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Jeanette Graebener: Engineering an Inventory of Minds at SAIC
With 150 locations and more than 43,000 employees worldwide, SAIC must ensure that training is at a consistently high standard. “When there’s any type of program that has a certification program, the certification is witness to the fact that they understood the information. One of the things that we’ve done in that area is look at the different scales of evaluation. We’ve basically been at Level I and Level II, It’s our goal this year to move to Level III and possibly Level IV where we do more and more follow-up to ensure that the skills that people have learned through the training are being practiced in their business unit. That is an area where we are continuing to improve.”
For Graebener, return on investment, business metrics and other measurable success factors are pertinent only after one measures customer satisfaction. Graebener points to SAIC’s lower-than-average turnover rate as further proof of SAIC’s success. “When you look at retention and recruitment, for example in our leadership program, 83 percent of people in the program are still with the company. Eighty-four percent of the employees who’ve gone through the systems engineering training are still with company,” she said. “Our turnover rate is significantly below the national average. Do I attribute that to training? Not totally, of course not. But training and development at SAIC is a component of that.”
SAIC has big things planned for training over the next five years. Graebener will start a large-scale project management professional program where in excess of 1,000 program project managers will be trained over the next year. And plans have begun to create a major leadership and training program for more than 600 SAIC divisional managers. “These are the people at the front lines working with customers, managing the contracts, and we have put together a fabulous training program with competency maps, and it’s very blended,” Graebener said. “There’s e-learning, there’s self-paced learning, there’s a three-day foundation program where new and aspiring division managers attend and learn about people skills, business skills and company skills, and for those managers who have been division managers for three years or more, a five-day practicum where they put it in place. We’ll have case studies in all of those areas and more. We’re going to be looking at other avenues to share training and development with our customers because we’ve made some significant strides in some of the disciplines, and we’re going to be looking at sharing that.“
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