experiences, it helps newer leaders to understand the struggles and joys that come along with their new skills. Our executives have taken this personal journey and posted it on the walls in their office, so they can share all the demanding work and positive experiences as a reminder for their teams. By the end of the course, the expectation is that we have given a framework for leaders to guide their employees towards a greater adoption of our core values and principles.

PROVIDING AN ENTREPRENEURIAL SOUNDBOARD

This time with our future leaders is also used as a soundboard for their ideas. At Coupa, we are open to authentic conversations about what is working, what’s not, what innovative ideas can we experiment with to make everyone’s workflow a little easier. Throughout the Leadership Excellence class, our executives and talent team speak to the kind of company that we are trying to be and how each person is a part of that amazing journey.

POST-COURSE FEEDBACK  AND ITERATIONS

The major goal of the Leadership Excellence workshop is for each attendee to develop a toolkit of knowledge to perform his or her job better than they could before. However, this is not a closed-door process; we understand it is of the utmost importance to continue fostering these relationships through our employee’s time here at Coupa. Therefore, we have instituted group feedback and check-ins as post work for this class. We invite our attendees to be transparent and let us know what they found valuable or what they did not find relevant to their growth so that we can continue to grow the class into something that resonates for all employees as a valuable tool. The check-ins give an opportunity to ensure leaders are instilling our core values and principles into their teams.

“Feedback from the attendees has been tremendous,” reported Ray Martinelli, EVP of People at Coupa. “Each class has brought together a new group of leaders from across the global organization and equip them with new tools and resources to continue to spread our Coupa leadership culture in their own teams. We couldn’t be happier with its successes and will continue to iterate as we grow to incorporate innovative technologies and opportunities. With the incredible response we had from our Leadership Excellence class, we have branched this out into several other workshops to dive into specific skill sets and continue improving the soft skills of our ever-growing team. We are our own competition and are #CoupaProud to be investing in our own core assets.

Published in Top Stories

IT WILL TAKE A COMBINED EFFORT FROM EDUCATIONAL AND BUSINESS INSTITUTIONS TO DRIVE THE AMERICAN ECONOMY IN THE HIGH-TECH YEARS TO COME.

BY JERRY ROCHE

Preparing future workers for success in the global marketplace is so important that President Donald Trump’s administration has aimed several new measures at the issue. “Workforce development is a critical part of our infrastructure proposal that the White House sent to Congress” First Daughter Ivanka Trump said recently, during a trip to Iowa to learn about one school district’s experiential learning program — where students work directly with local businesses.

Further proof of the importance of a knowledgeable workforce was evident when Jennifer Taylor, vice president of U.S. Jobs at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), recently moderated a round table sponsored by her organization. Focus of the discussion was the problem created by sweeping industry and workforce changes, some of which are already here, some of which are coming.

“The U.S. labor force is experiencing radical disruption,” Taylor said. “The shift from low-skilled to high-skilled workers is happening right before our eyes.

She noted that the domestic unemployment level (3.9 percent at this writing) is the lowest in years. But many jobs remain open in the tech sector that require medium-or high-skilled backgrounds, certifications or education.

“Six million people still are not working — so companies, our education community and our policies all need to be involved,” Taylor continued. “If we take a holistic approach, we can prepare future workers as well as existing workers to meet these demands.

“And once someone has started to work, it is absolutely critical that both the worker and the employer continue to encourage the worker to learn new skills. They may be more technical skills or management and soft skills.

THE SKILLS GAP

David Lewis is president and CEO of Operations, Inc., a national human resources consulting firm. “The biggest issue right now is that there’s a disconnect that a lot of our clients are seeing between education and business,” he said.

He believes that it takes a joint effort by the employee and employer to make sure that people are suited for the new job market. Employees need to find state-supported apprenticeship programs and grants while employers need to find colleges, universities — and even high schools and middle schools like the one Trump visited in Iowa — that are feeding prospective employees to their businesses.

“We’re not turning out enough students that fill the tech sector by far in this country,” Lewis said. “There’s also a big problem in what the schools are actually teaching. That is, students are coming out ill-prepared to take on a lot of these roles.

“For anybody who’s my age or older, [the perception] of manufacturing is mostly men standing on an assembly line, doing manual work, and that’s not what it is. Manufacturing, as an industry, as a sector, needs a reboot, needs a rebrand, because parents are not sending their kids to college thinking, ‘I want them to have a manufacturing career,’ unless they truly understand that manufacturing at Toyota is a high-tech job, that manufacturing at Amazon is a high-tech job.

Operations, Inc., tells smaller companies to consider partnerships at the very basic level as a long-term plan. “You’re not going to out-spend bigger companies,” Lewis observed, “and you’re not going to out-brand them. Competing in markets like Silicon Valley or New York City is just not a fight that smaller companies can win. They have to look, longer term, at ways to feed their systems.”

Hilary Cain is director of Technology and Innovation Policy at Toyota, which has produced more than 1 million cars since 1988.

“As products and the processes for manufacturing them become more sophisticated and complicated, workforce needs in the high-skilled space are expanding,” Cain began, citing domestic companies involved in artificial intelligence (A.I.) and data science. On top of those high-skilled professions, there is a new demand for cybersecurity professionals. “[Because] we are competing for a workforce with folks like Amazon, Google and sexy Silicon Valley companies, we have to try to convince people that there’s also a lot of sexiness in working in the auto industry.”

One of the steps Toyota has taken to attract and keep people is instituting an Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) degree.

“Along with our 8,000 employees who work on the line, we have robots,” said Cain. “The AMTs maintain the robots. These are high-skilled positions, and colleges and high schools were not graduating people with skillsets that we needed.

The two-year AMT graduates get an associate’s degree in Applied Science. It consists of two eight-hour classroom days per week and three days working on the production line as an apprentice. The “classroom” is a mock manufacturing floor. The program has expanded to 22 community colleges in nine states. About 800 students participate, and 95 percent of them find employment with Toyota or a company with similar positions available.

“Some folks even choose to go on to a four-year degree and become engineers,” Cain pointed out.

Meanwhile, Walmart is taking its own path toward pairing candidates with available jobs.

“We have partnered with the Walmart Foundation to invest about $100 million over five years into the retail workforce specifically,” said Sara Decker, who is in the Federal Government Affairs Department at Walmart.

“This past year, we opened 200 ‘academies’ that train associates in customer service, including how to use technology to interface with the customer in a positive way.”

Walmart is the largest employer in the country whose current CEO started at the company as a teenager — so workers are near and dear to his heart.

“A big challenge is figuring out how you train somebody for a job that doesn’t even exist yet,” observed Decker. “So lifelong learning will have to become our reality in the future. We’re excited about where the workforce is going, and where technology is taking it.

Likewise, Amazon has instituted a Career Choice Program.

“After a year of working for the company,” said Steve Hartell, director of Amazon’s U.S. Public Policy, “employees can go back to school, and we will pay 95 percent of the tuition, up front, and books. Now we’re building glass classrooms inside our fulfillment centers. We did it in glass so that everybody who walks by sees and is inspired by those employees taking classes.”

Amazon has open-sourced the program, too.

“The White House asked us to come talk to them about it ” Hartell continued. “We’re also talking about this program in state capitals around the country."

” What if Career Choice Program employees choose to leave Amazon after having their continuing education paid for?

“We’re okay with that. That’s the idea. It’s an enlightened kind of self-interest. We want to facilitate the [perception] that it’s a career pathway.”

FOCUS ON YOUNGSTERS

Getting youngsters involved in science,technology, engineering and/or mathematics (STEM) careers is not an easy task. According to Amazon’s Hartell, 60 percent of high schools don’t have a computer-science department, and only 14 percent of them offer an advance placement test in computer science.

“The challenge is how you provide problem-solving, hands-on information about computer science or STEM in a way that’s approachable,” said Hartell. “Children are concerned about how it’s perceived. Is it cool?”

His company has a boot camp that ushers youngsters (K through 3) into an inside tour to talk about invention. “That’s inspirational,” Hartell said. “We also give them craft projects where their experience is creative and fun and is giving those kids the building blocks of a career.”

Another Amazon program is Coder Dojo, a weekend 140-country program that opens up office space to seek mentors for students up to middle school. It’s free.

“It’s really important to get kids at an early age interested, in a way that’s not off-putting but engaging,” Hartell concluded. Wynn Coggins is deputy chief administrative officer at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She, too, believes in promoting occupations in the high-skilled STEM fields. For example, her office partners with the National Inventors Hall of Fame on two projects.

“One is Camp Invention,” Coggins said. “These are summer camps that elementary- school kids can go to. They use household products where they get their hands dirty, and they get to put things together. It really focuses on STEM and intellectual property (I.P.). And it brings to them this awareness of how important it is to be able to protect those ideas,” which is what the USPTO is all about.

The office also partners with the Inventors Hall of Fame on an annual competition among college undergraduates and graduates, “just to bring awareness to I.P.”

Other USPTO projects are a Summer Teacher’s Institute; the establishment of an I.P. Patch for the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital organization; and famous inventor (Steve Wozniak, Thomas Edison, etc.) collectible cards.

“All those show how we’ve moved the needle in the [STEM] awareness space,” Coggins said.

But having a career in the STEM disciplines does not guarantee success for any employee.

“Sometimes soft skills need a little bit of attention if a person is coming in with a science or an engineering background,” so the USPTO sends all its managers to a four- or five-day leadership forum and offers a robust mentorship program that pairs hundreds of mentors and protégés together. The latter is a nine-month formal annual program.

“People are put together who would never have a chance to converse otherwise,” Coggins said. “Top executives are paired with entry-level patent examiners, for instance, and they learn from each other. Remember, learning is not just from the top down, it’s from the bottom up, too.

“A lot of these partnerships last past nine months to become career-long connections. It’s a great employee engagement tool, as well as a knowledge transfer tool.”

Toyota has also implemented programs whereby it brings elementary and middle school kids into plants to get exposure to what it’s like to work on a manufacturing floor these days.

“There are lots of manufacturing opportunities, but we also have an incredible need at our dealerships for trained technicians to work on vehicles,” Cain further noted. “This is not grease monkey work anymore, either … because today’s vehicles are highly computerized.

“Not everything requires a four-year degree, but none of this works if you don’t have investment from the top: senior leaders, most-senior CEOs, senior executives.”

TRANSITIONING THE WORKFORCE

“Focusing on the technical pieces are really, really important, but to be a well-rounded employee capable of pulling off a lot of these jobs, you’ve got to have soft skills — communication, public speaking, problem-solving — too,” said Toyota’s Cain.

“It is absolutely critical that both the worker and the employer continue to encourage the worker to learn new skills,” added Taylor. “They may be more technical skills or management and soft skills.”

Operations, Inc. CEO Lewis chipped in: “Forget what it says on resumes. You have to take people [whose careers ended in one discipline] and retrain them, using state retraining credits, and then you re-deploy those individuals into new careers.”

It doesn’t help that the Millennial generation views job-hopping as entrepreneurship. Rather than be retrained by their employers, Millennials seek to pair their specialty at whatever company they can find.

“They know where the grass is greener, and they go to that grass far more often than their predecessors did,” observed Lewis. “But the other key point is they’re also incapable of disconnecting. And employers need to really emphasize this now, both by setting the example, but also by establishing policies around the idea that when you come to a meeting or when you’re sitting in a discussion with somebody else, you either have to turn the phone off or you actually have to put it away. And that’s really hindering the  Millennial in the workforce because their inability to do that — unless they’re working with other Millennials who are doing the same thing — is fostering a communication gap.”

Rotational-type training can help transition the workforce, according to Cain.

“At Toyota, people move within the company from one department to another unlinked department,” she said. “One day they’re in marketing, and the next day they’re in product planning, and then all of a sudden they’re working at the A.I. company.

“I thought it was strange at first, but now I’ve come to see that what it does is create employees that do two things. One, they’re well rounded, so as they move up the ranks they’ve had exposure from everything to H.R. to engineering to product planning to sales and marketing. But also it creates people who are more willing to jump in on something that’s not familiar to them, to take risks.

“It fits into the lifelong learning idea in that it challenges people and pushes them in new directions. It’s probably intended, but when I came into the company it seemed bizarre."

Published in Top Stories

Striving for Innovation, Culture, Performance and Collaboration

BY JERRY ROCHE

The 2018 Learning! 100 award-winning organizations have one thing in common: their learning personnel and programs are undisputedly among the world’s elite.

“The Learning! 100 recognizes the top 100 global learning organizations for high performance, innovation and culture,” says Catherine Upton, awards chairperson and group publisher of the Elearning! Media Group. Learning! 100 Awards recognize the top 100 organizations for their best-in-class learning and development programs, with learning cultures that create outstanding organizational performance.

These honors have a solid, researchbased approach that offers organizations a level playing field despite size. The Learning! 100 provides organizations a benchmark for future development; is quantitative and qualitative; and is unbiased by size of the organization. Learning! 100 applicants are evaluated on three sets of criteria: Darden School’s Learning Culture Index, Collaborative Strategies’ Innovation & Collaboration Ratings, and overall organizational performance. Every submission is evaluated on the same criteria, scores totaled and ranked for the Learning! 100.

“When deciding what qualities constitute a truly exceptional learning organization, we define four categories of excellence,” says Jerry Roche, Elearning! magazine’s executive editor. “Those categories, upon which these awards are based, are innovation, culture, performance and collaboration.”

There is much to be learned from these winners, many of which had instituted thorough leadership development initiatives. These winners are delivering cutting-edge approaches to learning, reimagining their learning ecosystems and embracing the importance of engagement and performance.

Discover what makes these organizations best-in-class by reading this article and viewing upcoming Web seminars and stories hosted by Elearning! Magazine.

Learn more about the Learning! 100 Awards at: http://www.2elearning.com/awards/learning-100-awards.

 

 

Private Sector #1: Vi

Area of Excellence: Culture

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Photo courtesy Vi

Leadership Drives Learning Culture at Vi

Over the last several years, Vi — a group of retirement communities with headquarters in Chicago — has made a gradual but significant transition of moving the culture from learning being “owned” by the learning organization to being owned by the entire organization.

Besides having “Employee Development” as a core leadership competency and key learning initiatives tied to company goals and competencies tied to compensation, Vi realizes high levels of business partner engagement in the development, delivery and ownership of learning initiatives tied to the company’s business objectives. This has created higher levels of engagement at all levels of the organization.

In addition, Vi has a strong governance process in place that aligns with its business planning process. Functional leaders from across the organization actively participate in development and execution of learning initiatives.

“In talking with my colleagues — hotel, senior living, hospitality, highly regulated health care and service personnel — I believe that our organizational development is unique to us, based on the level of executive involvement, money, front-line management and leaders as teachers,” comments Judy Whitcomb, Vi’s Human Resources and Chief Learning Officer.

In 2017, Vi’s education/learning focus centered in three areas:

1. More hyper-focus on career ladders, assessments, competencies and learning resources, reaching to high schools and community colleges to attract talent. “It’s not sexy or exciting, but that’s where we’re putting in a ton of time, and it works,” Whitcomb states.

2. A new emerging leaders program. “We’ve had really good success with the all-virtual program,” says Whitcomb. “It involves 50 to 60 leaders, and it goes into different levels of the organization. Vi has matured to where leaders are really seeing the value of being teachers.”

3. A recently-launched student loan imbursement plan. “We’re trying to use every lever available” to attract good talent,” Whitcomb emphasizes. Most important are basic skills training, like concierge, culinary and nursing. “We recently sent some cooks to a culinary institute by partnering with its executive chef. Skills are important to attract and retain the talent, and we’re working with Arizona State University to create a flow of talent for our organization.”

As a result of strong alignment and engagement with its business partners, Vi has realized:

>> Large increases in resident satisfaction after implementation of a comprehensive service enculturation program;

>> Scores rising from 82.6 percent in 2010 to 96 percent in Vi’s last resident satisfaction survey;

>> Significant increase in the number of internal promotions and a reduction in attrition, resulting in $2.1 million in savings;

>> Significant ROI of nearly $138,000 per participant from Vi’s Breakthrough Leadership Program;

>> Significant contributions to Vi’s external quality audits, resulting in zero tags related to training;

>> 9 out of 11 Vi locations recognized as “Best Places to Work” in 2016;

>> In 2017, all 10 of Vi’s continuing care skilled nursing facilities achieved five-star status (as determined by the Center for Medicare Services) for the first time in 30 years;

>> High level of employee engagement particularly related to training (“training to do job well” was 21 percent higher than U.S. norms; “ability to achieve personal career objectives” ranked 10 percent higher than high-performing companies; “training new hires receive” ranked 24 percent higher than U.S. norms); >> Most importantly, focus on sales training contributed to Vi achieving 168 percent of the company’s financial target in 2017.

