Excellence in
Academic Partnerships

▲ Davenport University

Research conducted by direct sales business Amway in 2008 revealed a significant gap in development opportunities for midlevel and functional leaders who wanted to improve their leadership knowledge and skills. Amway identified five areas that servant leaders would need to master: difficult interactions, engagement and influence, global collaboration, innovation and creativity, and the ability to lead people. Then it searched for an outside team to serve as a partner in developing, organizing and implementing a leadership development certification program that could deliver these skillsets. Davenport University, with its Institute for Professional Excellence, was the answer.

Together, Davenport University and Amway designed the Amway Leadership Certification Program, which blends self-guided instruction, discussion-based learning and live engagement. An annual program, the ALCP lasts for seven months and requires about two to three hours of self-paced work per week. Instructors include members of Davenport University MBA faculty and Amway experts and leaders. Amway facilitates learning on key concepts of corporate leadership philosophy. Davenport faculty teaches the five key people-leadership topics using a four-week learning cycle for each, called the FLARE cycle — Fuel, Learn, Apply, Reflect, Evaluate.

Throughout the program’s 10 years, 665 participants have come from all regions in which Amway operates, with leaders joining the program from 21 countries. In 2017, of the 76 program participants, 92 percent passed the program and received academic credit and 83 percent passed with excellence and were on the program’s honor roll. Amway research shows 98 percent of participants report that the program has had a positive impact on their leadership performance.

— Ashley St. John

▲ Penn State Smeal College of Business / Penn State Executive Programs / CorpU

In 2015, Agilent Technologies Inc., a public company focused on life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets, spun off its electronic measurement business to focus exclusively on life science technologies. To ensure the success of this new direction, Agilent CEO Mike McMullen launched a massive restructuring to make the company more efficient, nimble and customer-focused.

Agilent supply chain teams that had been supporting individual product lines were consolidated into a global organization that required tight alignment of purpose, capabilities and best practices. Agilent engaged Penn State’s Smeal College of Business and CorpU, which partnered in 2015 to launch the Supply Chain Leadership Academy, a program that helps supply chain leaders of tomorrow apply leadership concepts and best practices in supply chain management.

The SCLA program for Agilent was renamed OFS Supply Chain Program and used a two-prong approach that involved strategy sprints for department heads and managers and secondary learning sprints for a broader range of employees.

As a result of the program, Agilent saw a reduced time for its strategy rollout for 150 leaders from four months to nine days. Ninety-two percent of manufacturing and supply chain employees confirmed understanding how their work contributed to strategy and how their organization contributed to company success, and 91 percent understood how the strategy supports customers’ needs, according to survey results.

— Ashley St. John

Excellence in
Blended learning

▲ Learnlight

Deutsche Telekom faced multiple challenges with its language training programs due to high costs, lack of flexibility, inefficient face-to-face programs and outdated training methods. The company wanted its staff to improve on English and decided to partner with Learnlight.

Learnlight is an education technology company aimed at delivering language and skills training online and on the ground to learners in more than 150 countries. Its curriculum is developed for adult professionals working in an international environment. It has a unique classroom methodology, where students do activities before class instead of homework.

According to the nomination application, this is done so “students can take full advantage of their time with their trainer and focus on practicing and producing the language acquired.” Then, after the session, students can complete additional activities and focus on areas where they need extra help.

In February 2016, the Global English digital transformation initiative was introduced, aimed at implementing an online blended language learning solution that would support self-paced and tutored digital language learning.

The initiative led to the introduction of two new services: Learnlight Academy, an open-group virtual service where students can enroll at any time of the year and choose a group, and Learnlight Café, a virtual meeting space open all day to build fluency and improve communication skills. Additionally, “Single Sign-On” was integrated, allowing learners to access training courses from a personalized page.

According to the nomination application, 4,000 individuals in more than 30 countries have had English training. Enhancing cross-border team collaboration, ensuring effective communication with growing international customer-base, and reducing training spend considerably for Deutsche Telekom.

— Rocio Villaseñor

▲ GP Strategies

Bristol-Myers Squibb underwent a transformation from a pharmaceutical to a global biopharma company. It needed to implement a blended learning people strategy focused on developing performance for its employees, specifically its 4,500 managers. BMS wanted learning to be easily consumed; to capture managers’ attention and engage them in skill development like coaching, giving and receiving feedback. BMS partnered with BlessingWhite, a division of GP Strategies, in developing manager performance.

