By Bruce Tulgan

Undermanagement can be difficult to identify. After all, everyone at work is surrounded by metrics and meetings all the time. It may seem like management is ever-present. But what is missing in most workplaces is the human element of management: managers providing direct reports with the guidance, direction, support and coaching that they need to succeed.

The reality is that it keeps getting harder to manage people. The vast majority of managers are still struggling to provide employees with the high-structure, high-substance coaching they need. When managers fail to provide that structured leadership, person-to-person, it exacerbates the very factors that make it hard to manage people in the first place. As a result, too many managers are stuck in a vicious cycle of undermanagement. But most don’t even realize it.

The undermanagement epidemic persists. And it is hiding in plain sight in nearly every workplace.

There Are Five Reasons It Is Harder to Manage People Today

It’s always been hard to manage people. Managers have always been stuck in the middle between the employer and the employee, trying to negotiate their competing needs and expectations. But today, managers are telling us that it is harder than ever before.

Why? There are five powerful trends in the workplace today making it harder than ever to manage people:

1) The Pace of Work Is Increasing

The intensity, complexity, and pace of work is increasing – for everyone. Regardless of position or title, continuous improvement is now the norm. In order to maintain a competitive advantage, ongoing skill building and mastery is a requirement.

2) Hiring and Retention Challenges

Hiring and retention challenges mean most organizations are understaffed in key departments, placing additional pressure on employees and managers in those departments. Organizations that disproportionately rely on new, young employees are also more likely to struggle with skill training and wisdom transfer.

3) Fewer Layers of Management

As organizations have removed unnecessary layers of management, the managers who are left are responsible for larger and larger teams. There is an increased likelihood that managers are responsible for employees working in remote locations, or on different schedules.

4) Constant Pressure to Improve Productivity and Quality

Managers are under more pressure to increase productivity and quality from their teams. Today, that means getting more work out of fewer employees, while utilizing fewer resources.

5) Increased Interdependency

More work is handled in interdependent working relationships and cross-functional teams. Managers and their employees are responsible for managing more relationships and moving parts than ever before. Most employees are answering to short-term project leaders in addition to their primary manager.

The Solution Is More Engagement, Not Less

In nearly every one of the thousands of cases we’ve studied, there is a straightforward solution: a commitment to learning and practicing the fundamentals of leadership. That means regularly scheduled, high-substance, high-structure one-on-one meetings between managers and their direct reports, so that leaders can stay on top of what’s happening and help their employees plan and prioritize for the best outcome.

We’ve watched how consistently practicing the fundamentals of management has dramatically improved the effectiveness and bottom-line results of managers at all levels, in organizations of all shapes and sizes.

Is undermanagement affecting your organization? Learn more about identifying and preventing the vicious cycle of undermanagement in our latest white paper: The Undermanagement Epidemic Report 2019.

About the author:

Bruce Tulgan, Founder & CEO, RainmakerThinking, Inc. Bruce Tulgan is an adviser to business leaders all over the world and a sought-after keynote speaker and seminar leader. He is the founder and CEO of RainmakerThinking, Inc., a management research and training firm, as well as RainmakerLearning.com, an online training service. Bruce can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , you can follow him on Twitter @BruceTulgan, or visit his website www.rainmakerthinking.com.

 

Published in Insights

 

-Consumer Tech Trends Impacting Enterprise Learning

By Catherine Upton

If you haven’t recovered from the tech hangover at the Consumer Technology Show, get ready. The rapid pace of development is like drinking from a firehose. What does this mean to those of us working to keep up with all our tasks with an eye to how to do it better? Our editors have provided some insights and implications for enterprise learning.

The State of Data

In 2000, we entered the Digital Age- death to analog devices. This one trend changed the language of our future to digital. Digital devices proliferated and permeated all aspects of our lives. Even young children are bonded to their parent’s iPads.

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Source: CTA.tech

With digital proliferation, came connection. In 2010, the Connected Age was born. We use our devices to connect with individuals and communities, content and work. Facebook, and the like, changed the way we socialize, date and even marry. Streaming services like Netflix are smart and predictive.  Now, our digital devices, communities and cars are interconnected.