Vi is an eight-time Learning! Award-winner.

 

Public Sector #1: VA Acquisition Academy

Area of Excellence: Performance

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Photo courtesy VAAA
Deputy Chancellor Paul Gregory in one of the V.A. Acquisition Academy’s training rooms.

VA Acquisition Academy Drives Engagement and Impact

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsible for providing more than $20 billion of federal benefits to nearly 20 million veterans and their families. The VA Acquisition Academy (VAAA), which is soon celebrating its 10th anniversary, is tasked with training a wide range of those valuable VA employees.

The VAAA’s mission is to ensure the VA efficiently and effectively provides goods and services to veterans. It offers an integrated competency-based training curriculum to certify those employees and improve their work performance. VAAA is responsible for training VA’s program and project managers, existing and future contracting officers, logistics/supply chain employees, and facilities and construction managers.

“Our fundamental learning strategy reflects a commitment to stakeholder engagement and value measurement methodologies to ensure business results that support VA’s major initiatives,” remarks VAAA Deputy Chancellor Paul Gregory. His organization educates learners in realworld workplace scenarios, integrating personal and leadership skills and measuring strategic performance.

“The VAAA started out as a single acquisition intern school then added a contracting professional school, a program management school, a supplychain management school and a facilities management school,” notes Gregory. “The separate schools share services so that we can keep costs down and avoid duplication.”

The VAAA develops some training materials in house, but some are commercial lessons purchased off the shelf, and some are taught by government contractors. Not only does the VAAA conduct training that leads to federal acquisition certification, but it also offers employees career progression classes. “Our training is one part of getting certified,” Gregory further observes. (The other two parts are experience and continuous learning to maintain certification.)

“We have seen a tremendous need for leadership training in the contracting workforce.” says Terry Horst, Vice Chancellor of the Contracting Professional School. “Many people in that field have been promoted based on technical ability. Historically, most of the school’s courses have not focused on leadership for contracting professionals. In response to this critical need, we developed the Senior Acquisition Leadership Training program.”

The Senior Acquisition Leadership Training Program lasts nine months. The first class graduated in June. “It is centered on concepts like leadership agility and systems thinking,” Horst observes. “The program assists individuals in the development of themselves and then moves them to a more strategic way of thinking. They learn to turn their strategic thinking into action using contracting case studies. This kind of training empowers them to hit the ground running when they return to their contracting offices.”

Learners in that program undertook capstone projects, writing whitepapers and briefing senior leadership.

“It was very satisfying to both the students and the employees who worked so hard putting the program together,” Horst continues. “Students made comments like ‘it changed my life forever’ and ‘I’ll never be the same.’”

One of the VAAA’s other interesting projects is collaborating with 12 other agencies to reimagine senior level program management training. “We wanted to shorten courses where it made sense and do some blended learning,” says Gregory. “For instance, one course started out as four weeks; now it’s three weeks, because some elements are now done virtually, kind of like the flipped classroom approach. Frankly, this approach looks like it will be a great success.”

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy is a seven-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

 

Private Sector #2: Amazon Web Services

Area of Excellence: Performance

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Amazon Web Services Leads Its Customers to Success in the Cloud

Cloud computing sales will top the $185 billion mark this calendar year. And by 2021, that market is expected to exceed $300 billion.

More than 11 years ago, Amazon Web Services (AWS) started as a Cloud storage service. Today it dominates that sector, with a sales volume that nearly equals the sum of its competitors’. Its growth continues to accelerate at an incredible rate.

AWS has also accelerated in other areas, like innovation. That innovation includes areas that will begin to shape our lives even more in the future, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and serverless computing. In 2017 alone, AWS announced more than 1,400 significant services and features, including Amazon SageMaker, a tool that radically changes the accessibility and use of building sophisticated machine learning models. This has caused an explosion of growth — more than 250 percent — as tens of thousands of customers started also using a broad range of AWS machine learning services. In 2017, at Amazon’s sixth re:Invent Conference, more than 40,000 attended the event live, with more than 60,000 more attending as streaming participants.

With all that growth and innovation, how does AWS service such a broad range of customers and customer needs? The answer is its focus on customer success.

Amazon Web Services is being honored for its global OutcomeBased Account Management (OBAM) program that provides AWS sellers with the Amazonian way to sell. The selling process starts with the customer’s needs and works backward to define the correct solution, all while using a common language, process and methodology.

This year, a new program component was added called Momentum. The aim of this additional program was to provide spaced learning reinforcement for the disciplines previously taught. This reinforcement series runs for nine sessions every other week and is unique to every team, in every country. This allows the associates to fine-tune their Amazonian talent by focusing on specifically targeted skills. Momentum, in turn, provides a continuous trickle of desired behavior reinforcement over the span of six months.

OBAM program is the process, tools, competencies and dialogue architecture for initiating and solidifying Amazon Web Services’ customer-obsessed relationships, fixated on the journey of transforming the seller-customer engagement into a lifelong strategic relationship. The program includes a pre-call, pre-work, a live one-day collaborative training-day session, three post-workshop coaching calls, and an on-demand OBAM playbook.

The program, which has been delivered globally in all geographies, is being met with great success, achieving a global average score of 4.5 out of 5.0 from participants. The program has now been successfully rolled out to 2,500 sellers, and its overall impact can be seen in the continued growth of Amazon Web Services.

As was evident from its Annual Report, Amazon Web Services is a major contributor to Amazon’s overall growth. AWS continues to draw more small, medium and large enterprises to its Cloud platform and growing line of tools and services.

AWS is a three-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

 

Public Sector #2: Defense Acquisition University

Area of Excellence: Culture

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James P. Woolsey is president of Defense Acquisition University.

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Photo Courtesy DAU
It takes a wide array of learning professionals to assure accurate, efficient delivery of information to the DAU’s learners, students, stakeholders and business units.

Defense Acquisition University: A Strategic Shift to the Customer

Starting in 2017, the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) of the U.S. Department of Defense engaged in a year-long strategic planning effort to take a closer look at changes that would be necessary to ensure success for the Defense Acquisition workforce in the future.

The leadership team used the Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema Value Discipline Model. There are three primary value disciplines successful organizations have used to narrow their business focus to better serve their customers: customer intimacy, product leadership and operational excellence. So those became DAU’s organizational imperatives (value disciplines) for the future of its learning program.

“We didn’t invent this,” notes Dr. Christopher Hardy, DAU Director of Strategic Planning and Learning Analytics. “The very best companies lead with one of those — Apple and Google lead with product innovation; RitzCarlton leads with customer intimacy; Southwest Airlines and Dell lead with operational excellence — but they still do the other stuff. We liked this approach so much, we nested all our initiatives in those three areas in our strategic plan.”

Customer intimacy means cultivating relationships and being adept at giving the customer more than he or she expects; staying ahead of their customer’s rising expectations, targeting markets precisely, and then tailoring products to match the demands of those customers.

Product leadership/innovation means offering customers leading edge products and services that consistently enhance the customer’s use or application of the product, thereby making rivals’ goods obsolete.

And operational excellence means providing customers with reliable products or services at competitive prices and delivered with minimal difficulty or inconvenience.

DAU leadership decided that a customer intimacy strategy best aligns with its vision for the future — that is, to focus on the needs of individual customers by offering a unique range of customer services that allows for the personalization of service and the customization of products to meet differing customer needs.

“We break our customers into learners, students, stakeholders and business units,” notes Hardy. “We’ve always been customer oriented, but we’ve taken it to the next level.”

In embarking on this strategic direction, the organization will listen to its valued customers to better understand them and their needs, enable communication and collaboration, and provide a comprehensive solution at the point of need. The organization also listens to stakeholders and consumers (the learners who directly use products and services).

But what is captured and how it’s captured depends on the target: stakeholder, customer, consumer. How data and intelligence from a source are handled also depends on the source. For example, what is learned from consumers may inform the questions customers are asked, and vice versa. Or what is learned from customers can be shared with stakeholders to help inform their decisions on priorities, resources, and the direction they give DAU.

This new strategic direction — which is being developed and implemented by several “tiger” teams — ensures that we provide customers with the products and services they need to give the warfighter a decisive edge. Not surprisingly, the tiger teams have representation from faculty and staff across DAU.

“Our mission is to help our learners; their leaders and the stakeholders complete their missions. If we can do that, we become a strategic asset,” Hardy concludes.

This is the eighth time that the DAU has been named a Learning! 100 winner.

 

Private Sector #3: T-Mobile USA

Area of Excellence: Culture

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Photo Courtesy T-Mobile
The T-Mobile telesales staff is a hearty and happy bunch, thanks to the company’s Sales Training and Sales Management Transformation project.

Comprehensive Telesales Training Unifies T-Mobile Teammates

T-Mobile, the third-largest wireless carrier in the United States with 74 million customers, is one of the most recognizable brands in the land. T-Mobile provides wireless voice and data services in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands under the T-Mobile and MetroPCS brands. The company, which has annual revenues of more than $40 billion, also serves as the host network for many mobile virtual network operators.

In 2017, T-Mobile was ranked No.1 in customer service satisfaction by Nielsen. And this month, it is named the thirdbest corporate learning organization among the Learning! 100.

Its sales division is a large part of the company’s success. Last year marked a continued ramp-up and implementation of a massive sales training and sales management transformation for T-Mobile Telesales. Officials claim that enthusiasm is now at an all-time high, “and the team feels completely empowered to take on any and all competition.”

T-Mobile USA Telesales was nominated for this list because of its comprehensive effort to unify all telesales call centers and team members in how they interact both internally and externally with customers to communicate T-Mobile’s Un-Carrier vision.

In 2017, Bart Ons, general manager of the E-commerce and Telesales Department, launched an initial pilot engagement of Pathways to Growth. The intended outcome was to change the sales management and coaching approach used by managers in six key T-Mobile call centers for more than 1200 telesales agents. The project grew to include all call centers as well as a comprehensive and highly customized sales training curriculum, media campaign and rollout. Branding focused on promoting the Un-Carrier culture with a theme to “Unleash, Empower and Excel U.”

The program consisted on a series of e-learning preparation modules, on-site and virtual learning classes, coaching modules, reinforcement e-learning and multimedia solutions, promotions and more. The goal was cultural change, excitement and a focus on working cohesively as one unified T-Mobile to delivery an outstanding customer experience.

And it has worked.

“I’ve turned all my one-on-one sessions to self-realization moments,” claims Jake Cline a T-Mobile supervisor. “I love it when an agent says, ‘This is hard,’ and then figures out something that they can do better without me having to point it out to them, like I was doing before.”

Adds senior manager Charlotte Clevenger, “The UEE Initiative has brought a complete transformation.”

T-Mobile is a three-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

 

Public Sector #3: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Area of Excellence: Performance

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Anthony Gagliardo is head of HR &Technical Training at NASA's JPL.

Jet Propulsion Lab’s ‘Destination 2025’

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a unique national research facility that carries out robotic space and Earth science missions. JPL helped open the Space Age by developing America’s first Earth-orbiting science satellite, creating the first successful interplanetary spacecraft, and sending robotic missions to study all the planets in the solar system as well as asteroids, comets and Earth’s moon. In addition to its missions, JPL developed and manages NASA’s Deep Space Network, a worldwide system of antennas that communicates with interplanetary spacecraft.

The JPL human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) team serves as the primary JPL organization responsible for satisfying leadership, organization learning and development, as well as technical training needs of more than 6,000 JPL personnel and 7,000 contract affiliates.

Like many technical organizations, JPL faces challenges in managing the transference of deep technical and institutional knowledge while experiencing an unprecedented growth in JPL mainline mission and a drastic shift in its multi-generational workforce. JPL must address the changing learning styles of new and existing individuals and the constant employee expectation of a commerciallike learning experience.

In 2015, JPL’s Chief Human Resource Officer Cozette Hart formed the “Destination 2025” working group dedicated to exploring and advancing the future of working and learning at JPL. Since then, JPL’s business case for modernization of learning has been contextualized. The primary areas of learning modernization were identified as:

>> Modernization of the JPL learning environment; consistently improve on the availability and quality of training while enhancing the learning experience.

>> How to significantly modernize talent acquisition and management in the most technically advanced place on Earth.

Change awareness was raised among stakeholders through early communication related to JPL’s needs for change in learning technology and its rapidly evolving capabilities. At JPL, the scope of change was full employee development and a new training ecosystem. The change team provided support and resources and set the direction for various efforts to increase value in specified business areas.

To bring resources together, integrate processes and communicate effectively, goal-oriented change management was designed to guide individuals and organizations at JPL. The desire for change was reinforced through employee engagement and participation with the aim to overcome resistance through a cross- functional sponsorship program.

The proposed learning approach was designed to provide flexibility and support that complements the capabilities of JPL’s unique workforce. The learners of today expect a digitally rich learning environment, and implementation of new technology enabled a personalized learning experience to JPL employees anytime and anyplace in real-time. The HR team and its laboratory partners prepared to shift and integrate resources by focusing on the new learning ecosystems in terms of the operational support, technology and curriculum. Each pivot area evolution was based on application of advanced technologies and approaches.

JPL is a federally funded research and development center managed for NASA by Caltech. From the long history of leaders drawn from the university’s faculty to joint programs and appointments, JPL’s intellectual environment and identity are profoundly shaped by its role as part of Caltech.

JPL is a first-time winner of the Learning! 100.

 

Private Sector #4: Shaw Industries Group, Inc.

Area of Excellence: Collaboration

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Photo Courtesy Shaw
The Shaw Learning Academy (SLA) provides employees with 1 million hours of training each year.

Shaw Learning Academy Helps Employees Reach Full Potential

Shaw Industries Group, Inc. — a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. — is a leading floor covering provider and the world’s largest carpet manufacturer. It supplies carpet, resilient, hardwood, laminate, tile and stone flooring products and synthetic turf to residential and commercial markets worldwide.

Shaw Learning Academy (SLA) is a key to that success, providing more than 1 million hours of training annually through diverse learning solutions and platforms to meet the diverse learning needs of Shaw’s associates, customers, suppliers and community. SLA, by design, promotes innovation, fresh thinking and dedication to quality.

“Education and training are instrumental to how Shaw helps create a better future for associates, customers, communities and the company,” says Danny Crutchfield, Shaw’s director of corporate training and organizational development, who also leads the Shaw Flooring Network. “It’s a critical component in helping associates and customers reach their full potential and succeed amidst an ever-changing industry.”

The company’s 22,000 associates are engaged in a wide variety of roles (manufacturing, R&D, product design, engineering, sales, distribution, transportation, sustainability, I.T., HR, marketing and communications, management, etc.) to ensure superior customer service and high-quality products.

Additionally, Shaw recognizes its retailers’ success is inextricably linked to training and support. The company has designed comprehensive and customized educational programs offer to help retailers meet their business objectives. More than 15,000 customers engage with the Shaw Learning Academy each year through regional training, online sessions, markets, the Shaw Flooring Network Convention, and other offerings in addition to extensive continue education opportunities offered to commercial customers worldwide.

This dedication to education and training is not new.

“We’ve always been an industry leader in a variety of ways, like product innovation, community involvement and sustainability,” notes Brian Cooksey, Shaw’s director of Operations, Training and Development. “We have had speakers present at different conferences all over the country on different topics. We’re also heavily involved in leading workforce development efforts, technology and innovation efforts, so our speakers are often asked to come and share their stories.”

The Shaw Learning Academy plays a significant role in helping develop business initiatives. For instance, Shaw celebrated its 50th year in 2017; as a result, leadership began to consider the next 50 to 100 years, “what we need to do to continue to be successful,” Cooksey says. “Like business objectives, culture — things we might want to tweak.”

To that end, Shaw’s upper managers published a “Shaw Way” document last year that captures their vision, their mission and their values as they pertain to high-level business strategies.

“The document contains business and cultural imperatives designed to continue our success but also take us to a new level,” Cooksey reveals. “Because we have a diverse offering of products and diverse customer bases all over the globe, we have to make sure we keep up with the times.”

The process involved conversations across the entire Shaw organization and with customers and with research in marketplace. “It was really a good process for the organization, and from that we developed a new competency model,” Cooksey continues. “It’s really helped to align some of the training support we provide — online or instructor-led or virtual—to give clarity to the organization. And it was nice for our group to have a seat at the table during the process of brainstorming the business.”