GP Strategies is a global performance improvement company focused on: sales and technical training, eLearning solutions, management consulting and engineering services. GP Strategies introduced an online learning platform to help managers improve their skills in coaching and drive performance. The team created two streamlined paths that managers could access directly, one for new managers and one for established managers.

This resulted in a learning solution that was flexible, relevant and reflected the speed and agility that BMS expects from managers. According to the nomination application, “Managers were more inclined to engage in the improvement of their leadership and talent development skills.”

— Rocio Villaseñor

Rite-Solutions

Boeing Co.’s Capture Team Leader onsite instructor-led training course was offered in St. Louis with no prework and with guest speakers canceling at the last minute. Thus, Boeing decided to redesign the course using a blended learning approach addressing several of the company’s business challenges and accessible to any qualified CTL.

Rite-Solutions was contracted to design, develop and support the launch. The company’s learning consultants designed an effort that was undertaken through virtual learning objectives and an ILT case study. It impacted 250 participants and provided them with valuable knowledge.

— Rocio Villaseñor

Excellence in
Community Service

TTEC

When TTEC employees were searching for a way to give back to their community, the company responded by starting their own search for a school where a significant impact could be made.

TTEC’s TeleTech Community Foundation, founded in 2007, was set up to provide company resources to the educational experience for students of greatest need. In 2009, the company decided to eliminate their annual holiday party in favor of “Spirit of the Season,” an event that focuses on a needy and worthy elementary school instead. Although they participated in these community initiatives, employees felt the need to give back on a long-term basis.

That’s when the Colorado-based company sought out a school in 2012 and came across University Prep. University Prep at Arapahoe Street is a tuition-free, elementary public charter school, founded to serve the diverse and economically challenged families in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver, according to the application. One of the reasons TTEC partnered with University Prep is because of its motto, “college starts in kindergarten,” teaching children from a young age that a college degree is possible. TTEC employees spend time reading with students and the company hosts professional development sessions for teachers.

Since TTEC partnered with University Prep, it has been able to help the school provide funding for technology and human capital resources. It’s also been able to get a second campus up, University Prep at Steele Street. The greatest challenge the school faced was low academic performance. Eventually, it was able to turn it around, and University Prep has grown from a single campus with 180 students to two campuses with 585.

— Aysha Ashley Househ

▲ CoreAxis Consulting LLC

Eckerd Connects, a youth services organization, needed an effective tool to deliver emotionally challenging content to employees, so it turned to CoreAxis Consulting LLC to develop learning modules.

The main goal for Eckerd Connects is to “make a difference in the lives of youth, families and communities.” Even though the company embraces industry-leading tools, systems and processes, it felt like it didn’t have an efficient training program. That’s when it turned to CoreAxis for help.

Because of sensitive content such as photos of trauma and child abuse, it was critical to have a design that presented the material in an empathetic and understanding way. CoreAxis created four modules, the first of which was an introduction to Eckerd Connects’ mission, vision and values. The other three consisted of content on how to handle trauma and child abuse.

While painful, the way the new training platform is structured solved the challenge of “delivering difficult material in a personal way, while maintaining an action-oriented approach.” The modules teach the learner how to recognize signs of trauma and abuse and what steps to take.

— Aysha Ashley Househ

Excellence in
Content

▲ Raytheon Professional Services LLC

Raytheon Professional Services LLC not only has to think about U.S. rules and regulations, it also has a responsibility to follow international laws.

The U.S. defense contractor is looking to expand its sales products and services domestically and internationally. To do this, it needs to be diligent when dealing with Export/Import, or EX/IM, regulations, especially with the U.S. Department of State International Traffic in Arms Regulations and the U.S. Department of Commerce Export Administration Regulations. Noncompliance can negatively impact the success of the business by driving up costs, slowing its responsiveness and, in the worst case, preventing international business.

With this in mind, Raytheon designed and implemented an EX/IM compliance learning program with the help of its global trade organization. Over a period of several months, the global trade team worked to create an effective learning program that met the company’s needs. Courses are divided into three categories: all employees, global trade professionals and role-specific.

A key aspect that was important to Raytheon when constructing its new learning program was that it didn’t only consist of regulations. It also wanted material that explained what Raytheon does to comply, how it operates and what it means for any individual performing a specific role. Currently, the curriculum includes 58 modules and almost 500 distinct topics.

Since implementing the new curriculum, the company has seen a reduction in violations. Where it had more than 300 violations per quarter, it is now down to 10.