This digital transformation created a digital footprint of all things we do, like, buy, sell and more. This data is aggregated and consumed by machines and fuels AI applications. We are entering the Data Age 2020.

[“The new Internet of Things is the ‘Intelligence of Things,” --Steve Koenig, VP of Research, Consumer Technology Association]

 

Future Technology Ingredients

This next stage of technology is emerging in today’s consumer technologies. Voice Computing, 5G, AI, Robotics, Biometrics, and Blockchain are the ingredients for the next generation of technology. We see Digital Assistants with voice activation prevalent in most consumer devices. The voice interface will be the interface of the future- no more typing.  AR/VR, Digital Health, and Vehicle Technologies and Resilient Technologies are here today.

[“We spent the last 30 years connecting people. We will spend the next 30 years connecting things,”--Brian Modoff, EVP, Qualcomm]

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Source: CTA.tech

5G Development

The development of 5G networks will allow overwhelmingly fast transfer of data. Large videos will download in seconds versus minutes. Problems will be solved in seconds with massive data searches and AI interfaces. 5G phones and fixed wireless broadband will be accessible from most major cities by the end of this decade. 5G will connect our cars, homes, appliances and work life.

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The Intelligence of Things

Digital Assistants, embedded AI and smart Machine-Learning place intelligence in our environments. It delegates our simple tasks to automation. No more shopping lists as Alexa will know what’s missing in our refrigerator. Apply this to the workplace, and Alexa-like digital assistants will find missing information, assist our decision-making and in many cases, do mundane repetitive tasks so we can create and solve. AI- embedded chips are on our phones that learn, “Say Hello Siri.” Associate our behaviors into one stream vs many singular activities, “Joe’s calling.”

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Source: CTA.tech

Voice assistants will be everywhere. Alexa, or the like, are in our cars, appliances and workplace tools. Support for AI services, deliverables and tools will determine the winners and losers in the marketplace. Voice will be the interface going forward…less carpel tunnel syndrome in our future.

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We are so early in the AI game. Yet, Alexa already has 60,000 skill lessons across 20,000 different platforms. Imagine where we’ll be in 5 years. Almost all repetitive training will be conducted by digital aides. (See article on AI-based learning by Sam Adkins.)

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Source: CTA.tech

EXPLORE in VR

A truly 3D immersive environment is possible with Virtual Reality (VR). With VR, we can now expand our reality to the stars to “explore where no man has gone before.”  TESLA has developed a VR suit, TESLASUIT, where you can be transformed and enter any VR environment. The full-body haptic feedback, motion capture, thermo controlled suit reinvents virtual reality. We have moved from VR glasses to VR presence.

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Pictured: TESLASUIT by TESLA Source: CTA.tech

Japan is expanding the VR experience to with VRZone, a VR amusement park. Players literally come into the zone and plug in. Imagine using this application to create an ERZone, MarsZone or SeasZone for study and exploration. Training can become immersive with programs like OilRigZone for fire safety training, etc.

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Source: CTA.tech

Augmented Reality (AR) Expands Boundaries

AR has moved off your phone to other devices. Like VR, AR now has headsets, glasses and mirrors that can place you in an AR environment, show you a new haircut or try on a virtual dress.   Today, we see AR in used in mapping, shopping, in sporting events- See that yellow line in NFL games? Museums are leveraging AR to augment content and create visualize experiences like life as an Egyptian in 6000 BC. 

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Source: CTA.tech

Digital Health Promotes Behavior Change

Digital devices have given us insights into how simple activities like walking 10,000 steps a day can save a life. Today, Apple has the largest health history archives in the USA thanks to the Apple Watch.

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Pictured: Digital Health Applications: Diagnostics, Health Watch, Sleep Monitors Source: CTA.tech

Imagine if these same techniques were used in the workplace. By wearing smart sensing technologies, workers in hazardous jobs could alter course when gases are detected. Truck drivers who are overly fatigued could be rested. The underlying technology and software for all these practices are being honed in the consumer market. Those high value industries will be the next to test, deploy and benefit from these developments.

Conclusion

The pace of change will continue to accelerate over the next 5 years. AI, AR/VR and many new innovations will enable and empower us as consumer and workers. We are moving from the horse and buggy era to a supersonic jet in years versus decades. Hold on tight to that firehose.