Shaw is an eight-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

 

Public Sector #4: American Heart Association

Area of Excellence: Collaboration

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Photo Courtesy AHA
AHA employees take a chance to signal their delight with what they've learned.

‘Building Powerful Partnerships’ Meets American Heart Association’s Objectives

During 2017, the American Heart Association (AHA) wanted to establish a unified fund-raising process and culture across its organization for both volunteercentric and direct groups. Besides this unified fund-raising process, AHA also wanted to support its staff in articulating its mission, impact and programs, as well as reach critical thresholds in areas of revenue and health goals.

These business outcomes led to the creation and then extension of the Building Powerful Partnerships program.

“After we conducted the initial rollout, we found that we had to adjust to specifically serve new employees,” says Amanda Haggerty, the AHA’s Learning and Development Trainer. “The difference in 2017 was a shift to new employees and new supervisors. We also needed to continue reinforcing the content, so training now consists of a suite of ‘refreshers,’ 15 sessions that last 60 to 90 minutes that any supervisor can host during team meetings. These rich coaching sessions are a ‘deep dive’ into the relationship development concepts that allow employees the opportunity for continued application of best practices.

Some of the learning objectives that needed to be achieved were:

>> Demonstrate ability to lead conversations that will offer value to partners and volunteers by focusing on their needs;

>> Apply best practices for creating rapport, earning trust, and aligning the AHA message and mission with partner and volunteer needs;

>> Discover and practice proven ways to leverage LinkedIn for establishing credibility and making connections with prospective partners and volunteers;

>> Define four typical human behavior styles useful for enhancing conversations with partners, volunteers and team members;

>> Identify and practice proven strategies for each behavior style resulting in better communication and increased trust;

>> Apply the Powerful Partner Research concepts during the engagement process with prospective partners and volunteers;

>> Evaluate and develop plans for transitioning relationships to the next level of stewardship and involvement.

>> Describe and practice the fivestage SMART engagement model to plan and execute high-impact conversations with partners and volunteers;

>> Practice the five-step HEART Conversation process;

“The five-stage SMART engagement model is the entire relationship development process,” explains Haggerty. “It begins at the prospecting stage and lasts all the way to transformational growth.” It’s a year-after-year program, from inception, to growth, through continued maintenance.

“Within the SMART framework,” Haggerty continues, “the HEART conversation process gets into the meat of an external meeting with someone, including the art of the conversation, how to articulate the corporate mission, and how to make the ‘ask.’”

This “Building Powerful Relationships” program exceeded all expectations and helped the American Heart Association achieve its critical goals, which in turn helped the Dallas-based non-profit organization continue its work.

“We’ve seen numerous staffers tell us through surveys that they were more comfortable with the mission and with making ‘asks’ on our behalf,” says Haggerty.

“This program, has really stuck with the staff. We are excited to continue to bring them the curriculum year after year.”

This is the seventh trip to the Learning! 100 for the American Heart Association.

 

Private Sector #5: Navy Federal Credit Union

Area of Excellence: Culture

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Thomas Greek, VP Learning & Development Communications

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Photo Courtesy Navy Federal Credit Union
Leaders learn to work together through experimental activities at monthly ‘Follow the Leader’ events.

Navy Federal Credit Union: Growth Starts at Point of Hire

The Navy Federal Credit Union has staked its reputation and growth on the belief that professional development and education start at the point of hire and continue throughout each employee’s career. To that end, the organization continually invests in its employees to drive their engagement, commitment and quality of service to members.

“We have about 17,000 employees all across the world servicing the military and their families, and most participate in the learning environment in any given year,” observes Thomas Greek, vice president of Learning, Development and Communications. “Our learning strategies are tied into the strategic plan. The mission of our team of about seven trainers is to be scalable and sustainable.”

Many of the Navy FCU’s employees joined the credit union at entry-level positions and have since grown professionally within the organization. Some senior leaders, who started as entry-level employees, even grew into their current roles with the help of the learning opportunities available to them as their careers progressed.

“Our employees are instrumental to our continued success, and much of their loyalty, skill level and engagement can be attributed to the training and development they received,” Greek continues. “Navy Federal has a robust learning culture, which is cascaded throughout the organization.”

It’s not an easy task, either, to offer valuable learning and training to so many employees with such a wide range of skillsets, from communications to marketing to back-office support to finance.

“New hires come to us with a lot of technical skills,” Greek admits, “so most of what we’re doing is helping teach soft skills like communication, leadership and time management. We reinforce those technical skills and add to them through our soft skills library.”

That extensive learning library primarily based on in-house-generated content.

“Our team of instructional designers come with an incredible skillset and are well versed in learning theories,” Greek continues. “Their mission is to create good content that includes how to train effectively in a virtual environment with content that is relevant and entertaining.”

Since 1933, Navy Federal Credit Union has grown from seven to more than 7 million members. And during that time, its vision statement has remained focused on serving a unique field of membership.

“Simply put, our team members are remarkable, and they truly understand the important responsibility we have to serve our members,” says Cutler Dawson, Navy Federal’s president/CEO. “For 85 years, we’ve listened to what our members want and will continue to provide an exceptional experience.”

Employees at all levels of the organization have the opportunity to attend employer-sponsored workshops with curriculum that includes leadership, interpersonal communication skills, “emotional intelligence,” workplace creativity and supervisory skills. Graduate-level instruction and executive skill development is available to those employees at the supervisor/manager level and above.

Additionally, there is a Career Ambassador Program that “trains up” volunteers from the business unit on how to be career advisors so other employees can get that kind of career advice from colleagues or peers when they need it.

“We’re growing quite rapidly,” Greek says. “We have a lot of internal promotions, so our people need a lot of just-in-time resources. We give them on-demand career development resources that employees can take where and when they need them.”

And employee satisfaction is astounding: “Surveys and business outcomes let us know if training hits the mark. Employees take courses because they want to, so we see high scores in engagement, well higher than industry benchmarks.

Navy Federal Credit Union, which is owned by its members, is a seven-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

 

Public Sector #5: U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Area of Excellence: Collaboration

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U.S. OPM’s USALearning Offers Critical Cybersecurity Training

Cybersecurity is becoming more of a threat, especially to U.S. Office of Personnel Management, U.S. OPM) and other federal, state and local government agencies. Every day, new security issues gain the attention of the computer security community, including loss of data, new malware, and/or new ransomware, which is a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction. Just recently, the City of Atlanta, Ga., had its systems compromised by ransomware.

The challenges of cybersecurity are changing rapidly with new vulnerabilities being discovered and systems previously thought secure being compromised.

So U.S. OPM’s USALearning is now working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to develop and offer more than 60 online cybersecurity courses to federal, state and local government employees, including U.S. Department of Defense personnel and U.S. military veterans. These courses can build skills and support any career transitioning to the cybersecurity field.

The “Cybersecurity Awareness” course introduces the automated information systems (AIS) environment and the threats and vulnerabilities faced when working within the government or defense industrial systems. It provides a working knowledge of cyber intrusion methods and cybersecurity countermeasures to assist employees in preventing cyberattacks and protecting their systems and information. The user experience centers on a single, large-scale, disastrous event. Several contributing scenarios are presented to show different vantage points related to the large event. Through the large event and associated contributing scenarios, students learn about different cyber threats and methods of operation, targeted information, countermeasures, and reporting requirements. This approach demonstrates for users that even small events can contribute and lead to immeasurable consequences.

More than 600 hours of courses are hosted in a secure FedRAMP environment. Already, more than 200,000 government employees and veterans have self-registered and are taking courses with more than half-a-million course completions or courses in-progress. The self-registration is free, and there is no cost from USALearning to access any of the courses.

These courses provide instruction on how to lock down sites, perform vulnerability testing, address patches, lock out hackers, and hundreds of other key security topics—practices that are fast becoming requirements for anyone working on computers, especially those taking advantage of the Cloud.

The USALearning program is operated out of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and is a part of the HR Solutions Directorate, in the Center for Leadership Development. The program was formerly called the GoLearn Program and has been active since the creation of 24 E-Gov initiatives by President George W. Bush’s e-training initiative in 2002. The purpose of the program is to leverage simplified acquisition processes and allow agencies to expeditiously acquire a myriad of support services via Intra/ Interagency agreements under the authority of the Economy Act and Revolving Fund.

USALearning supports the development of the federal workforce and advances the accomplishment of agency missions through simplified and one-stop access to high quality e-learning products, information and services. Some of its offerings include the development and delivery of customized learning management systems (LMS); learning content management systems (LCMS) and associated services; e-learning/testing platforms; communities of practice; and other customized content and collaborative platforms to include object and document repositories, course development, and innovative software engineering services.

This is the fifth time that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been awarded Learning! 100 status.

 

 

View the full list of 2018 Learning! 100 Award winners below:

 

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Published in Top Stories

Do you believe in the science of evolution? At Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), we do because we’re witnessing it.

Over the last two years JPL has embarked on an innovative journey of self-discovery with the aim of enhancing the quality and quantity of learning opportunities while significantly enhancing the user experience. The continually evolving approach is referenced in many ways but is often characterized as a shift in the “Learning Ecosystem.” As in nature, evolution constantly changes and relies on innovation; such is the case at JPL. Another similarity exists in that evolution in nature relies on the ability to effect change among the norm. JPL’s learning evolution is also shaped by the ability to influence cultural norms and must successfully navigate barriers to change all the same.

Change management involves difficult and complex processes, and precisely – it is inevitable. To effectively implement change on individual and organizational levels requires a new model for change, new thinking, and a new framework to ensure smooth implementation of the desired change.

WHAT IS A LEARNING ECOSYSTEM?

Rosenberg and Foreman comprehensively describe the learning ecosystems and the interrelation of people, processes, tools and outcomes in their paper titled, “Learning and Performance Ecosystems.As Rosenberg and Foreman point out, “learning ecosystems provide value by enhancing individual and organizational effectiveness by connecting people, and supporting them with a broad range of content, processes, and technologies to drive performance."

The key characteristic of today’s ecosystems remains in their ease of use; technology is transparent to the user and facilitates user interaction and communication. Moreover, an ecosystem provides access to a mentor and allows the learners to apply their newly acquired skills and knowledge in real-time.

JPL’S NEEDS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The continuing mission of JPL is to lead as the U.S. center for robotic expansion of the solar system, earth science, and space-based economy. The JPL human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) team serves as the primary JPL organization responsible for satisfying leadership, organization learning, and development as well as technical training needs of over 6000 JPL personnel and 7000 contract affiliates.

Like many technical organizations, JPL faces challenges in managing the transference of deep technical and institutional knowledge while experiencing an unprecedented growth in JPL mainline mission and a drastic shift in its multi-generational workforce. JPL must address the changing learning styles of new and existing individuals and the constant employee expectation of a commercial-like learning experience.

Prior to embarking on its learning renaissance, JPL provided training and employee development utilizing an experience-based apprenticeship model. The legacy model was extremely successful and enabled remarkable achievements in space exploration. While the mentor and experiential model historically served its purpose well, it wasn’t designed for today’s world of exponential information, and technology torrent. While the legacy model may not remain the primary mode of professional development, one cannot discount the result and would be ignorant to discount its role in future training. The reality remains that JPL had a pressing need to transform the training model to a technology-based model that uses technology to develop skills and knowledge that connects communities’ efficiency.

DESTINATION 2025 BEGINS

In 2015, JPL’s Chief Human Resource Officer Cozette Hart formed the “Destination 2025” working group dedicated to exploring and advancing the future of working and learning at JPL. Over the course of the following year, JPL’s business case for modernization of learning was contextualized. The primary areas of learning modernization were identified as:

>>  Modernization of the JPL learning environment; consistently improve on the availability and quality of training while enhancing the learning experience.

>>  How to significantly modernize talent acquisition and management in the most technically advanced place on Earth.

Change awareness was raised among stakeholders through early communication related to JPL’s needs for change in learning technology and its rapidly evolving capabilities. At JPL, the scope of change was full employee development and a new training ecosystem. The change team provided support and resources and set the direction for various efforts to increase value in specified business areas.

To bring resources together, integrate processes, and communicate effectively, goal-oriented change management was designed to guide individuals and organizations at JPL. The desire for change was reinforced through employee engagement and participation with the aim to overcome resistance through a cross- functional sponsorship program.

NEW LEARNING ECOSYSTEM

The proposed learning approach was designed to provide flexibility and support which compliments the capabilities of JPL’s unique workforce. The learners of today expect a digitally rich learning environment, and implementation of new technology enabled a personalized learning experience to JPL employees anytime and anyplace in real-time. The HR team and its laboratory partners prepared to shift and integrate resources by focusing on the new learning ecosystems in terms of the operational support, technology and curriculum. Each pivot area evolution was based on application of advanced technologies and approaches such as:

>>  Use of a learning portal that provides personalization and support of individualized learning styles.

>>  Migrating from formal to informal learning environment resulting in collateralized credit for learning and experiences.

>>  Embracing self-paced learning and personalized learning environment so that learners choose when and where they learn. The classroom of the future was developed virtually, supporting personal exploration and providing an interactive environment in support of continuous lifelong learning.

>>  Development and integration of a robust framework of learning systems, tools and capabilities which remain transparent to the user, thus ensuring a streamlined and positive user experience.

>>  Development of a knowledge capture and transfer system designed to support the transference of critical knowledge and expertise during normal Lab business.

>>  The ability to scale the learning envi- ronment and its offerings commensurate with the increase in project work and competing personal priorities.

>>  Development of digitally rich learning and implementation of in-house and contract augmented learning content production.

>>  Introduction of a wide array of live and virtual training methodologies.

NEW PROCESS, SYSTEM AND STRUCTURE

To support the new concept and change design, new process, system, and structure were deployed. To provide the right training to the right employees at the right time, our team worked on several key activities including the implementation of a new organizational structure, internal processes, pilots of learning technology and overall modernization of the learning framework. Through organizational analysis and input from stakeholder groups, we determined the best approach to enable success within a decentralized organization was with enhanced processes,offerings, and services such as:

>>  Restructuring technical learning, improved design, development and delivery of learning capabilities.

>>  Investment into user experience tooling (i.e. Degreed learning portal).

>>  Streamlined business processes to reduce redundancies (annual call for training).

>>  Virtual classrooms.

>>  Creation of hybrid online/ physical learning cohort utilizing virtual classrooms technology.

NEW TECHNOLOGY AND RESOURCES

The new learning environment was based on the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), and XAPI standards. These standards reflect the current and evolving best practices for developing, sequencing, and packaging learning contents. For learners, the easy access to learning content was made through a common repository and portal. The new portal became the one stop knowledge shop where learners can search, find, and utilize learning objects. Moreover, trainers were able to publish learning content using a multitude of delivery formats (e.g., micro-learning, curated, custom built, instructor-led, case studies, eBooks, wikis, podcasts, video snippets, case studies, etc.)

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IMPERATIVE

Knowledge management is a systematic creation, acquisition, integration, distribution, application, and transference of knowledge used to drive behaviors which support organizational objectives. Knowledge management captures and transfers both existing and newly created information and knowledge.

The JPL process of knowledge management was based on the aggregation of institutional knowledge which can be distributed, shared and accessed by all employees when and where needed to perform assigned tasks, solve problems and engage in innovation.

Embracing knowledge management and becoming a modern learning organization requires a culture change across JPL. To mitigate loss of critical institutional knowledge because of employee retirement, JPL focuses on every employee contributing to the body of knowledge at individual and organization levels. The explicit and implicit knowledge capabilities facilitated resources coordination and enable deployment of state-of-the-art institutions and technical learning. Better communication across the organization improves stakeholders’ understanding of training requirements. Therefore, increased coordination refines the development and execution of training requirements, ultimately creating better contents.

BENEFITS OF NEW SYSTEM

The introduction of a new learning model has shifted the learning environment from a directive inflexible model to one that empowers and provides individualized learning and development capability. In addition to greater flexibility, today’s best practices models reduce the cost to train while increasing the ability to scale resources to meet a larger workforce’s personalized learning needs.

Advanced learning content management approaches introduced new methods of curriculum development and deployment. JPL’s HR L&D piloted enterprise learning content development efforts within their own teams while harnessing the experience and resources of the greater decentralized JPL learning and development workforce. Studies have indicated that new approach can reduce the learning content development time between 25% and 60% while enabling self-paced and individualized learning approaches.

With a mix of live, virtual and constructive education and training, an optimum mix of virtual e-learning environment enables live training and optimizes content delivery. We leverage the use of new technologies to supplement and, where appropriate, replace hands-on training to maximize availability and scaling. However, certain aspects of JPL training cannot be performed virtually due to the high degree of complexity associated with lab-based scientific training.

