October 2018
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TD Magazine

Additional 2018 BEST Award Winners

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The BEST Awards recognize organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success as a result of employee talent development. The winners use learning as a strategic business tool to get results. In 2018, 45 organizations earned a 2018 BEST Award. (View the entire list of 2018 BEST Award winners.)


Summit Credit Union | Consumers Energy | Florida Blue | Tanfeeth | Nicklaus Children's Health System | Honor Credit Union | LoyaltyOne | Aristocrat | NTPC Limited | Allianz Sigorta | Cathay Life Insurance | Atrium Health | Valvoline Instant Oil Change | Larsen & Toubro Heavy Civil Infrastructure Company | WakeMed Health & Hospitals | North Highland | Gilbane Building Company | First Hawaiian Bank | Cognizant | Aimco | MGM China | Black Knight | CLA | H.W. Kaufman Group | U.S. Security Associates | EY (CIS)

#6 Summit Credit Union

"We know we can't execute our mission without developing and empowering our employees." That statement sums up a core belief about talent development at Summit Credit Union: Talent development initiatives are strategically placed throughout the employee life cycle.

Employee engagement is a passion at the financial institution. It guides decisions on the work environment (professional and compliant with elements of fun and originality), rewards and recognition programs, training and development courses, and collaboration between leadership and team members.

While always open to informal employee input, the talent development team also gathers structured input through onboarding surveys every three months during an employee's first year. The team likewise schedules intermittent stay interviews with staff across the organization to improve understanding of what employees are thinking, gauge their level of engagement, and identify common trends.

In addition, Summit conducts a formal all-employee engagement survey every 18 months, the results of which inspire commitment plans at the organizational and departmental levels. Employees create these commitment plans, based on their area's survey results, with input and ideas from each team member. This gives employees a level of ownership, a commitment to continuously improving results, and tangible proof that their feedback is valued and can make a difference.

#8 Consumers Energy (CMS)

Always think outside the box in terms of talent solutions and then figure out how to achieve them—that's a principle for the talent development team at Consumers Energy, a large energy provider that serves about two-thirds of Michigan's residents. Talent development employees are encouraged to make every solution world-class, effective, and efficient, with an eye on the client.

To succeed, the team relies heavily on industry benchmarking and research to evaluate potential solutions for the business. The team examines ideas from theoretical, practical, and achievable perspectives. For all projects, both internal and external resources are viewed as potential options. The final selection is made from functional, cost, and efficiency standpoints. Relationships with local and national suppliers, professional organizations, and colleges and universities enable the team to offer the right talent solution.

To stay on track, the talent development team hosts monthly operating reviews (MORs) and reports on their status against strategic priorities. The team uses an operational scorecard to communicate progress through the metrics and data collected. The scorecard items align directly to corporate strategic initiatives, departmental goals, individual contributor efforts, and business partner objectives. The MORs' visibility provides high-level accountability across the organization.

Transparency is key at Consumers Energy. All employees, leaders, and business partners can attend a MOR as well as any other department's MOR, and participants are welcome to ask questions and provide input. These reviews support the company principle of "leaving it better than we found it," and encourage continuous improvement. Because of successful MORs, the talent development team now conducts daily operating reviews to better and more quickly support business needs.

#9 Florida Blue

Healthcare reform efforts have had a significant impact on health insurance companies in the United States in recent years. For Florida Blue, it has meant leveraging innovative solutions to enable more than 4.5 million members to achieve better health. Integral to Florida Blue's success has been fostering a culture that enables team members to bring their best self to work and take charge of their professional development.

An example of this in action is a program for new frontline leaders. In alignment with the organization's talent development strategy, the enterprise L&D team introduced a newly designed frontline-leader development program called Launching New Leaders. The program's content is intended to jump-start new leaders by providing development that will enable them to shape the enterprise's culture, lead their team, develop their people, and drive for results.

