Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Corporate University Week Opening Keynote: Verizon Wireless & Bellevue U Collaboration

I’m at IQPC’s Corporate University Week in Orlando, Florida.  Unlike the typical elearning conferences I go to where we’re talking a lot about practice, this one is focused at a more strategic level. Leadership is the word.

It’s small and cozy – about 16 vendors (of which we’re one) – and about 150 attendees.  I’m looking forward to some really substantive conversations!

These are my live blogged notes from the opening session.

Michael E. Echols, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and the Human Capital Lab
Bellevue University

General theme of the conference: linking learning outcomes to business objectives.

In the past, we’ve looked backward and heavily valued ROI…ROI looks backwards at a financial parameter – but there’s a lot more involved in business outcomes.

If you look at biz objectives – mobility, recruiting, retention are also factors.

The ROI conversation is dead. It’s backward looking and exclusive to financial.

Think about business outcomes in a broader perspective.

Risk management is a big priority in today’s economy. What does risk mean in learning community? Classic HR parameter of retention is a risk parameter. If you want to talk about your impact—growth and risk – you have a direct impact on risk in your org. The risk is that you invest in your people (your human capital) and they leave.  Retention and turnover is a risk parameter.

Good ideas – that’s what’s in short supply (not cash). In the US economy, cash is not the scarce resource. Your companies need to have good ideas – and you need to help connect those good ideas to business outcomes.

Bellevue University and Verizon Wireless Collaborative Effort – Case Study – “How to Leverage University Partnerships Within Your Organization” Dorothy Martin with Verizon Wireless

Three years ago the concept: a collaboration between a university and a corporation.

linking tuition assistance to talent management

Professional 12 course program over two years that leads to a bachelor’s degree – focus on retail. It’s funded through Verizon’s LearningLINK program. Professional Retail Sales & Management program (PRSM)

Goals: pos impact on biz outcomes, reduce turnover, increase mobility, connect retail employees across US…

Three key elements: co-designed curriculum, co-branded communication (a concerted internal marketing effort), measurement

Where is it today? Business results and lessons learned

1. Curriculum Dev

Curric dev took one year for the 12 courses.  It focuses on retail industry from universal and contextualized (verizon specific) perspectives – learn general and how it’s applied at verizon.

Ended up with 45 Verizon Wireless SMEs. (retail store managers, district managers, vps, etc.)

2. Co-branded Comms

Brochures/ecards  went out to 2,400 retail stores.  Management and employee webinars. Created a co-branded web portal to get more details and how to enroll.

Lots of participation from sales/marketing (86%)

1,147 participants to date. 60% retention rate. Graduated over 200 participants so far. 97% of grads have STAYED in the business.

3. Measure

Study on the PRSM program and the business impact. (multi-variant comparative study – sample size over 150 with a comparison group).

  • 23% higher performing rating (than those who didn’t go through PRSM)
  • 50% higher Leading rating
  • more likely to have received a promotion
  • significant increase in sales revenues for those who went through program
  • They sold more goods!

Verizon is now working with Bellevue on a second program direction at Call Center Operations & Management.

Now doing a new study – looking at the value of hiring someone with a degree vs. someone who was hired without a degree and given the opportunity to get a degree.

Looking at taking this beyond the Wireless division to other areas across the enterprise.

Senior Mngt continues to invest.

20% of employees are using LearningLINK (their tuition assistance program) – compared to the national average of 5%.  Sr. Mngt really understands the value of this and supports promoting these programs.

“Context accelerates learning”

The PRSM program is a dialog, collaborative cohort model.  100% online.

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