Source: “CES 2019 Tech Trends” by Steve Koenig, VP, Market Research, Ben Arnold, Sr. Director, Innovation & Trends & Lesley Rohrbaugh, Director, Market Research. Download PPT at: https://www.slideshare.net/intlces/ces-2019-tech-trends?

 

Published in Trends

 

By Tim Tobin

Choice Hotels is a leading hospitality franchising company with nearly 6,000 hotels across 11 brands around the world. From a learning perspective, ChoiceU.com is the LMS portal for over 50,000 Choice franchisees to access, complete, and track learning activities. It includes a wide range of required and elective content needed to run their business. The content spans lessons on our proprietary systems, operations and brand programs.

The Mission

Choice Hotels is committed to learning to drive our franchisee's performance. We engage and prepare all levels of learners from front desk and housekeeping to General Managers and Owners. We provide multiple opportunities for learning from the onboarding process throughout one's employee lifecycle. We understand scale by training over 50,000 unique, geographically dispersed learners globally each year. We do so while maintaining a focus on the unique needs and preferences of each of our learners. We make learning easily accessible, fun, engaging, and results-oriented. We seek input from our learners continuously. We challenge ourselves to deliver content that matters most to our learners and their business in the most useful and relevant ways that meet their needs and preferences.

On May 17, 2017, we launched ChoiceU 2.0. The initiative focused on transforming our LMS to be a more engaging, relevant, dynamic and user-friendly learning tool. This evolution did not require a new LMS. We transformed our Learning ecosystem by evolving our learning delivery, processes, capabilities. and content to meet the needs of our diverse workforce.

[ This solution was not all about technology.]

At the Beginning

It all started in 2016 with an enterprise-wide assessment of learning tools, management system and content.   We gathered data from internal stakeholders as well as from our primary learners – franchisees. We obtained input from Owners, General Managers, and across other employee groups such as front desk associates. The purpose of the data collection was to understand what was working well with ChoiceU.com and what needed to be improved.

Very early on in the data collection and analysis, a common theme emerged. The theme was “we love ChoiceU.com, but…” There were high levels of support for the tool. However, learners found it to be “overwhelming,” “difficult to find what they were looking for,” and for the more senior roles of owners and GMs “lacking relevant content for their role.” We also learned that our methods of delivery did not meet the learners needs or preferences. To that point, content was typically delivered in 45-60-minute online modules. Our learners accepted the online nature of learning in our geographically dispersed environment, but the length presented operational challenges because many learners are guest facing and not traditional office workers.

With that data in hand, we set out to re-design and significantly enhance the learners’ experience. We wanted to make it easy to access learning and make the content and delivery relevant and engaging. Our goal was to increase course completions and help drive key business results. Those results included Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), Overall Service, Average Daily Rate (ADR), and Likelihood to Recommend (LTR). 

Our Journey

We combined adult learning principles and leveraged available technologies to develop a comprehensive overhaul of ChoiceU.com. The solution was a major transformation that included many new features and functionality. Utilizing our internal capabilities, solutions in general included needs assessment, user experience testing, micro-learning, learning maps, e-learning, video-based content, and business metrics. It is important to note that all of those listed below are new to ChoiceU.com as part of this transformation.

  •          Created new learning taxonomy

We organized all content by the following four areas: a) systems/operations, b) brand/service, c) leadership/management, and d) functional areas.

  •          Tailored learning and overall user experience to brand and job function.

 Once logged in, the user experience will be based upon the learner’s brand including colors, logos and images.

  •          Integrated interactive learning maps.

One-page roadmaps were created specific to individual’s brand and job function that outlines the content necessary for success in role. Once an activity is completed, the chevron receives a ‘check’ mark. If new content is added, the chevron is unchecked.

  •          Developed Business Solution Maps.

We partnered with stakeholders to identify the top five business challenges facing leaders on property (e.g., preparing for inspection, improving profitability, increasing guest satisfaction, etc.) and built a curriculum specifically to address each of those challenges.

  •          Launched ChoiceU TV

These short (3-15 minute) video lessons are facilitated by an internal subject matter expert or approved business partner.