This blended learning program combines virtual instructor-led training, self-paced learning, and video-based content to provide participants with the opportunity to acquire their learning when, where, and how they need it. Since the program's launch, the development team has transitioned 240 employees into first-time leader roles. One-year results from the program indicate leaders who completed the program demonstrated a 44 percent improvement in leadership performance. In return, Florida Blue realized a four-point improvement in the manager effectiveness category of its annual engagement survey.

#11 Tanfeeth

Tanfeeth is the Gulf Corporation Council's first large-scale business service partner and fully owned subsidiary of Emirates NBD, a bank and financial services group in the Middle East. Tanfeeth provides back-office support and advisory services with global expertise and Emirati talent. The organization prides itself on investing in staff and promoting a diverse, inclusive, and vibrant work culture.

Driving talent development programs is one of Tanfeeth's guiding principles: "Invest in People." The organization provides employees with various opportunities to learn and develop themselves in their given areas of expertise. Opportunities include professional certifications and professional and personal development. Some examples include a strategic partnership with New York University's Abu Dhabi campus that enables senior leaders to obtain leadership development training, and the Leadership for Results initiative, a series of lectures that senior leaders within the group give to the organization.

Tanfeeth's talent development team members partner with designated business units for which they are solely responsible; this kind of focus and investment ensures alignment and promotes a stronger relationship among the talent development function, employees, and stakeholders. The partnership fosters trust and a strong two-way exchange of ideas and duties. It enables talent development team members to develop expertise within business units, which then drives intentional and strategic design of relevant learning programs.

#12 Nicklaus Children's Health System

Nicklaus Children's Health System is the largest pediatric teaching organization in the southeastern United States, providing care for more than 10,000 inpatients and handling 325,000-plus emergency department and outpatient visits each year.

The availability of talent in the healthcare industry is sometimes scarce, so creating effective onboarding is critical. New hires receive a tremendous amount of support, including a two- to five-day orientation program, a 90-day culture-shaping workshop, and support from an onboarding "buddy." The program focuses on submerging new employees into the culture by focusing on the organization's mission, vision, and values as well as the importance of the customer experience.

Employees explore these elements through instructor-led facilitations that feature role playing, games, and other interactive ways of learning. They also receive specific information from key hospital teams. During orientation, required curriculums are taught and tested, and those hired into specialized areas dive deeper into their scope.

All new hires also have a buddy to support them on their journey and help them acclimate to the organization. Buddies are always available to answer questions; help create connections so new hires can complete their tasks; and assist new hires in better understanding their role, team, and how it all fits together within the organization's vision. Depending on the specialty area, new hires are assigned educators to help them navigate systems and ensure they learn the processes necessary to be successful. New hires evaluate the experiences with both their buddy and educator to continuously improve these programs.

#15 Honor Credit Union

Honor Credit Union is a Michigan-based financial institution known for its commitment to community and forward-thinking approach to finance.

The company's talent strategy focuses on the simple concept "people matter most." It achieves this through its Human Capital Growth initiative. The HCG model concentrates on developing a high-performance culture of learning and meeting each team member's professional growth needs while aligning them with the credit union's overarching strategic initiatives. By starting with why, the HCG strategy builds a strong sense of purpose and overwhelming ownership across the organization.

"I am Honor" is an example of the HCG strategy and the first taste of the internal culture for all new hires. It is one thing to highlight the core values of the organization; it's another to live them—so every employee receives an I am Honor playbook and personal journey map. Team members complete several touchpoints within their first 90 days of employment that are all designed to answer "Why Honor?" The last stop on the journey map asks employees to share their personal "I am Honor" experience with the leadership team.

The organizational development team and senior leaders promote and support development across the organization. They recognize the benefit of engaging all demographics of leadership, including leader of self, leader of others, and leader of business. They support these groups through development initiatives that include microsessions, LinkedIn Learning, mentoring, conferences, workshops, webinars, career pathway guidance, and the Leaders are Readers Book Club.

