Archives for December 2011

Background-Check Tool Keeps Tabs on Sex Harassment Cases

Asher Adelman’s boss would regularly explode into profanity-laced tirades, occasionally punctuating them by hurling objects. Staffers dreaded his next outburst, but none felt empowered to act on how the CEO had locked his subordinates in a hostile workplace with his abusive behavior.

The executive created an atmosphere that was so toxic that Adelman quit. Then Adelman acted out against bad bosses everywhere in 2007 by creating a website——committed to identifying those who make their workplaces emotional torture chambers.

For a fee, job candidates can even use the website to run background checks that include criminal history reports on prospective supervisors. But since mid-2010, the site’s latest tool has been nearly as popular among human resources and hiring managers as it has been with job seekers.

The free tool is a national sexual harassment registry that allows visitors to check whether an individual has been accused of making unwanted advances to a subordinate or co-worker in recent years. About 1,000 employers consult the registry monthly—40 percent of the registry’s users, Adelman says. is part of a broader trend of technology tools that allow employers to gain deeper insight about a candidate or help employees assess places where they want to work. Some think such transparency technologies as and are beneficial to both employers and employees. But not everyone agrees.

A number of critics warn that can create legal and practical complications for employers.

“I don’t think it has any value” as a screening device, says employer lawyer Robin Shea, a partner at Constangy Brooks & Smith in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She says that many accusers either drop or lose their cases.

During the past decade the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports it dropped roughly 70 percent of the more than 140,000 harassment claims it handled. In a large majority of those cases, the EEOC found that the plaintiff had no reasonable cause to file a complaint. The remaining cases were closed because of administrative reasons, such as the agency could not locate the plaintiff, the plaintiff withdrew the charges or related litigation took precedent over the EEOC’s case. About 27 percent of the cases resulted in favorable outcomes for accusers.

“The bigger risk” is a rejected applicant alleging that an employer’s reliance on the registry is a ruse to discriminate against protected classes,” Shea says.

A formal policy against hiring anyone who ever faced a sexual harassment charge could backfire, says Zev Eigen, an assistant law professor at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago.

Under a Civil Rights Act of 1991 provision based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1971 ruling in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., a hiring policy that inadvertently hurts a protected class violates that group’s civil rights, Eigen says.

Labor Finders International Inc. does not consult the sexual harassment registry, says Wayne Salen, director of risk management for the Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based industrial labor staffing company.

Still, the registry might be a helpful tool, and using it might not result in treating any group in an impermissible disparate manner, Salen says. Employers “have to be careful” about inadvertently harming protected groups, he says.

Rejecting a job candidate solely because they have a criminal background violates that individual’s rights, except for certain jobs, Salen says.

Eigen says the best way to limit liability for a rogue employee is to follow the Supreme Court’s directions for implementing and enforcing a strong anti-harassment policy. And when using an online source, employers also have to determine whether they trust the registry’s credibility, he says.

Adelman says only repackages publicly available information. He primarily uses Google Alerts to aggregate data from various online sources, particularly news media and court websites. A proprietary database and software program his company developed then populates the registry.

Adelman also maintains that his registry has helped employers based on the number of accused harassers who have asked him to remove their names. He says he never will, because employers should know whether job candidates ever faced harassment charges.

Independent employment lawer Donna Ballman in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, likes the registry concept because she has so many male and female clients “who are victims of sexual harassment.”

She suggests improvements, however, including a more complete list of accused harassers. “If you see a name over and over again, it tells you something: Someone needs to do something about this person.”

David Ratner, a lawyer who represents an Illinois woman who was awarded $39.8 million in her sexual harassment case, doesn’t like the registry.

“I think harassers should lose their jobs and be punished,” says Ratner, managing partner of Morelli Ratner of New York. “But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.”

Adelman says the registry should be used with other evaluation tools and that employers should allow accused harassers to explain their cases. But that suggestion is disingenuous, Ratner says. He doubts whether employers with multiple job candidates would consider one listed in the registry.

As a result, employers could reject talented job candidates who either were wrongly accused or made one mistake and learned from it, critics say.