  •          Incorporated leadership and management content

We partnered with a third-party to add over 80 leadership and management modules in multiple languages.

  •          Supplemented Human Resource and Legal educational resources

Because we are a franchisor, we have limited ability to provide HR or Legal educational resources. We partnered with a third-party provider to include a wide range of these resources to our franchisees.

  •          Added full mobile-enabled functionality
  1. com is fully mobile-enabled across multiple platforms.
  •          Engaged messaging feature

Once logged in, users see the most recent messages. Messages can be tailored to each user by job function and brand.

  •          Added multiple language interface

On the log in page, users have the option to select from five languages to translate the user interface.

  •          Content ratings collected.

Introduced a five-star rating system that allows users to rate and leave comments on every piece of content. Top rated content rises to the top of searches, and it serves as a diagnostic for the ChoiceU team to monitor content.

  •          Enhanced search functionality

Learners can now search by topic, title, keyword, or type of learning.

  •          Easier course registration

Introduced a calendar feature with one-click registration for all live, instructor-led and webinar course; also, once logged in, no course is more than 3 clicks away from registration.

  •          Added documents and Resources section for job aids

Included this new tab to host job aids and other quick tip resources organized by our new taxonomy.

  •          Hosted multiple apps

Introduced brand specific apps to support Daily Huddle/Stand Ups for two brands (Comfort Inn and Suites and Sleep Inn). We built upon their service principles and blended discussion and action into a short (~15 minute) format.

Learners ChoiceU Experience

Personalized Dashboard with Integrated Apps & Live Stream Updates

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Relevant Content Centralized in One Location

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Learner’s Achievements

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Our Results

Results to date have been impressive. We have attracted more students to ChoiceU.com and they are completing more content. Early indications are showing promise for business results as well. As of year-end 2017, we achieved the following:

  • Surpassed 57K active student accounts on CU.com
  • Increased course completions from 336K in 2015 to over 1.3M in 2016 to 1.7M in 2017
  • Increased the number of course completions by owners by over 3x (from 9K in 2015 to over 29K in 2017)
  • Reduced page views by 20% and session duration by nearly 50% indicating learners are finding content faster
  • Achieved nearly 200K completions on ChoiceU TV
  • Increased webinar registrations by over 25% since 2015
    •          Increased brand program adoption rate by 3x with Comfort Service Champions
    •          Achieved 1500 certified Champions in 4 months compared to 1-year w similar previous initiative adoption
    •          ChoiceU.com Superusers – the top 100 in completions – have ADR of $87.04 compared to $79.76 for all other hotels. This same group has LTR of 8.56 versus 8.07 for all others
    •          Increased LTR scores for properties engagement levels with ChoiceU.com. Using Comfort Inn as an example (see chart 1 below), those with no engagement with ChoiceU.com have average LTR of 8.11; low engagement has 8.19; mid-level engagement has 8.27. Properties highly engaged with ChoiceU.com have average LTR of 8.46.
    •          Overall Service scores increased from 8.36 for None and 8.83 for high engagement. Similar results exist across each brand with the greatest increase in scores from the None category to Low suggesting that even some levels of engagement with ChoiceU.com may noticeably increase results across key metrics.

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    Chart 1: Likelihood to Recommend Improvements

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    Conclusion

    This solution was not all about technology. Although ChoiceU.com was the primary anchor of this transformation, the successes we have realized to date are due to the front end work we did to fully understand the needs of the business and our learners, the current state of ChoiceU.com, taking into consideration our operational environment (franchisor, geographically dispersed, 24/7 service model, etc.), subject matter expertise in adult learning principles and theory, and how we structured the team to be more customer centric. It would be easy to overlook any single aspect of what went into the solution. However, it was the combination of these considerations that drove the solution.

    [ The successes we have realized …are due to the front end work we did to fully understand the needs of the business and our learners.]

    We asked, listened and understood. Then we tested, partnered, monitored – and continue to monitor results – and modify accordingly. We have come a long way since we initially identified the need, but we have not fully completed the transformation.   In the near term, we are looking at ways to champion user generated content, demonstrate stronger ties to business results, establish additional business partnerships, enhance the user admin functionality, and introduce leaderboards and badges.