In the context of growing demand for training resources and the speed at which knowledge is being created and evolving, the learning ecosystem enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of the training and provides flexibility to deal with the ever-increasing velocity of changing procedures, systems, scientific methods and equipment at JPL.

SAVINGS GENERATES INVESTMENT

The technical training organization’s formula to create an effective organization has changed over the years, but the fundamental ingredients include the right organizational structure and processes, technology and infrastructure, and people to develop the best workforce at the lowest cost possible. This approach enables JPL to invest cost savings derived from efficiencies in its training system into the future of scientific and engineering training. JPL experienced major cost savings by contracting many of the training developers and have reinvested back into the training program. The JPL L&D learning plan is comprised of multiple approaches designed to elicit outcomes which create positive results in the areas of individual growth and flexibility, opportunities for experiential learning, and a greater efficiency which allows expansion of learning offerings.

FUTURE CHALLENGES

The new learning ecosystem has and will change the context of how learning takes place. Learners experience real-time and pushed recommendations for learning. The information available is dynamic, technically applicable, visually engaging and easy to locate. In response to the growing training needs, the L&D shift has enabled and empowered self-directed learning.

JPL must sustain easily accessible systems for learners to access information from a myriad of sources. The additive value of the learning organization of tomorrow will be in the identification, validation, and creation of high quality technically accurate learning content. JPL L&D will still be responsible for the production of high quality, engaging learning material. As the need for information and the number of JPL employees expands, L&D must refine its ability to scale its training development and support services.

Training development and support services will take on many forms in the days ahead ranging from exclusively virtual learning environments to live constructive hybrid and instructor-led environments augmented with technology-based presentation and subject matter interactive channels.

CONCLUSIONS

HR and L&D enables and empowers learning. The aim was to develop resources, sustain people, processes using tools and technology to provide individualized training content to the right employees, at the right time using contents of the highest technical quality.

Resulting, JPL workforce maintains a world-class level of technical competencies and on-the-job performance.

>>  The new learning ecosystem ensures individual and organizational competencies for technical workforce while focusing on people.

>>  Greater availability and access to learning opportunities at the existing funding levels.

>>  Reduced cost of training and re-distribution and reinvestment of training dollars.

>>  Reduced time spent with curriculum development and delivery through repository.

>>  Enhanced opportunity for employees to experience advanced simulation and made training technology available both inside and outside the traditional classroom.

>>  Preservation and focused use of instructor-led and hands-on training and less time required to fully develop early career hire employees.

—Anthony Gagliardo is a Learning! Champion award-winner for thought-leadership. His program to re-imagine the learning ecosystem at JPL inspired this honor. Gagliardo is head of HR & Technical Training at NASA’s JPL and is committed to supporting the training needs of those at NASA and Caltech Institute.

Published in Top Stories

Transforming the Learning Organization from Order-Takers to Business Partners

By Ronda Feague

"It's just training, it doesn’t take long to create." How many times have you heard that or something similar?

The challenges facing the learning organization when moving from order-taker to business partner are:

>>  Customers often think it is easy  to create training.

>>  Customers may have a pre-determined solution.

>>  The learning organization is often backed into a corner in terms of  development time.

>>  Due to cost constraints, the learning organization must deliver more  with less.

Our internal customers often don’t realize how long good learning design takes. We feed this myth, by continually jumping through hoops to deliver the learning solution in time to support a new software, product or program release, reinforcing that we are just order-takers and not partners in providing the solution. As learning professionals, we know that well designed learning solutions can add value by improving efficiencies, engaging staff, saving money, providing metrics data and showing Return on Investment (ROI) for the business. It is imperative that we build strong relationships and partner with stakeholders, so they understand the type of value we can bring.

HOW DO YOU GET IN THE  DOOR AND GET TO THE TABLE?

To start, you must assess your team’s capabilities, your larger learning team goals and combine that with a deep understanding of your company’s organizational goals and the operational realities of the business. Do you have a defined vision (what you provide) and mission (how you’ll provide it)? If not, you need to spend some time reflecting and building out what that is and making sure your team is onboard. You can’t expect anyone to follow your lead if you don’t know where you are going.

While a strong learning design background and understanding of the business is important it is equally important to build relationships.  According to Peter Block: “The building of authentic relationship as the delivery system for expertise and business knowledge. The result is to make internal clients trusted business partners which results in improved business outcomes for companies and organizations." Building on that philosophy, find your champions and cultivate those relationships. Once you have found them, ask if they see areas where the learning organization can be included.

IDENTIFY PROJECT OBJECTIVES

You’ve been invited to the table, now what? When you meet with stakeholders initially, listen first and then ask questions to help: narrow focus, get the project team on the same page and help you decide which learning solutions, if any, to recommend. Then share how learning can help them achieve their goal. Some questions to ask are:

>>  Who are we impacting (target audience)?

>>  What problem is being solved?

>>  What will success look/feel like (metrics)?

The answers will help you to narrow recommendations and decide if learning is the solution.  Sometimes as you meet with the stakeholder and they answer questions, you may realize that the solution is simpler, maybe a communication or a conversation is all that is needed not a full-blown learning solution.

Tip: Use stakeholders time wisely. Some stakeholders may want to be more actively involved in the process than others. Be proactive; ask them how they would like to be communicated with and how often.

Bonus Tip: Begin with ‘yes.’ Yes can be disarming (assuming it is the truth) that you could build what they are requesting (take their order). But, once you know what they want to accomplish, that may drive the design and you are on your way to ‘partnership.

DESIGN PROPOSAL

Once you have completed analysis, go back to the business with your recommendations for learning solutions. As you put the design proposal together tie in your recommendations to the answers that the stakeholder’s provided and use their language.  Provide reasoning as to why the recommendations landed where they did. Be sure to note how you will track success and when results will be reported back to the business.

For example, we were asked to create a half day in person instructor-led training for a new phone system being installed in five countries over the course of two months.  To save money and time we recommended short, engaging e-lessons to introduce the new system followed by a virtual session with an instructor where learners could ask questions.

Tip: Don’t over engineer solutions.

STATEMENT OF WORK

Once the design proposal is accepted, we follow up with a Statement of Work (SOW). This document has been key in our success, second only to building relationships. This will become the roadmap for the project with the business and should include:

>>  What learning solution will be delivered.

>>  Expectations of the stakeholder and subject matter experts during the feedback cycle.

>>  List any critical items from the stakeholder and promised deliverable dates from them.

>>  Signature lines for stakeholder and learning solution provider.

How many times have you begun work on a project, sent for feedback and the stakeholder wants to add additional items that were not part of the original conversation?  The SOW helps with scope creep. If the business doesn’t provide critical information or feedback as agreed to, you can pull it back out and remind your business partner where you landed prior to starting the project.

Tip: We stopped giving delivery dates and moved to hours for all projects. People latch on to dates and remember them.  They forget when the software development cycle ran late or critical items needed for learning solution design were not delivered on time.

DEMONSTRATE IMPACT

Remember you need to report results back to the business. By building in tracking during the design phase you can track that data at set times and share with the business.  This is where your credibility is built.  Cool, flashy design will only take you so far. You can have cool, flashy plus impact or lower key design with impact, but you cannot under any circumstances have any type of design with negative outcomes or impact.  Sometimes projects miss the mark, better to course correct as soon as a you know the solution is not hitting the mark. Sometimes it can just be a small tweak to set the solution on the right course again. When a solution misses the mark, own it.  Reach out to the business and deliver this information and offer solutions.

Tip: If the learning solution is not making a difference, stop and/or readjust.

PITFALLS

This sounds great on paper, but the reality is that it isn’t easy. You can’t chase fads or make a project fit a tool that you want to try out.  Credibility is at stake, make sure that the solution and tool for delivery match, the solution fits the target and that the learning will make an impact.  Look for innovative solutions and don’t over-engineer.

When approached about a project, it is easy to fall back into the order-taker mentality because it is familiar.  Take a step back, ask the questions and provide thought leadership to arrive at the right solutions.

Keep your eye on your target audience and put yourself into the “shoes of the learner”.  Would you want to use the solution?  Would it engage you, provide you needed information, or is it just checking a box? If you aren’t moving the needle, then why do it?

CONCLUSION

Becoming a trusted business advisor takes time and effort. You must build and maintain relationships. You must also understand the business and how learning can help. Results should take the form of speed, quality, operational efficiency, cost savings, culture/engagement and other performance related outcomes.

As you start experiencing wins with this process, start sharing those with your team and across the organization.  The best feeling is for teams to reach out to the learning organization, not because they have a training need, but because they want to bounce ideas to get your thoughts prior to them moving forward with a project.  This seat at the table feels good.

It took 12 months for us to get to this point, and we continue to hone our story and approach, relationships and outcomes, provide thought leadership and continue to help our stakeholders to start in the “What do they need to know” mode and not jumping to “solution” mode.

Order taking will never go away and, for certain instances, it still makes sense. But for the larger asks, put a process in place. Ask: “What problem are we solving?” “Are the results measurable?” and “Is this the right solution?” The process creates a circle of learning and performance. Success breeds trust, credibility, the ability to make a difference with learners and the business, ensure learning is an active partner of future initiatives.

Celebrate your successes internally with your team.  Apply for industry awards and, as you accept industry acknowledgement, share that internally.  Your team is now viewed as a value add. Not just because you said so, but because others see it too. And remember that the purpose for learning in the context of organizations is to add value to the business.

--Ronda Feague is Director of Instructional Design Strategy & ChoiceU Operations, at Choice Hotels International. Choice Hotels International is a 2017 Learning! 100 award-winner for culture.

Published in Top Stories

Strategy cannot always ensure success.

The learning culture of an organization can be easily overthrown by even the most formidable learning and development departments.  Creating sustainable organizational change means having a strong and effective culture around learning and development. But when bureaucracy is expanding, and change is slow-particularly within large organizations - how can we create highly effective learning cultures in today’s modern business world?

There are 17 ways of cultivating a highly successful learning culture for any organization.

1. TAKE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SERIOUSLY

Create formal professional development plans for every employee - including managers, senior executives, CEOs, and board members.  Document the professional development pathways, skills, and knowledge gaps of everyone. In doing so, place importance on closing those gaps and advancing employees.

Employees will see how much the development of their professional skills are valued by the organization. It shows them that their learning is important. Ensure that the professional development plans are updated at least quarterly by the employee, reviewed by their direct supervisor on all occasions, and recorded in the employee’s HR file.

2. GIVE THEM CONTROL

Allow employees to take control over their own professional development  - even to the extent of allowing them a degree of control over the training budget allocated to them.   When employees have this level of control over their learning, they will be sure to spend their budget allocation on training and topics that they are truly interested in instead of being sent on training programs that are of little use, benefit, and interest to them.

One of the key principles of adult learning is allowing learners to self-direct their learning journey. This adds a sense of responsibility, ownership, and increases the value of organizational learning and development.

3. SET KPIS FOR LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT - AND MEASURE THEM

By making learning and development a performance indicator and criteria that must be met, the organization is showing just how important the development of everyone is. It makes the acquisition of new knowledge, skills, and competencies as important as the job roles and responsibilities themselves. This creates a powerful and positive L&D culture shift.

4. MATCH LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES TO THE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ON EVERY JOB DESCRIPTION.

For every function that an employee must perform, have a list of training, education and development activities that could be implemented.

Some elements to consider include:

>>  Role compliance (what training must be done to be ‘compliant’ in their roles)

>>  Recommended training for the current state of the industry (training that helps them meet a standard industry benchmark or general norm outside of compliance needs)

>>  Desirable training (non-essential but ‘good to have’)

>>  Above and beyond (training that will enhance the professional in their wider career)

Documenting suggestions for training and development - from a compliance level right through to ‘above and beyond’ training - will show employees how much importance the organization places upon individual development. It will also make it easier for managers and individual employees to select appropriate learning and development options. These options, in turn, will directly contribute to the responsibilities of each role within the business.

5. RECOGNIZE INFORMAL LEARNING AS A VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION TO FORMAL EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT

Recognizing only formal and accredited training can leave out the significant development that can be acquired through informal means of education.  Some examples include new knowledge and skills acquired via online learning programs, attending conferences and networking events, reading books and industry magazines, attending webinars, engaging in social learning and participation in online forums.

Ensure that all employee professional development plans contain an area for the documentation and recognition of all informal learning.  Use this information to find out what skills and knowledge were obtained from informal learning activities. Then analyses how this knowledge has contributed to the development of the employee’s role within the business.  Not only does this show the employee and the company how much developmental progress the employee has made but can give clues to existing training gaps within the business - not to mention encouraging ongoing lifelong learning.

6. CREATE A SHARED LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT LIBRARY

Provide a learning library that can be accessed by all staff where the sharing of learning is easy for everyone. Enable employees to share videos links, articles, blogs, study notes, books, workshops, webinars, conferences, events, and more with each other within the learning portal.  When people see that it is encouraged to share they may be far more likely to.

You could take this one step further by making knowledge sharing a key performance indicator.  Set ‘knowledge sharing’ goals which can be achieved in person, face to face, via e-delivery, via contribution to a resource library and so on.

7. ENSURE THAT THE BUSINESS AND ALL MANAGERIAL AND SUPERVISORY STAFF PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH IN TERMS OF YOUR LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES

Ensure that all initiatives are implemented and followed up on, and that professional development plans are always reviewed during the appraisal period. The informal messages that you and your managers send can significantly influence the learning culture within the organization.

8. SHARE PROGRESS  WITH THE TEAM

 Sharing the company’s strengths, progress, desired destination, and current position in terms of learning and development, can contribute to the learning culture.   When employees can see that the organization has a strategy, their attitude can change dramatically as to how much they feel their development is valued.

An additional bonus to sharing this progress is that employees may come up with solutions and strategies that may not have been considered by managerial staff.

9. CELEBRATE L&D ACHIEVEMENT

Just as the old-fashioned mentality of ‘Employee of the Month’ shows that an organization values strong a work ethic and dedication, celebrating the academic and developmental achievements of employees can also be extremely motivating in developing a learning culture.  Why not create a ‘Learner of the Month’ or a similar natured award in your company?

The open sharing of workforce development progress also allows the opportunity for employees to contribute to the overall organizational learning and development strategies for each year.  Provide all employees with knowledge of the company strategic objectives and the gap analysis and open the training plans up for contribution to by the workforce themselves.

10. MONITOR THE MANAGERIAL AND EXECUTIVE RESPONSES TO ORGANIZATIONAL CHALLENGES AND FAILURES. 

The way senior staff act in their roles shapes the way the rest of the company responds and behaves in similar situations. If senior staff within the organization see all challenges as an opportunity to learn, grow, develop and improve on their work, it will foster a culture of learning and development.

11. BE CONSCIOUS OF THE SUBTLER ATTITUDES TO LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

The underlying attitude to training and development can be highly influenced by how resources are allocated to it in comparison to other activities and departments within the business.  If management appears to have a negative attitude to learning and development, or places a low value upon it, so will the entire team.

12. CLEARLY DEFINE  AND COMMUNICATE HOW ARE YOU TRACK RETURN ON INVESTMENT OF TRAINING ACTIVITIES.

If people know that their training has a value, and that the value is being quantifiably measured by senior management, then a learning culture will continue to develop. Conversely if they don’t see this, then they start to get the impression that the company doesn’t care, and they in turn shouldn’t care about their own learning and development either.

13. ENCOURAGE INTERNAL COACHING AND MENTORING.

Valuing the skills that already exist inside the team make people feel valued and encourages the sharing of knowledge.

14. REWARD THE WHOLE COMPANY WHEN KPIS ARE EXCEEDED

Part of cultivating a positive learning culture is reducing the risk of employees competing with one another.  If one person wins then somebody else must have ‘lost’. To foster a team working culture set personal KPIs and require each person to be effectively meeting the objectives of their job - the expected minimum requirement. Then, have company KPIs that if exceeded offer reward to everyone - recognizing the collective contributions of skills and knowledge from everyone.

This will reduce the likelihood of competition - which causes employees to withhold and hide their knowledge from each other.

15. ENCOURAGE  PEER TRAINING SESSIONS

Encourage internal buddy days where the team work with employees and colleagues from other departments and spend a few hours of the day conducting a completely different job within the organization. This increases cross departmental sharing of best practice and cultivates improvements made by gaining outside perspective. It also generates wider learning and collaboration within the organization.

16. REWARD BEHAVIORS ATTITUDES AND OUTCOMES THAT ARE MOST  IN LINE WITH THE DESIRED CULTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION.