About the Author:

Dave Lenckus is a freelance writer based in Tucson, Arizona. Reprinted from Workforce Management Online

Requiem for the Stand-Alone HR Expert

In the age of collaboration, change can roll over your professional life like a tsunami if you’re not proactive. It’s one thing to keep an eye on trends such as mobile learning, talent management, and the latest insights on leadership development, but it’s quite another to recalibrate your skills, your job, your thinking, and your professional relationships to keep pace.

If you still believe learning and development (L&D) is merely about the transfer of knowledge, you’re already behind the times. And if you think you will be working mostly with other HR professionals in the future, you’re mistaken.

6 emerging themes

Let’s start at the top, with the future of HR itself. In some organizations, the function is already reaching beyond its traditional boundaries into such areas as marketing, communications, and corporate reputation.

“This goes beyond partnering with these functions to support their work,” says John Boudreau, co-author with Ian Ziskin of “The Future of HR and Effective Organizations,” published in the October 2011 issue of Organizational Dynamics. “HR will learn from and adapt the practices of other disciplines and this will be essential to HR’s progress going forward,” he adds.

HR practitioners might, for example, use concepts from supply chain management to define the flow of talent through the organization, deciding when to hire heavy and develop light and when to do the opposite. Or they might involve marketing professionals in the design of L&D to make it fit the other elements of the employment “deal” using product design principles.

“An important concept for L&D professionals to understand and act on is that boundaries between HR and other functions will be more permeable,” says Ziskin. “It will be necessary to reach out through the whole organization and co-create with functions that may formerly have been rivals.”

This investigation into the future of HR by Boudreau and Ziskin is part of an initiative at the University of Southern California’s Center for Effective Organizations. Their work identified six emerging themes.

1) Hero leadership to collective leadership. Collective leadership is vested in the whole organization, not concentrated at the top. In such organizations, leadership development will be broader, applied wherever leadership is needed, and aimed at a new cadre of leaders wherever they are.

2) Intellectual property to agile co-creativity. This trend to rethink the ownership and shelf life of intellectual property is already observable in the pharmaceutical and IT industries and will spread to HR. “Competitive advantage will come not from protecting intellectual capital but from co-creating it with others,” says Boudreau.

3) Employment value proposition to personal value proposition. HR has traditionally considered employment as a product of the organization directed at employees and potential employees, explains Ziskin. In the future, this value proposition will extend beyond employees to target customers, legislators, investors, activists, and other groups who want to have a say in the practices of large organizations. Think Occupy Wall Street, or efforts by consumers to influence Walmart’s HR practices.

Another change to expect will be a move from broad characterizations of organizations as family-friendly, innovative, or fun to value propositions that are personal to each employee and not just from a work perspective. HR will be grappling with mass customization of a value proposition that could encompass work location, flexible hours, and a better boss, among many other individual values of employees.

4) Sameness to segmentation. For L&D, this change will require finding the right balance between potentially wasteful standardized development for everyone in a category and mass customization of learning.

“People in L&D will have to behave more like marketers,” says Boudreau, “understanding talent and customizing development for individual needs, but also optimizing those efforts by knowing where customization has the biggest impact.”

5) Fatigue to sustainability. The accessibility and mobility afforded by technology has a negative side effect: fatigue. L&D will play a significant role in advancing thinking and practice about work-life balance in the digital age. Fatigued employees do not build sustainable organizations, and HR will be expected to be more actively engaged in building sustainable organizations.

6) Persuasion to education. L&D often takes a customer service approach to its offerings, marketing them for their business value and their impact on performance. Boudreau and Ziskin see a shift from a service approach to L&D being accountable for the quality of the decisions their constituents make as a result of their development.

“This is a role that is more like that of an educator and requires looking beyond L&D and even beyond HR,” says Boudreau. “When L&D’s constituents have finished working with your systems and teams, have they learned something applicable about the nature of their learning? Are they smarter about this or have they just completed a series of tasks before going back to their real work?”

Ziskin adds that “better analytics will be an important underpinning to address these issues.”

What about those metrics?

The need for new metrics in L&D is a topic burning up the blogosphere and dominating agendas at gatherings of senior HR leaders. Blogger Clark Quinn recently posted this gripe about measurement’s slow rate of change:

“This stuff shouldn’t be a topic in 2011. It should be already well-practiced and in the repertoire. We should be thinking about how to start tracking meaningful activity in social networks, the value of performance support and more, not old stuff about courses. And, how to tie it back to important deltas in organizational performance.”

