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The Client Knows Best
IBM, ranked No. 4 in Chief Learning Officer magazine’s LearningElite, harnesses the power of its workforce by developing future leaders.
Ted Hoff, IBM vice president, learning.
IBM’s learning strategy focuses on three core elements. First, the company strives to achieve innovative, technology-enabled approaches to learning. Second, it empowers its leaders to develop other leaders. Third, it provides career guidance to all members of the organization.
Increasingly, IBM is leveraging social learning to meet this first element of learning strategy. Rather than develop centrally related content, experts throughout the company find, build, publish, share and comment on assets to enhance skills development and productivity. IBM has created tools such as online learning communities and socially generated tags on key knowledge assets to make relevant knowledge more searchable. It also has reduced search time and costs, accelerated onboarding and, recognizing that more than 40 percent of its workforce is global, enabled delivery of job-relevant information to networked mobile devices.
IBM’s organizational culture is shaped by consistent behavior from its senior leaders. So, to achieve the second element of its learning strategy — leaders developing leaders — the company involves senior leaders in the assessment, selection and development of their peers as well as junior staff. This develops enterprise leadership capabilities and broadcasts a clear, powerful signal throughout the enterprise that leadership development is a top priority.
To achieve career guidance, its third core learning element, IBM grows the capabilities its clients prize by fostering employee growth. The company developed an enterprise-wide career framework and system for employees to develop and track their capabilities, thus widening their internal career opportunities. Employees also receive information about market-valued skills to ensure their skill sets remain relevant to clients.
To further hone its learning strategy, IBM conducts employee surveys to gauge workforce needs. In its 2010 global pulse survey, the company learned its employees wanted real-life experience and variety as well as more people interaction in their development. The company also learned its employees place a greater value on learning derived from individuals in the workforce as opposed to learning created by the enterprise. With this in mind IBM learning leaders decided to rethink learning content, specifically who delivers it and how the company makes it available. The learning organization decided a model to “push training” should be replaced by one to “pull learning.” Going forward, company learning will provide access to and ensure the inclusion of expertise and experience in order to promote a shift from formal to informal learning delivery methods.
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
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