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Learning and Development trends

1. More focus on micro learning

Learning content is more and more made available in small chunks.

On we found the following definition: “Micro learning is a way of
teaching and delivering content in small, very specific bursts”. Microlearning is also related
to the trend from just-incase to just-in-time learning: you learn new skills and knowledge
best at the moment when you really need it and can apply it immediately.

2. Learning integrated with work flow

It makes a difference if an employee must search actively for a learning module that he or
she needs, or that the module is offered at an appropriate moment in the workflow, based
on real time observations of the behaviour the employee. If there is a meeting with
company X in your diary, you personal learning aid might ask: “Do you want to learn more
about company X?”. If you are stuck in designing a difficult Excel macro, the Excel chatbot
asks you: “Can I help you to design the macro?”. If you have a meeting scheduled with an
employee with a low performance rating (the computer get this information in the HRIS),
you are offered a short module “how to deal with under-performing employees”.
The solutions become even better if your individual learning style and the level of your
capabilities are considered.

3. Content is everywhere

The availability of good learning content seems to be less of an issue. There is an abundance
of learning material available. The problem is how to find it, how to match content to your
needs and how to get an indication of the quality of the content. Various learning platforms
are available that can help people to find the most appropriate content (such
as Edcast, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and Degreed).

4. Tech can help for better feedback

Football clubs track their players almost 24/7. On the field, during the training, and while
they are sleeping. The data is used to give the players feedback they can use to improve
their performance. The combination of data gathered by intelligent devices combined with
the observations of the trainers, increases the quality of the feedback. Gathering realtime
data on the individual performance of employees is still not widely used. There are privacy
issues, and if the data is misused by the employer the trust of the employees goes down.
Making sure the data is only used for development can help. Using individual trackers in the
workplace will increase, and if the organisation does not provide them, employees will bring
their own (like the FitBit and the iWatch). Some tools that show a glimpse of the direction
learning tech tools can take are Joonko and Rescuetime.
5. Employees in the driver’s seat

Many learning and development initiatives are initiated by the organisation. Often the
approach is top-down. What do new employees need to learn? What is the knowledge we
expect all the people on this level to have? How can we disseminate the global health &
safety standards? Often the approach is not only top-down, but also very generic. Learning
solutions are designed for groups of people, and not tailored to the individual needs, wishes
and learning styles of individual employees. In our article “8 major HR trends for 2018” we
noted two trends that are relevant in this context. We called them “Power to the People”
and “From Please the Boss to Employee Intimacy“. Employees will start to look for solutions
that can help them to become better. Not only for their current assignment, but also for
future assignments (maybe at another employer).

6. Looking for financial benefits

Maybe there is a reason that developments in Learning Tech are slow. It has always been
difficult to calculate the ROI of investments in learning and development. Currently there is
more focus on productivity. Innovative Learning tech should be able to help to drive
productivity up.
Onboarding is typically an area where the benefits can be calculated relatively easy: the
steeper the learning curve of new employees, the faster they are reaching the required
productivity level. The investment in clever innovative onboarding tools is quickly earned

1. Implementation of Compliance Training Within Blended
Learning Programs
For Energy companies, equipment reliability and unit uptime are paramount to delivering
electricity to their customers. At leading power companies, blended learning training
programs help equip leadership, operations, maintenance, human resources, and other
functional areas with the knowledge and skills to make better decisions that lead to that
desired reliability and uptime.

The Challenge

Fluctuating fuel prices and environmental constraints have led to many power companies
diversifying their generating portfolios to a mixture of coal-fired facilities, combined cycle
plants, and renewables. With this new mix of job positions and types of facilities to manage,
leading companies are motivated to maximize their return on investment (ROI) within the
area of training by seeking cost-effective solutions that can be deployed to their entire fleet.
This requires a wide range of courseware that not only covers technologies of the various
facilities in the fleet, but also compliance courses in the areas of human resources, soft
skills, environmental, and occupational safety & health.

Empowering Employees with Knowledge to Achieve Organizational Success

Training is not simply about checking a box; it is ensuring that employees at all levels have
access to relevant, continual training that provides with them with the knowledge and skills
to make daily decisions that align with company goals and standards. This effort requires
dedication from leadership, management, and all employees. At this global power company,
engagement at all levels led to focusing on workforce development by means of blended
learning programs that included many types of training events, both generic and site
specific, all managed within a single platform.
As part of their competitive strategy going forward, this global power company partnered
with the GP Strategies’ GPiLEARN+ Learning Management System (LMS) and its associated
catalog of over 2,600 courses. This allowed them to cost-effectively provide both technical
and compliance training to their employees around the globe. This not only provides a
centralized method of
deploying training worldwide, but also allows for development of customized training
curricula that can be tracked for each job position at every facility to ensure appropriate
courseware is provided to every employee.
Outside of the GPiLEARN+ catalog, the GP Strategies content development team has worked
with our global energy client to develop company-specific compliance courses in several
different modalities (such as animated video, eLearning course, PDF, etc.) in order to
strengthen their offerings to their employees. This solution has effectively solved the
challenges at a high level in terms of providing training to a global fleet. In this true training
partnership with the company, GP Strategies provides off-the-shelf courses and serves as
content aggregator and developer to meet evolving needs.