Too often it is bad behavior that is rewarded with attention and resources, leaving those who work hard and consistently meet their KPIs feeling unnoticed and undervalued.  Ensure that positive behavior is noticed and given managerial attention far more than negative actions and situations.

17. THE WAY THAT YOU RECRUIT WILL IMPACT ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING CULTURE.

Hire internally before you advertise externally. Provide numerous opportunities of promotion from within.  If employees can see that their development is rewarded by progress in their career, they will be far more likely to engage in developmental activities as they will be confident that their efforts can bring the reward of climbing higher up the career ladder.

LAST THOUGHTS:

Clearly communicate the organizational values and explicitly describe the behaviors and attributes of culture that you desire. If people don’t know exactly what the desired learning culture looks like and how it is measured, they simply cannot model it.

—Sarah Cordiner is CEO of Main Training, Australia and  expert in communications, marketing and online education expert.  Learn more at: https://courses.maintraining.com.au/

Published in Top Stories

Business Drivers Spur  Need for New Features

As technology evolves so do the learning solutions that grow our talent. In Elearning! Magazine’s 10th Annual Learning & Talent Platforms Buyer Study, we reveal how the learning ecosystem is evolving. The study conducted November 14th to December 5th, 2017 surveyed 441 learning executives on platform needs, brand and product awareness, user satisfaction, ‘must have’ features on new or replacement platforms, and insights into the decision-making process. We share the topline findings here, and recommend downloading the complete study for free at: http://information.2elearning.com/2018lmstmsstudy/

CURRENT OWNERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS

Almost half of respondents operate multiple learning or talent systems within their enterprises (See Figure 1). Eighty-eight percent have a learning system deployed within their organizations. A large uptick in talent system ownership was noted with 33% ownership. Cloud-based systems continue to rise with 74% of systems running as Software as a Service or in the cloud. Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) have also reported a slight increase to 31%. The most frequent pairing of systems is Learning Management System (LMS) and Talent Management System (TMS) at 18%, followed by LMS and LCMS at 13%.

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Most learning and talent systems are deployed across multiple locations with multiple US locations and international sites accounting for 2 out of 3 installations  (See Figure 2).

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The learning systems deployed are supporting internal staff (83%) and external customers, suppliers and partners, (74%) (See Figure 3). Support of external audiences has increased 7.2% from 69% in 2016. Customers account for 44% of extended training programs.

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SATISFACTION RATINGS

Owner satisfaction scores have steadily improved for learning platforms over the last five years. This year’s overall satisfaction rating was 2.22, a solid B. Much is attributed to movement toward cloud-based systems that simplify ownership and the updates users receive during ownership. However, learning systems still receive lower marks on Flexibility (2.44), Interoperability (2.47), and New Features & Capabilities (2.52).

Surprisingly, TMSs saw a lower overall score than LMSs of 2.36, a B-. Given that TMSs are newer to the market and can leverage cloud’s ease of use, we expected higher satisfaction scores. The sore points for TMS owners are: Interoperability (2.37), Cost (2.39), Ease of Use (2.42), Flexibility (2.42) and New Features & Capabilities (2.42). However, the owners’ lack of expertise may also be a contributing factor to lower satisfaction given only 31% report they are expert or very familiar with the TMS vs. 72% of LMS owners.

THE NEXT SYSTEM

Dissatisfaction with system's features and flexibility is a continuing concern for learning executives. However, now it is a roar heard from the C-suite as focus on engagement, collaboration and performance takes center stage (See Figure 4).

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In the 2018 study, Employee Engagement is the number one business driver for investment in learning and development. Meaning, learning and development initiatives will be measured against this objective before, during and after the investment.

Why all the focus? According to Gallup 2017 study, organizations with highly engaged employees have 22% higher productivity and 25% lower turnover. Today, 67% of the workforce is disengaged. Plus, 51% of employees are actively looking for their next job; 91% of which will be with a new employer. Engagement is now a C-suite imperative and learning and development is the key.

According to Gallup, 41% of millennials say "a job that accelerates career development is very important." Another 61% say "I want to work at what I do best" - a nod to competency. This is a key tactic to improving engagement. As a result, Personalize Learning has skyrocketed from 0.4% in 2012 to 49% in 2018. With digitalization, smart systems and data analytics, personalizing learning is within the grasp of most learning organizations. And, it is now being funded by most organizations.

NEW SYSTEM ATTRIBUTES

About one out of three LMS owners are replacing their systems and 6% of those without a LMS, are planning to add one. For TMS owners, 8% are planning to replace their system, however 12% of non-owner plan to acquire a TMS. These buyers are investing more than ever on their next system at $1.3 million, up from $1.1 million in 2016, an 18% increase.

Sixty-nine percent of buyers plan to purchase their new learning system within 24 months.  For TMS buyers, 57% plan to make the acquisition within the 24 months.Eighty-two percent plan to purchase a LMS, cloud-based solution (See Figure 7).

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Buyers value Quality, Price and Customer Service when specifying a solution. However, their list of ‘must-have’ features is long. The good news is business leaders are ready to invest to get the features and capabilities needed to drive the business.

When it comes to the learning system, most expect the standard functionality to be present i.e. Course Tracking, Authoring, Testing, etc. The early majority are now expecting Mobile Deployment (68%), Personalized Learning (64%), and Survey Management (60%).  However, only about four out of ten have these capabilities in their current system (See Figure 5).

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On the TMS front, owners expect Performance Measurement, Metrics, Planning (71%), Workforce Analytics (64%), Reporting Tools, Integration and Succession Planning (61%) to be in their next system. They are not generally present in their current system  (See Figure 6).

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BRAND AWARENESS

The study also queried current ownership by brand, awareness and rankings of learning and talent systems by mention. More than 100 brands were named in the study indicating the industry is still quite fragmented. Among owners, the top learning brand only collected 9% share, level with 2016. Among talent systems, the top brand garnered only 12% share.  The complete report on brands, awareness and ownership can be downloaded free at: http://information.2elearning.com/2018lmstmsstudy/

SUMMARY

As technology evolves, so does the solutions and processes we leverage. Learning and talent systems are wonderful solutions. But, they are only as useful as the experts behind the wheel. The C-suite is investing in your team to move the engagement needle and drive performance. Use this research, your team and partners to design the ecosystem your team needs, wants and deserves. The solutions await you.

Published in Top Stories

Learning! Champions embrace hard work, dedication and creative thinking.

The 2018 Learning! Champion Award honors individuals for exceptional contributions to the learning industry. Elearning! Magazine names 17 professionals across six categories for 2018.

“Thought-Leaders” are industry experts always willing to share their expertise and are dedicated to bettering their communities and industries. “High Performers” have gone above and beyond, usually in a relatively short time frame to implement new learning techniques in their organizations. “Trail Blazers” forge new processes and procedures in uncharted areas to elevate learning and technology successes.

“Innovators” are technologists or problem solvers who often bring these solutions to market for others to share. “Creative Consultants” have the ability to create solutions to learning problems that scale beyond the current challenge.

“Rookies of the Year” are new to their role or industry and have surpassed performance expectations and are on their way to a successful career in learning.

The 2018 Learning! Champions are...

THOUGHT LEADER

1. Sae Schatz, Ph.D Director, Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, Department of Defense

Sae Schatz, Ph.D. serves as the Director of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL Initiative), a research and development program under the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training. In the role of Director, Sae leads the ADL in thought-leadership, facilitating learning for our nation’s Warfighters, government agencies, and beyond.  Through research, development and collaboration, ADL is working on next generation strategies, best practices, and innovations to advance the way we learn.

Sae also supports ADL’s mission to develop and advocate open source software, tools, and specifications; as well as create and accelerate the establishment and utilization of technology-driven learning standards that prepare and enable our nation’s learners, both military and civilian. Innovative learning technologies impact our learners by enabling them to be more mentally agile, expanding their capacity to develop sophisticated competencies and skills, and enabling them to thrive in the most  complex situations.

In the last few years, Sae led the authorship and execution of the Marine Corps’ Making Good Instructor Great project and accompanying instructor tool kit. She also acted as chief scientist for the award-winning Border Hunter research effort (sponsored by Joint Forces Command) and, later, for the Joint Staff’s blended learning – training initiative. Sae is passionate about human–systems integration and, in general, about emphasizing human-centered approaches in research, develop- ment, education, and training.

Before joining ADL, Sae worked as the Chief Scientist for a small defense contractor as well as a professional development consultant, and prior to that, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training.

Dr. Schatz received her Ph.D. in Modeling and Simulation from the University of Central Florida. She served on the UCF faculty from 2006–2011 (teaching courses in human-systems integration, visual and web design, and web development) and continues to support the Modeling and Simulation graduate program as an occasional adjunct instructor. http://www.linkedin.com/in/saeschatz

2. Anthony Gagliardo, Head of HR, Training & Development, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dare Mighty Things

Anthony is committed to supporting the technical training and professional needs of the men and woman of NASA and California Institute of Technology in their quest to DARE MIGHTY THINGS. JPL’s office of Technical Training and development is comprised of industry leading learning professionals focused on enabling the knowledge that propels those who accomplish the impossible.

In 2017, Anthony reinvented learning at JPL transitioning it from an event-based training model to a collaborative open learning ecosystem. With the world’s top experts in jet propulsion to tap, knowledge exchange was a top priority. Anthony lead the transition by creating a learning ecosystem that tapped expertise internal and external to JPL. Learn more about this program on page 25.

Prior to joining JPL, Anthony served the Federal Aviation Administration as Director of Technical Training where he guided efforts to modernize and transform training for the FAA’s 20,000 air traffic controllers and 6,000 technicians. He also served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years as a flight engineer instructor.

Anthony has published numerous articles in the field of technical training and corporate transformation.  He has earned a Master’s Degree in Management and Public Administration from American Public University and a Bachelor of Arts in Management from APU. He also holds FAA certifications as a Pilot, Right Engineer and Aircraft Maintenance Technician.

HIGH PERFORMER

3. Ryan Waltrip, Ph.D Director of Online Programming, William & Mary University

Agent of Strategic, Institutional Transformation and Instructional Innovation

In just five years as a Director of Online Learning, Ryan Baltrip has demonstrated exceptional distance education leadership and transformed two different institutions’ approach to online learning. In his first Director role, Ryan served a private institution primarily focused on professional, graduate education that also offered undergraduate programs. When he first stepped into the position, the school’s online offerings were extremely poor quality. Online courses were little more than correspondence classes. Yet through four years of driven and dedicated work, Ryan changed online learning at this institution and developed it into a recognized leader in online graduate theological education. He built a team that would grow annual revenue from $1.7 million to over $7million. The overall satisfaction ratings and quality of the programs increased. Ryan also developed holistic course, instructor, and program evaluation tools that were used to improve effectiveness.

After four years of success, Ryan transitioned to a new challenge – being the Director of Online Programming at William and Mary. His leadership has expanded undergraduate offerings that generated half-million in new revenue and fostered improved student satisfaction ratings with online learning in 14 of 15 measured categories. He worked collaboratively with schools of law, business, education, and arts & sciences to develop new online initiatives in each; helped develop the law school’s first online program; and assisted the School of Education’s strategic plans to expand online. He has provided the strategic direction that revamped existing e-learning workshops into the current E[x]ploring Learning Design program that generates a teaching and learning commendation for faculty and helped the second oldest college in the country to see online learning not as a threat but as an opportunity. Ryan’s leadership has been a vital catalyst in transforming a historical, highly ranked institution and helping it to offer high-quality online learning that matches its brand expectation.

Ryan holds a B.A. in Theology, Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and is completing post doctorate studies in Business.

4. Kristen Davidson, VP of Organizational Development, Consumers  Credit Union (Consumers CU)

Kristen has A Passion for Engaging Employees and Fostering Their Growth

As Vice President of OD, Kristen supports the learning needs of 300+ employees at 19 offices in southwest Michigan. She is responsible for scoping, developing, and delivering training programs for employees, utilizing blended learning. She is a highly motivated, self-driven team leader with expertise in process improvement, change and transitional management, performance metrics, and reporting.  She understands the importance of mentoring and has implemented a formal mentoring program at Consumers CU. She works closely with mortgage sales and operations to ensure training needs are met through various trainings supporting other departments.

Kristen’s impact can be seen in many ways throughout the organization. From the 69 people who have taken Kristen’s Leadership 101 curriculum, 74% have since been promoted with 35% promoted to a manager or supervisor role. After 101, people wanted more opportunity to grow and develop. From there Leadership 201 and 301 were created. These focused on developing further leadership qualities. Leadership 201 is geared toward employees who are looking for the next level in developing coaching or management skills. While 101 may qualify you for a position as a Team Lead or Mentor, 201 will develop skills suited for an assistant manager, like recruiting, credit union financials, and strategic thinking. Leadership 301 is designed to hone the skills of someone who currently leads or will soon be leading a team of people. This class gives participants the chance to connect with the CEO and dig deep into the Integrity Coaching process.

When it comes to employee engagement, Consumers CU stands out from its competitors in the marketplace and Kristen is a huge contributor to that. Another initiative of hers, the Performance GPS, has taken our employee engagement levels up 15 basis points, from 4.34 to 4.48 as assessed by our annual Employee Engagement Survey! Comparatively, the credit union average is a 3.96. The Performance GPS revolutionized the way performance appraisals were done credit union-wide.

Kristen has earned many honors including HR Professional of the Year from CUNA, Program of the Year and Best Results Finalist. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidsonkristen

 

5. Ciara Daume, Instructional Design Manager, Heartland Dental

Leading Training Transformation at Heartland Dental

Ciara leads online learning at Heartland Dental, founded in 1997. The organization’s mission is to “support dentists and their teams as they deliver the highest quality dental care and experiences to the communities they serve while providing exceptional careers and creating value for our stakeholders.”

With their network of over 800 dental practices, 1,200 supported doctors, 10,000 team members, and a presence in 34 states (and growing), Heartland Dental has become the nation’s largest dental support organization. Their support services include HR, marketing, supplies, accounting, payroll, patient support, IT, and more.

Under Ciara’s direction, Heartland Dental transformed their fully in-person training program and made it digital while expanding training opportunities at a cost savings, ($18.5 million to be exact), all while growing their business at an impressive rate. This program compliments Heartland Dental’s 5-year Mastery Program. Upon completion graduates can earn a Fellowship to the Academy of Dentistry along with an award of $250,000. Only seven percent of dentists hold this honor.

6. Andrea Strong, Manager of Instructional Design, SkillPath

Talented Instructional Designer Creates 1,200-Plus Custom Learning Programs Annually

Working fast, furious and full of smarts, you’ll find Andrea Strong, a dedicated Manager of Instructional Design.  For six years, Andrea has led a team of six talented instructional designers, pushing them to deliver quality content and quickly. Andrea is known for meeting lightning-fast deadlines and going above and beyond for clients, employers in all industries and all countries with varying degrees of wants and needs in learning and development.

In 2017 alone, Andrea and her team designed 1,220 learning programs for public and private companies, federal agencies, medical centers and more. Andrea is a fierce proponent of education and lifelong learning, evidenced by her 20-plus years of tenure in designing, training, deploying and leading learning solutions and her own multiple degrees.  Andrea specializes in executive leadership, assessment, education and government business relations – and making learning sing for thousands of learners.

Under Andrea’s leadership, SkillPath has provided training to professionals at 997 of the Fortune 1000, 15 branches of the federal government and four branches of the U.S. military, including work on 226 military bases. Andrea and her team have also trained staff at the headquarters of all four major sports leagues – the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.

Andrea’s intense and extensive work for Komatsu has led to additional opportunities (and more than half a million dollars in revenue) to create learning programs within the global company.

“Andrea Strong’s contributions and the thousands of learners she helps each year is staggering,” said SkillPath President and CEO Cam Bishop. “She is bright, talented and extremely determined to create the very best content, curriculum and custom learning programs for our clients, who benefit immensely from her more than two decades of industry experience.”

Andrea has a Master’s degrees in Public Administration and Education from Park University (1997-1999) and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Communication and Speech from William Jewell College (1993-1997). https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-strong-6ba81

CREATIVE CONSULTANT

7. Matt Chambers, Learning Specialist III, California Coast Credit Union

Matt Chambers Creates Unforgettable Learning Videos in Record Time

Matt Chambers is an astute, prolific learning and visual design professional who creates advertising-agency quality live and animated videos.  His other talents include classroom facilitation, experiential activity design, service measurement, lean process improvement, and knowledge management/Intranet design.