    About the Author

    timtobinarticleimage

    Tim Tobin is CLO of Choice Hotels International. Choice Hotels has been named a Learning! 100 Award-winner in 2017 and 2018.

     

    Published in Top Stories

     By Sam S. Adkins

    Benjamin Bloom is a household name in the training and education industry. He made two invaluable contributions to the industry: Bloom's Taxonomy and the famous 2-Sigma study. This article focusses on his 2-sigma research and the dramatic impact of AI-based Learning on what he called "the 2-sigma problem."

    A Refresher

    In his seminal 1984 study, Bloom and two of his doctoral students compared the effectiveness of learning transfer achieved by groups of students being taught in a traditional classroom setting, using so-called Mastery Learning, or being tutored by grad students in small cohorts of one to three children. "Most striking were the differences in final achievement measures under the three conditions," wrote Bloom. "Using the standard deviation (sigma) of the control (conventional) class, it was typically found that the average student under tutoring was about two standard deviations above the average of the control class (the average tutored student was above 98% of the students in the control class)." This is the infamous 2-sigma, or two standard deviations of achievement compared to conventional classroom instruction.

    Bloom also wrote “The tutoring process demonstrates that most of the students have the potential to reach this high level of learning.  I believe an important task of research and instruction is to seek ways of accomplishing this under more practical and realistic conditions than the one-to-one tutoring, which is too costly for most societies to bear on a large scale.  This is the 2-sigma problem."

    metaarichartimage

    2-Sigma Solution

    Artificial Intelligence-based Learning has proven to be quite effective at one-to-one personalized instruction and is tremendously scalable. Properly designed, AI-based Learning categorically solves the 2-sigma problem.

    Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) have been used by the US military for decades. All the ITS implementations included comprehensive statistical analysis of mastery outcomes.  I worked with J.D. Fletcher at the US government's Institute of Defense Analyses to compile the mastery metrics for eighteen intelligent tutoring systems. We found three empirical studies that showed that the use of next-generation Cognitive Tutors exceeded the 2-sigma deviation.

    Conclusion

    There is now rapid global adoption in all six buying segments across all seven regions tracked by Metaari. AI-based Learning is now going mainstream in developed economies and gaining traction in the developing economies, particularly in Southeast Asia. AI-based Learning truly is the answer to solving Bloom’s 2-signma problem. Look at the newest AI-based Learning applications for proof.

    For more on this subject, view “How AI-Based Learning is Solving Bloom’s 2-Signma Problem” by Sam S. Adkins.

     samadkinsarticleimage

    About the Author

    Sam Adkins is Chief Researcher at Metaari. Metaari is a market research firm that identifies revenue opportunities for learning technology suppliers. Metaari principals have refined a sophisticated learning technology product categorization schema. Their research taxonomy is the backbone of their quantitative data repository.  Contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    Part 1 of this 2 part article can be found HERE.

     

    Published in Top Stories

     

    By Sam S. Adkins

    Metaari defines AI-based Learning as education and training technology that enables personalized learning via Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning, and Deep Learning. Conversational AI is a specialized form of Natural Language Processing (NLP). Conversational AIs adapt to individuals and engage in natural communication via text and speech with humans. They learn as they interact with users. Conversational AIs are the foundation of AI-based Learning.

    Metaari published a new market report called "The 2019-2024 Global AI-based Learning Market: Learning in the Bright Air" in January 2019. According to the report, "The international AI-based Learning market reached $1.4 billion in 2019. The five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a robust 28.4% and revenues will surge to $3.8 billion by 2023."

    In our report, we identified over 600 AI-based Learning companies. The vast majority are startups that have launched in the last two years and new companies continue to come on the market at a rapid pace. The barriers-to-entry are now quite low since developers can connect to commercial cloud-based AI engines dramatically reducing the cost of development. 

    In this article, Metaari reveals the most interesting applications of AI in education, healthcare and corporate learning and the motivations for adoption.