#16 LoyaltyOne

LoyaltyOne designs and implements coalition loyalty programs, customer analytics, and loyalty services. Competition is stiff in this space, innovation is critical, and it's important that the workforce is engaged and committed to delivering excellence to clients.

In 2017, a key priority for the talent development team was to empower leaders and associates to have meaningful performance and development conversations. LoyaltyOne's engagement survey revealed that associates desired more frequent and open conversations with their leaders. Results also indicated that leaders could enhance the quality of the feedback and coaching they provided to their associates.

Previously, the performance management process consisted of three mandatory check-ins throughout the year, including goal-setting and midyear and year-end conversations. The team evolved this by implementing more intentional and frequent check-ins: 1-in-90 and skip-level conversations.

The 1-in-90 conversations require leaders to meet with their associates every 90 days to discuss progress, share feedback, and provide coaching related to performance and development. Skip-level conversations take place twice yearly to give associates greater senior leader visibility and create open dialogue about their career trajectory.

To empower participants to effectively participate in the performance and development conversations, the talent development team launched instructor-led sessions for leaders and associates. These sessions enabled them to learn and practice the skills to have meaningful conversations. A key focus for leaders was giving honest and motivating feedback and practicing their coaching skills. The associates' sessions focused on being open to feedback, receiving it positively, and taking an active role in coaching conversations.

#18 Aristocrat

Aristocrat is a provider of gaming solutions like slot machines and serves clients in 90 countries. To differentiate itself, the company focuses on developing employees so that they become effective brand ambassadors.

Aristocrat relies on a dispersed workforce of field technicians to maintain equipment and fix problems quickly. This employee population typically has been the hardest to support because traditional learning approaches are long and pull them away from customers.

The talent development team developed a mobile, adaptive, microlearning solution to make it easier to push out training to the field while reducing travel and training costs. Month over month, the company is experiencing 87 percent voluntary participation, and nearly all technicians report that they love its ease of use. The learning has become a daily habit because it now fits into the workday, with most lessons only taking three to five minutes.

Aristocrat also partnered with Axonify to leverage its adaptive algorithm. It helps the talent development team support technicians by addressing individual knowledge gaps, ensuring they apply their knowledge on the job, and driving the correct behaviors. The talent development team can track individual and team knowledge, participation, and frequency of completing daily learning and has seen knowledge lifts as high as 24 percent across teams.

Results from the effort are yielding positive results. Case-closed metrics (the time it takes a technician to assess and address a problem) have improved by 3.4 percent. Customer satisfaction is reported at 100 percent.

#19 NTPC Limited

NTPC, a large power company in India, enjoys a remarkable 0.52 percent attrition with a workforce of more than 21,000 employees. The accomplishment is notable given the high competition for talent and the fact that many employees must work in remote locations.

Apart from robust plans for recruitment and new-hire training, NTPC's strong focus on L&D across all levels of employees sets the company apart. More than 200 in-house L&D professionals support this effort.

Planned programs after seven, 13, and 20 years of service groom executives for next-level leadership positions. Senior management participates in leadership programs in premier institutions like Harvard University, the Wharton School, and the Indian Institute of Management; in fiscal year 2017-2018, NTPC sent more than 150 senior managers to Harvard, Wharton, and other such schools. Additionally, every year, the company sponsors 10-15 executives in an accredited executive MBA program, which the company runs in association with the Indian Institute of Management. High-potential midlevel managers go through a special program called LEADER-10X.

Anywhere, anytime learning is a must for this workforce. To enable learning, the L&D team offers a virtual reality simulator on operation and safety of complex equipment, a knowledge management system, physical and digital libraries that house thousands of books and 1 million articles, a vibrant social sharing platform, membership in professional organizations, a web-based e-learning platform, and livestreamed talks from thought leaders.

#22 Allianz Sigorta

Allianz Sigorta established its Talent Development Center (TDC) in 2015 to increase company performance through a deep focus on talent attraction, development, and retention—the first in the Turkish insurance sector to do so.