Business Impact

This global energy company currently has 5,011 seats on GPiLEARN+. Last year alone, the
client averaged 3,361 course completions each month with 2,783 of those being
web-based training (WBT).
The impact of GPiLEARN+ on this global powerhouse company includes:
 Provides a cost effective means for providing fundamentals training for entire global fleet
that includes many different technologies and types of employees
 Reduces the administrative burden of manually tracking training programs
 Effectively implements site-specific qualifications programs by blending site-specific training
items with WBT fundamentals to create centralized location of taking and tracking plant
 Easily schedule and track instructor led training courses
 Easily tracks compliance course completions, such as OSHA courses, for audit purposes
2. Mastercard Motivates New Hires With Sleek Digital Learning
The Challenge
From the minute a new hire steps through the front door, they’re forming an impression of
their new employer. Too often, they’re simply handed a binder full of documents to read
alone in a barren cubicle, put through a meeting or two and are then expected to hit the
ground running without an understanding of their place in the organization.
According to employee recognition company O.C. Tanner, 60 percent of organizations fail to
set concrete goals or milestones for new hires. In a separate analysis, Harvard Business
Review found that almost a quarter of organizations have no onboarding process at all. How
an organization presents itself to new hires in the critical first few weeks on the job can spell
the difference between an engaged, loyal worker and one that walks back out that door in
six months. A lack of onboarding processes can cost an organization time and money
through lower productivity and morale.
GP Strategies® Solution
The “Welcome to Mastercard” onboarding pathway is a concise, interactive introduction to
the company that offers new hires a broader understanding of their roles and vision of their
future at the organization.
“We needed to stick to essential information with the goal of keeping the material bite-sized
for better retention,” said Jawanda Staber. “It was also imperative that we presented the
information in a way that sparks curiosity and aids retention. GP Strategies understood the
importance of these requirements and made sure that all content was clear, interesting and
An additional aim was ensuring the delivery of the program was sufficiently engaging and
could effectively convey the essence of the Mastercard brand and the intangible spirit of the
With these goals in mind, GP Strategies helped keep each element short and sweet, paying
close attention to the length of videos and articles used while ensuring the overall layout
was consistently concise and engaging.
Business Impact
Mastercard saw a dramatic increase in employee engagement and alignment to the overall
mission after just four months.
According to post-program surveys, conducted after the first week and the fourth month of
the employee’s hire date, 89 percent of respondents felt the “Welcome to Mastercard”
pathway supported business learning, while 85 percent felt confident in their ability to
contribute after four months.
Further, respondents indicated that the pathway helped them feel equipped for success,
prepared to add value in their new roles and aware of the career possibilities during their
future with Mastercard.

3. Barton Health: Recruiting Assessment and Remediation

Barton Health is a non-profit healthcare system located and serving the South Lake Tahoe
area, its surrounding communities,and its visitors. Their medical providers and staff are
dedicated to delivering safe, high-quality care and engaging the community in the
improvement of health and wellness.
Barton Health’s vision is to be the community health leader known for compassion and
chosen for quality. Barton
Health was faced with an outdated Recruiting environment. The organization was growing
and processes needed to be
reevaluated and updated to ensure optimal use of the software and maximum return on
investment. Hula Partners did a
full assessment of Barton Health’s current environment and recommended updates and
functionality suggestions that fit their needs. After a collaborative discussion, a solution was
agreed upon and a full remediation took place.
The Challenge
Barton Health was facing a renewal of their Onboarding licenses. Before committing to
another year with Onboarding, they wanted to address the outdated Recruiting
environment so that their processes would be aligned across the organization for the
greatest ROI. Barton was also facing challenges around administrative access, including
making simple changes such as adding fields to restrictions around adding forms to the
system. The goals were to eliminate paper usage, avoid manual entry, and improve
engagement with employees and physicians with enhanced automated processes.
GP Strategies Solution
Hula worked directly with the Barton administration team in a series of targeted discovery
workshops to clearly understand the existing processes and to define business
requirements. Hula’s experienced and certified Recruiting resources completed an extensive
design, build, and testing process as well as updated all documentation and configuration
workbooks to match the new environment. Once the final changes were approved, a full
knowledge transfer session was completed to ensure long-term system self-sustainability.
Barton Health’s old processes required candidates to fill out 10 pages of information before
completing a submission. Now, they have reduced application time by 50% and time to
complete and approve a requisition by 25%. Because of this, Barton is projected to
experience a 10% to 20% uptick in completed applications, which will result in higher quality
candidates and a more streamlined process for recruiting. In all, an average of 500 hours a
year have been returned to the business from recruiting-related activities.