    The Grail Has Always Been Personalized Learning

    Despite claims to the contrary, true personalized learning via technology was never possible before the advent of AI. One of the best-known cognitive computing platforms is IBM's Watson and a growing number of developers are building AI-based Learning products on top of Watson's cloud-based platform. Pearson, Apple, Blackboard, Scholastic, Sesame Street, Edmodo (now owned by China's NetDragon) and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are selling new educational products built on Watson.

    Other AI-based Learning developers that integrate IBM Watson include Blupears, Cognitoys, ThoughtFocus, Tencent, and Circadence. They develop fundamentally different products. Blupears is an early childhood learning app. Cognitoys develops physical robots (smart toys) that teach kids to code. ThoughtFocus develops virtual teaching assistants for the higher education segment. Tencent develops tutoring bots for consumers and Circadence develops virtual assistants used in corporate cybersecurity training. There are now hundreds of suppliers developing learning products on Watson.

    AI-based Learning developers are also using other AI platforms. Pearson launched their Longman Welcome to English curriculum in Asia in February 2018 on Microsoft's AI. Cerego's adaptive learning platform runs on Amazon's AI. Montessorium's popular apps for young kids integrate Google's TensorFlow AI.

    In February 2018, IBM's Watson division announced that it was providing the "brain" for the AI-based robot called CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) built by Airbus and the European Space Agency (ESL) for the International Space Station (ISS). The robot was launched into space in June 2018. "CIMON’s digital face, voice, and use of artificial intelligence make it a colleague to the crew members. This collegial working relationship facilitates how astronauts work through their prescribed checklists of experiments, now entering into a genuine dialogue with their interactive assistant."

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    CIMON Courtesy of NASA and the European Space Station

    China's Liulishuo is the first AI-based Learning company to file for an IPO. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2018. The company uses a conversational AI called Dong Ni Ying Yu (billed as "your personal English teacher") to provide AI-based English language learning to subscribers. In late November 2018, the company reported that "Our net revenues grew by approximately 265% and our gross billings increased by approximately 181% year-over-year." The company had over 80 million users across 20 countries by January 2019. Clearly, AI-based personalized learning appeals to users.

    Massive Capital Flowing to AI-based Learning Companies

    In our latest annual whitepaper on global edtech investment published in January 2018, we reported that "Over $2.90 billion was invested in 197 AI-based Learning companies in 2018." This a dramatic increase over 2017 and the previous two years.

    Just over $1.81 billion was invested to 124 AI-based Learning companies in 2017, a record at the time. Investor interest in AI-based Learning companies is very new. Barely $122.4 million was invested in this type of company in 2016 and only to seven companies. Only $2 million went to a single AI-based company in 2015 and there was no investment in this type of company prior to 2015. The highest round in 2018 went to China's Squirrel AI Learning that raised $150 million in October 2018.

    Yet, AI-based Learning is the one area where the US still has a commanding lead over China. The majority (61.5%) of all global investment in AI-based Learning companies in 2018 went to 102 US-based companies that raised a combined total of $1.78 billion. In stark contrast, $299.7 million went to just twelve Chinese AI-based Learning companies, a mere 10.3% of all global investments to AI-based Learning companies.

    AI-based Learning Effective for People with Special Needs

    AI-based methods have proven to be quite effective at modifying the behavior of people with special needs. Educational robots and avatars, both physical and virtual, are now relatively common methods of intervention. The IBM Foundation and the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) announced in August 2018 that they were collaborating on a platform called Teacher Advisor With Watson "a suite of classroom resources focused on supporting teachers who work with students with learning and attention issues."

    Luxemburg's LuxAI sells a small robot called QTrobot (pronounced "cutey robot") designed "to mitigate the social challenges faced by kids with autism." LuxAI claims that their robot is the first scientifically validated AI-based autism intervention product.

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    QTRobot Courtesy of LuxAI

    Brain Power's Empowered Brain product "aims to empower children and adults all along the autism spectrum to teach themselves practical life skills and assess their progress numerically." Empowered Brain "is based on neuroscience from MIT and Harvard and draws on the newest in technology including artificial intelligence, wearable computers, and augmented reality."

    AI Takes Root in the Academic Segments

    There is a growing use of AI-based Learning products in the academic segments across the globe. The products used in the PreK-12 segment are now common in language learning and STEM. Virtual avatars are also being adopted in higher education institutions. They are used as virtual teaching assistants, wellbeing coaches, student advisors, and virtual tutors.