Last year, the company provided 22,359 employees with 1.5 million hours of training in 1,563 different training activity solutions, averaging 8.5 days of learning per employee.

One innovative initiative that TDC put into place in 2017 was the individual development planning process created with each employee's strengths in mind. A program element is the Gamified Development Planning Platform: Programs for Myself to Catch (PMC), which focuses on increasing such skills as experimentation, listening, and digital literacy. Employees can recommend the training to colleagues and give real-time feedback. In its first year, employees scored the PMC at 4.7 out of 5 on the employee survey.

Allianz also used virtual reality to orient new and dispersed employees to the Istanbul headquarters building. The virtual building tour solution provided a new experience to employees and helped them feel a greater sense of belonging to the company, as well as cut costs for transporting every employee for in-person tours.

Allianz's improved employee satisfaction and engagement has led to external customers reporting higher satisfaction and loyalty: The company's Net Promoter Score increased from 44 percent to 71 percent over the course of the program.

#25 Cathay Life Insurance

Founded in 1962, Cathay Life Insurance is the first publicly listed insurance company in Taiwan. With more than 30,000 employees, the company serves 8 million clients and holds more than 18.5 million insurance policies combined.

With the advent of the digital age and its impact on organizations in the financial services industry, Cathay launched the FLIP (flexibility, leadership, intelligence, and professionalism) talent development strategy. The goal is to cultivate every employee's ability to think and act with agility and embrace the rapidly changing environment through self-management and proactive reformation, thus supporting the organization's overall growth.

Applied to Cathay's business operations, the FLIP model means:

  • reserving cross-field agile talent for overseas expansion (flexibility)
  • advancing leadership and speeding up the driving forces of growth (leadership)
  • developing intelligent training methods and enhancing learning efficiency (intelligence)
  • pursuing international certification for employees and enhancing professional services offered (professionalism).

With top executive buy-in, the HR and training department builds a culture of coaching, uses multidimensional job rotations to deepen and widen employees' professional experience, uses data analysis to support mobile learning, and promotes dual-international certified agents to higher positions within the company to retain the talent in which it has invested.

#26 Atrium Health

As a healthcare organization, Atrium Health has experienced a high rate of change and has worked to develop employees who have learning agility—the ability to rapidly learn and unlearn to be successful.

Atrium Health's talent strategy is directly connected to the organization's Destination 2020 strategy with full C-suite buy-in. Company priorities are to grow in size and scope, increase the value of provided services, and reduce costs to make healthcare more affordable. And the talent strategy is strengthening accountability to metrics and building skills and attitudes to support continuous improvement efforts to affect operational excellence.

Leadership development is woven into the entire organization. Through four tiers of leadership development programs for 65,000 teammates and more than 3,000 frontline, midlevel, and executive leaders, Atrium Health can provide blended learning opportunities for each individual.

Looking for ways to innovate development options, the learning team spent three months building a curriculum of 37 online microlearning courses—each five to seven minutes long and mobile-enabled for ease of access on the job—to close skills gaps and standardize the content. A centralized webpage consolidates all the tools, education, and resources to give teammates one place to go that links to the learning management system. The company also added nursing contact hours to motivate its largest patient-facing population and provide a resource to get needed certification hours.

Across the board, efforts are producing results. Variability in education is down 400 percent, and patient experience scores are exceeding the goal.

#28 Valvoline Instant Oil Change

Valvoline Instant Oil Change knows that developing and protecting superior talent is vital to its growth and success. All team members participate in a blended training program designed to prepare them for the next level of responsibility. Valvoline closely monitors time to completion, and there is a strong correlation between on-time completion and lower turnover. In stores where employees are certified in less than 60 days, entry-level turnover is 19 percent lower. The training programs also produce future leaders at higher levels: Eighty-three out of 84 operations leaders—from store managers to operations vice presidents—began in hourly positions.

