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How Telus Keeps Learning Plugged In
The Canadian telecommunications company has created a progressive and collaborative learning technology infrastructure.
When Dan Pontefract was getting ready for college, his father — an English immigrant who had settled the family in southern Ontario, just outside of Toronto — made a simple yet stern request: get as far away from home as possible.
“He really felt that one of the best learning experiences you can have is to get the hell away from home,” said Pontefract, the senior director of learning and collaboration at Canadian telecommunications firm Telus Communications Inc. “That notion really stuck with me. Life is about the journey. It’s experiential. It’s social.”
Pontefract treats organizational development and learning at Telus in much the same way as he has his life to date. Learning, Pontefract said, is ongoing; it’s something that is happening at all times, wherever, whenever.
“One can’t escape learning,” he said. “This notion that people think learning or in fact training is an event, I have this wish to ensure that they are wrong.”
He’s spent the last three years at Telus, which has about 35,000 employees globally, doing just that.
Since being headhunted to lead learning at the company, Pontefract has transformed the function from a 95 percent outsourced, formal instructor-led model to a 60-40 formal and informal learning split with 50 percent of learning being internal.
Learning at Telus is considered a “continuous, collaborative, connected and communicative process.” Success isn’t measured through transactions — or “bums in seats,” as Pontefract put it — but through increased employee productivity and engagement, each of which is managed through Telus’ detailed employee performance management process.
“Training, to me, is the adage that Michelangelo Buonarroti [the Italian architect, painter, poet and sculptor] once said: ‘Ancora Imparo,’ in plain English, ‘I am still learning.’ … Whether you’re a private, for-profit, higher education or K-12, learning is occurring in everything that we do.”
A Buzz for Learning
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
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