    Pearson hired Milena Marinova, an AI expert from Intel, to run their new AI and Personalized Learning group in July 2018. This is the first dedicated AI-based Learning department formed by an educational publisher.

    Finland's Utelias sells an AI-based Learning robot called Elias. It is used in schools across Finland to teach foreign languages. "The robot recognizes the pupil's skill levels and adjusts its questions accordingly. It also gives feedback to teachers about a student's possible problems."

    The Auckland energy company Vector hired New Zealand's Soul Machines to create the "artificial human" teacher called Will in September 2018. Soul Machines develops remarkably lifelike avatars for clients. The company describes Will as a "convincing and engaging digital teacher." Vector provides the avatar to the schools to teach children about renewable energy.

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    Will Courtesy of Soul Machine

    In May 2018, Tencent announced that they were working with China’s central Ministry of Education to develop the AI English Education Teaching Aid System, "which can support adaptive learning and personalized teaching through artificial intelligence." This will be the world's first national AI-based Learning deployment.

    The Japanese government announced a program in August 2018 that will deploy AI-based robotic English language tutors in over 500 schools in 2019. The robots will be NAO robots purchased from SoftBank Robotics.

    In September 2018, Amira Learning launched an AI-based reading tutor called Amira. "Amira is the first intelligent reading assistant able to listen to children read out-loud, assess their oral fluency, and provide AI-driven tutoring. Amira is based on technology licensed from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). In studies done by CMU and DePaul University in public school classrooms, Amira produced reading growth comparable to giving each student a human tutor."

    Rapid Adoption of AI-based Learning in the Corporate Segment

    Corporations are now using AI-based Learning products for customer education, personalized employee training, intelligent knowledge management, and performance support. According to Metaari's recent market research, corporations across the globe are currently spending $584.9 million on AI-based Learning and will be spending $1.57 billion by 2023.

    IPsoft's Amelia virtual avatar "observes, learns, and remembers anything you ask. She can read emotions and context during conversations with colleagues and customers. If Amelia is unable to resolve an issue, she will escalate the task to a human colleague. Amelia will then observe how the colleague resolves the issue, learn from it, and apply that knowledge to any similar tasks."

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    Amelia Reads Emotions, Courtesy of IPsoft

    A startup called Worxogo has offices in Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Mumbai. "Mia, Worxogo’s personal cognitive AI engine, learns, predicts behavior, and coaches employees for improved business impact. It helps them improve their productivity through actionable advice using principles of neuroeconomics and behavioral science."

    New Zealand's FaceMe markets their virtual avatars as digital employees. The avatars are extremely like-like and realistic. They market the product to a range of verticals including healthcare and education. "Solutions to pressing problems related to health and wellbeing, education, and other domains can be found by capitalizing on the unprecedented quantities of data and recent progress in emerging AI technologies."

    courtesyarticleimage

    Courtesy of FaceMe

    Inexpensive Conversational AI rapid authoring tools, chatbot templates, and so-called pretrained AI models are now on the market. AI-based Learning developers are now able to get products to market very quickly. A basic Conversational AI can be built in the Microsoft Bot Framework in a matter of minutes by simply uploading a FAQ file.

    Conclusion

    There is now rapid global adoption in all six buying segments across all seven regions tracked by Metaari. AI-based Learning is now going mainstream in developed economies and gaining traction in the developing economies, particularly in Southeast Asia. AI-based Learning truly is the answer to solving Bloom’s 2-signma problem. Look at the newest AI-based Learning applications for proof.

    For more on this subject, view “How AI-Based Learning is Solving Bloom’s 2-Signma Problem” by Sam S. Adkins.

     samadkinsarticleimage

    About the Author

    Sam Adkins is Chief Researcher at Metaari. Metaari is a market research firm that identifies revenue opportunities for learning technology suppliers. Metaari principals have refined a sophisticated learning technology product categorization schema. Their research taxonomy is the backbone of their quantitative data repository.  Contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Part 2 of this 2 part article can be found HERE.

     

    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 Products Featured

    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
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