Valvoline's unit growth is accelerated by the number of managers ready to take on new stores and the number of assistant managers trained and ready to backfill their positions. A rapid succession planning system tracks employee readiness for promotion to service center manager, a strategic growth position. During the past two years, manager bench strength was up 38 percent, which was integral to expansion of company operations to six new markets.

A central component of customer service training is the Delivering Superior Service course. Level 2 evaluations reveal a correlation between post-test scores and customer service scores, proving the impact of the knowledge and skills gained in class.

#29 Larsen & Toubro Heavy Civil Infrastructure Company

Larsen & Toubro builds complex modern infrastructure projects such as bridges and nuclear power plants in India, the Middle East, and South Asia. The organization is growing rapidly and needs to build homegrown leaders to sustain the growth.

The talent development team has responded by creating a robust program that grooms high-potential employees into globally deployable, role-ready talent through customized learning initiatives. To participate, a candidate must complete a rigorous 10-parameter evaluation. Once in the program, individual development plans are created in consultation with business heads, leading to insights on role-specific communication skills, finance, social and business etiquette to prepare for success in multicultural environments, and organization development labs for personal growth and organizational leadership.

Collaborating with the Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai, India, the talent development team designed and delivered a customized four-module, 16-day program covering macroeconomics, strategy, branding, supply chain, talent management, and culture. It uses case studies, simulations, and action learning projects. The organization's current pool of mega-project managers are products of these initiatives, showcasing the company's ability to quickly develop mature leaders.

The company's growth hinges on successful execution of mega projects (defined as projects worth more than $2 billion). The talent development team identified mentoring as the right approach to provide identified project leads with the necessary skills to tackle the challenge of leading such massive projects. The team partnered with a mentor who had four decades of mega-project expertise to develop the yearlong program, which uses action learning efforts to close competency gaps. By 2019, the company expects to have 38 project directors ready to lead new mega projects.

#30 WakeMed Health & Hospitals

WakeMed Heath & Hospitals is a 919-bed private, not-for-profit healthcare system comprising a comprehensive network of three hospitals, three ambulatory facilities with stand-alone emergency departments, a children's hospital, a rehab hospital, and more than 50 physician practice locations. WakeMed offers services in Wake County, home to Raleigh, North Carolina.

Patient satisfaction is a critical business issue facing the organization. It not only affects patient volume but also hospital and physician reimbursement. To ensure commitment to patients, leadership teams regularly review patient satisfaction survey data to identify opportunities for improvement.

When a survey of employees and care providers identified communication training as a need for all staff to enhance interpersonal skills, WakeMed embarked on an initiative to enhance communication among patients, families, and all healthcare providers.

With the support of the board of directors and executive and physician leadership, the organization implemented a unique learner-centered program using a peer-to-peer teaching model. This innovative approach required physicians and clinical team members to become certified as trainers.

In 2017, 519 physicians and 1,664 clinical staff participated in the four-hour, highly interactive Communication in Healthcare training course, focusing on establishing a patient-centered, team-based culture. Diverse teams comprised of healthcare providers led the teams, which allows for personalized 4:1 small-group skills practice. Skills taught include reflective listening, accurate and efficient information gathering, joint-agenda setting, and a focus on recognizing the emotion of the patient.

Program results include higher levels of employee engagement, increased patient satisfaction, and loyalty. Program success is attributed to engagement by executives, physicians, and clinical staff.

#31 North Highland

North Highland is a consulting firm operating in more than 70 markets around the world. One way the firm addresses market shifts is by adapting its go-to-market strategy. Supporting clients in achieving a competitive advantage with innovative and customized solutions is pivotal to the firm's future.

At the start of 2017, the talent development team created and deployed 19 microlearning modules to build awareness around North Highland's go-to-market approaches. These courses were integrated into the new-hire curriculums as a vital part of new employees' foundation and in alignment with the firm's strategy. Increased revenue is already becoming evident. The company has seen significant growth in sales in its customer experience service line from 2016 to 2017, resulting in a 200 percent return on investment.