— Aysha Ashley Househ

Impact

With the business environment continuously and rapidly changing, Johnson Matthey, a global sciences and chemical company, realized it needed to work on developing “ready now” midlevel leaders.

The company turned to Impact, a global leadership development consultancy, to create a new program: the Mid-Level Leaders Development Program. When Impact did an analysis to figure out key areas to target, it found midlevel leaders didn’t have the skills to transition from leading others to leading managers.

The program takes the learner on a six-month learning journey, spread across nine days, with three face-to-face modules with pre- and post-work and two inter-module bridge sessions facilitated virtually, according to the application. The goal is to teach leadership development, provide participants with the knowledge, skills and behaviors to increase their leadership effectiveness, create and deepen alignment with future leaders, and navigate change, complexity and ambiguity with agility.

Since the introduction of the program, participants at Johnson Matthey feel that the MLDP has helped them build professional success by learning effective leadership skills.

— Aysha Ashley Househ

The Presentation Company

When Boston Scientific saw that its teams weren’t communicating effectively internally and externally, the company realized it needed some help. It turned to The Presentation Company to improve its workers’ communication skills.

Not only were things getting lost in translation, but presentations by Boston Scientific to its audience wasn’t customer-centric, leaving attendees confused with many technical terms they did not understand. To be able to present its information more effectively, The Presentation Company proposed a program that combined storytelling and data visualization to get messages across.

Since completing the program, communication has improved within the team and to the company audience.

— Aysha Ashley Househ

Excellence in
E-Learning

▲ Easygenerator

Why not directly put the creation of learning in the hands of your employees? Nielsen Holdings PLC needed an effective solution to meet the L&D needs of its workers and found the answer with Easygenerator.

Nielsen was searching for a cost-effective strategy to meet some of its L&D challenges, including keeping up with the rapid pace of a changing market, a shortage of up-to-date knowledge and the mistake of subject matter experts training employees on an individual level rather than a larger scale. With these challenges, Nielsen asked for a home-grown, employee-driven solution to harness internal expertise, according to the application. That’s where Easygenerator came in to advance an employee-generated learning model to help solve these challenges.

EGLs are “driven by L&D but co-owned and managed by employees,” allowing employees to create e-learning courses on topics in which they are experts and share their knowledge with colleagues. This new model allowed Nielsen to target each of its challenges in a cost-effective way and on a tight budget.

It could keep up with a changing market since employees were sharing knowledge in a continuous cycle. A shortage of up-to-date knowledge was swept out since employees create their training content. And, rather than training individuals such as new employees one by one, SMEs no longer needed to put in long hours. New employees can find all the training content in one place.

Now there are more than 1,000 modules available to Nielsen’s employees and the L&D department runs more efficiently. Future plans include the building of an artificial intelligence coach to continue building relevant and efficient content for the company.

— Aysha Ashley Househ

Scrimmage

Smith & Nephew understood it couldn’t have a learning program that’s one-size-fits-all. It knew training needed to be flexible so it sought out Scrimmage to build an effective learning program.

The global medical device company wanted a training initiative for its sales department that was engaging, varied and interesting. Scrimmage created the electronic point of access, or ePOA, as a 12-week training program on its mobile platform. It can be accessed on any device and contains various modalities, including content pieces, videos and quizzes.

The ideal learning program had to provide sales reps on-demand answers for clients, develop selling skills, mitigate common issues and improve product knowledge to increase the company’s overall sales effectiveness.

Smith & Nephew’s reporting tools also needed a makeover since results weren’t clear. With the help of Scrimmage, it developed the Matrix Reporting tool. Results showed those who completed the ePOA program increased their sales average by 13 percent compared with the 5 percent increase for those who didn’t finish it in its entirety. By making the necessary upgrades, the company has been able to provide employees a “sales training journey.”

— Aysha Ashley Househ

▲ HT2 Labs

Villeroy & Bock has a global workforce, and it asked HT2 to build a learning program that could be applied to stores in both London and Shanghai.

The Brand Ambassador program is a learning initiative that is cost-effective, impactful and increases sales effectiveness. The program is blended, providing online social learning and real-life sales situations.

V&B has retail units globally, so it needed to deliver the same training to every colleague. With logistical constraints, not all stores could receive the blended program. However, this was an advantage for V&B, comparing results between online learning versus blended learning.