In a span of five months, Matt Chambers created three (3) memorable, inventive, and emotive visual learning videos.He has a film director’s sense of setup and framing, a digital artist’s sense of how to create emotional impact, and a digital designer’s understanding of the tools of the trade.He also has great insights into music selection to create a full cinematic effect.While Matt had previous experience in graphic design and video creation, he had not used many of the effects and animation software tools deployed in the crafting of these projects.

To achieve the delivery of three (3) professional quality, highly engaging videos in five months exceeds the production schedule of visual professionals with more years of experience. Additionally, Matt wrote the scripts, narrated the voice-overs, and incorporated ambient music, providing deliverables that are inspiring, educational, and impactful to many different audiences.  He has proven himself to be an innovator and trail-blazer.

Two live videos with effects were created for the organization’s Board of Directors planning retreat and will now be used in the company’s new hire orientation and on the public web site to help recruit new employees and interest prospective credit union members in a profile of what the credit union represents. This placement is the first time the company has ever used in-house videos on the public web site.

The third deliverable, an animated video, was created to launch a corporate initiative in using behavioral competencies (referred to as “superpowers”).  This video is essential to the company, tying into the Employer Brand, Member Experience Story, and updated standards as a high-performance organization. This video is being used in company-wide communications and training, as well as in new hire orientation and in management development (e.g. writing performance reviews).  The concepts are vital for the company, driving recruitment and coaching practices, while communicating key messages about the organization’s culture.

As an individual, Matt is humble, creative, insightful, and committed to life-long learning.  At 30 years old, he is a powerhouse who will make larger contributions to the learning community as his career progresses.  He earned his BA from San Diego State University in Teacher Education, and has been working in learning and visual/graphic design for the past 10 years.  Matt is a senior learning specialist at California Coast Credit Union in San Diego, CA. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattcbusiness/

 

8. Kim Mabon, CEO, Creative By Design

Where Creativity is Born

Kim Mabon launched Creative by Design in 2011 after honing her design skills in advertising and marketing for large lifestyle and business publishers: Creative Age, Advanstar, Questex and B2B Media Company. Since 1995, Kim has earned over 60 Maggie Awards in partnership with her publishers. As Creative Director of Elearning! Media Group, Kim has collected 24 pub- lishing awards for Best Cover, Best Trade Magazine, Best Media Kit, among others.

“Kim has the unique ability to take verbal and written words and convert to living color that captures the attention of the audience. And, she does it every day,” shared Catherine Upton, Group Publisher,  Elearning! Media Group.

Her skills don’t end in publishing. Kim invests her talents in many volunteer efforts including: Creative Director, My Father’s House Church; Executive Board Director, Corona Chamber of Commerce and Secretary, STARS Network.

Kim is the author of the 5&5 of Advertising program which teaches business owners the top 5 mistakes and 5 essentials of advertising.  She has presented in front of audiences both large and small including The Black Chamber of Commerce, Corona Chamber of Commerce, TEAM Referral Network’s Big Event, SCORE, Inland Empire Woman’s Business Center and many more.

Kim holds an Associate Degree in Graphic Design as well as numerous design, software, publishing certifications. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cbdgraphics/

 

9. Alexandra Manolis, Client Success Manager, BizLibrary

Creating Partnerships that Last through a Consultative Approach

Over the past two and a half years, Alexandra has been instrumental for the Client Success Team at BizLibrary. In her role as a Client Success Consultant, she worked with over 80 clients on their learning and development program. Many of these clients have received industry awards such as Learning! 100, Learning Top 125, Emerging Training Leaders, and LEAD. Addition- ally, through her work she has helped her clients achieve tremendous results.

Alexandra’s work with her 80 clients is a great contribution to the learning industry. Through her consultation, many clients have gone on to present at various conferences, published articles, and made great strides in their training programs. She has presented at conferences on a variety of topics such as launching a new program, marketing a training program, and setting goals. Her clients credit her and her partnership as a reason for their success.

Through her partnership, Alexandra has helped her clients see great results. Go Solution worked with her to create a program that helped them improve close rates by 7%, and FedBid improved their technical and soft skills through their work, just to name a few. Additionally, the internal impact she has had on the team helped to improve the team of 8 consultants. Each week, she provides best practices and strategy to consultants to improve their work with clients.

Alexandra earned a B.A. in Business and a M.B.A in Human Resource Management. https://www.linkedin.com/in/Alexandramanolis/

TRIAL BLAZER

10. Nancy Saks, Director, Learning Center for Learning & Innovation (CFLI), Scripps Health

Nancy leads the award-winning Simulation Center for Collaborative Medicine at Scripps Health, a seven-time Learning! 100 award-winner.  At the center, teams are trained using live simulations and robotic patients for on-boarding, certification and general practice.

“The use of simulated scenarios has increased in clinical pre-licensure education programs,” shared Nancy. “New graduates come to Scripps expecting to participate in simulation exercises. Now we can build on their training and help them become experts with the equipment they will find in their work areas.”

Nancy joined the leadership team at Scripps Mercy Hospital in 2007 with over 25 years of experience in healthcare and higher education as clinician, faculty, and administrator. Now a part of the Scripps Center for Learning and Innovation, she currently manages education and training activities across the Scripps system for staff, volunteers, and students.

Committed to lifelong learning, Nancy achieved a B.S.N. from DeSales University and Master’s and Doctoral degrees in nursing from the University of San Diego.

11. Jordan Wilcosky, Employee Development Supervisor, Garney Construction

Employee Development for Employee-Owners

From day one, Jordan has been innovative in her approach to training. With Garney Construction being an employee-owned (ESOP) company, Jordan had to ensure that any training plans/approaches provided maximum value to the employee-owners, as all money and time spent on training was time not spent contributing to the ESOP. Keeping this challenge in mind, Jordan was, and continues to be, forward-thinking in program implementation, as well as continues to be proactive with training and serving as the learning and development subject matter expert for the entire organization.

After joining Garney Construction, Jordan had employee-owners express that the training Garney provided in classroom sessions was not relevant to their roles. Additionally, it was expressed that training was not timely. In some cases, information given was provided too late for implementation. On the other hand, some expressed they had forgotten what they were taught at sessions when it came time to implement. With this feedback, Jordan determined they needed a solution that is multifaceted, allowing employee-owners to access training that is relevant to their role, when they need it. She began to implement a new program, Garney’s first online university.

After deciding to launch an online university, Jordan had three initial goals for the program:

  • Create excitement within Garney’s employee-owners via a strategic marketing plan that began one month prior to going live and ramped up in frequency and intensity as the go-live date neared.
  • Average one course completion per user, per month after product launch.
  • Gain buy-in and support from the Officer Team (executive team).

After the initial launch, ongoing goals were made to continue to improve the skills of employee-owners, as well as have a positive impact on the learning culture.

Garney has consistently reached (or exceeded) their initial utilization goal by averaging one course per user, per month, so last year. So, Jordan began calculating the percentage of employee-owners who were completing the Garney University monthly course assignment. She found that while course completion numbers were high, the number of people completing the assignment each month could be improved. In 2016, they averaged 62% completion. By January 2018, Garney averaged 79% assignment completion. In a year, participation increased 15%  while adding 50 new learners.

This initiative has earned many honors including Program of the Year and Best Use of Technology.   https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordanwilcosky

12. Cris Hatcher, Director of Training and Development, Watco Companies

Inspiring Others through Relationship, Dedication, and Service

Since joining Watco, and the Watco University Team, Cris has taken a hands-on approach of building relationships, listening to understand what customers need, and offering ideas or possible solutions to the needs of his customers as the core of developing initiatives related to learning and development.

Cris focuses on providing initiatives that spark an ongoing interest in continued learning by providing initiatives that meet the needs of multiple people at the same time, but also caters to specific learners, so they can get both what they need and want. Additionally, Cris maintains a direct connection to the Watco Customer First! Safety Always Foundation Principles of Watco which are: (1) Value Our Customers, (2), Value our People, (3) Safely Improve Every day.

A new online system, Watco U Online (WUO) was launched under Cris in 2015. Since its launch, Watco U Online has seen con- stant growth in the use of the system, and now supplements instructor led training initiatives, and many other initiatives. WUO offers a proactive approach to working safer for our Customers through consistent weekly training. It also sparks engagement from the top down to the frontline at our locations as managers complete the training, and then pass on what they learned to the team members they serve by teaching them. These programs have forged working relationships among several different divisions of Watco. They have further led to other groups recognizing the ability to use Watco University as a business partner, which leads to continuous value being added as new programs are created and added

Watco University has impacted the business. Over the last two years there has been a reduction in turnover at Watco. Watco ended 2014 with a turnover rate of 35% with an estimated turnover cost of $14 million. In 2015, they reduced turnover by 7% to 28% and reduced the financial impact to $11 million, which translates to a $3 million savings. In 2016, Watco reduced turnover rate by another 6% to 22% and reduced the financial impact $9.3 million which relates to $5 million in savings since 2014.

In 2014, Watco did not have any online training. In 2015, they had 2,008 online completions after launching. In 2016, it improved to 4,704 completion. And, in 2017, online completions grew to 11,679, almost tripling 2016. This is over a 581% increase over 2015.

“This is a great return on Watco’s investment,” says Chris.  When you provide a resource and show team members how it can help them, it gives them the chance to grow. You get some much more value.” https://www.linkedin.com/in/crishatcher/

13. Andrea Jones, Director of Organizational Development, Comer Holdings

Creating a Culture of Learning and Excellence from the Ground Up

As a team of one, Andrea Jones has taken Comer Holdings/IMA from having non-existent training culture to an environment that embraces and craves new learning opportunities. After a much-needed analysis of their employee culture and engagement, Andrea created marketing and training engagement campaigns to take learning beyond compliance and engage every member of the organization, from hourly employees to senior leaders. With her creative, blended training program, Andrea has helped to take learning from a “nice to have” to an essential part of the organization’s culture and ongoing commitment to employees.

Andrea has implemented and incorporated several initiatives as the sole learning and development professional. These initiatives include:

  • Incorporating ethics/harassment training starting in 2012.
  • Conducting a training needs analysis for IMA, followed by aligning their HR goals to the company needs in areas of finance, operations, and leadership.
  • Developing campaigns to continually increase the level of leadership engagement, including developing graphical aids such as word clouds, timelines, and creating a voice for learning and development.
  • Building recognition programs and marketing strategies to create excitement and increase LMS usage to achieve organizational goals. Examples include producing a training newsletter, ongoing email blasts, seasonal contests, a publishing a “honors list.”
  • Building custom certifications for IMA/Comer that incorporate both off-the-shelf and custom content.
  • Coordinating with the HR team at IMA to ensure alignment and develop best practices/strategies for

Notable results of these training programs have included a reduction in harassment incidents, greater collaboration in management across locations, a 15% reduction in IMA’s turnover rate, and a culture shift from low morale to one of excitement and appreciation for the company’s investment in its employees’ development.  Plus, people are proactively asking for training. Plant managers are requesting training for not only themselves, but also their employees to enrich the workforce. https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-jones-33434295/ 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

14. Mary Feierabend, Talent Development Program Leader, MarksNelson LLC

Solving Business Challenges with Development and Fun

The rapid pace of change, competition for talent and continuing education requirements for accountants are pressures 

MarksNelson faces every day. With only 11 months of experience as Talent Leader, Mary had to construct a strategy to combat these challenges.

In Jan 2017, Mary launched MarksNelson’s talent development program called MarkNelson University. At its foundation is a competency framework Mary assisted in creating that ensures skill mastery and promotion readiness. The competencies are tied directly to the firm’s mission and core values and are formatted into Success Profiles for each position. The profiles help employee’s answer the question “when am I ready to be promoted?”

Mary used the profiles to create learning tracks for each position that help to teach the skills needed by employees to be successful in their careers. Other tools in MarksNelson University include a career coach program and a voluntary mentor program.  Mary promotes a culture of learning through creative and innovative programs. She created an Excel Ninja certification to raise Excel knowledge among the staff, a virtual scavenger hunt to educate staff on the tools available through MarksNelson University, used Kahoot (a free game-based learning platform) to engage staff in learning, and markets her learning program regularly. She makes sure to take advantage of all free resources and shares various how-to guides, competency guides, and articles with the staff.   https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-fei-erabend-83835197/

INNOVATOR

15. Russel Sarder, CEO, NetCom Learning & Sarder TV

Russell is known as the CEO of Learning. Sarder’s portfolio includes the production of learning media, an educational channel, award-winning learning software and cloud learning companies.  Sarder owes much of his success to his passion for becoming a lifelong learner.

Under his leadership, NetCom Learning – a managed learning services, training, and talent development company - has become a multimillion-dollar business. Among many awards, Inc 5000 Magazine listed NetCom Learning three time as one of the fastest growing private companies in the USA. NetCom Learning has also been recognized by Microsoft as Learning Partner of the Year and has been rewarded four times as Top 20 IT Training Company by Training Industry.

He shares his expertise in his books and speaking. Sarder is the author of, “Learning: Steps to Becoming a Passionate Lifelong Learner” and “Effective Learning Methods: How to Develop the Most Effective Learning Method.” He has been featured in Yahoo Finance, CNBC, Daily News and the New York Times. Sarder is also a business practitioner and mentor for MBA students and alumni at Columbia University.  Sarder was named Top Ten Asian American Business Awards and 50 Outstanding Asian Americans in Businesses.   https://www.linkedin.com/in/russellsarder/

16. Angela Dawson, Training and Development Specialist,  Event Network

Guest Experience & Culture is Job One

Angela oversees training for store team members. She develops and maintains curriculum for many training programs including the “1-2-3-Floor!” program (onboarding), succession planning, lunch and learns, peer to peer program, and “Momentum” (elective training incentive program). She also works on marketing and communication for training, launching a marketing initiative called “Third Space.” She supports approximately 500 store facing team members throughout the United States with training and training support for the entire organization, which is approximately 1000 to 1500 team members.

To drum up interest and participation in training, Angela creates many catch ad campaigns to promote training. She is extremely innovative in her themes, making sure they are always timely – relating to the season, world events, and company events. Some examples include marketing around the Olympic Games and being “hungry” for learning (Snickers spin off). She enlisted the help of other team members to go beyond typical flyers and create interactive campaigns to show on TV screens throughout locations.

With the “1-2-3-Floor!” program, she created a new onboarding program with the goal to extend and elevate the guest experience at their partners’ attractions to achieve their maximum retail potential. The name “1-2-3-Foor!” is the goal of the program; new employees are trained and working on the floor on the 4th day of employment. This allows employees to spend 3 days fully immersed in the company culture and training before stepping onto the floor, ensuring they are fully prepared for the job at hand. This program increased revenue, decreased turnover, increased productivity and speed to competency. Angela faced many challenges in creating this program, including a multi-generational workforce and a dispersed workforce. She was able to overcome these challenges with ease and grace.

During Angela’s tenue, Event Network has been named a Learning! 100 and a Top 125. Angela has won numerous program awards. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Xavier University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Communications from DePaul University. https://www.linkedin.com/in/angela-dawson-579a0512/

17. Dr. Nurkhamimi Zainuddin, Deputy Director, Centre for Global Open Access Learning & Lecturer, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.

Nurkhamimi is Deputy Director at Centre for Global Open Access Learning, Immersive Technology and Quality Assurance (GOAL-ITQAN) and staff at the Faculty of Major Languages, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM). His research focus is on Teaching Arabic as a Second Language and Technology Enhanced Pedagogy. Nurkhamimi is actively involved in research on open and flexible learning. He coined the phrase for FLOOC (Foreign Language Open Online Course) by adapting the concept of “Learning Buffet”. He has developed e-learning courses and Online Education Resources for life-long learning. Students from all over the world have benefited from his MOOC and OER.

Nurkhamimi believes, ”teachers will not be replaced by technology, but teachers who do not use technology will be replaced by those who do.” Nurkhamimi holds a Ph.D. from International Islamic University Malaysia; is a member of The Malaysian e-Learning Council for Public Universities (MEIPTA) and editor of International Young Scholar Journals of Language, Video Journal of Innovative Pedagogies, Malaysian Journal of Educational Technology and Journal of Technology and Information Education.    https://www.linkedin.com/in/nurkhamimi-zainuddin-63398539/

Published in Top Stories

Can one learn innovation skills? At Bayer, the answer is a resounding YES!

Innovation is defined as the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay, according to the Business Dictionary. To be called an innovation, an idea must be replicable at an economical cost and must satisfy a specific need.

