Learning In Practice Awards

Excellence in Partnership

Learning in Practice Awards 2016

Recognizes vendors or consultants who have effectively supported a client’s learning and development function to set strategy or establish or implement a program via consulting or whole or partial outsources services.

GP Strategies co_1116_lip_gold

Three years ago, health care company Merck & Co. was under pressure to adapt to industry changes and cut operating costs by the end of 2015. To do so, Merck looked to its learning unit. The company found redundancies, uncoordinated spending and operating costs at twice the level of comparable companies.


Heidi Milberg

To meet its financial goals, Merck had to improve efficiency, visibility and alignment in the unit. The company created a new back-end Learning Shared Services team to fulfill internal learning and development functions, but it needed a flexible model to meet ever-changing demands. To do this, the company turned to GP Strategies, whom it had trusted for learning solutions since 2003, and who already knew its infrastructure intimately.

GP Strategies proposed the Fix/Flex support model for the LSS team, which leveraged Merck’s own internal development team, and it provided flexible, professional support via centers of excellence in Europe, the U.S. and India. This model allowed the company to adjust its focus to meet demand when needed in specific departments without compromising performance across the company.

The partnership produced impressive results. The LSS team was able to speed up execution and delivery, saving between $5 million and $7 million over three years. Merck’s internal staff also benefited from reduced responsibilities, which allowed them to increase focus and improve performance.

—Nidhi Madhavan


The Droste Groupco_1116_lip_silver

To deal with growth and expansion, clothing company Carhartt created a new leadership base comprised of new hires and established talent. Management needed to provide these individuals with common expectations and instill a strong sense of company vision, something many employees felt was missing.

Organizational development company Droste Group worked with Carhartt to implement the Work of Leaders model. The four-part class series, separated by job level, walked leaders through the process of creating a company vision, aligning around it and then championing execution of that vision. Droste Group also provided teams with its proprietary skills assessment, video testimonials and lunch-and-learns to promote personal development as well as organization change.

Interdepartmental communication and conflict resolution improved significantly, and the model was so influential Carhartt now trains all employees with it.

—Nidhi Madhavan



In today’s world, accessibility is everything. When pizza delivery chain Papa John’s International realized its Flash-based training courses were inconvenient for new-age learners, the company partnered with digital developer Aptara to create more engaging and tech-friendly courses. The modern update resulted in improved global brand standards and performance.

—Nidhi Madhavan