— Aysha Ashley Househ

Excellence in
Executive Education

The Regis Co.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s business model is based on having a strong field presence in communities where its district and field offices support financial representatives. These representatives are responsible for developing relationships with customers who ultimately purchase the Milwaukee-based company’s products and services. With the goal of expanding its sales force, Northwestern Mutual was looking to increase development efforts to build the skills of its emerging leaders to be able to lead the growing organization.

To create this leadership pipeline, the company came up with Leadership NEXT. The invitation-only, three-year, high-potential program debuted in 2014 and includes simulations and experiences that allow participants the opportunity to improve and focus on their leadership skills. These experiences include real-world applications focusing on the financial acumen of running a small business, leadership development, and other leadership competencies in a peer-to-peer setting, according to the company’s application.

Initially, to help determine the needs and strengths of Northwestern Mutual’s financial representatives, The Regis Co., a developer of custom simulation-based experiences, conducted interviews that were then codified in a needs document. Next, a cross-functional design session was held with financial representatives, leadership and stakeholders. Finally, working with Regis, Northwestern Mutual designed the NEXT Simulation Board Game, the primary activity in the Leadership NEXT program. The game is designed for six teams, with each team representing the leadership in an Northwestern Mutual office. As the teams play the game, they encounter tasks that emulate running an office, including making investments and ROI impact, as well as situations in which leaders must make financial decisions unique to running an office. The game is delivered in a live, facilitated session to prompt discussion among participants. Each year, the game can be updated to reflect new challenges facing Northwestern Mutual.

While it’s too early to tell whether the program has made an impact in market share and improved financial representative performance, behaviors have changed among its target audience, according to the company’s application. Observations by Northwestern Mutual executive leadership share that participants are making fewer decisions alone. They are engaging more people in their offices when making difficult decisions, which will hopefully create better change-management processes and clearer communication in the long term.

Northwestern Mutual has also experienced an increase in its executive leader succession pool. Due to the NEXT program, more sales leaders are expressing interest in becoming a managing partner; Northwestern Mutual reports a 400 percent increase in interest among sales leaders to continue to executive roles in the company.

— Brooke Pawling

NovoEd

As part of its Strategy 2020 goal, Clorox wanted to gain a competitive advantage by developing an industry-leading supply chain. The company enlisted the help of Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech, which was already providing successful executive education to senior leaders for the company. These senior leaders felt that in order to execute changes in the business, lower-level managers needed to be properly trained as well. But bringing in Clorox managers for a two-week offsite program was not feasible for both logistical and budgetary reasons.

To meet this need, Scheller created a blended online program, Global Operations Leadership Forum. The program utilizes the NovoEd learning platform to incorporate online learning with an onsite residential component at the Georgia Tech campus, allowing participants to interact with Georgia Tech faculty and network.

The GOLF program focuses on three areas crucial to implementing an industry-leading supply chain — strategic thinking, operational excellence and leadership development — and lasts eight weeks. The first two weeks are completed online. Participants learn about basic topics, divide into small groups and work on team assignments. Week three is held in-person and consists of three days on campus at the Scheller School of Business, with seminars led by faculty and subject matter experts. The final four weeks are held online and consist of a continuation of learning content and one team assignment per week.

The program requires three to four hours per week spent in the NovoEd learning platform. Each week, the teams are expected to meet via video conference at a time of their choosing to work on and submit their team assignment. In the platform, each team has its own private workspace in which they can schedule times to meet virtually, have discussions and share documents. Team assignments receive feedback from instructors and staff so participants are receiving both peer and expert feedback during the program.

By building a greater sense of accountability and relying on each other in teams, the initiative has garnered a nearly 100 percent completion rate. Based on survey feedback, participants reported a high level of impact on their activities and management of supply chain initiatives.

— Brooke Pawling

Excellence in
Partnership

▲ Scrimmage

Gilead, a global top-five biopharmaceutical firm, enlisted the help of Scrimmage, a long-standing partner, to help train 2,000 U.S., U.K. and European sales personnel with an innovative concept of integrating various LMSs under one access point, available on any mobile device.

Employees were being required to access each system individually to locate, view and complete assignments, tasks or review/re-read materials. Along with recognizing that it wasn’t aligned with today’s mobile standards, it became clear to the company that a technology partner was needed to address its issues and devise complementary learning strategies — and so it turned to Scrimmage.

The commercial learning and development team and IT team at Gilead went to Scrimmage with a wish: for their learners to be able to access all of the content, curriculums, activities and assets located in the various repositories and applications in one place — via the Scrimmage mobile learning platform.