The life science industry is surrounded by innovation. Digitalization is creating new business models that are increasingly driving value. Disruptive technologies with big data are transforming R&D and customer approaches. Societal changes are occurring, including aging and increasing populations. Plus, consumerism has customers taking a more active role in decision-making.

When Bayer needed to spark the imagination of employees, it embraced innovation, and embarked on a journey to do just that.

Bayer recognizes that the world is changing, and to remain competitive in the fields of pharmaceuticals, crop science and consumer health, it needs to become even faster and more agile. The company also believes it is not about “doing innovation," it's about innovating in what we do." This mindset is central to Bayer’s future success. Words such as these come easily, and putting it into action is where Bayer has excelled.

To be truly innovative requires the right culture, as revealed in Bayer’s Annual Report: “To further strengthen our innovation culture, we have identified four Focus Behaviors, namely Experimentation, Customer Focus, Collaboration — all underpinned by Trust.”

Innovation requires a shift in mindset. Instead of claiming, “I have no time,” its better to think, “Let’s make time and ask, ‘what if ’?” Rather than accept the “what has always been,” challenge the status quo.

INNOVATION ENABLERS

To help cultivate the right mindset, Bayer has established Innovation Enablers: Inspire, Learn, Collaborate, Connect.

Inspire - to explore and experiment through stories and events. Bayer chief information officer Johannes Schubmehl strongly believes in giving people freedom to innovate. “I love jamming,he shares. “You can never predict the outcome of an experimental session. Usually the result is completely new and cool.” Experiment, trust and empower your team. “Watch what happens when inspiration, aspiration and passion come together,” says Schubmehl.

Innovation Platform - All topics connected to the Innovation Agenda (Inspire, Learn, Collaborate, Connect) are conveniently hosted on the YOUniverse Web application, Bayer’s one-stop shop that enables employees to innovate. The YOUniverse application has had more than 25,000 registered users since its launch in September 2016. The site features more than 500 articles (including stories, learning documents and opportunities to collaborate).

For the Learn section, for example, Bayer staff can find:

>>  More than 40 guides on innovation methodologies and approaches, for self-study and reference.

>>  Webinars on innovation topics like customer-focused innovation, and innovation methodologies to overcome employee survey hotspots.

>>  Online courses in collaboration with IDEO U around elements of design thinking.

>>  Training on systematic inventive thinking with two-day courses to invite employees to learn and apply methodologies to innovate.

Innovation Applied - With recent advances in learning and development on the topic of innovation at Bayer, particularly the establishment of a business-focused Innovation Academy, the company believes it is now at the world’s helm when it comes to driving innovation by truly learning, doing and impacting.

To help unleash the full innovation potential of more than 100,000 employees, Bayer has designed an Innovation Agenda, of which learning is a critical component. Together with strong support from leaders and managers, the passionate and powerful Innovation Network (consisting of more than 80 Innovation Ambassadors and more than 600 dedicated Innovation Coaches) to promote, moderate and contribute toward driving innovation culture and activities from within the core of the company. Innovation Coaches have the passion to innovate and now the power to change.

INNOVATION COACH ON-BOARDING

This approach came from within the company based upon industry best practices. It was co-created with a great external partner company, Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT).

The challenge was to realize objectives in a sustainably successful manner by creating a powerful network of more than 600 fully-trained Innovation Coaches worldwide who had to be:

1. Promoters of innovation among their colleagues in an engaging way.

2. Moderators, by applying an innovation methodology in an innovation mini-session to unleash the creative power of their colleagues.

3. Contributors, by sharing tips and tools with their colleagues

Further, once the Coaches were on-boarded, their professional development needed to be supported so that they could become catalysts for the change that the company envisioned. It was a new network within Bayer. Challenges included: the wide geographical spread of coaches and different time zones; lack of space for Coaches to build new relationships; limited resource availability of Coaches (both time and access to budget); and lack of time for Coaches to reflect on what differentiates them from other existing communities. While inspiring Innovation Coaches about innovation can be easy, finding their relevance to innovation at Bayer can prove to be challenging.

The leaders of the countries and functions nominated Innovation Coaches (dedicating 10 percent of their time) who had a passion for innovation. From June 2016 to August 2017, more than 600 Coaches had been on-boarded via initial face-to-face training, supplemented by many other custom processes and tools. The initial training lasted three days and was held in all the major Bayer sites worldwide, with a general positive average of 4.8 out of 5.0 evaluation score — one of the highest scores in all Bayer learning and training. The Coaches not only learned more about their new role, they discovered an innovation methodology (called systematic inventive thinking) and applied it to real business challenges.

This training was then supplemented by:

>>  Online Coach Community calls to share successes and support coaches with their challenges.

>>  Interactive live webinars with the use of real-time video to learn new techniques such as visual thinking to express ideas.

>>  Advanced training for high-performing Coaches who moderated more than 10 innovation mini-sessions.

All of this was delivered via an online innovation platform called YOUniverse with an invitation from the Innovation Academy to the remaining 99,000 employees at Bayer to also learn and acquire innovation skills such as design thinking.

IMPACT OF ON-BOARDING PROGRAM

Through effective on-boarding and development of coaches, Bayer is now able to directly realize the return on investment. Coaches have been given guidance on how to measure the impact of their tasks:

i)  Promoter (to inspire one person a day on innovation)

ii)  Moderator (to facilitate one innovation mini-session a month)

iii) Contributor (to publish one story a year on YOUniverse or contribute to Community Calls and webinars)

The Coaches’ task of being a moderator who facilitates innovation mini-sessions on real business challenges is already leading to major benefits. Using the methodology that they learned, they are helping to break cognitive fixedness within the company around product, process, business model and service topics. Bayer is on track to exceed a thousand business challenges tackled by the end of 2017 — each one leading to a potential solution.

This role of a Coach is now part of an individual’s growth and career path, and is recognized and supported by management. In addition, the network is making waves internally, and new Coaches are being nominated daily. At Bayer, the saying “Innovation starts with you” is true. And who better to lead this than its Coaches.

Chara Balasubramaniam, Julia Hitzbleck, Melanie Heroult, Krysia Sommers and Henning Trill authored this article. But this has been driven by the entire Corporate Innovation and R&D team, and made possible by all the talented and committed people from the Bayer Innovation network, who all deserve recognition. Bayer is a 2017 Learning! 100 winner for Innovation. It is the company’s second Learning! 100 award.

Published in Top Stories

Celebrating their 13th year,the Best of Elearning! awards recognize 60 brands across 20 categories for excellence. As the industry’s exclusive users’-choice awards, all nominations are made directly by users of solutions to an open-ended online ballot monitored and tallied by Elearning! and Govern-ment Elearning! magazines. These awards honor best-in-class solutions across the learning and technology marketplace.

“As the exclusive users’-choice awards in the industry, the Best of Elearning! awards have become a trusted resource for learning professionals to specifying solutions,” says Catherine Upton, publisher for the Elearning! Media Group.

“We thank our loyal readers and community members for their nominations and congratulate each honoree.

The Best of Elearning! awards program was first implemented to formalize the recommendation and purchase process for the e-learning community. Research indicated 85 percent of readers had recommended an e-learning solution to a peer over the most recent 12-month period, and 61 percent claimed that award recognition “impacts their decision” to consider a product or service. The Best of E-learning! program formalizes this referral process.

THE WINNERS CIRCLE

Elearning! and Government Elearning! magazines are honored to reveal the 60 brands named Best of Elearning! This year, nine brands are first-time honorees. They are:

>>  Artisan E-learning's Micro-learning

>>  Babbel.com’s Language Learning

>>  Bigger Brains’ Microsoft Office Library

>>  Content Raven’s Learning Experience Platform

>>  Cypher Learning’s Matrix LMS

>>  Elearningforce’s LMS365

>>  ITU Online’s I.T. Courses

>>  J.J. Keller & Associates’ Training On Demand

>>  Learnosity’s assessment solution

Multiple category winners this year are:

Vado’s Leadership Development, Management Development and H.R. Compliance Toolkit; ej4’s Software Skills, Selling Skills and Thinkzoom; Adobe’s Captivate and Connect; Articulate’s Storyline 360 and Replay 360; and BizLibrary’s Collection and Community.

Companies returning to the winners circle with Awards of Excellence this year are: BizLibrary’s Cloud LMS, Community and Connection; dominKnow’s LCMS; Adobe’s Connect; ej4’s Business Skills, Sales Skills and Thinkzoom; Vubiz’s Compliance Library; and Articulate’s Storyline.

New this year, Elearning! magazine selected two brands as Hall of Fame winners. This distinction is to honor brands that have made extraordinary advances in the learning solutions industry. The 2017 Hall of Fame honorees are Adobe and BizLibrary.

ABOUT THE VOTING PROCESS

Elearning! Media Group community members, readers, subscribers and online community were invited to nominate their solution provider via an online ballot during June 1 to October 1, 2017. The ballot was open-ended with 20 categories stipulated. At close, the ballots were reviewed. Duplicates were removed, vendor ballots were nullified as well as votes without a verifiable company domain address (ex.: gmail, aol, etc.). Editors verified product types and categories before counting. The top vote earners in each category were identified as finalists. Those with a 10 percent lead over all other products in a category earned category winner status. Close vote counts and runners-up earned Awards of Excellence.

To learn more, visit www.2elearning. com/awards/best-of-elearning-awards.

AND THE WINNERS ARE …

Elearning! and Government Elearning! magazines take great pride in announcing the Best of Elearning! 2017 winners:

WINNER: D2L Brightspace LMS

PRODUCT INFORMATION

D2L Brightspace is an integrated learning platform or learning environment for students who are enrolled in seated, hybrid and online courses.

Brightspace can run online, blended and CBE programs — or even MOOCs — at the same time on a single platform. It is LTI standards-compliant with a full API set and pre-built integrations. It lets you go beyond basic reporting by turning raw data into real insights that you can act on quickly to provide timely guidance.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Instructional Design Wizard aligns content, objectives and instructional strategies

>>  Quizzes, surveys and assignments  measure progress with optional  TurnItIn integration

>>  Course delivery can be fully online, flipped, hybrid or blended

CUSTOMERS

Rochester Institute of Technology, Walmart, Babcock & Wilcox Canada

CONTACT INFORMATION

151 Charles Street West, Suite 400 Kitchener,ON, Canada N2G 1H6 (877) 352-7329 or (519) 772-0325 https://www.d2l.com/products/

Award of Excellence: Adobe Captivate Prime

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Adobe Captivate Prime is a next-generation LMS that delivers personalized learning experiences across multiple devices. It allows you to align all online and offline enterprise-wide learning initiatives to skill, upskill and reskill your employees.

Captivate Prime is engaging, with gamificaiton, unified content playback and high-quality video streaming. Mobile-friendly, it offers personalized dashboards and course recommendations.

Additonally, more than 30 help videos are contained within the product for step- by-step assistance on setting up your LMS that lets employees get onboarded faster with an online help center and 24x7 phone support.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Modern UI built on single Web page architecture that eliminates navigating multiple pages with a friendly user interface and fast application performance

>>  Content-LMS integration that is virtually plug and play

>>  Track multi-format e-learning content such as PPTX, video, PDF, and DOCX files and xAPI-, AICC-, and SCORM- compliant packages.

CUSTOMERS

Publicis Media, BancSource, Prism HR

CONTACT INFORMATION

345 Park Ave. San Jose, CA 95110-2704(408) 536-6000 www.adobe.com/products/captivateprime. html

Award of Excellence: eLogic Learning eSSential LMS

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The eSSential LMS makes delivering, tracking and reporting training activity faster, easier and more accurate. Founded on an agile development philosophy, eLogic continuously adds new functionality based on feedback from clients.

You can cost-effectively deliver online training to your employees, customers and partners. And access training materials anywhere, anytime at the touch of a button. And you never have to worry about a compliance audit again.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Displays seamlessly on any device

>>  Customize course descriptions and  images

>>  Design branded templates (email,  certificates, etc.) to promote training

>>  Wide range of standard reports and  ad-hoc reporting

CUSTOMERS

Northern Tool & Equipment, Outback Steakhouse, Massage Envy Spa

CONTACT INFORMATION

14934 N. Florida Ave. Tampa, FL 33613(813) 901-8600 www.elogiclearning.com

WINNER: The BizLibrary Collection

PRODUCT INFORMATION

BizLibrary’s learning technology platform is intuitive and responsive, allowing your employees unlimited access to workplace training content on any device, anytime and anywhere for true just-in-time learning.

The library contains thousands of micro-videos, covers a wide variety of topic areas, and includes additional support materials to further increase learning retention.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Content is approved for HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) accreditation

>>  Many lessons and courses include quizzes and additional support materials to extend the learning process, increasing both retention and the return on your training investment.

CUSTOMERS

3M, Kawasaki, Red Roof Inns, Energizer

CONTACT INFORMATION:

14500 South Outer Forty, Suite 500 Town and Country, MO 63017 (888) 432-3077 www.bizlibrary.com

Award of Excellence: CrossKnowledge Learning Suite

PRODUCT INFORMATION

CrossKnowledge Learning Suite offers a most engaging learning experience to transform teams and business with lasting results. Leverage HRIS data to automatically register learners, create groups, assign content. Monitor your KPIs easily with customizable dashboards. Add content from various sources seamlessly.

The company’s “Blended” innovative learning technology converts the learning process into a group project that is integrated into each team member’s professional life. With Blended, you don’t have to choose between blended learning, self-directed learning, mobile apps or MOOCs. It is effective in any context.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Social learning a vital component

>>  Proprietary algorithm suggests the most relevant trainings to individual learners

>>  Available to laptops, tablets or smartphones, depending on learners’ working context

CUSTOMERS

Engie, Comite International, Aviva, Jaguar Land Rover

CONTACT INFORMATION

111 River St. Hoboken, NJ 07030(877) 725-7517 www.crossknowledge.com

Award of Excellence: Mastery Training Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Mastery has been helping organizations train their employees on workplace safety for more than 20 years. Immediately access more than 800 course topics to address training on topics such as environmental concerns, health and safety, customer service, leadership, team building, and management and supervision. Mastery has a scalable solution to meet your needs. It trains workers across all industries, from service companies to heavy manufacturing operations. It has employee training solutions for every size organization from 10 to 100,000 employees.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Train anywhere, anytime

>>  Courses are SCORM compliant

>>  Reduce accidents, injuries and other losses

>>  Ensure compliance with your diversity, ethics and harassment policies

CUSTOMERS

Renewable Concepts, Remetronix, Cactus Feeders, Transystems

CONTACT INFORMATION

41214 Bridge St. Novi, MI 48375 (800) 258-3837 www.mastery.com

WINNER: dominKnow Platform

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The dominKnow Platform is a Web-based authoring and publishing solution that helps teams collaborate in real-time, share and re-use content, and easily engage subject-matter experts in the review process. Content is ready for delivery from virtually any location — all from a single source. Included are all the features you need to create engaging, media-rich learning experiences, including customizable testing, flexible interactions and animation creation, advanced variables, branching, audio/video recording, software simulations, system and author created templates and much more

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Responsive and adaptive output

>>  Full-featured HTML5 authoring

>>  Content sharing and reuse

>>  Real-time collaboration

>>  Publish to LMS, LRS, apps, print

CUSTOMERS

Society of Actuaries, Underwriters Laboratories, Vital Learning, Larmer Brown

CONTACT INFORMATION

183 Michael Cowpland Dr. Kanata, ON Canada, K2M 0M3 (613) 800-8733 www.dominknow.com

WINNER: Adobe Connect

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The Adobe Connect Web conferencing software service offers immersive online meeting experiences for collaboration, virtual classrooms and large-scale webinars.

With Connect, you can create and deploy engaging on-demand learning content using Microsoft PowerPoint plug-in Adobe Captivate and Adobe Presenter. You can use the features of a learning management system (LMS) at a fraction of the cost with Adobe Connect, or integrate it with your existing LMS.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Measure live learner participation with engagement monitoring

>>  Brandable, customizable and persistent virtual classrooms

>>  Streamline live session management with intuitive backstage tools

CUSTOMERS

University of Arizona, SoDA (The Digital Society), Kentucky Labor Cabinet, BPP Professional Education

CONTACT INFORMATION

345 Park Ave. San Jose, CA 95110-2704 (408) 536-6000 www.adobe.com/products

WINNER: ej4 Software Skills Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Want to know everything there is to know about I.T. training? Visit the ej4 “Software Skills” Library. There, you’ll find relatable information about gmail, SharePoint, Access 2013 and Excel 2010. You’ll discover how to tame your email inbox and how to interface with Outlook. You’ll also discover how to create an Access database and how to control data entry. And you’ll learn how important Excel workbooks are, how to format text and keyboard shortcuts.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Short videos, with an average length of 7 minutes, 12 seconds

>>  Ten videos added to the library every week

>>  Currently 1,500 videos covering not only software skills but…

>>  More than 35 total categories

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

Award of Excellence: Bigger Brains Microsoft Office Complete Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Bigger Brains offers expertly designed business skills courses in Microsoft Office, Google apps, sales, marketing, ethics, leadership and more.