Groups including The Conference Board, KnowledgeAdvisors, the Institute for Corporate Productivity, the Society for Human Resource Management, and ASTD are devoting their efforts to identifying and sharing new metrics for the profession. While these and other groups challenge the usefulness of traditional metrics about learning events, there is little consensus yet about what should replace them.

Should these new metrics address effectiveness and efficiency? Should they demonstrate L&D’s influence on strategic goals of an organization? Should they correlate with and help predict high performance?

Some things about new L&D metrics are already clear: They won’t be determined in isolation by industry insiders and they will cut across HR, reaching to the top of the organization.

“Determining what to measure will be a collaborative effort involving not only the stakeholders in managing talent across the organization, but their CEOs,” says Tony Bingham, president and CEO of ASTD.

In his conversations with CEOs of major companies, Bingham notes a consistent theme on the topic of the effectiveness of training: Specific individual measures about learning matter less to them than progress toward their companies’ most important goals.

“Time and again, CEOs have told me that they know learning and development is working when they see progress toward key strategic goals,” says Bingham. “Making that link clearer will be an essential component of any new metrics for the learning profession.”

Returning full circle to Boudreau and Ziskin’s prediction that HR will learn from and adapt the practices of other disciplines, practitioners also should expect to apply many new perspectives—from accountants, supply chain experts, marketing people, and others—to the future of metrics and how they show value.

The age of the stand-alone expert is over.

About the Author:

Pat Galagan is editor-at-large for ASTD. Reprinted from T&D magazine

Blended Approach Builds Competency-Based Interviewing Skills

How does a 255,000 person organization recognized by Fortune Magazine  as a “World’s Most Admired Company” maintain a world-class workforce? Through blended learning.

ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world.  In 2008, ARAMARK conducted an in-depth analysis to define the critical leadership competencies needed to maintain and grow the quality of their organization. After rolling these competencies out to employees in 2009, ARAMARK set its sights on integrating these competencies into the interviewing process.

The company recognized that experience and skills were only part of the equation for success at the company and that the intangibles embodied by their competency model were even more important.

“He seems like a great guy” or “I think I’d really enjoy working with him” isn’t the kind of feedback that can help you evaluate whether someone has the business acumen to run a large facility. The company needed a common language to evaluate internal and external candidates, something that would objectively map back to these leadership competencies and to the company’s overall view of talent management.

ARAMARK’s Global Talent Management group, led by Ash Hanson, associate vice president of learning and development, formulated a training plan to build the skills of hiring managers in order to better integrate competencies into the interviewing process. ARAMARK chose Kineo to lead the blended design of the program and to develop the e-learning and instructor-led materials.

Working across segments

ARAMARK is a large, diverse organization serving 15 industries across the United States. Each business operates in a unique business climate and is guided by a distinctive management philosophy. Individual managers must account for local market conditions and modify content and approaches based on their own individual business needs.

The challenge was to develop an approach to training managers in hiring skills that would be generic enough to work across the various segments of the business, but specific enough to equip managers within business segments and geographies to apply their new skills to address their specific needs.

ARAMARK was also fairly new to e-learning on the whole, with some e-learning successes here and there, but also some resistance. Previous e-learning had been mostly compliance-based and people tended to see it as a means to an end, not an element of their own professional development.

In packaging the piece, ARAMARK wanted to be sure that this distinction was clear—so that employees could see the value of the program and get something useful out of it.

Enter a blended solution

Kineo VP of Learning Design Cammy Bean worked closely with the ARAMARK team to create a framework that provided a flexible and sustainable approach no matter where the program would be rolled out. The solution takes a blended approach, with e-learning used as the pre-work for a one-day instructor-led workshop. The e-learning introduces the core concepts of the five-step competency interviewing process, while the workshop focuses on role-plays to provide participants the critical practice needed to put the process in action.

She explains: “We wanted the e-learning to focus on the basic definitions and provide some realistic examples of the interviewing process in action. This approach allowed us to jump more quickly into the role-plays in the live workshop, giving participants more practice and opportunity for mastery.”

Tiffany Esposito, ARAMARK’s director of learning and organizational development, and team leader on this project, says of Kineo’s design approach: “The e-learning gave participants a solid foundation before they came to the workshop. By the time we got to the workshops, they were ready to actively role play and make the content their own.”

