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UPS: Building a Framework for Learning
In the final year of a five-year learning strategy, UPS, Chief Learning Officer’s No. 6-ranked LearningElite company for 2012, has consolidated its learning systems.
UPS is using its five-year learning strategy to help it educate 400,000 employees in 220 countries and territories, earning it a spot at No. 6 on the 2012 LearningElite list.
Here’s a hefty task for any learning organization: build a learning strategy to reach roughly 400,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories. This is the challenge United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) faces every day, and since shifting its leadership development strategy to encompass a broader framework and culture of learning, the Atlanta-based package delivery firm appears to be managing well.
Employee development always has been a large part of UPS, which has been around for more than 100 years. UPS has provided employees with formalized training courses since the 1960s; before that, informal mentoring and coaching was the norm. Each was dedicated to advancing its business leaders’ development, a mindset still relevant today, according to Anne Schwartz, UPS’ vice president of global leadership and talent.
Roughly five years ago the company embarked on a new learning and leadership development strategy to consolidate its online learning ecosystem and continue its tradition of employee development, with an emphasis on global reach. “What makes [our learning strategy] so effective today is that it’s a collaborative group working within a framework,” Schwartz said. “And it’s coordinated. When I took over this job we had between 36-41 learning management systems. Today we have one.”
The company’s learning framework helps to identify how it deploys classroom and Web-based training as well as blended learning platforms. “We now have virtual classrooms that we did not have before,” Schwartz said. “So within this framework, we’ve leveraged technology to make training and development available to literally all of our employees globally 24/7.”
The learning and development framework at UPS seeks to instill nine core leadership competencies: integrity, customer focus, business and financial acumen, breadth of perspective, managing for results, communication and influence, decision making and problem solving, development orientation and partnership. Within this framework is the UPS Global Learning Network, a set of development offerings for specific job competencies within the company.
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