What will learning look like in your organization in 5 years? Take a look at market-leading companies in fast moving industries like QualComm and SAIC. I met a few of them at this week’s ASTD Benchmarking Forum held in San Diego. Here are four common themes:
- Business Consultants, Not Trainers
QualComm and SAIC’s learning leaders reported their learning teams were primarily business consultants. Cheryl Getty, Vice President of Learning said the terms “training” and “learning” are not the vernacular her teams uses. “I talk about business opportunities, challenges and goals. Then, I come back to the team with recommendations. It’s a different point of view,” claimed Getty.
- Immerse Yourself in Business Speak
Getty challenged learning leaders to immerse themselves in the world business, read the Wall Street Journal every day, etc. “Think of yourself as a business person, not a learning person,” says Getty. Qualcomm’s Tamar Elkeles illustrated the point further. She has 35 learning consultants on staff each with a corporate-wide responsibility and a business unit assignment. These consultants work with leadership to address business needs.
Qualcomm’s learning team doesn’t do “the training.” All the tactical elements are outsourced to learning services organizations. Elkeles claims you can’t train a company culture and relationship, but you can outsource a good facilitator.
- Start where you are
Elkeles started at QualComm in 1995 with 750 employees and 1 person in the training department- herself! She built a program in year one using $13 million from a U.S. grant and achieved results. In year two, Qualcomm got hooked and continued the investment. Today, Elkeles’ budget has continued to grow because her team produces results.
Elkeles and Getty were among 35 learning executives attending the Forum. Other participants included Defense Intelligence Agency, American Express, Amgen, SAIC, Johnsonville Sausage, Intel, Auto Club of Mid-Atlantic, IBM and others. The ASTD Benchmarking Forum meets twice a year in locations across the U.S.A. Organizations can apply for Forum Membership at www.astd.org/forum. (373)