Creating a foundation through e-learning

The e-learning pre-work is approximately 70 minutes, and is mandatory before attending the workshop. The solution uses a conversational approach to engage learners and challenge them to consider the approach they used in their most recent interviews. Through asking reflective questions, the learners connect more closely with past experiences to make the learning experience stickier and more relevant.

The program introduces each of the five steps of the interviewing process through interactive scenarios that model best practices and involve the learner by having them guide the process forward. Kineo animated still photos with audio narration of both the interviewer and the job candidate so the learner can hear how an actual competency-based interview should go. This low-bandwidth approach meant the program could deliver across ARAMARK’s wide technology platform.

At key moments in the sample interview, the simulated interview program asks the learner to help the interviewer decide the right way forward. It identifies key points in the interview process in which interviewees tended to make mistakes. At these moments, the program stops the sample interview and asks the question: “What should Sarah, the interviewer, ask next?” Each possible answer represented a plausible response, often exemplifying the most common mistakes people tend to make.

This design approach prepares the learner for the workshop session where they’ll spend significant time practicing the interview themselves. As the e-learning wraps up, the learner is asked to consider a current opening or key position on their team and to identify the critical competencies for success in that role.

Each learner brings this “homework” to the workshop and starts the process of taking the general concepts covered in the e-learning and making them actionable through workshop activities. This gives the e-learning a strong call to action that connects with the workshop, and of course with the learner’s day job.

Providing practice through live workshop

Having gone through the e-learning, all attendees arrive at the workshop with a solid foundation of the interview process. Now they have the chance to practice these skills through live role-play sessions.

Kineo’s design team worked closely with ARAMARK’s experienced facilitators to design the workshop and create the accompanying materials. During the workshop, the facilitator reviews key concepts with the group to encourage retention and provides an active forum for discussion. Learners move back and forth from role plays that provide practice and skill building to exercises that give space for introspection about past interviews and future opportunities.

Role plays are done in groups of three, with three separate opportunities for extended practice. Each participant gets to play the role of interviewer, interviewee and observer. This approach allows participants to practice the skills and learn through the process of observing and providing feedback.

Piloting and refining

The entire curriculum was created over a period of three months, with an initial pilot program in June 2010 and a second pilot session at the end of August. ARAMARK selected a group of managers to participate in the first drafts of the e-learning and classroom sessions.

The Kineo design team took part in the live sessions as objective observers, taking notes on participant responses and questions. After the program, Kineo made adjustments to the curriculum to accommodate feedback and improve classroom flow and delivery.

Steve Lowenthal, Kineo’s US CEO, notes, “Having the opportunity to review the workshops in action was a key part of our design process. Seeing how real workshop participants reacted to the exercises gave us important feedback and helped us see what was working and where changes were needed.”

Feedback so far?

Kineo’s designers worked closely with ARAMARK subject matter experts to create a highly interactive learning experience which helps learners practice the concepts put forth in the e-learning and the practical application started in the e-learning scenarios.

The whole package has been designed and documented in detail to allow for a consistent and scalable roll-out across all of ARAMARK. The first sessions officially kicked off in early 2011. In many businesses and geographies the program is integrated into new manager on-boarding activities that highlight the application of the ARAMARK Leadership Competency Framework to specific Talent Management activities.

Dale Wallace, Senior Director of Leadership Development at ARAMARK says, “The program is a hit on all levels. This blended approach to Interviewing Skills development has shortened the amount of time spent in the classroom, while focusing that time on practice and application. This is a stark contrast to the 2 ½ day program we used in the past. Additionally, evaluations show that people are taking away actionable skills. ARAMARK is a very action-oriented culture.”

Wallace adds: “When we first rolled out the competency model people ‘got it’ and wanted to know more about how to use it—this program is meeting that demand. Not only are we improving the interview prowess of our managers, we’re also helping them improve their overall understanding of talent management. Kineo’s project approach and design expertise has helped all of us in the learning community hone our skills too!”

ARAMARK has continued a gradual roll out of the program to specific management teams. “We see ourselves as partners to ARAMARK’s Learning and Development team,” notes Steve Lowenthal, “and the content doesn’t just stop and go static.” Kineo and ARAMARK will continue to work closely to adjust content and fine-tune the learning experience as additional learners go through the program.

