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VF Corp.'s Ron Lawrence: Conduit Between Learning and Human Capital Management
“To be really effective in OD and training, work at a macro level requires spending a lot of time thinking about HCM strategies and the HRIS foundation that underlies it,” he explained. “I give a lot of thought to what the big organizational needs are and how HR supports that and really enables the development of the workforce in that context.”
Lawrence said the company’s supportive culture has helped his efforts to facilitate organizational transformation. He has introduced new practices in areas such as talent management and new tools such as executive coaching and leadership development programs focused on specific needs. His team also has introduced global HR practices such as online, worldwide associate-engagement surveys offered in 11 languages.
“It’s not a pure training thing, but it’s clearly tied to workforce development because we use the results to figure out what we’re doing next,” he said. “We’ve built a pretty aggressive five-year human capital management strategy. I think it’s pretty bold and outlines great direction for our company, which is growing from $7 billion in annual revenues to $12 billion. That’s our goal, and we’re growing at a very aggressive rate. VF is really becoming a stronger company, and I feel like I’m a big part of making that happen.”
Learning is consistently a tenet of VF’s human capital strategy, which has three anchors: process, technology and people. For people, it’s all about developing the skills needed for the future. Development helps the company assure its succession plans, which are critical as VF faces the baby boomer exit wave and associated knowledge loss over the next five to 10 years. Lawrence said his team is aggressively working to capture that knowledge and develop it in the company’s next generation of leaders.
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