A unique “teacher/learner” format avoids a one-way information dump, creating an engaging conversation, with dialogue, questions and  answers, humor and more.

SCORM bundles allow organizations to load their LMSs with high-quality, searchable courses on Microsoft Office and other productivity topics.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Courses capture and maintain your attention

>>  No tedious or boring lectures

>>  Requires only minutes to learn and master a new skill

>>  Topics focus on real-world, practical knowledge and skills

CUSTOMERS

ej4, OpenSesame, Halogen Software, Callidus Cloud

CONTACT INFORMATION

1520 E. Greenville St., Suite D Anderson, SC 29621(864) 421-6950 or (800) 743-2724 www.getbiggerbrains.com

WINNER: Vado Leadership Development Learning Track

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Individuals build leadership skills that can help in any role, whether the person is an individual contributor, new supervisor or experienced manager. This course bundle includes bite-sized mobile-ready courses like “Keeping Customers Informed," "Seek Out the Ideas and Opinions of Others," “Show Good Judgment Regarding Creative Ideas” and “Performing an Integrity Review.”

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Helps learners apply learning on the job through step-by-step instructions and exercises

>>  All of Vado’s courses start with a short, high-definition (HD) instructional video

>>  Content optimized for the mobile learner

CUSTOMERS

Baylor Scott & White Health, Frasca Flight Simulation, Kingston General Hospital

CONTACT INFORMATION

P.O. Box 390153 Minneapolis, MN 55439 (952) 545-6698 www.vadoinc.net

Award of Excellence: ej4 Leadership Content

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The philosophy espoused by ej4 is that great leaders aren’t born, they’re made.

Employees take training more seriously when you invest in quality materials with relevant content. Not only that, but the material is engaging. When employees hear content that is relevant to them, delivered by people who look and sound like they do, retention and application of content is increased.

Topics include “Becoming a Great Leader,” “What Is Mentoring?,” “The Importance of Succession Planning” and “Managing Interns.”

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  “Plug-and-play” content fits any organization, providing information that is ready-to-use now

>>  Short formats and on-demand availability

>>  Line managers can look up the topics or skills they need on the spot then get back to work quickly having learned something new

>>  Learners can receive training at the workplace or at home, whichever is more convenient

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive,Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

Award of Excellence: ej4 Leadership Content

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The philosophy espoused by ej4 is that great leaders aren’t born, they’re made.

Employees take training more seriously when you invest in quality materials with relevant content. Not only that, but the material is engaging. When employees hear content that is relevant to them, delivered by people who look and sound like they do, retention and application of content is increased.

Topics include “Becoming a Great Leader,” “What Is Mentoring?,” “The Importance of Succession Planning” and “Managing Interns.”

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  “Plug-and-play” content fits any organization, providing information that is ready-to-use now

>>  Short formats and on-demand availability

>>  Line managers can look up the topics or skills they need on the spot then get back to work quickly having learned something new

>>  Learners can receive training at the workplace or at home, whichever is more convenient

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive,Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

WINNER: Vado Management Development Learning Track

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Vado offers numerous soft skill development courses for a variety of performance areas and competencies including: Career development, coachng, communication, conflict management, delegating work, development, employee engagement, feedback; Leadership, meeting management, onboarding, recognition, retaining employees, supervision basics, teamwork and work relationships.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Helps learners apply learning on the job through step by step instructions and exercises

>>  All courses start with a short, high-definition (HD) instructional video

>>  Content optimized for the mobile learner

CUSTOMERS

Baylor Scott & White Health, Frasca Flight Simulation, Kingston General Hospital

CONTACT INFORMATION

P.O. Box 390153 Minneapolis, MN 55439 (952) 545-6698 www.vadoinc.net

Award of Excellence: BizLibrary Business Skills Collection

PRODUCT INFORMATION

BizLibrary’s Business Skills Collection includes “Lean: Common Tools,” which is part of the company’s Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) course. It tells organizations how to eliminate waste and do more with less.

Also included in the collection are “Business Etiquette: Best Practices,” “Total Quality Management: Creating a SIPOC Table,” “Customer Grid Analysis, “Six Sigma: Process Control,” and more.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Quizzes, handouts and additional support materials

>>  Mobile-friendly

>>  HRCI, SHRM, PDU accredited content

>>  Knowledgable staff that focuses on customers

CUSTOMERS

King’s Hawaiian, American Red Cross,Dollar General, Red Roof Inn

CONTACT INFORMATION:

14500 South Outer Forty, Suite 500 Town and Country, MO 63017 (888) 432-3077 www.bizlibrary.com

Award of Excellence: ej4 Business Skills Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Just when you think you’ve seen everything, along comes ej4 and its “Just” products: Just as needed - Create programs with the specific topics your employees need. Just enough - Find the most useful, actionable material in an easy-to-digest format. Just in time - Get content right when you need it with on-demand learning tools. Just right - Use ej4’s extensive library or customize your own learning experience.

Business skills courses include topics like leadership, supervision, safety, customer service, selling, and much more.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  “Plug-and-play” content that fits any organization

>>  Short formats

>>  On-demand availability

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Allied World, Pepsi, Goodwill Industries

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

WINNERS (tie):  Vado H.R. Compliance Tool Kit

PRODUCT INFORMATION

This training starts with the laws but goes beyond by teaching people how to behave toward others, and teaching how they can expect to be treated in return.

The Preventing Discrimination and Harassment Toolkit: “Preventing Discrimination and Harassment for Employees” (30 minutes) (available in Spanish); “Preventing Discrimination and Harassment for Managers” (60 minutes); and “Preventing Discrimination and Harassment for California/Connecticut Managers” (2 hours).

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Creative, flexible, interactive, experiential training

>>  Episode-based, broadcast quality and Millennial friendly

CUSTOMERS

Frasca International, IEWC Global Solutions McKinstry

CONTACT INFORMATION

P.O. Box 390153 Minneapolis, MN 55439 (952) 545-6698 www.vadoinc.net

WINNERS (tie): Vubiz Compliance Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Almost 100 titles comprise the Vubiz Compliance Library. Some of the most popular titles include “Diversity in the Workplace, “Fair Labor Standards Act,” “Healthcare Fraud and Abuse,“Managing Workplace Stress, “Sarbanes-Oxley Act Primer,” and “The Affordable Care Act.”

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Full service: content, development, and delivery software

>>  Thousands of hours of off-the-shelf content available for purchase as-is or tailored to a specific situation

>>  Large, diverse elearning library with more than 4,000 online hours

CUSTOMERS

Bumble Bee Foods, Canon, Davita Health Care, Goodrich Corp., Lockheed Martin

CONTACT INFORMATION

2872 Colorado Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90404 (310) 358-9583 www.vubizl.com

Award of Excellence: ej4 Workplace Compliance Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

ej4’s libraries of courses consist of ready to use solutions for your organizations specific needs. They are broken up by topic in Business Skills, Workplace Compliance and Microsoft Office that can be deployed on any platform.

Programs included are: “Anti-Harassment,” “Anti-Harassment for California, Connecticut, and Maine,” HIPAA, FLSA, FMLA, “Hiring and Firing procedures,”and more. When the regulations change, programs are updated accordingly, so you don’t have to keep track of the changes.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Short, tactical e-learning

>>  Fully customizable

>>  Multi-platform, including mobile

>>  Most video titles are 10 minutes or less in length

>>  Off-the-shelf programs can be customized using ej4 Thinkzoom

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 300 St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

WINNER: ej4 Selling Skills Content

PRODUCT INFORMATION

ej4’s libraries consist of ready-to-use solutions for your organization’s specific needs. They are broken up by topic in Business Skills, Workplace Compliance and Microsoft Office that can be deployed on any platform.

The company’s Business Skills Library offers courses in Professional Productivity, Communications, Sales, Project Management, Leadership, Supervision, Safety and Presentation Skills — to name a few.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Other titles: Assertive Verbal Skills, Business Travel, Business Statistics, Business Writing, Time Value of Money, and more

>>  Library expands every month, based on customer feedback

>>  Course titles can be added upon customer request

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive,Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

Award of Excellence: Baker Communications, Inc. Win-Win Negotiations

PRODUCT INFORMATION

BCI’s unique blend of training, technology and learning reinforcement is said to improve retention, change behavior, and produce high-performers.

BCI is committed to helping companies and individuals achieve world-class (top 2%) performance. It’s where top athletes find their home, where top sellers receive double-comma incomes, where leaders take their teams to new heights, and where companies leave their competition behind. And surprisingly, BCI has shown that it sometimes takes only a small change in some of the fundamentals.

The company’s approach begins with unique classroom and online training. It then uses a mobile learning reinforcement tool and gamification to augment more traditional individual, manager and team coaching.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Ability to embed online training inside most CRMS and other software

>>  Learning and coaching is provided during normal workflows

CUSTOMERS

Moog, SpawGlass, HighMount Exploration and Production, Denali Alaskan FCU

CONTACT INFORMATION

10333 Richmond Ave. Houston, Texas, 77042(877) 253-8506 or (713) 627-7700 www.bakercommunications.com

Award of Excellence: dominKnow Claro

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Claro courses are designed for a fixed page size, but are HTML5-based so they are still viewable on laptop and desktop computers as well as mobile devices.

Using Claro can be as simple as importing a PowerPoint file and publishing. Or use a PowerPoint file as a starting point, adding learning activities and assessment questions for a fuller learning experience. Plus, you can also easily create complex events like hiding and swapping content all the way through to inter-page branching.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Responsive and adapative output

>>  Full-featured HTML5 authoring

>>  Content sharing and reuse

>>  Self-described “world-class support”

CUSTOMERS

Meridium, ViaSat Inc., Society of Actuaries, Underwriters Laboratories

CONTACT INFORMATION

183 Michael Cowpland Dr. Kanata, ON Canada, K2M 0M3 (613) 800-8733 www.dominknow.com

WINNER: Adobe Captivate 2017

PRODUCT INFORMATION

With the Adobe Captivate 2017 release, you can automatically create fully responsive content using innovative “Fluid Boxes,” transform legacy courses to responsive e-learning with just a few clicks, and deliver beautiful fonts everywhere using Adobe Typekit integration.

Design all types of content: simulations, HD demos, assessments and more, with just one tool. Create storyboards using Adobe Captivate Draft, and turn them seamlessly into attractive courses.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  More than 75,000+ free e-learning assets included

>>  Easy conversion to desktop courses and/or mobile learning

>>  Develop complex e-learning modules using advanced features or by writing your own scripts

CUSTOMERS

Nissan, Hotels.com, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Roche Diagnostics

CONTACT INFORMATION

345 Park Ave. San Jose, CA 95110-2704(408) 536-6000 www.adobe.com/products/captivate.html

Award of Excellence: dominKnow Capture

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Use dominKnow’s Capture to create crossplatform, software simulations for stand-alone use or integration with other learning content.

Capture is a hybrid tool – it allows you to work from your local desktop for speed and efficiency but stores your work to the Cloud immediately — and it works on both Windows and Mac.

Once you’ve made a Capture, you can quickly add highlighting or arrows using the Draw tools. Or add tips using the Markers tool to help your learners better navigate the learning process.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Real-time collaboration

>>  Publish to LMS, LRS, apps, print

>>  Built-in features, including customizable testing, branching, etc.

>>  Ability to receive feedback from content reviewers

CUSTOMERS

Vital Learning, LarmerBrown, Módulo GRC, Worldwide Interactive

CONTACT INFORMATION

183 Michael Cowpland Dr. Kanata, ON Canada, K2M 0M3 (613) 800-8733 www.dominknow.com

WINNER: BizLibrary Community

PRODUCT INFORMATION

In a knowledge-based world, employees need immediate access to information and data to perform at their full potential.  BizLibrary’s Community puts the collective knowledge of an entire organization at  everyone’s fingertips. It’s modeled after social networking tools your employees already use, and it’s essential for sharing knowledge, seeking information, and learning new things.

It’s a great forum for sharing important articles, ideas for process, service or product improvements and funny or anecdotal stories.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Almost eliminates internal email

>>  Helps remote employees feel and stay connected

>>  A vital component of the company’s content management and learning management offerings

CUSTOMERS

Red Roof, FedBid, Watco Companies, Marquette Savings Bank

CONTACT INFORMATION

14500 South Outer Forty, Suite 500 Town and Country, MO 63017 (888) 432-3077 www.bizlibrary.com

Award of Excellence:  ej4 The Quad

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Employees can now join their friends when they use the online learning library. They can learn by watching what others do with The Quad, an intuitive social learning technology. It is a social community inside the Thinkzoom (LMS) campus created to encourage learners to connect with other learners. They can create their own informal network of peers beyond their formal, assigned learning groups.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Leverages workplace friendships and connections to enhance the learning experience in an entertaining environment

>>  Learners can initiate friendly competition with lifetime leaderboards, knowledge sharing, and training reinforcement quizzes

>>  Employees can recommend courses and interact with their peers

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

WINNER: ej4 Thinkzoom

PRODUCT INFORMATION

With Thinkzoom LMS, not only can you see which videos your employees are watching, but you can observe how well they comprehend the material with built-in interactive exams. You can set score requirements and even provide additional student materials so they can put their knowledge to practice.

This learning management system also has a comprehensive reporting feature that allows you to create custom reports based on users, groups, courses and topics. Understanding which courses are popular and which are lacking participation can help you measure your training progress and communicate future training goals.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Use off-the-shelf content or customize the off-the-shelf content

>>  Authoring tools for sharing company-specific knowledge and content

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

Award of Excellence: CrossKnowledge Mohive

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Mohive is the CrossKnowledge digital publishing platform that lets you easily design and deliver custom e-learning content using a unique platform that simplifies each step of the process.

It quickly delivers content for the business world that is beautiful, engaging and efficient, with step-by-step guidance and a technology designed to drive content production and share knowledge.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Responsive to every mobile device

>>  Focus on content while Mohive does the rest

>>  Different interactive activities without limits

>>  100% Cloud-based for on-the-go learning

CUSTOMERS

Jaguar Land Rover, Equinix, Air France

CONTACT INFORMATION

111 River St. Hoboken, NJ 07030(877) 725-7517 www.crossknowledge.com

Award of Excellence: dominKnow Flow

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Flow outputs fully responsive and adaptive content so you don’t have to worry about specific devices or multiple versions of the same content.

Flow is easy to get started with but packed with options to customize page behavior and create engaging and visually- stunning content. The Flow authoring stage is a live-author environment. View your page across all screen-width settings as you make it, or pop open a preview to see the page come to life.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Built-in widgets like tab sets, panels and carousels

>>  Design and tracking tools are built in

>>  Project assets stored in one central location

>>  Comments logged and tracked for streamlined review

 CUSTOMERS

Gabrielli Consulting, Meridium, ViaSat Inc, Vital Learning

CONTACT INFORMATION

183 Michael Cowpland Dr. Kanata, ON Canada, K2M 0M3 (613) 800-8733 www.dominknow.com

Award of Excellence: Artisan E-learning Micro-learning

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Does your organizaiton need great e-learning courses that get you clear business results, yet you don’t have the time or know-how to develop courses internally? Artisan works with you and your subject-matter experts to gather, organize, design, write and build engaging, interactive e-learning courses.

Whether you are working with policies and procedures, compliance, product knowledge, computer systems, business skills, or just about any other topic, Artisan can help bring your content to life. Its people can start from scratch or convert your existing classroom training into media-rich, interactive e-learning courses that track to your learning management system (LMS) using SCORM standards, or that track to your learning record store (LRS) using xAPI.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

 >>  Get your course text translated properly while managing voiceovers, reassembling the course, and testing the content across several browsers

>>  Customer-responsive team includes Section 508 and WCAG experts, usability professionals, and tech-savvy designers

CUSTOMERS

JLG Industries, Crystal River Cruises,American Red Cross, Community Associations Institute

CONTACT INFORMATION

52 Tuscan Way, Suite 202-379 St. Augustine, FL 32092 (904) 800-9395 www.artisanelearning.com

 

 

If you would like to view the full list of Best of Elearning! 2017 Award Winners, click HERE!

 

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