Reprinted from Learning Circuits

The 80/20 Rule for Learning Transfer

If 10 CLOs were asked how best to increase the value of learning, almost all would say the same thing: Increase the amount of learning transfer in the workplace. However, if the same CLOs were asked about their own learning transfer success, they likely will express disappointment.

The lack of learning transfer has been a long-standing issue in the learning community, and research on how to increase it is both complex and contradictory. If CLOs followed typical advice, they could add hundreds of components to their learning programs, put an undue burden on learners, managers and training professionals and more than double the investment they make in each skill development effort, not to mention ruin their budgets.

The Rule of Three: Practical and Effective

There is a less costly approach to increase the desired learning transfer. A focused and practical approach has emerged from extensive research conducted during the past several years. This research, 2009’s “Exploring Trends in Human Resource Development: Bridging the Research-Practice Gap” and 2010’s “Learning Transfer: What Organizations Are Doing To Drive Enhancing Learning Effectiveness,” was reported in Industrial and Commercial Training, Human Resource Development Review and other professional and research publications. It shows significant increases in the use of skills resulting from well-designed, efficient learning transfer activities.

These activities, when analyzed to determine which had the greatest impact on improved performance, indicate actions organizations can take to increase the application of new learning on the job, deliver business results and improve ROI.

The research identified 11 core activities that create a meaningful increase in learning transfer. These activities meet the 80/20 rule: They represent the 20 percent of learning transfer activities that create 80 percent of the impact. Based on results from a wide variety of organizations, the research showed learning transfer can be increased by as much as 180 percent, with only modest cost increases.

To simplify research results, 11 factors were consolidated into three critical areas where organizations can improve learning transfer. If a learning initiative is designed to address these three elements, its impact can be significantly increased.

The three elements are: learner readiness, design for transfer and organizational alignment.

Learner readiness: It would seem obvious that learners need to be prepared to learn if their learning experience is to be effective. Yet few organizations pay enough attention to motivation, enthusiasm and positive anticipation prior to a learning session. Learner readiness is about ensuring that learners see the relevance and payoffs of new skills and are confident they can use their learning on the job. The aforementioned research showed that addressing these elements can increase transfer by as much as 70 percent.

Autodesk, a 3D design, engineering and entertainment software company, provides an example. Its learning organization launched an initiative to increase consulting skills for its sales force. Among other actions, the company implemented a plan to prepare salespeople and technical specialists for learning.

To kick off the initiative, employees received an email with a link to a fast-paced, YouTube-like introduction to the upcoming learning event. The introduction provided an overview of the content, but also delivered a clear message about the potential impact of the new skills on participants’ sales success and the motivation necessary to fully engage in the learning. Following the introduction, participants completed a self-assessment based on their current strengths and greatest opportunities for improvement.

“The pre-work preparation created a foundation for success, letting the learners know that they had something to contribute as well as something to learn,” said Starr Hill-Bennett, Autodesk global program manager of worldwide sales and services training. “The results showed that when learners attended the core skills workshop, they were focused, motivated and ready to take advantage of their learning. Also, the up-front readiness component allowed us to move more quickly into skills and finish with an Autodesk-specific case study focused on application.”

Starting the learning experience before the planned sessions, and doing so in a way that engaged the learner’s interest and participation — specifically, the Autodesk training staff used technology to deliver the preparation activities to each individual’s desk — ensured learners had some “skin in the game” before they took part in the core learning program.

Design for transfer: Too often, learning and development staff members focus exclusively on the learning event and its objectives — the traditional concerns of instructional design. They pay little attention to opportunities to build in a variety of transfer elements such as structured follow-up activities, creation of specific action plans, or opportunities to practice behavioral models. Without these elements, performance outcomes can suffer.

Major Hammell, senior director of sales force effectiveness for Georgia-Pacific, said this shift from the traditional point of view to a focus on the expected business impact of a learning initiative is critical. “In the past we used the instructional design process to focus on what happened in the event — the learning objectives and activities. So, this time we turned it on its head and asked, ‘What will it take to achieve the performance outcomes we want?’”

The result of this design focus was sales training that emphasized not just the event — a workshop — but also actions to support use of the skills in the field. For example, the new sales skills were incorporated into a sales planning form that was implemented in Georgia-Pacific’s CRM system. Learners used the form to select a specific sales opportunity to which they would apply their new skills. Sales teams also practiced skills in a simulation and received feedback.

