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RR Donnelley's Jim Graham: Pull Versus Push at the Press
At RR Donnelley, consolidated learning is key to the success of the business. With more than 60,000 employees, it's up to Jim Graham, vice president of training and development, to ensure that everyone onboard has the knowledge and capabilities necessary
RR Donnelley is a large commercial printer that was founded more than 140 years ago. This long history has seen the company continually expand its capabilities to where it now provides myriad solutions including commercial and financial printing, direct mail, forms and labels, call centers, online services, digital photography, and content and database management. Its customer base consists of companies in health care, advertising, retail, technology, financial services and a range of other industries.
Jim Graham, vice president of training and development, has seen the company through various changes in its recent history. He's been involved with RR Donnelley on and off since 1982, when he joined as a manager of sales training development. Twelve years later, in 1994, he left RR Donnelley as a director, moving on to serve successively on the management team of two companies, one in software development and the other in insurance.
Graham then joined Huthwaite, a performance and change management firm, before joining Moore Corp. as director of training and development in 2002.
The following year, Moore merged with Wallace Computer Services Inc., and Moore Wallace Inc. was acquired by RR Donnelley in 2004. Graham thus found himself back at RR Donnelley via the mergers. This presented him with one of the more significant challenges he's seen in his 14 years with the company.
"When those three companies - Moore, Wallace and RR Donnelley - came together, the challenge was centralizing the training function," Graham said.
Learning had been fractionalized to a degree at the individual companies before the mergers, and it was even more so following the convergence of the three, he said.
So Graham centralized learning at RR Donnelley's corporate headquarters in Chicago. His central plan, in the wake of the merger, was to make RR Donnelley's training as consistent and consolidated as possible.
"One of the things I started to preach early on was consistency in standardization across a platform," he said. "In any company, you've got mergers, you've got a number of different business units, and everybody wants to go out and do their own thing, which is OK in some ways but in other ways, it's not."
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