North Highland differentiates itself by focusing on coaching relationships. Every individual has a coach to provide guidance and support with professional development. To create a global coaching framework to introduce new tools and reinforce desired behaviors across the firm, the company engaged an established coaching provider to launch a multiyear training initiative for all coaches. Key individuals within the firm were certified and delivered training to 84 percent of senior leaders.

Initial participant feedback reveals an ease of use with feedback delivery tools, improvement in meaningful conversations, and increased understanding of emotional intelligence.

#32 Gilbane Building Company

Gilbane Building Company is a large privately held construction management firm, providing a full slate of construction and facilities-related services such as sustainable building, virtual design, and transition planning.

The company's business success centers on having the right talent in place at the right time. Its talent strategy drives recruitment, succession planning, training and development, performance management, and organizational culture. The CEO and senior leaders are involved in all major L&D programs. By walking the talk, senior leaders affirm their commitment to employees and ensure L&D is a cornerstone of the company's culture.

Safety is a critical business priority for Gilbane. Its number 1 commitment on job sites is making sure everyone goes home safe at the end of the day. The L&D team, in conjunction with the company's safety professionals, helps make sure that happens.

Safety training begins with Incident and Injury Free (IIF) orientation and online safety orientation for new hires. Additional safety training includes a commitment workshop for leaders, Supervising IIF in Action, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 30-hour training for all field staff. Online resources feature more than 80 web-based safety training courses. The robust curriculum resulted in a 2017 recordable incident rate of 0.27, which is 91 percent lower than OSHA's 2016 average of 3.2, and a 2017 lost workday rate of 0.04, which is 96 percent lower than OSHA's 2016 average of 1.3.

#33 First Hawaiian Bank

First Hawaiian Bank is a financial institution with 60 locations in Hawaii, Guam, and Saipan that offers a diversified range of financial services to consumers.

Hawaii's unemployment rate is at 2 percent, making the "war for talent" an ongoing and challenging issue for the bank. While FHB is frequently voted as a best place to work, it struggles with attrition like many other local companies. To address this issue, FHB put in place a comprehensive talent development plan that aligns to business goals. Two top priorities that the highest levels of the organization support were creating highly skilled internal talent pools to build bench strength for succession pipelines and developing leaders to transform the business.

The talent development team facilitated the C-suite creation of the Leader Success Profile, a future-focused aspirational core competency model. It defines the core competencies of future leaders and identifies key behaviors in each competency area. FHB conducted both self-assessments and manager assessments based on these key behaviors to identify opportunities for development goals within technical and leadership competencies. Managers and employees created appropriate development plans to complement performance goals and focus learning opportunities in targeted competency areas.


To drive innovation and continued success, the CEO and talent development team built a strategy to enable a culture of collaboration via selected champions within every business unit to help enhance communication across divisions, analyze rich employee data, tap into knowledge bases, and enhance business performance.

#35 Cognizant

Cognizant, a U.S.-based professional services firm and Fortune 200 company, has been at the forefront of helping global customers navigate the shift to digital. The company believes its sustained success rests solidly on its ability to build learning agility into the DNA of its 260,000 associates and keep them "Constantly Future Ready." Future-ready associates in turn make clients future resilient.

Cognizant Academy, the talent development function, prides itself on being "Business Focused—Learner Centric." To ensure learning objectives are relevant to the business's needs, the talent development team partners with leadership to tailor and localize associates' learning experiences as well as the performance outcomes from each learning program.

A structured career lattice enables associates to choose a career track, grow in it, or switch between tracks by taking courses appropriate for their current or aspirational roles. It covers the journey of every employee, from a fresh graduate who starts learning before joining Cognizant to the senior-most leadership positions.