— Brooke Pawling

▲ Litmos

In response to discouraging comments and scores made on a recent employee engagement survey, TTEC put its focus on enhancing its current leadership program, which would address employee concerns. These concerns, according to the company, include lack of employee development, limited career development conversations and minimal evidence of company values being demonstrated. With its employees on different experience and tenure levels, TTEC partnered with the Litmos engagement team to develop a custom and gamified learning interface to encourage development of key competency areas. The five key metrics it influenced included employee Net Promotor Score, rational engagement, emotional engagement, job satisfaction and intent to stay.

After a year, every aspect of engagement measured by the employee NPS saw a double-digit percentage point increase.

— Brooke Pawling

GP Strategies

Bristol-Myers Squibb, a leader in the pharmaceutical industry, was looking to transform its approach to learning that would reflect how learners today want to engage with material. BMS came up with an initiative titled Reimagining Learning @ BMS, spearheading a more immediate, interactive, integrated and individualized learning experience for its employees. To help conceptualize this initiative, the company partnered with BlessingWhite, a division of GP Strategies, which then taught them how to integrate technology, focus on critical skills and messages, socialize the concept and turn out the new approach. The successful initiative saw a 67 percent increase in use of online digital resources and has been accepted across BMS as the company standard for all learning efforts.

— Brooke Pawling

Excellence in
Technology Innovation

Sweetrush

Hilton knew it needed to modernize its approach to design experiential learning in order to build empathy for roles that are often overlooked, as well as deliver a more cost- and time-effective way to introduce the value of hospitality to new team members. Hilton decided to work with SweetRush’s emerging technologies team SPARK to create a virtual-reality-based learning experience. Hilton received assistance navigating how to evaluate and select VR technology for the Business Immersion learning program. Once the complex process of creating VR began, SweetRush and Hilton went through a series of phases, including allowing learners to move their body in a virtual space.

Within this interactive experience, the learner must do the work of others, including kitchen workers, housekeeping and the front desk. Throughout, understanding and empathy is built for those who fulfill these demanding roles. Additionally, the virtual environment can give guided help.

Learners tested positively — 85 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they gained more empathy/appreciation for hotel team members, the company said. Additionally, 79 percent stated they agree or strongly agree the experience will impact their corporate work.

— Brooke Pawling

◄ STRIVR

▲ STRIVR

STRIVR helped 200 Walmart Academies out with the old and in with the new through implementation of virtual reality training to teach and train employees after the company began facing business challenges.

Those challenges revolved around preparing store associates and store managers for their first six months on the job. Not to mention, training methods were getting costly, and the turnover rates were high among store associates. That’s where STRIVR came in.

After identifying its learning strategies, the two collaborated to design the training scenarios and curriculum. While Walmart brought the SMEs, STRIVR brought the VR expertise. The development included STRIVR’s team of solutions architects, data scientists and engineers creating the training curriculum in four weeks. The initial test occurred at 30 Walmart academies where employees were trained on how to use VR software and devices, with STRIVR going onsite for accurate set-up. Now, employee satisfaction has improved by 30 percent and Walmart has expanded the VR program to reach 140,000 employees per year with plans to expand training to encompass soft skills training such as conflict resolution for managers.

— Brooke Pawling

Chronus

After Paychex executives noticed a distinct lack of women in leadership roles at its organization, it launched a career mentoring program by matching women in leadership roles to high-potential women at the company. The framework, facilitated by Chronus mentoring software, focused on ways to design, attract, connect, guide and measure potential leaders. The program was monitored on an admin dashboard allowing feedback by way of surveys so Paychex could see what aspects were thriving and what needed to be corrected efficiently. In just two years, according to the company, participants have achieved a 94 percent retention rate and are 12 percent more likely to see a change in position.

— Brooke Pawling

D2L

To help children and adults gain a better musical education, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra partnered with D2L to design video teaching resources to put students in the middle of the orchestra while also providing a comfortable lesson plan for the teacher. After enlisting the help of D2L’s Learning and Creative Services, which helped create the digital design and build the video player technology, the two recorded 10 concerts from multiple camera angles with more than 100 musicians and distributed it to Canada Mosaic, a digital learning site. The format featured embedded videos, easily digestible learning modules and integrated lesson plans. As a result, more than 40 TSO performances have been recorded for future use and 10 teaching modules have been created for schools.

— Brooke Pawling