4. Developing Leaders @ Havas Health & You: From

Introspection to Inspiration
As one of the world’s largest global communications groups, Havas Health & You is
responsible for producing advertising campaigns that help their clients garner incredible
brand recognition. If you’ve ever seen Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World,” TJX’s
“Bring Back the Holidays Campaign,” or the Viberzi IBS-D character, you’ve gotten a glimpse
into the creative genius that is Havas Health & You. It is this genius and creativity that Havas
Health & You offers to its clients, the intellectual capital present in the incredible work done
by Havas Health & You employees. And so it stands to reason that making sure Havas Health
& You employees are motivated and thriving at work is critical to the organization’s—and
their clients’—success.
The Challenge
The group’s newly expanded and branded Havas Health & You talent management team
recognized that supporting its employees, particularly those in influential leadership roles,
was an important area of focus. For this reason, Havas Health & You, in partnership with
BlessingWhite, a division of GP Strategies®, established the Developing Leaders (DL)
Program—a high-potential leadership development program aimed at supporting its up-
and-coming executives.
GP Strategies Solution
Havas Health & You is set up as a collection of internal agencies, and the strategy of the DL
Program is to ensure that program representatives were identified across the organization.
The first step in identifying high-potentials was to conduct a one-to-one discussion between
the chief learning officer, HR leads, and the managing directors of each agency. This
discussion was meant to ensure Learning & Development and agency heads were in
agreement with respect to the talent in the organization. Managing directors were asked to
consider their staff and then submit three to five names of individuals, including their
reasons for nomination, strengths, and development opportunities. Ultimately, not all
individuals submitted to the program were accepted with the final decision resting with the
Learning & Development program sponsors
 88% feel their leadership skills improved as a result of participating in the program
 87% indicated that their team members have noticed a change in their leadership style
 100% agree that their confidence as a leader improved
 100% felt as though the program was a valuable investment

5. Building Frontline Team Leaders at a Large Defence

Contracting Company
Organizational change is never easy, and keeping your employees focused on customer
performance throughout the change process is a great challenge. When our client separated
from its former parent company in 2013, it was clear that exploring different ways to
support employees during the transition to a new organizational structure was critical.
The Challenge
When a company changes its fundamental organizational structure, quite a bit changes for
its employees. In the case of this large defense contracting company, the separation
resulted in two public companies with the idea that each company would hone its focus on
certain business segments and remove conflicts of interest to increase each company’s
market access. The split resulted in a shift of organizational structure to a matrix
organization, representing a significant internal change.
The Solution
To support skill development during this time of change, a leadership development program
was designed in 2014 in partnership with BlessingWhite, a division of GP Strategies. The
goals of the program were to improve frontline leader skills and build behaviors to
effectively lead, engage, develop, and retain employees. A critical focus of the program was
to help individuals understand how best to lead in a matrix organization.
The Results
Measurable benefits have been evident in the results gathered from post-program surveys.
Of all participants:
 87% feel their leadership has been positively influenced by this course
 89% are successfully applying the skills they have learned to their jobs
 Over 90% found each course module relevant to their current role
 99% would recommend this course to colleagues

6. Improving Sales Training Digitally at Propane Education &

Research Council
In recent years, more and more participants of the classroom-based Marketer Technology
and Sales Training (MTST) program have requested digital learning to supplement their
experience and to expand learning beyond the classroom.
The Challenge
PERC surveyed propane industry representatives and a digital learning expert and defined
the top MTST-related training needs of the propane industry, defined digital course
requirements, and brainstormed ways of promoting digital sales training to the propane
industry. Using the findings from several workshops they conducted, PERC needed support
for their digital mission.
GP Strategies Solution
PERC initially partnered with GP Strategies, who designed and developed four sleek,
modern, highly interactive eLearning modules discussing advanced training topics such as
the Propane Energy Pod and Propane Autogas School Bus Market. Additionally, GP
Strategies designed and is in the process of delivering 12 webinars on advanced sales,
marketing, and technology topics.
The digital platform launched in March 2017. PERC immediately saw over 200 participants
self-enroll within the first two weeks. Initial user feedback is strongly positive, with interest
across the industry. GP Strategies plans to continue deployment of new content and new
learner journeys on the Intrepid platform, ensuring that the digital MTST experience
remains fresh for learners, offering opportunities to draw in new learners and providing
rewards for existing users to revisit the site.