The company's philosophy of learning is based on extensive use of technology platforms to take learning to the associate, content curation to suit agility needs and learner preferences, on-the-job performance assurance, hyper-personalization, learner centricity, learning from communities of interest, and self-driven continuous learning using a variety of delivery modes, virtual as well as classroom and instructor led.

#36 Aimco

Driving innovation and change is one of Aimco's core cultural values, and each year brings new efforts to ensure the company stays ahead of the competition as an owner and operator of apartment homes. With strong senior leader and management buy-in, Aimco drove three major initiatives for an innovative, holistic approach to talent management.

These initiatives included the Quality of Hire project to strengthen hiring processes for core staff; Leading for Impact, a next-practice virtual and blended learning program extended to all leaders; and the Performance Management Task Force, created to gather input and continuously improve the talent management process overall.

Through that task force, Aimco sought to continually evaluate ways to enhance and improve its performance management strategy by combining input from leaders across the organization with research on best practices. Outcomes included a streamlined annual review process and a focus on continuous coaching throughout the year.

Two of the performance indicators measuring effectiveness were time-to-fill roles and voluntary turnover. The task force's findings helped create a mindset shift around how improved time to fill was not necessarily the goal. The focus on quality talent over quantity increased time to fill 20 percent, but voluntary turnover decreased 16 percent, for a cost savings of approximately $2.4 million.

#38 MGM China

MGM China operates two integrated resorts in a highly regulated and competitive landscape. The company's success depends on its ability to provide outstanding experiences through accommodation, food and beverage, spa, retail, entertainment, and art. Recently, a second property, MGM Cotai, opened in early 2018, doubling the workforce to more than 10,000.

A key challenge for MGM China, located in Macao with a population of fewer than 600,000, is localization. Specifically, regulators encourage the shift toward hiring and developing a local workforce with an 80 percent employment target. However, the labor market is extremely tight, with less than 2 percent unemployment.

The career development program comprises multiple tracks to develop high-potential employees across different levels. The program can be up to 18 months in length. In addition, a study-work program caters to students or young graduates. This program enables students to work part time while at school, complete with sponsorship. Upon completion, they may go full time or join the Management Associate Program to fast-track their career.

The Career Diversification Program targets highly specialized positions. Participants receive career counseling and intensive development, including overseas training. It's a popular program for staff looking for a midcareer shift.

To encourage employees to embrace continuous learning and recognizing the difficulties they face to learn outside of work hours, MGM China supports their education through sponsorships, flexible scheduling, and online resources.

#39 Black Knight

Black Knight is a financial technology solution provider offering integrated software, data, and analytics solutions that facilitate and automate many business processes across the homeowner's life cycle.

The company invests in the growth of current and future employees through a comprehensive mentoring program, a women-in-technology networking group, a paid internship program, and an effective compensation and recognition program that rewards employees for their contributions.

Black Knight University includes a business school, technical school, and Guru Program. Employees have access to more than 3,000 courses that include customized technical content based on Black Knight's own products. The menu of learning offerings also prepares employees to complete a wide variety of industry certifications.

The culture of learning starts with the onboarding process. The orientation prepares new employees for success in their roles with tools, including job aids, videos, and templates, to help them learn about the company's products.

Because developing a strong pipeline of leaders is critical, the company recently developed the Managing for Success Program for new and existing people leaders. The four-month program uses a variety of technologies and gamification to enhance engagement and performance. Aligned to the Black Knight mission, it is designed to support building and developing crucial foundational management skills and people development processes.

#40 CLA

CLA is a professional services organization that provides wealth advisory, outsourcing, audit, tax, and consulting services to help clients succeed professionally and personally. It recognizes that every individual's professional development is an essential element for employees' and the firm's success.

With a strong belief in its people, CLA strongly encourages self-development and supports that by providing in-house learning opportunities and holding individual employees and the organization accountable for continuous learning. Individuals are empowered to be entrepreneurial and innovative and to listen to any team member's ideas. Most importantly, the L&D team has senior leadership's support.