The workshop was followed by 12 weekly messages pushed out to learners and managers through an automated email system managed by the sales force effectiveness team. Each message included a review of a skill, tips for application and links to games and videos to further enhance interest.

Importantly, the design included manager involvement. Sales directors also received materials and Web-based coaching on how to conduct a review “meeting in a box.”

“These activities really serve as immediate and ongoing reinforcement of the learning experience and significantly improve our efforts to enhance sales capability for the long term,” Hammell said.

The Georgia-Pacific experience illustrates the power of focusing design efforts on actual performance outcomes. Building in a variety of relevant activities before the event allows an audience to embrace and use new skills prior to attending the workshop. Continued reinforcement and application activities post-event ensured participants make the new learning part of their everyday job activities.

Organizational alignment: Most executives are busy, so learning leaders often experience challenges gaining executives’ and managers’ involvement. Yet organizational alignment is

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one of the most critical aspects to increase learning transfer. By securing executive sponsorship, engaging managers and encouraging peer support, the organization can create a learning culture. With such a culture in place, the aforementioned research indicates it is possible to increase learning transfer by more than 90 percent.

Work by the learning organization at Clean Harbors demonstrates how to achieve alignment. The hazardous waste disposal company and provider of environmental, energy and industrial services has been growing rapidly, and it found a need to merge cultures from new acquisitions and create a unified sales force.

To achieve this objective, the Clean Harbors learning organization initiated a project to provide all salespeople with a common set of skills and processes. Sarah Mitchell, vice president of the sales operations, said it was clear from the beginning that organizational alignment was critical to success. As a first step, the project team conducted interviews with executive stakeholders, focusing on critical success factors and identifying potential barriers to success. The results were used to craft a message for the field highlighting the initiative’s strategic importance.

The interviews were the key to gaining executive involvement in kicking off the workshops in person and winning commitment from front-line managers to provide coaching and support. Managers met with their salespeople before the workshop to set learning and performance goals, and many managers chose to participate in the workshop.

After the workshop, managers received weekly coaching tips and resources to support effective coaching. “Manager involvement was critical to our success,” Mitchell said. “Without them we would not have seen the level of improvement in sales that we experienced.”

The Clean Harbors team put forth extra effort up front, but providing the initial support and ongoing coaching and reinforcement needed to deliver real results paid off. The organizational alignment achieved was critical to delivering the expected performance outcomes.

Alcatel-Lucent, a telecommunications technology company, offers a final example. Becoming a single global organization and providing world-class customer service are high priorities for Alcatel-Lucent. Ensuring employees use their global effectiveness skills is a critical part of breaking down barriers.

To meet these needs, the company implemented a global effectiveness skills development program. When the skills development initiative was rolled out, it was enhanced with real-world job application activities, post-session reinforcement messages and practice role-plays to support learning transfer.

The program confirmed the importance of global awareness skills and the value of learning transfer activities. “With global awareness, our employees are more effective in cross-cultural business relationships, and the learning transfer activities helped employees use the skills more extensively,” said Parinaz Sekechi, a learning consultant for Alcatel-Lucent University.

Learning Transfer — So Worth It

Virtually every learning leader seeks to demonstrate the value of learning initiatives. Where number of participants was once seen as a measure of success, today there is greater demand to show solid ROI and business impact. Investing in learning transfer yields big returns.

The CLO should require that any major learning initiative include plans for learning transfer activities focusing on the three major areas: learner readiness, design for transfer and organizational alignment. The examples presented here did require additional time and effort, but the use of technology and successful recruitment of managers as coaches greatly reduces the time commitment by staff, while increasing the likelihood of success.

While long-term, large-scale strategic initiatives have a place, they often become so time-consuming and burdensome they never reach fruition. The cases discussed here offer examples of how organizations increased learning transfer on the job on a program-by-program basis. The outcomes these companies experienced show that a less-is-more approach can help zero in on actions that are quick, specific and easy to execute.

By focusing on the 20 percent of actions that produce 80 percent of the returns, learning organizations can sustain a high level of effectiveness and business impact with every initiative they undertake.

About the Authors:

Michael Leimbach is vice president of global research and design for Wilson Learning Worldwide, and Ed Emde is president of Wilson Learning Corp. Reprinted from Chief Learning Officer magazine

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