7. Caspers Company McDonald’s: Empowering Their Employees

Through Education
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s understood the value of talent: “If we are going to go
anywhere, we’ve got to have talent. And I’m going to put my money in talent,” he said.
Today, Kroc’s philosophy is a guiding principle for McDonald’s at the corporate and
franchise levels. McDonald’s leaders are always looking for better ways to keep employees
engaged and the business moving forward.

Embodying this philosophy, the Caspers Company McDonald’s restaurants in Florida have
long offered high school completion and scholarship programs. And in 2001, the franchise
established a tuition reimbursement program for managers and crew. But as Executive Vice
President and Risk Manager, Ed Shaw knows, tuition assistance is only valuable when
employees pursue a degree program that engages them and provides a good return on the

“Since we started offering tuition assistance, I’ve seen more and more of our employees
gravitate toward private institutions, which are very expensive,” said Ed. “In some cases,
one class at a private institution was the same price of an entire semester of community
college, so frankly, I was getting disenchanted.” His point of view is a common one among
the 76 percent of employers that report offering a tuition reimbursement benefit.
Higher education meant for working adults

A call from the McDonald’s Corporation touting a new education partnership changed
everything. At the time, it was a newly launched program called College for America. As one
of the most affordable nonprofit educations of its day, he said that program not only
provided better value than many other education options but also would be a good fit for
his employees.
“We think that College for America offers a good way to encourage our people to pursue
higher education.”
—Edward Shaw

“A few years ago, we started an Internet-based program […] which helps managers better
track activities, events, and responsibilities within a restaurant [but] quickly realized that
there was a tremendous spread of knowledge among managers, with many of them lacking
some key skills,” explained Ed. “We thought College for America would be a good and
convenient way to encourage people to increase their knowledge. And our people were
already used to learning online, so in a way, College for America just added more elements
to our learning system.”
“In my experience, the better educated people are, the more confidence they have and the
better they feel about their job. We also want something from an education investment, of
course, which is better and more loyal leaders.”
—Ed Shaw
Taking employees to the next level

According to Ed, the great thing about the College for America program is how relevant the
program is to his staff’s day-to-day activities. “Our management teams have to get together
a lot in person and over the phone, so they have to know how to work together. Many of
the [program] competencies directly address collaboration. You don’t get this with any
other program that I’m aware of,” Ed explained. He also pointed out that it’s nice to see
immediate returns on the educational investment. “You don’t want to wait two years to see
if an employee graduates. It’s better when you can help someone do a better job right now
and progress quicker.”
“If you can reduce your turnover and make a more loyal employee, one that would go the
extra mile for you because of what you’ve done for them, it’s a win-win all the way.”
— Ed Shaw

Ed said that as Caspers Company McDonald’s rolled out the College for America program,
the feedback was very positive. “Our people were telling me how great it made them feel
that we were investing in them,” said Shaw. He added that he was delighted to hear this
because he knows how important employee happiness relates to loyalty.
Multiple levels of value

Ed is encouraged by the early results of the partnership. Historically, Shaw has seen a lot of
employees abandon education programs because of costs and other factors. “Everyone I’ve
talked to who is in the program was very enthusiastic—and in the case of one of our
supervisors, even passionate—which was great to hear,” he said. “What we’re looking for is
a better-educated workforce, including better leaders and people who can move the
company forward,” explained Ed. “College for America is not only affordable, it seems to
have taken a leap forward in using technology for improving education in a way that a lot of
schools aren’t delivering.”

He is pleased that SNHU’s workforce-facing programs really complement McDonald’s

commitment to education. “I think what College for America does with its learning
management system ties nicely with our business model and systems. And the projects and
project management that our people are having to do in the program will help take them to
the next level,” he concluded.

