Learning In Practice Awards

The Business Partnership Award

Learning departments that have partnered in a progressive way with business partners or external organizational divisions and functions to develop and deliver a targeted employee development program.

For learning departments that have partnered in a progressive way with business partners or external organizational divisions and functions such as the sales and marketing department or external customer groups to develop and deliver a targeted employee development program that supports the partner’s goals.



Dell EMC Education Services

From left, Supreetha Nagaraja, Sanjeev Sharma, Ben Hastings and Elizabeth Talerico.

Even a small increase in efficiency or boost to effectiveness can have a great impact when multiplied by the 140,000 employees at Dell, one of the largest information technology companies in the world. In the client business alone, which includes the company’s laptop, desktop and computer peripherals portfolio of products, the Dell EMC Education Services team trains approximately 1,000 new hires a year.

Traditional new hire training lasted nine weeks, making it difficult to prepare sufficient numbers of new hires in time to accommodate the call volumes that Dell’s client consumer business handles in its strategic hubs, located primarily in India.

Faced with that problem, the client business stakeholders requested that Dell EMC Education Services deliver a training program that would reduce new hire training time while still enabling trainees to meet key performance indicators related to customer experience, technical support resolution rates and overall training effectiveness.

To answer the challenge, Dell EMC Education Services designed the Rapidus program to reduce the overall new hire training time for technical support agents, especially during periods when customer call volumes spike such as high volume shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, while maintaining high trainee passage rates and customer experience ratings and reducing repeat calls.

The outcomes of the new program ultimately exceeded all three key performance indicator targets and reduced total training time by 33 percent, shaving 15 business days off the curriculum and reducing the amount spent per learner all while speeding up the transition of new hires.


Booz Allen Hamilton

The learning and development team at consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton partnered with the firm’s ethics and compliance team to reaffirm and update the ethics and compliance training program. The firm’s ethics and compliance training program is an important vehicle to promote the firm’s values, protect it against risk, and ensure any problems are reported.

While the firm’s legacy training program got the job done, it was content heavy and focused on policies, laws, rules and codes of conduct at the expense of being engaging and interactive. Employees were required to complete up to six hours of training per year but that training wasn’t personalized and lacked a cohesive strategy.

Working with L&D, the ethics and compliance team revitalized the compliance training programs to make them more engaging, cost effective and boost retention of important concepts over time. The new training approach covered such topics as information security, time reporting, anticorruption, international trade regulations as well as how to handle ethical concerns and report behavior that is suspicious or presents a risk to the individual or the firm.

Now in its second year of revitalization, the training is enhanced to make it more values-based, relevant and engaging.


General Electric

With more than 170,000 employees located in more than 140 countries and a shift in business strategy afoot, GE set out to rethink its learning platform. BrilliantYou, a distributed learning platform, was created to

improve the scale and reach of learning at GE. Built with the needs of a company becoming more global and increasingly younger, the platform provides an engaging, personal and socially connected learning ecosystem and artificial intelligence integration to further personalize learning to learner and organizational needs.




At Ally, a nationwide automobile finance company, the customer is the dealer. Ally doesn’t directly work with consumers to finance their auto purchases. Rather, automobile and recreational vehicle dealers offer Ally finance products and services to customers looking to buy a car or RV.

That business arrangement comes with its challenges. To reach the 17,000 dealers in all 50 states, Ally deploys a team of 349 account sales executives who visit dealerships every day where they compete for attention with the competitors looking to get dealers’ attention. The primary task for those account executives is to make sure the dealer is informed about and offers Ally products to their customers.

One of the services account executives offer to dealers is Ally’s dealer training program designed to increase dealer sales, revenue and customer satisfaction. To enhance this critical service and build deeper relationships with dealers, Ally’s Dealer Learning and Development team launched Ally Academy in January 2017.

Ally Academy offers online and instructor-led learning for auto and RV dealership employees on topics including sales, leadership, compliance, management and product training. The design and launch of Ally Academy involved investment from Ally’s learning and development function, IT and marketing and communications in addition to sales.

The rebranded learning function has resulted in increased recognition of dealer customer training options by the Ally field sales force. That recognition and education has in turn led to an increase in training class registrations by dealers. In some cases, account executives attribute retention of dealers as Ally customers in competitive situations to the enhanced training offerings.


Sidley Austin

In large law firms like Chicago-based Sidley Austin, it can be difficult for individual staff members to understand the role they play in the positive overall experience of clients. Many staff functions happen behind the scenes in support of the firm’s 1,900 lawyers. This lack of a line of sight to the big picture of what the firm does can result in subpar service.

In 2014, Sidley Austin embarked on a firmwide staff initiative called Service Excellence to create a consistent experience of world-class support for clients, lawyers and all staff that mirrors the globally recognized service delivered by the firm’s lawyers.

To carry out this task, the learning team gathered data and insights from across the firm and created a three-stage “align, equip, sustain” approach to target business challenges. Each stage included leadership practices to reinforce the service-oriented approach.

As a result of the initiative, participants are able to identify customers’ expectations and adapt their approach to meet each customers’ unique needs, ensure a positive experience for every customer by applying a reliable process and skills for handling customer interactions, recover from service errors and regain loyalty of upset customers. Results throughout the firm include teams and departments working more collaboratively to deliver high quality service delivery.


Herman Miller

From left, Erica Powell, Victor Sultana, Liz Kent, P.J. Anderson and Malisa Bryant.

Looking to reinvigorate its sales strategy, the sales readiness team at Michigan-based furniture maker Herman Miller worked in collaboration with their counterparts in sales, marketing and product management to design learning that embraced new selling opportunities. The team designed an  in-person learning experience that allows sales teams to practice and apply selling techniques, digest corporate strategy updates and discover new product offerings. By using a practice-and-apply methodology, the program focused on real sales opportunities, resulting in sales teams winning more business.

Mike Prokopeak is vice president and editor in chief of Chief Learning Officer magazine. He can be reached at editor@CLOmedia.com.

Tags: ,