Best of the best: Shelby Kan, left, and Allison Horn of Accenture accept the 2018 LearningElite award for Organization of the Year.

photos by Will Byington

Finding the Perfect Fit

For this year’s LearningElite organizations, custom solutions are the key to making learning work for the business.

By Sarah Kimmel

As Chief Learning Officer’s LearningElite program enters its eighth year, common threads have emerged among the organizations.

LearningElite winners are serious about learning. Their teams carefully craft programs that align learning strategy with business strategy. Their leaders believe in the value learning and development gives the organization. L&D initiatives are delivered through different modalities, often using technology to enhance participation and deliver anytime, anywhere content. Key performance indicators are built into programs to ensure results are quantifiable. Results are shared with senior leaders to demonstrate the positive impact learning has on the business.

This past March we honored organizations large and small, national and international, at the annual LearningElite Gala during the 2018 CLO Spring Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From organizations of less than 500 employees to large multinationals, the LearningElite program celebrates those with a passion for lifelong learning.

The peer-reviewed ranking and benchmarking program recognizes organizations that employ exemplary workforce development strategies that deliver significant business results. It uses best practices in evaluation to rank organizations based on their impact, size and industries served. A comprehensive evaluation of L&D, the LearningElite also recognizes individual companies for their efforts in functional areas, including leadership development, use of technology, executive buy-in and content development and delivery.

Of the hundreds of companies that applied, 78 met this year’s benchmark to qualify as LearningElite. Applications were reviewed by more than 400 volunteer judges — CEOs, CLOs, HR practitioners and other professionals who are as passionate about learning as the organizations they rated. Judges rate organizations in each of the five dimensions of the LearningElite model: learning strategy, leadership commitment, learning execution, learning impact and business performance results.

To determine the winner, the top five organizations participated in a capstone project; each gave a two-hour presentation exploring the concept of perfect fit — how is learning tailored to the organization? For the best of the best, L&D practices and modalities are as unique as the organizations themselves, incorporating AI, neuroscience, metrics, analytics, reskilling and multilingual job aids.

This year’s Organization of the Year — Accenture — previously won the LearningElite in 2014. They haven’t rested in the years since, however, transitioning their workforce with a “Lead into the New” strategy. Accenture’s forward-thinking L&D practices engage their learners and encourage innovation. Their proactive policies will ensure the company not only survives but thrives in the age of digital disruption.

The following stories showcase how LearningElite organizations use the idea of perfect fit to suit their needs. Every work culture is different and each requires a unique solution. From testing and deploying new L&D initiatives to sunsetting multiple LMSs into a single system, this year’s LearningElite organizations share a common goal: to find a perfect fit between learning initiatives and organizational goals and to maximize the impact of learning investment on the business.

Sarah Kimmel is Human Capital Media’s vice president of research and advisory services. She can be reached at