Chief Learning Officer - August 2006 - (Page 46)

CO0806.qxd 7/19/06 10:24 AM Page 46 human capital i n practice: learning initiatives as well as by having complete C o u n t r y w i d e Financial Corp: support from senior leadership. We have been blessed having the top leaders of the firm whole- I m p r o v i n g the Quality of IT Education heartedly believe in training and development. They don't just give it lip service; they truly As one of the nation's leading mortgage and financial-services companies, Countr ywide believe that it is paramount to our success that Financial Corp.'s overall success is greatly reliant on the knowledge and proficiency of its people are equipped with the tools they need to 4,500-plus IT professionals. In fact, Countr ywide uses more than 1,400 different business-crit- ical technologies and applications on a day-to-day basis. That's why Countrywide Executive serve our clients, she said. Our president comes Vice President and Chief Technology Learning Officer Joe DiDonato continuously strives to to every one of our orientation programs and shorten the time to working proficiency for IT professionals through education. spends at least an hour with the new associates However, in an industry where security and compliance are obligatory, and in a field where talking to them, giving them the strategic applications and technologies constantly evolve, education requires an exceptional learning and overview, answering their questions. He sits and development model. The world of IT practically renews itself every 12 to 18 months, and for has lunch with them too. us to go to the outside to staff positions for a new technology isn't really something that we want to do because our intellectual property lies in the heads of our IT professionals. In fact, IT Ta k i n g Learning Online is one of our strongest differentiators from all of our competitors, DiDonato explained. The challenge in education has become how can we if it takes on average a year to train peo- Bringing learning to the Web represents a huge ple on new technologies shorten the learning path? How can we train more specifically? opportunity for mid-market learning and devel- Within the IT organization, DiDonato employs a 20-30-50 model 20 percent classroom train- opment organizations to expand their reach ing, 30 percent non-classroom training and 50 percent performance support . We want to across the nation, deliver learning activities give employees a working competency. So, we are shifting much of the burden of training into directly to individuals throughout a company at the work environment by identifying the 20 percent of a specific application or technology that the same time as well as decrease training expen- will drive 80 percent of their jobs on a day-to-day basis, he said. ditures over time. For many mid-market organi- According to DiDonato, the performance-support area is where much of his current efforts are. zations, embracing e-learning is brought about by So far, he has developed a search engine modeled after Google, presently called the Learner's a specific challenge. Guide. The search engine is available through the company's intranet, but DiDonato's goal is for every IT staff member to have access to the search engine through his or her taskbar. We At Gilbane Inc., the parent organization of two are actually imbedding the training inside the system, Didonato said. So all of classroom train- operating companies, Gilbane Building Co. and ing plus what we don't cover during classroom training is made available through the search engine, so employees can obtain instantaneous answers and information on the job while per- Gilbane Development Co., e-learning gained for ming the task. So anytime employees have a question or are in need of additional informa- momentum after California and Connecticut tion, they can simply conduct a search as though they were on Google. implemented laws that require all public or private DiDonato said the search engine, like Google, would encompass selectable entities including the employers that regularly employ 50 or more indi- Wizard Directory, courses, books and more. According to DiDonato, the Wizard Directory will allow viduals to provide sexual harassment training employees to find and contact fellow IT colleagues for information regarding a specific applica- every two years. At that point, our CEO said, tion, technology, command, etc. We are building a Wizard Directory that will basically identify the `Sexual harassment awareness is more than a man- strengths of the 4,500 technologists and allow users to capture their knowledge by identifying the top people from within to call upon or instant message through Lotus Sametime, he explained. date in two states: I want to require the course to So we have taken the 4,500 employees and have made them kind of like a virtual `digital tribe.' ensure that every single employee at Gilbane is DiDonato said the challenge would be how to measure the success of these performance-sup- not creating a hostile work environment.' So he port tools. The traditional metrics of measuring the effectiveness of education usually includes took the step of mandating this two-hour online the quality, employee satisfaction, course completion rates and cost savings. So deploying course to upgrade everyone's awareness of sexual lear ning opportunities away from the classroom does, in fact, save money because the instruc- harassment, explained Diane Fasching, vice pres- tor disappears, the facility cost disappears and so forth. In fact, as much as 40 percent of the ident of enterprise learning and development. By budget has been saved from moving those out of the classroom. However, when you are look- driving employees to take the course online, peo- ing at search engines and continuous education, we know innately it's the speed of obtaining infor mation, but we don't know how to measure that as far as quality and so forth. Those are ple discovered what Gilbane University offers: We things that we are focused on solving next. We have to prove that the Web sites that we have have 50 interpersonal SkillSoft courses, we have selected for job expertise are the best of the best. We have to prove that the Wizards are giv- the entire Microsoft Office suite, we also have a ing good advice, he explained. large number of safety courses that all can be From a quality standpoint, for the Wizards, we are thinking about algorithms that take a person's accessed 24x7 from their homes or with the com- view of their experience and knowledge and somehow index that or rate that with the number pany's intranet. of years they have in specific technologies and applications. I have always favored movie ratings, August 2006 the one-star, two-star, three-star ratings. These types of ratings would be excellent for our online According to Fasching, the increased awareness books and courses. The star ratings, however, would not be suitable for Wizards because there that was achieved through mandating the online may be external factors affecting the quality of a response. sexual harassment education led the organization I I Chief Learning Officer Although DiDonato is in the process of implementing the performance-support tools, he said the to realize an 81 percent increase in the use of ability to understand new technologies more rapidly would have impact on the business. We online learning courses. This year, Gilbane man- have a strong technical lead over all of our competitors, and being able to shorten the learning cur ve from an average of a year in the classroom to a couple of months allows us to take advan- dated another online course as a result of the tage of new technology faster than our competitors, allows us to deploy cost-saving solutions increased acceptance by the company's 1,700- faster, brings products to market faster. These are the things that keep us in the lead as an plus employees and success of the previous online organization. There's a definite relationship between the speed of deploying people back into course requirement. When I started here six their jobs with new knowledge and the company's revenues. years ago, one of the initial surveys was about

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Chief Learning Officer - August 2006

Editor's Letter
Table of Contents
Taking the Lead
Best Practices
Learning Solutions
In Practice - U.S. GAO
In Practice - Army National Guard
CLO Profile
In Practice - PerkinElmer
Case Study
Human Capital
In Practice - Countrywide Financial Corp
In Practice - Siebel
Business Intelligence
Advertiser's Index
Editorial Resources
In Conclusion

Chief Learning Officer - August 2006