Chief Learning Officer - May 2006 - (Page 26)

CO0506.qxd 4/18/06 1:05 PM Page 26 learning solutions in practice: periods will provide a concentrated focus on exe- R o b b i n s - G i o i a University: cuting the new organizational objectives at the beginning of the year. By creating a focused align- C e r t i f i e d for Success ment period at the beginning of the year, organi- zations can shorten the time required to opera- Jennifer Stanford tionalize business objectives, optimize cross- Robbins-Gioia has always had a strong commitment to the professional development of employ- departmental resource planning for projects and ees. For years it was a privately held business with steady growth and a close family type of initiatives, and increase the time and effort the environment. Benefits such as continued education, conferences and workshops were readily workforce spends working on those objectives. available to employees. However, other than a cost allotment per employee, there were not many metrics visible at the corporate level to demonstrate the impact of the professional development. M a n a g e m e n t Insight & Control This approach had to change after the company was acquired by a large firm. All overhead costs Too often, alignment benefits are described as had to be justified, and ROI had to be shown for every dollar spent. for employees only. Although improving Luckily the professional development department, like the rest of the company, was project- employee engagement has its benefits, the busi- management-focused. For years, it kept its own metrics in anticipation of a day like this. Even ness value is often not apparent to executives apart from the ROI study, the professional development team wanted to show the positive impact and business leaders. Therefore, the alignment that investing in the workforce has on the top and bottom lines. The team had a strong belief process should provide business leaders with that the management of learning is a C-level function and should have a seat at the table right clear benefits. Executive benefits often focus on next to finance, sales and operations. insights and reports to understand how the The team wrote a business case and project plan to implement a corporate university workforce is operationalizing business strategies Robbins-Gioia University RGU . At the rate the company was growing, a learning management and objectives. Additionally, managers should system was also in order. The big goal had two parts: not only did Robbins-Gioia have to pre- have the ability to distribute performance and pare the culture for a new corporate university concept, but it also had to get people to accept development goals quickly, as well as correct e-lear ning. misaligned work activities. For large organiza- While the LMS was being planned and implemented, two important parallel activities were tions, this usually requires automated learning occurring with the HR department and leadership team: revising career paths and establishing and performance management systems. a practice area management environment. Although career paths were in place, they needed to be overhauled to include this new notion of practice-area management. The company uses As an example of executive insight, one major practice-area management as a way to identify and support key solution service offerings. auto manufacturer recently implemented an Through this alignment of practice areas with career path planning and workforce professional automated objectives alignment process. Shortly development, Robbins-Gioia can create a very clear picture for employees on the company's after the initial employee goal-setting period, the direction for growth as a whole and for them personally and professionally. CIO found that one organizational objective had RGU was established with major colleges to support the practice areas. One of the significant few employee goals aligned to it, while all other actions the corporate university manager completed was to have each practice-area manager organizational objectives had high numbers of fill the role of dean for a specific college. This important role ensures the synergy needed employee goals aligned to them. The CIO quick- between the operations side of the company and the professional development and HR sides. ly realized that without correction, his organiza- Together this team works to create certification programs that enable employees to move up the tion was unlikely to accomplish the organiza- career path as well as poise the company for further growth in key strategic areas. tional objective. A major factor in determining project success is whether or not goals were achieved. The best way to do this is to establish performance goals for the project up front and measure results E m p l o y e e Insights against them. Separate from the project goals of implementing the LMS technology project, three Imagine being given the goal of driving a large goals were determined to best demonstrate the impact of the corporate university concept: commercial truck from Austin, Texas, to Portland, Maine, within three days. However,

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

Editor's Note
Table of Contents
Letters to the Editor
Take Five
Selling Up, Selling Down
Guest Editorial
Learning Solutions
Robbins-Gioia University
Deloitte & Touche USA
CLO Profile
Washington Gas
Case Study
Human Capital
Health Care Service Corp.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida
Business Intelligence
In Conclusion
Advertiser's Index
Editorial Resources

Chief Learning Officer - May 2006