8. Global Oil & Gas Corporation – Operator Care Program

Through Rapid Improvement Workshops and a Sense of Ownership
Client Description
This Fortune 500 company owns midstream, chemicals, refining, and specialty businesses
across the globe. Its goals include advancing midstream infrastructure and petrochemical
capabilities while continuing top performance in safety.
The Challenge
Over several years, the physical condition of a large plant in Texas had deteriorated
considerably. Plant management decided to upgrade and implement new aspects of Total
Productive Maintenance (TPM). Front-line reliability and operator care is necessary for
production and reliability improvements. Without it, improvement efforts often fail.
What is needed is an effective partnership between operators and maintenance that is
proficient at preventing defects, identifying abnormalities early, quickly responding to
problems and determining root causes, while documenting standards for all activities.
GP Strategies Solution
GP Strategies partnered with the organization to deliver an assessment and
recommendation. The solution included organizational alignment, Planned Maintenance
Optimization (PMO), and Operator Asset Care (OAC) services.
To address the company’s issues around operators’ involvement in reliability, GP Strategies
facilitates our OAC workshops for production and maintenance employees in all the
production quadrants.
Each workshop consists of four days for 12 to 16 participants and takes on a “learn and do”
approach. The audience for the workshops is a cross-functional group of production and
maintenance staff, supervisors, reliability and maintenance engineers, and representatives
for all three shifts.
Day 1
The first half of the day is spent in the classroom discussing what pain points the staff is
having, such as the most frequent trouble calls and knowledge transfer issues between
shifts. The participants document these as a group and complete training on filling out
problem tags for equipment. For the second half of the day, the GP Strategies facilitator
performs a top-to-bottom inspection of the facility with the team, hanging these problem
tags on equipment and creating work orders for any problems. In one instance, one group
found 100 issues that had not previously been reported, even though there had been an
operator inspection program.
Day 2
Our GP Strategies facilitator works with the participants to define what equipment to look
at, identify ranges, and identify quantifiable specifics. To enhance programs during the
training, GP Strategies experts use the workshop as a method for coaching, creating an eye-
opening experience for the participants.
Day 3
Once the inspection programs have been improved, the GP Strategies facilitator teaches
front-line problem-solving
tools such as the “5 Whys” technique and the situation, target, proposal (STP) method.
Workshop content also includes material on visual controls and Five S. GP Strategies also
developed and implemented operator communication control boards, visual controls, one-
point lessons, and printed inspection protocols posted near equipment.
Day 4
For the final day, the participants drive their workshop projects to completion. GP Strategies
staff then develop a presentation for senior leadership that the participants of the workshop
present to their management teams, creating ownership for the content and demonstrating
what they accomplished.
The program originally started with four workshops. However, after seeing the success of
those workshops, the company asked for 10 more to include the rest of the refinery. To
date, six have been completed and another eight are in development.
This program ensures that employees feel accountable for what was taught and the changes
made to maintenance and operator care programs since participants themselves helped
shape program content with the guidance of GP Strategies experts. This process of
ownership transfer creates a positive environment for sustainability of the program.
As a result of the workshops developed and delivered by GP Strategies and the upgraded
programs, participants have said that mean time between failures went up significantly and
the reliability of the plant improved. The positive impacts to OEE will continue to be realized
over time.

9. Planning and Scheduling Training

Client Description
Established as a leader in process and product technology, this steel company has been an
integrated steel producer for over 110 years and operates major production facilities
throughout North America and Central Europe. They have an annual raw steelmaking
capability of 24.4 million net tons. This large capacity allows them to provide raw materials
to numerous industries.
The Challenge
In order to maximize maintenance resources, including a new computerized maintenance
management system (CMMS), the client desired a more efficient planning and scheduling
process to improve their asset management program. With many organizational roles
affecting the planning and scheduling process, a more cohesive program was needed to
ensure all departments were aligned and individuals understood how their roles impacted
the entire process of planning and scheduling.
GP Strategies Solution
GP Strategies™ customized its hands-on Maintenance Planning & Scheduling Game to fit the
specific requirements of the client. Working closely with the company, GP Strategies
pinpointed the main cognitive and behavioral lessons that needed to be the primary focus
of the learning simulation. Objectives were created, forming the content of the game and
classroom instruction.
The game was integrated into a three-day Planning and Scheduling class designed for a
cross-functional audience of planning and scheduling staff, maintenance craft personnel,
reliability engineers, production operators, supervisors, and management in maintenance
operations. Following the training, individuals were selected to take on new roles in
planning and scheduling and implemented various process improvements.
The Maintenance Planning & Scheduling Game proved to be an effective and enjoyable way
to engage participants in a hands-on application of what they learned. The competitive
nature of the game, with multiple teams trying to out-do one another in planning,
scheduling, and organization, turned a learning exercise into an exciting experience.
Participants achieved a 50% improvement in work order completion during the two rounds
of the game. The game and training have been used to drive performance improvements at
the company’s various mills.
Client Testimonial
The feedback after the classes was tremendous. One 35-year maintenance professional told
his manager, “It was the best class I have ever been to in my career.”