To help employees engage with learning and access just-in-time performance support, the L&D team launched an initiative called Learning Bytes. This microlearning effort enables employees to access the tools, resources, and support they need to serve clients proactively.

The types of Learning Bytes are nearly limitless and include articles, recorded webcasts, audio clips, and other content. The only true restriction is that they are short, simple, and available for rapid distribution. Everyone contributes.

This program is unique because learners throughout the firm are encouraged to share their knowledge by creating Learning Bytes. To expedite building the Learning Bytes library and to provide professionals with additional learning opportunities, CLA also sources external expertise to provide custom Learning Bytes.

#41 H.W. Kaufman Group

The global specialty insurance market is facing increasing competitive challenges. To address them, H.W. Kaufman Group has undergone a strategic transformation, moving from a product focus to a multiservice, client-focused partner.

Chairman, President, and CEO Alan Jay Kaufman recognizes the urgency of pivoting to a client-centric focus and providing more consultative services to clients—a philosophy that differentiates the company from its competitors. To support this talent strategy, in 2015 the Kaufman Group launched the Kaufman Institute, an innovative full-service education, training, and development center. In June 2017, it introduced a more easily navigated platform and content structure.

The Kaufman Institute is the central hub and access point for all development opportunities. Using multiple pathways and a variety of instructional modalities, the institute provides an architected learning process where all employees can access personalized pathways for development. For example, an employee who wants to better understand Excel enters the learning hub and sees a "learning quadrant" identified as business fundamentals with content organized into 10 learning paths. The employee chooses the path and courses that fulfill specific needs.

Noteworthy are leading-edge initiatives, including a partnership with College for America that enables employees to pursue college degrees and the Kaufman Business Challenge, a gamification offering focused on client service.

#42 U.S. Security Associates

U.S. Security Associates provides security services to organizations throughout the United States. The company, a five-time BEST Award winner, takes pride in the significant investment it makes in each associate. It has a deeply vested commitment to ensure everyone has a targeted learning path focused on competency acquisition.

The company is on the front line of helping clients prepare for worst-case scenarios, so associates know they have a significant responsibility. Active shooter and mass casualty events have increased 23 percent in the past three years, and U.S. Security Associates provides training for active shooter preparedness.

Training is not only for employees but also for clients so that a plan is in place if the unthinkable happens. Specific training scenarios, table-topic drills, and constant reinforcement via social media are critical tools to helping stakeholders learn situational awareness and develop ingrained action plans.

The return on this focus saves lives. In 2016, a disgruntled employee at one client site brandished an automatic rifle and fired more than 150 rounds at people in the workplace. Because of proactive training and drills, the on-site U.S. Security Associates team could communicate with law enforcement and help employees shelter safely in place. There was no injury or loss of life, something the company terms the "ultimate return on investment."

#43 EY (CIS)

EY (CIS) is part of the EY global professional services firm and services the Commonwealth of Independent States, all formerly part of the Soviet Union. Attracting top talent is a central objective, and more than ever before, the organization is hiring people with backgrounds beyond business. This makes the talent development function particularly critical to the company's long-term success.

The firm has a three-pillar strategy that talent development supports: Create high-performing teams, strengthen global practices that all employees can use and share, and focus on winning the market.

To build high-performing teams, the talent development function uses a unique questionnaire to assess team strengths and areas for development. It also holds sessions where all team members, regardless of title, can ask complex questions. And it creates specific learning plans to meet each team's particular needs.

The talent development team also fosters peer-to-peer learning through social collaboration and social communities. Sharing best practices, experience, and knowledge is strongly incentivized, with the most-active employees receiving special recognition and rewards. This approach has resulted in the organization being recognized for converting its intellectual and knowledge property into value across the business and for its clients.

Attention now is on building future-focused skill capability. Sessions on such topics as digital innovation and initiatives to help build the knowledge employees need to operate in a climate that includes artificial intelligence capabilities have resulted in EY (CIS) winning more than 150 digital-related client projects.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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